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"Cycle-friendly" "Dutch-style" crossing doesn't appear to be either...

Police are appealing for witnesses after a cyclist was hurt in a hit-and-run crash at a controversial new junction in Southampton.

The 44-year-old man was knocked off his bike by a car at the Itchen Bridge junction at 8.45am yesterday morning, reports James Franklin of the Southern Daily Echo.

The driver of the car, a blue or black Mercedes estate, drove off and the cyclist was treated for minor injuries by paramedics at the scene. Witnesses are asked to contact the Totton Roads Policing Unit on 101.

Previously a roundabout, the lights-controlled junction was only recently reopened after being redesigned to make it a ‘cycle-friendly’ component of a £1.7 million bike route into the city. However, that seems to have comprised painting some strips on the road, a few bike silhouettes and some arrows.

Southampton City Council has issued a PDF and a video (below) explaining to cyclists how they should ride through the junction. Turning right is intended to involve weaving across the junction in a two-stage manoeuvre which could be seen as less ‘cycle-proofing’ and more ‘cycle inconveniencing’.

The council describes the junction as ‘Dutch -style’ but Mark Treasure, chair of the GB Cycle Embassy and a campaigner for improved cycling infrastructure, says he is not aware of any junction in the Netherlands that works this way.

“Even fairly poor cycle lanes have signal separation,” Mr Treasure told us.

On Twitter, Stewart Pratt (better know as Bez and @beztweets) commented: “I design user interfaces. If I have to write instructions for users, I consider myself to have failed.”

Other activists have savaged the new junction design. Cambridge campaigner Cab Davidson wrote: “You want a cyclist to turn left, looking away from the lights that might be about to go green, to then turn 180 degrees to then be able to head in to the desired direction? And you want the cyclist to perform this manoevre right in front of a motorist who may expect to go when the light goes green any moment?”

Local cyclists have also criticised the junction’s final state. Michael Andrews told the Daily Echo: “I remember when the plans were first revealed that there would be separate cycle lights to allow cyclists at the originally planned ASLs to cross the junction or make turns ahead of motorised traffic and then wide, shared, paths going from one end of the Itchen Bridge to the other, on both sides of the road, which would have been a semi-Dutch design.

“What we have ended up with instead is death waiting to happen.”

John Grant, from Woolston, said: “Approaching the junction it’s very unsafe to head towards the lights if there is a vehicle waiting to turn left stopped at the lights. The lights can change at any time and they wouldn’t see me coming up the inside on the cycle path.”

Speaking after the accident, he said: “If I hadn’t been vigilant I could also have been knocked off this morning. It seems like an awful waste of money for very little, if any, gain.”

Mark Stinchcombe, said: “To turn right at the junction to go onto Itchen Bridge, from any direction, means I have to fight across four lanes of traffic coming from two different directions and wanting to head off in four different directions.

“As a cyclist this junction has become, in my view, extremely dangerous and I much preferred the previous roundabout.”

However, Jacqui Rayment, Southampton City Council’s Cabinet member for environment and transport, said: “Early indications from the investigation show that the new layout of the junction is not a contributory factor in the accident.”

She aded: “The design of this junction has been taken from a tried and tested Continental-style junction and passed several safety audits with one more taking place on the 10th.”

It’s not the first time a local authority has been pilloried for introducing a junction design that needs a video to explain it. Transport for London was widely criticised when a redesign of Cycle Superhighway 2’s notorious Bow roundabout was accompanied by an explanatory video.

After all, it’s not like you can watch a video or read a leaflet as you ride — not without putting yourself in even more danger than you already are.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

29 comments

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A V Lowe [592 posts] 2 years ago
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Endorse Bez comment and same applies to Bow Roundabout, any road layout that requires any road user to view an instructional video prior to encountering it has failed the basic premise on which TSRGD specifies road signage, if it is to work effectively.

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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But this is cycle proof. There won't be nearly any cycles using it - therefore it is cycle proof...or do i (and Southampton council) have the wrong end of the stick here?

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Bez [602 posts] 2 years ago
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Suggest local campaigners mount boxes at the junction filled with leaflets marked with the following "tickbox" statement:

[_] I have watched and understood the instructional video regarding this junction and agree to absolve Southampton City Council, Sustrans and the Highways Agency of all blame should I be injured or killed whilst using it.
Signed __________
Print name __________

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Ush [751 posts] 2 years ago
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Alternate simple proposal that would save millions and improve traffic flow:

Cars are supposed to slow to circa 15mph at junctions, cyclists follow exactly the same patterns as cars, all vehicles to leave the recommended stopping distance or greater between each other. Signalling mandatory. Failure to observe any of the above whatever vehicle you're on results in an on the spot fine or confiscation of vehicle.

