In the circles of my cycling mates, I’m fairly well known for my forthright and controversial vies on cycle facilities – bike lanes, shared use paths, coloured bits of tarmac etc. – that generally non-cycling traffic engineers create to try to make junctions easier for us on two wheels.
In a nutshell, I believe that when they’re not deadly or nonsensical, they’re just plain useless. This often causes consternation in those who imagine I’d like to see a Dutch or Danish style Utopia of segregated cycle lanes and a better position for the cycling community on UK roads.
I actually think many cycle infrastructure installations are a threat to those who use them. I’ve documented previously ones in Lichfield and Small Heath, Birmingham, and explained why I think they’re so bad.
Now, courtesy of Lichwheeld – the cycling community blog from Ye Olde City, I have been alerted to a blog post by Bez posted on his remarkable Beyond the Kerb blog. In it, he details plainly why cycle lanes encourage dangerous behaviours, and why we should be getting rid of them.
I heartily concur with Bez’s position on this; indeed, it’s the most sense I’ve heard spoken on such matters for a very long time. If you have an interest in cycling, and ride in urban areas, please do read this blog post. I’d be interested to know what you think.
Oh, and what’s my alternative? Invest the money in good training – for school kids, adults if they want it, for cyclists and drivers. Promote John Franklyn’s excellent Cyclecraft. Engender better awareness and understanding on all sides. Encourage cyclists to ride out, part of the traffic, not squeezed dangerously to one side of it. Teach all road users – cyclists and drivers – to show each other mutual respect.
Cheers to Lichwheeld, who I know doesn’t usually agree with me on this stuff. 😉