Wednesday, 17 March 2010

On cycle superhighways and shining wisdom of TfL

Personally, I think that Cycle Superhighways project is bogus — at least in a way it is right at the moment. Why is it? It's simple. Take a look at this photograph:

Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 15.35.16.png

What you think, is there anything wrong with it? Lanes are blue, highly visible and all that stuff — sure it couldn't be any better?

Well, it could. Do you see two buses far ahead? They are going over this lane. This is wrong. They are going over the lane, and this pretty much makes them useless — people who are scared of cycling because of lorries won't cycle if they'll need to share their lanes with buses (and I understand them!). You see, we have these green lanes now — does it mean much for us? Say, there's a green lane which goes over the Chiswick High rd / King st towards Hammersmith. I'm cycling there, and then ... oops, what is it? Lorry is unloading — I need to go to the traffic lane, bend it over and then go back, just to realise, that another car is parked just 30 metres from it, and then there's a bus stop, with a bus, naturally... Wait — do I need this lane at all?

Q&A document at Superhighways' section of TfL website clearly says:

A Cycle Superhighway will be a clearly marked cycle route designed to make it easier to travel by bicycle. Cycle Superhighways are being introduced to encourage people to commute by bike between outer and inner London and to make it safer and easier to do so. Cycle Superhighways will be safe, fast, direct, continuous, informative, visible and comfortable. Each Cycle Superhighway will be supported by marketing and other initiatives to encourage people to cycle more often or start cycling.

and also

Cycle Superhighways will be blue (middle sky blue) for high levels of visibility, to provide a consistent look and feel, and to distinguish them from the green lanes of the London Cycling Network.

This is all great, but it misses one and only one thing. Cycling lanes should be separate from traffic lanes. This is only thing which is required — and without it it can be as blue as a sky and it still won't make much sence. There's one picture on TfL website, which shows what it should actually be:

Screen shot 2010-03-17 at 15.47.00.png

This is an only way it will work. Yes, it doesn't guarantee cyclists' safety — but they would be so much safer from idiots drivers, who hate cyclists with all their might, and idiots lorry drivers, who give no shit about who could be in their blind spot (or, rather, blind stripe). This is an only way you can guarantee that a car won't stop there with their emergency signal on, just to buy a box of cigarettes in off-license. This is an only way more and more people will choose bicycle as their way to commute to central London — and the colour of lanes matters very little.