Yeah right... instead we're going to get experimental "dutch" interweaving of two separate traffic systems resulting in either of two outcomes: 1) slower bicycle commute times; 2) death and confusion.

All the dutch segregationist lobbyists are stampeding cycling into what will be a very unpleasant place.

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qwerky [184 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry, but that junction is totally f*cked up. I just watched the video and yelled at chicken 1 to stop as he turned to cycle the wrong way into oncoming traffic. A couple of seconds later I realised that this was the behavior intended by the junction designers.

It really beggars belief. How can anyone be so stupid as to think this is a good design?

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Paul_C [481 posts] 2 years ago
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In Holland, there would be separate "Simultaneous Green" phases for cyclists and pedestrians to negotiate that junction... none of those stupid two-stage turns...

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Paul_C [481 posts] 2 years ago
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Ush wrote:

All the dutch segregationist lobbyists are stampeding cycling into what will be a very unpleasant place.

No, we want proper Dutch style segregation, not some half-baked bastardisation that is the result of our current traffic laws not being updated for it...

This is what happens when idiot planners get some weird idea in their heads, but can't do it right because of ONE simple fact, currently cyclists crossing a side street or arm of a junction do not have priority and are expected to give way to motorised vehicles...

Our law needs to change

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Saratoga [39 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

The design of this junction [...] passed several safety audits

My experience of local-authority safety audits is they aren't worth the paper they're written on, particularly when it comes to cyclist safety.

Either they're done by staff who are motorists and haven't been in a bike since they were 10, or the checklist they're working to is fundamentally flawed. Or both.

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deadcreative [10 posts] 2 years ago
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Ush wrote:

Cars are supposed to slow to circa 15mph at junctions, cyclists follow exactly the same patterns as cars, all vehicles to leave the recommended stopping distance or greater between each other. Signalling mandatory. Failure to observe any of the above whatever vehicle you're on results in an on the spot fine or confiscation of vehicle.

This.

Its easily understood by all road users and much of it is already in the highway code.. I wish councils would stop wasting money on these schemes and spend it on education. Teach people how to use the roads properly instead of pretending they can keep the ignorant safe through segregation. Sooner or later those segregated cyclists have to use the road and when that happens they need to know how to do so safely.

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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I wouldn't trust a local authority to enforce this. My local authority sent a young graduate numpty they employ to take an electronic box round all the boroughs ASL's checking the magnetic loops - well he went round and switched them all off all over the city. The council claimed it was an accident that half a dozen ASL magnetic loops had been switched off over night. That's the attitude we are dealing with nation wide - deliberate neglect by LA's if it's not something they understand or like.

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OldRidgeback [2660 posts] 2 years ago
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The right turn manoeuvre is reminiscent of the Melbourne right turn when crossing the city's tram tracks. You pull over to the lift while indicating right and waiting for the tracks and traffic to clear before making your move. Strange though it is, this works in Melbourne. But then people are used to the manoeuvre there and know what's going to happen when you do it. For Southampton this is an unfamiliar manoeuvre. Note that a cyclist turning right will have to wait for two cycles of the lights instead of just one to make a right turn, slowing commute times. There must be a better solution than this.

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Chuck [568 posts] 2 years ago
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That. Is. Astonishing.
The right-turning rider is just being set up to be taken out by cars turning left across him, and then- just to make sure- he's sent into what would basically oncoming traffic if people are too eager to get away from the lights. Which is hardly unusual.
Really hard to imagine how this ever got off the drawing board.

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andycoventry [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Saratoga wrote:
Quote:

The design of this junction [...] passed several safety audits

My experience of local-authority safety audits is they aren't worth the paper they're written on, particularly when it comes to cyclist safety.

Either they're done by staff who are motorists and haven't been in a bike since they were 10, or the checklist they're working to is fundamentally flawed. Or both.

Sadly you hit the nail on the head, far too many Audits are completed by 'old school' Auditors raising the same issued they did 20 years ago, scared of innovation and change.

Not all Auditors are the same mind, I should know as I am one.

