Southampton City Council “satisfied” with “innovative” junction + video of riding through it

Authority responds to criticisms of new 'Dutch-style' intersection

by John Stevenson   February 28, 2014  

Southampton junction.png

Southampton City Council representatives say they are satisfied with the layout of a new junction that has been widely criticised both by local cyclists and activists from outside the city.

The junction was the scene of a hit-and-run incident on Wednesday when a rider was knocked off his bike whole attempting to negotiate the new layout. Critics have described the junction design as confusing and in particular pointed out that its tiny advanced stop boxes, narrow cycle lanes and lack of cycle-specific traffic lights all put riders in harm’s way instead of protecting them.

These details, critics say, do not match the original design.

A council spokesman told James Franklin of the Southern Daily Echo that current traffic legislation meant they could not include lights specifically for cyclists, while space constraints had impacted on the positioning of the ASLs.

He said that cycle lights could be used if a trial currently taking place in London proves successful and legislation changes and added: “Some technical elements have been tweaked as the plans have developed to address various safety audits, legal, traffic regulations and logistical issues.”

Cycle-specific traffic lights that control the flow of cycle traffic in the same direction as motor traffic are in use on London’s Cycle Superhighway 3, which opened in 2010.

The council’s Labour environment and transport czar Jacqui Rayment said: “The previous roundabout proved to be one of our highest accident black spots for cyclists so our challenge was to come up with a fresh new approach that would make the junction safer for all users. We also had to make sure that a new approach was adopted to satisfy the conditions attached to the funding we were given.

“We are satisfied that the innovative design of the new junction will help address many of the issues brought up by residents during our consultation. We are listening to these users and recently held our first cycle forum meeting to continue this dialogue.

“We now have a more direct route to the city centre for pedestrians and cyclists alike. With any new road layout there is a period of review where we monitor how it is working for all road users and pedestrians.

“And we are constantly looking at ways to improve traffic flow and safety city wide.”

Riding the new junction

In this helmet cam video ForestCyclist gives us a taste of what the new junction is like to ride through. “You really have got to have your wits about you at the lights haven’t you?” he says.

40 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

is a lap big enough for a circuit race. obliviously no cyclists were harmed creating this, cause if a cyclist had been present a the design stage this would have been in the bin in minutes

Zero emissions so Zero tax

posted by petethegreek [23 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:47

8 Likes

And, there's a segregated lane next to the bus stop so you don't overtake the bus - but what about the passengers getting on/off the bus, surely there's potential for a collision there?! And whose fault will that end up being?!

Asolare

posted by Goldfever4 [178 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:47

19 Likes

The article implies I was struggling to negotiate this junction and this is why I was hit. I was going straight on at a crossroads, the lights were green and I was in a designated cycle lane. My comprehension of my surroundings were not what was at fault in this situation. A car turning left failed to make sure it was safe to do so. We were 3 cyclists in a line, I was the middle one. Quite at easy target to spot, or more importantly, avoid.

posted by battered cyclist [2 posts]
28th February 2014 - 21:52

30 Likes

No it doesn't, the article implies only that the junction is a stupid design which could be easily improved with a liberal application of black paint.

However from the sounds of it that could have happenned at any junction when some muppet isn't looking, bad luck, glad you are still here to tell the tale.

posted by drfabulous0 [404 posts]
28th February 2014 - 22:09

9 Likes

I'm sorry but: "knocked off his bike while attempting to negotiate the new layout" makes it sound as if I was struggling with the structure of the junction. I am concerned that the responsibility of the driver is being excused in this instance due to the nature of this junction. I believe this was a straight forward hit-and-run.
I am not saying I approve of this new junction and thank you for your concern.

posted by battered cyclist [2 posts]
28th February 2014 - 22:54

25 Likes

The, perhaps minor, point that gets me with these sort of junctions is the cyclist must wait for 2 sets of light changes if they are turning, vs the one change required by motorists.

