On Friday the 9th of February a number of intrepid GoBike members took to the streets of Glasgow, the purpose being to bring the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain’s Insert Loved One Here #iloh social media campaign into the physical world.
Armed with bright orange spray chalk and some laser cut stencils, two teams adventured on their bikes to the roads of Glasgow.
Tonights aim was to highlight some sections of infrastructure we have that are not just bad but are actually dangerous. Here’s a run down of some of the areas we tagged.
The Howard Street contraflow cycle lane highlights the inadequacy of painted cycle lanes. Running adjacent to St Enoch Square, behind the centre, there are often cars parked within the lanes, despite double yellow no-parking lines, and the unbroken white (enforcable) cycle lane line. When cars park here, people on bikes are forced to cycle into oncoming traffic on the one way street.
Unless drivers respect infrastructure provided for other road users, only cycle lanes that are segregated and protected with a kerb or other measure to keep cars out, can be accepted.
Ironically, and to perfectly highlight the issue, just after we had finished tagging this location, a taxi drew up and parked on top of it.
Our only non-road tagging: The shared use path, part of the National Cycle Network Route NCN7, comes to a very dangerous pinch point as you head west after King George V Bridge. The path was narrowed at this point for the entrance to the Bus on Fast Link lanes that run along the Broomielaw. The brick wall for the car park also creates a blind corner, which adds to the danger of pedestrians and cyclists colliding at the corner.
Not originally on our list, but when we passed we had to tag this. The Advance Stop Line lead-in lane goes between the two lanes, which are almost always occupied by taxis and or buses. This is a very hostile environment even for the most hardened of cyclists.
None of us in this tagging team were actually aware that this was the correct way of entering this cycle lane in the middle of Cambridge Street.
The entrance is narrowed by a bollard that then leads you on to an area strewn with broken glass.
However once you get past the glass, the cycle lane doesn’t get any better.
Cyclists are then taken along a section of painted cycle lane between the traffic, coming in both directions on either side, or in the case of the taxi the following night, right over the top of the cycle lane.
This cycle lane abruptly stops, shortly after traffic signals, leading anyone on a bike straight into a bus lane to the left and the carriage way to the right.
Cycle lanes painted in door zones are a common sight to all, but this one is so tight that the door zone area is probably wider than the cycle lane. Anyone travelling on a bike and taking the safe line out of the door zone is forced into the road, and often subject to aggression from motorists failing to understand why the cyclists is not in the cycle lane.
A cycle lane leads you up to the notoriously dangerous roundabout at Eastwood Toll and abruptly disappears. As so many cars cross into this lane, the paint has been worn away, and cyclists are forced into the stream of traffic approaching the roundabout, creating difficulty in taking the lane ahead of the oncoming maneauver.
To highlight this, just after we finished tagging this, a bus trundled right over the top of our tag.
After the traffic lights, and adjacent to the exit of University Gardens, the cycle lane abruptly stops, to be suddenly replaced by car parking.
The Hyndland Road/Highburgh Road “Colleges Route”’ painted bike path has a number of classic dangerous features including:
- Cars Parked in it
- A section painted in the door zone
It seems fitting to end such a motley display of cycling infrastructure with Clarence Drive. This has all the same issues as Highburgh Road, the galling thing being that the car parking issue could have been resolved, had planned parking restrictions been approved.
Cycle lanes must be protected and segregated. Anything less results in an environment that at best, is off-putting to cyclists, but, unfortunately more often than not, is down right dangerous to people choosing the bike for active travel.