Shameless Plug: Anyone that wants a Road Safety Audit done by someone who understands the specific needs of cyclists please PM me. (am I allowed to say that on here?)

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bambergbike [89 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks suspiciously like a German junction to me, although a German junction would often have shared cyclist/pedestrian traffic signals with timings that are often fairly rubbish for the cyclists, who can clear junctions much faster than pedestrians but often find themselves stuck at red when the car that gets to the junction after them (coming from the same direction) goes through on green. This is supposed to be changing, but local authorities have been lumping cyclists together with pedestrians for so many decades now that it will take a while for the new rules and guidance to penetrate down to local level.

In theory German cyclists can choose freely between one-stage and two-stage left turns depending on their abilities and personal preferences. Wanting to make a one-stage left turn is seen as a legitimate reason for leaving a mandatory-use cycle lane and getting oneself into the right lane for the turn with the cars. I usually make one-stage turns, but I sometimes find them too difficult when my left turn is a turn that only cyclists are permitted to make. An example would be turning left into a street which is two-way for cyclists but one-way for motorists. Because the turn is banned for motorists, usually no lane, turn arrow or designated waiting space is provided, and a busy straight-ahead lane is not a great place to wait for an opportunity to turn left.

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oldstrath [691 posts] 2 years ago
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Ush wrote:

Alternate simple proposal that would save millions and improve traffic flow:

Cars are supposed to slow to circa 15mph at junctions, cyclists follow exactly the same patterns as cars, all vehicles to leave the recommended stopping distance or greater between each other. Signalling mandatory. Failure to observe any of the above whatever vehicle you're on results in an on the spot fine or confiscation of vehicle.

.

Spot on, provided there's enough enforcement to catch the criminals. I'd go with confiscate and crush or sell.

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Benway [75 posts] 2 years ago
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And in the video the car following bike 1 goes over the pedestrian refuge to get past bike 1  14 . How very informative.

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Edgeley [396 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow. That is just mad. How many nervous cyclists, for whom this arrangement has apparently been created, are going to have the nerve to cycle on the wrong side of the road towards a revving car whose driver is poised to speed forward at the first hint of amber. And how many mad revving drivers are going to realise that the cyclist ahead of them is behaving as the planners expected.

Mad.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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If it costs millions to alter each junction, and it really is impossible for UK planners to design a scheme that's safe for cyclists, then I'd rather see that money spent on concepts that are more easily grasped and implemented, such as permeable barriers, quiet ways, and signs that say 20 instead of 30, rather than waste it on crazy junctions that put cyclists lives at risk.

In the mean time, what I tend to do is get off my bike, walk across the junction and start cycling again, a process often much faster than waiting for one change of lights, let alone two (if you're trying to turn right). I just don't feel safe at this sort of junction. I never jump red lights, but I don't see a problem with becoming a pedestrian now and again, especially when it makes my journey quicker.

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ribena [179 posts] 2 years ago
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Its quite simple:

To turn RIGHT, you simply approach the junction and position yourself on the LEFT of cars going straight on, but to the RIGHT of cars turing left so you don't get left hooked, whilst simultaneously clearly indicating your intention to "turn *sort of* of left, but not really a proper left, since you're only going to turn right after turning left", then turn left, then turn through 180 degrees to face right from your original direction, then go straight over at the NEXT light change (being careful not to get left hooked again!) .

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dgcorp [15 posts] 2 years ago
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I think the creators of this junction have been on a trip to Denmark. This is how bicycles turn against the flow of traffic at most junctions in Copenhagen (where I lived for 4 years). I believe it is anecdotally referred to as a "Copenhagen Left".

It does seem to work okay there, but is not necessarily considered best practice anymore: (http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2010/07/not-really-so-great-cycle-p...).

I feel that a large part of the reason this type of road design works, is due to the high level of consideration that car drivers give to people on bikes in cycling-popular countries.
It makes sense to me that improving driver awareness/attitude towards cyclists needs to be a major part of any future move towards safer roads for everyone*

(*Quite how this is achieved is not an easy answer I give you!)

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Him Up North [235 posts] 2 years ago
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This guy seems to have the right idea (although there are pitfalls in every solution).

http://www.protectedintersection.com/

The BBC Inside Out documentary series for Yorks and Lincs did a feature comparing an example of Yorkshire's cycling infrastructure (between Harrogate and Leeds) with one in the Netherlands. A Dutch intersection not dissimilar to the one in the video caught my eye. Niiice...

