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To think that cyclists should use cycle lanes where they are available?

(89 Posts)
IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 09-Nov-10 21:50:27

Particularly now the nights are getting darker earlier?

No matter how many lights they have on them and their bike, they are still safer in cycle lanes and so should be using them?

Tonight I was driving along a newish road (single carriageway) that has a separate footpath and a separate cyclepath running alongside it. In the space of about 2 miles, I passed 3 cyclists on the road. They all had lights on, one in particular had lots, but it still meant that the cars travelling in the same direction as them had to overtake. Wouldn't the cyclists be far safer on the cycle path?

chitchat09 Tue 09-Nov-10 21:54:00

Not necessarily, some cycle paths aren't in great condition and in the dark could be quite dangerous (pot holes, branches on the path etc). Near where I live the pedestrian path is in shocking condition so pedestrians use the cycle path. In the night I could imagine a cyclist causing a serious injury.

TigersChick Tue 09-Nov-10 21:55:40

I agree with you.

I have had this convo with cyclists before now and the reasons that they give include ... that the cycle path is often part of the footpath which means that they have to watch out for pedestrians who wander all over the place ... and they have to keep giving way at every junction from the left whereas on the road they have right-of-way over traffic coming from the left.

In out-of-town areas, cylce paths must be safer.

Opinionatedfreak Tue 09-Nov-10 21:59:35

Oh god, another lets bash the cyclists.

Well thought out segregated cycle lanes are a joy to use. However badly designed ones are a nightmare and can actually make your journey slower and more risky because they regularly pitch you out into moving traffic for short stretches.

If you aren't actually a regular cyclist yourself you should probably reserve judgement.

Cyclists do actually have as much right to use the road as cars. There is lots of research from the continent that suggests that a critical mass of cyclists roadsharing with cars makes the road safer for everyone (i dont' have the reference but read about it in the guardian).

Opinionatedfreak Tue 09-Nov-10 22:02:03

Oh and there are several off road (converted railway line) tracks near me that I won't use in the dark because of the number of muggings that take place.

You don't tend to get mugged on the side of an A-road!

onlyone Tue 09-Nov-10 22:02:59

Regular cyclist but get the hell off the pavements and do not expect my toddler to see you understand what you are about or get out of the way.
Cycle on the road stay off the pavement.

EdgarAirbombPoe Tue 09-Nov-10 22:04:15

in the dark, if the path is unlit, it is very hard to see pedestrians who may be walking in the cycle path. Worse if it is wet too (the cycle path i usually use is seaside and you get sea spray)

my solution to this is to cycle very slowly so that i would see anyone before hitting them.

other more lycra-type cyclist would prefer the road, as at least they can see well enough.

TigersChick Tue 09-Nov-10 22:05:18

Opinionatedfreak - there are 2 reasons I don't cycle ... 1. I live in the middle of no-where (not quite to the degree of other MNers but still, fairly remote) and 2. I'm not brave enough blushgrin.
I'm sure I would feel differently if I was a cyclist but, from my POV, it seems safer if not easier to use the cycle paths - tho I know you're right about degrees of sense in planning routes grin

Dando Tue 09-Nov-10 22:05:31

Sometimes they are badly lit and maintained, yes, and often if part of a pavement, pedestrians use them or wander into them. Also have been screeched at by pedestrians on cycle paths who don't realise it is shared use. Sometimes road is simplest.

IwishIwasmoreorganised Tue 09-Nov-10 22:07:47

Ok so I told you that it is a newish road with a separate bit for cyclists and another bit for pedestrians.

I suppose I should have said that it is well lit, no overhanging trees and there are roundabouts at either end of the 4(ish) mile stretch with no side roads in the middle (so no need for cyclists to give way etc).

Tonight it was very wet and windy. AIBU to think that cyclists would be safer in the cycle lane (even if using it added a few seconds onto their journey - to quote my Nan, "better alive but late than dead on time!)

Opinionatedfreak Tue 09-Nov-10 22:11:18

Ah but we wouldn't be dead if the drivers applied that to their journey ! grin

If you haven't cycled along it you don't know what it is like to use, the arguments above re shared use paths are very true....

Basically don't know the cyclists until you have done their journey (a few times).


JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 09-Nov-10 22:18:00

We have a lot of cycle paths near us, all well maintained, all reasonably new.

