Thursday, August 25, 2011

Infrastructure : Left Turn Slip lanes

One of the many Car friendly infrastructure Australia has, is the free left turn slip lanes that allow motor vehicles to make a left turn at an intersection without stopping at the signalised intersection or T intersection.

Not so friendly for pedestrians and cyclists. As a cyclist riding on the shared path you are required to dismount at these slip lane crossings and walk beside your bike across the intersection as is the law. If your riding on the cycle lane at these intersections, you are put in a dangerous situation by having to ride in a cycle lane in between motor vehicles. These are marked in green and have mentioned them before.

So what are the solutions if Canberra are truly to become a cycle friendly city as some may claim, well you wouldn't be forcing those riding their bicycles to dismount of cycle in between fast moving traffic.
As it is unlikely in the near future to have separate crossings for cyclists( those riding on shared paths) and pedestrians a solution that is used in other countries of marking a cycle lane next to the pedestrian crossing could be considered.

Possible Cycle lane crossing


Barcelona, Spain

Another solution would be to have a shared path crossing, which could look like this............

Possible shared path crossing

Australia has adopted a lime green or green colour to mark its cycle infrastructure at crossing junctions for some reason (except Perth) , in Denmark and London its blue, and Germany and Holland its red. The paint is quite expensive and is used only at intersections where conflicts between cyclists and motor vehicles may (and do)occur.
In Sydney they have marked some of their separated cycle paths completely in green, this is despite the Australian Bicycle Council recommending that colour to mark cycle lanes and paths should only be used sparingly as motor vehicle drivers will get too used to the colour and may ignore them. This from a council that is primarily made up of road/traffic engineers.

Sydney's separated cycle paths

I wonder if the Australian bicycle Council has ever been to the Netherlands............


Anyway, I am told that the Australian road rules maintenance group are opposed to such crossings, so cyclists will continue to be treated as second class citizens. Though a discussion paper by the Roads Transport Authority (RTA) NSW has suggested such a new type of crossing, that may not require cyclists to dismount. So we can only hope that common sense will prevail.


Freedom Cyclist said...

Coming your way on Wednesday 21st September for the Canberra Punk Commute!!!! - hope you can join us (me?)!!!!

Edward said...

That is a great idea. Slip lanes are horrible not just for cyclists but also for pedestrians. Cars and trucks speed past without even noticing that people are standing waiting. If the bike lanes were added, you would also need some way of slowing cars down as they approach the slip lane.