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levermonkey [680 posts] 2 years ago
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A V Lowe wrote:

Endorse Bez comment and same applies to Bow Roundabout, any road layout that requires any road user to view an instructional video prior to encountering it has failed the basic premise on which TSRGD specifies road signage, if it is to work effectively.

This statement is 100% correct. Any system or invention that requires instruction or cannot be intuited tends to be a failure. Think of the best inventions - paper clip, drawing pin, the pencil - these can all be intuited. Even tech works best when it can be used intuitively - think of the iPhone.

Now think of this junction from the car drivers PoV. Just when he thinks he knows where you've been, where you are and where your going - YOUR NOT!!!

We have enough trouble getting the poor dears to understand that we are allowed on the road, we pay road tax, we pay Band A VED, that they have a duty of care towards us and that we don't all RLJ whenever we can just to piss car drivers off.

My suggestion would be to ignore the paint and treat it like any other junction.

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vbvb [620 posts] 2 years ago
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Okay, duff junction.

The interesting question is how this design came to be built, who drempt it up, using which guidelines.

Maybe there is some progress to be made here.

Poking at councillors one at a time, people who will never get it, is futile.

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antigee [360 posts] 2 years ago
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Hit and run? well of course - the junction is designed to maintain (motorised) traffic flow. (that was a full stop)
Yes other countries use similar designs but not as ideal solutions rather as a cheap fix.
Live in Melbourne and cyclists use "hook turns" not just at junctions where they are compulsory but also at other junctions were vehicle speed and volume is such that moving to the right lane to turn right is near impossible - drivers here are familiar with the move and it is safe for cyclists to do but it is not cyclist friendly and shouldn't be dressed up as such

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Initialised [310 posts] 2 years ago
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Junction design like this only encourages RLJing as it's probably a lot safer than watching the instructional video on your phone in the middle of the road because it's so damn counter Roadcraft, Bikeability and common sense.

Paul_C wrote:

This is what happens when idiot planners get some weird idea in their heads, but can't do it right because of ONE simple fact, currently cyclists crossing a side street or arm of a junction do not have priority and are expected to give way to motorised vehicles...

Our law needs to change

Do you have a reference to back this up?

On the road, cyclists have equal priority, do you mean where a cycleway (not a cycle lane on the main carriageway) crosses or joins a road/junction?

The Highway Code wrote:

180 When turning

keep as close to the left as is safe and practicable
give way to any vehicles using a bus lane, cycle lane or tramway from either direction.

Where the Cycleway is a shared pavement rule 170 would apply, treating the cyclist as a pedestrian. The cyclist has priority if they have begun to cross unless there are give way lines on the cycleway.

Is not the law that needs to change, it's lack of enforcement and the old and uninformed attitude that cyclists belong in the gutter that need to change.

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jacknorell [974 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh, I get it now. Yeah, with UK driving habits, that's really bad.

In Sweden, you're actually taught something similar to turn left off a busy A-road (right-hand traffic):

If the traffic is busy and you don't have a clear left-turn, then pull into the right-hand side off-lane area to allow cars behind you to pass. When both the traffic going in your direction, and the other land are both free, make the turn.

Works really well, if *everyone* knows about the technique.

If not... well, it's ugly.

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a.jumper [846 posts] 2 years ago
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Ush wrote:

Yeah right... instead we're going to get experimental "dutch" interweaving of two separate traffic systems resulting in either of two outcomes: 1) slower bicycle commute times; 2) death and confusion.

All the dutch segregationist lobbyists are stampeding cycling into what will be a very unpleasant place.

I doubt any lobbyists were seeking this one. This layout wouldn't be seen as good practice in the Netherlands. Stop attacking other cyclists, please.

I think you're a bit too kind saying it's either 1 or 2. Surely this will cause both?

I like your alternative. Sounds a bit like Poynton with teeth.

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kaybee [23 posts] 2 years ago
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You know how you're not allowed to make champagne or feta unless you're actually in the places in France and Greece? Road designs should be protected in the same way - nobody can call a junction "Dutch" unless an actual engineer from the Netherlands has signed off on it.

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BrokenBootneck [155 posts] 2 years ago
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if anyone would like to mention something about this to one of the colleagues designer who has contacted myeself about this.

Wilson.Massie [at] bblivingplaces.com here you go