There is a particular one alongside a very very busy road with double white lines in the middle. The cycle path is clear, it is well lit, it's an out of town area so rarely any pedestrians, there are no roads to cross, no drains, NO reason for them to choose the road.

I never see it used - lycra-clad cyclists insist on using the main road (despite the drains/bad surface) and cars have to either follow behind them or risk crossing the double white lines to overtake.


2shoes Tue 09-Nov-10 22:19:57

do you mean the cycle lanes with cars parked in them? or the ones that drivers cut across when turning into without checking for cyclists?
oh and don't forget the pot holes, and the big puddles

Opinionatedfreak Tue 09-Nov-10 22:25:31

Oh dear, poor darling car drivers having to slow down to overtake slower traffic.

I am unrepentent. I will cycle where I feel safer and for the most part that is the road.

JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 09-Nov-10 22:34:34

OF, are you talking to me??

nocake Tue 09-Nov-10 22:34:50

Cyclists are legally allowed to use the road so if I choose to use it and think it is safer than using a cycle path then that's my choice and you don't get to argue with me.... just as I don't get to argue with your choice to use the road in a car. If you have to wait a moment or two to overtake me then tough.

Fortunately I live in a town where most of the drivers are very considerate of cyclists and in return I am considerate of them when I'm on my bike.

JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 09-Nov-10 22:37:43

none of you live in Oxford, do you?

VictoriasLittleKnownSecret Tue 09-Nov-10 22:40:06

I agree with OF - many cycle paths are fit for hesitant cyclists but not for good cyclists. I can go faster than traffic in a built up area but not on a cycle path designed by a twat who has never sat on a bike or lacks ability

TrillianAstra Tue 09-Nov-10 22:41:52

"a newish road with a separate bit for cyclists and another bit for pedestrians."

Ah but the pedestrians (who don't have lights on them) are never going to stick to their bit, are they?

PlanetEarth Tue 09-Nov-10 22:43:58

One of the cycle paths I used to use is in a park, a little distance from one side of the road, and the distance varies from about 1m to 5m. The park is unlit. If you're on the cycle path in the dark, travelling against the direction of the traffic, then:

a) you have to cross the road twice with your bike, once to get to the beginning of the cycle path and again where it runs out
b) the oncoming traffic blinds you
c) you can't see very well as there are no street lights. Even strong cycle lights don't counteract the car headlights
d) the path is shared by pedestrians, who inevitably wear black in winter so you can't see them
e) many of these pedestrians seem to have black dogs on a lead, wandering randomly across the path
f) said pedestrians would grumble about being blinded by your cycle lights

Give me a while and I can probably come up with g), h) and i) smile.

PlanetEarth Tue 09-Nov-10 22:44:45

I should add that drivers in the park who are not also cyclists are probably completely unaware of points b) - f)...

ChippingIn Tue 09-Nov-10 22:45:15

Sorry OP - but I agree with all of the others. There will be good reasons the cyclists aren't using them - even if it's not obvious to you.

Just because there is a designated section for cyclists and one for pedestrians, doesn't mean that pedestrians take any notice of it - they're a complete liability!

JarethTheGoblinKing Tue 09-Nov-10 22:51:16

But what about those cycle paths that are alongside a 50/60mph road, are clear of any obstruction/crossings/pedestrians, are wide, well lit and perfect for bikes?

WHY do cyclists insist on cycling on a road that fast when there is a better alternative? (the road I'm talking about has a blind hill, it's not uncommon to go over the hill at speed and encounter a cyclist doing approx 15mph on the road.)

LookToWindward Tue 09-Nov-10 22:55:03

If you go over a blind hill and aren't able to react to any hazards that may be on the other side then you're going too fast.

And my DH is usually quicker than most cars when he's out and about on his bike. He prefers the roads.

clairefromsteps Tue 09-Nov-10 22:57:36

I cycle everywhere and will use a cycle path if there is one (luckily there usually is because our council are quite good about stuff like that). However, it never ceases to amaze me how many pedestrians stumble and meander about on clearly marked cycle paths and then tut at me when I cycle past them.

I have been known, in a pre-menstrual state, to holler like a fishwife at offending pedestrians 'You're on a CYCLE PATH! Get onto the PAVEMENT!' blush

The best solution in our town has been to introduce a thin little cycle lane on the actual road. IME, cars are really good about not driving on it, they don't have to slow to ovetake us cyclists and I don't get squished. I call that a win.

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