I’ve just read the article from Joe Edwards and John Lee (Chairman’s Letter, RCC Newsletter Spring 2023).
It’s always struck me that there is something odd about cycle lanes and it’s often better just to ignore them.
They often put the lanes along straight sections of road where they are not really needed. When you reach the junctions, the site of maximum potential conflict protection, the cycle lanes evaporate and leave you in the lurch.
In fact, it’s worse due to the need to emerge from the cycle lane, which puts you at more risk than if you didn’t enter it in the first place! Why does this happen?
Shinfield Road is yet another exasperating and apparently inexplicable example. There are better ways to spend the money. Who benefits? The contractors mainly.
However, there is a suggestion. Architects these days have software that creates a 3D visualisation of a building, inside and out. You can do a ‘walk through’ and see what it will be like.
Can a similar thing be done for cycle infrastructure at junctions? This way the Council Officers and others could have a go at negotiating the junction within the roles of both cyclist and 4×4 driver and understand the issues much more thoroughly.
Thank you for your letter and comments – you and I agree completely on this matter.
John Lee and I went to look at the Shinfield Road scheme and we were very disappointed in what we found actually being built.
It may be an improvement for the very young and inexperienced cyclist, but this will depend on the signage and crucially on the legal status of what they are constructing – cycle lane or cycle track.
However, the more experienced cyclist will want to use the existing road, and this is being narrowed, meaning that there will be more competition for space with motorised vehicles.
As you rightly point out, the danger is at the junctions where will be no provision except perhaps for a couple of seconds start at the traffic lights, which I suspect will be abused and certainly not policed.
The Council will certainly get out their ‘Cyclist Dismount’ and ‘End of Cycle Route’ signs so they cannot be held responsible in case of an accident.
I really like your idea of using 3D visualisation software. Do you have any idea how we might progress this? Perhaps we should contact schools of Architecture and see if it could be taken on as a project.
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