Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Cycle Lanes

There is one bit of cycling asset on my commute towards Blackburn, Lancashire. It is a short cycle lane, one of two available on my commute. (The other lane is on the opposite side of the road for the return journey). You can see this typical English cycle lane is barely wider than the width of a cycle. There are some elsewhere that are wider but they share a lane with a bus. Another characteristic of the typical English cycle lane is that they are extremely transient. They appear and disappear almost at will, they lack continuity and are of marginal benefit. The one here is probably less than 100m long. One reason that the benefit is limited is because they tend to disappear at hazards because there is insufficient room. Then the cyclist often encounters a 'lane ends' sign painted on the road.

Compare and contrast with this picture from Fullerton, California where RL Policar of Bike Commuters lives.

The comparison may not be fair, since in the UK, space is more of a premium than in other areas of the world. Often cycling assets have to be interspersed with all other uses along roads that may be hundreds of years old. The main road on my route is relatively wide being an old turnpike road. The housing is typically 100-120 years old but it isn't as cramped as many streets. Even so, car is king. I'll show you in a future post how the wide space has been used to create parking along the road creating hazards for cyclists.

1 comment:

3Leonards said...


I came across your blog randomly and thought I'd comment on this particular post. For what it's worth, I live in California and have never seen a bike lane that wide (like shown in the pic of the one from Fullerton). All of the bike lanes I see are about the same width as the one on your route to work.

BTW, my husband rides his bike to work too. Although his trek is a bit shorter than yours - a mere 1 mile. :)

Take care!