It isn't so bad in this video as it appears to be only one sequence (i.e. the second light changes not long after you get to it) but I have an intersection of my commute where I have to wait for 2 sequences before eI have made it to the other side of the intersection. Cars, of course, get to go through the whole way on the first green light.

(I obviously live somewhere with cyclist lights and compulsory paths)

posted by cqexbesd [37 posts]
28th February 2014 - 22:58

16 Likes

I think the telling part is the order in which the spokeswoman for Southampton Council puts “improve traffic flow” followed by “safety” in the sentence !

Well I’m sorry to disappoint her, but if I ever have the misfortune of cycling in Southampton and that junction, any slowing of the traffic flow caused by me going through the junction (going straight ahead or turning right) in “Primary Position” ignoring the green paint, comes after my safety !

posted by Pete B [19 posts]
28th February 2014 - 23:57

19 Likes

Has the person who designed this actually seen a bicycle? Or looked at the Wikipedia definition of a bicycle? Or been outside?

posted by SteppenHerring [247 posts]
1st March 2014 - 0:13

18 Likes

The junction seems to be overly complicated, but those bus stops along the road afterwards are just ludicrous. At rush hour, if the bus stops and cycle lanes are even vaguely busy, there must be near collisions everyday.

posted by mrkeith119 [88 posts]
1st March 2014 - 2:03

16 Likes

battered cyclist wrote:
I believe this was a straight forward hit-and-run.

Best wishes, much cake, and hope you're back hitting the big wheel soon.

But this junction. Is not a road feature. Is some kind of anarchist post-cubist art installation designed by lemurs on crack. Would it be breaking any traffic laws to completely ignore all this green paint, and take the primary in the LHL if turning left or going straight on, and primary in the RHL if turning right?

On viewing ForestCyclist's video, that's what I'd do.

posted by Argos74 [327 posts]
1st March 2014 - 7:30

13 Likes

It's quite simple, can my 8 year old grandson safely negotiate this junction on his own cycling to school without being left-hooked by a dimwit cage driver? Can my 80 year old father safely negotiate this junction as well on his way to and from the shops?

No, then it is NOT fit for purpose. Crud like this will not encourage ordinary folk to stop using cars and switch to bicycles for short journeys...

posted by Paul_C [289 posts]
1st March 2014 - 8:31

16 Likes

This is a proper junction design on the Dutch model:

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3026714/this-intersection-could-save-cyclist...

The Soton design has taken a few of the ideas but without understanding what really makes the Dutch-style junction work.

drmatthewhardy's picture

posted by drmatthewhardy [528 posts]
1st March 2014 - 10:01

10 Likes

posted by wyadvd [123 posts]
1st March 2014 - 10:24

14 Likes

That video is scary and should be used for training purposes - "This is how not to design a junction".

My advice is still "Ignore the Paint - Treat it like any other Junction".

posted by levermonkey [500 posts]
1st March 2014 - 10:40

13 Likes

levermonkey wrote:
That video is scary and should be used for training purposes - "This is how not to design a junction".

My advice is still "Ignore the Paint - Treat it like any other Junction".

yes, following the paint will lead to a false sense of security which is fine until some dimwit cage driver fails to check his inside and left hooks you.

posted by Paul_C [289 posts]
1st March 2014 - 12:34

9 Likes

Around 25 years ago John Lawrence (ext TRL) was cycling officer with Southampton City Council, and there were some rather sensible things being done.

As an example he watched one piece of road in the City Centre, and noted that experienced riders were taking a position in the centre of the road to turn right in moderate numbers, and so by putting an advisory cycle lane where they were taking the position to turn he gave all road users the indication that cycle traffic would be positioning to make a right turn.

There was also a very useful study of how the cycles were being parked in the city centre, and a casualty review of cyclists presenting at A&E - one third were coming in as the result of a crash riding on or off the footway often to join or leave an off carriageway route - that tallies well with the much higher incidence of crashes when cyclists use footways (typically 4-8 times as many crashes compared to road riding - see Aultman-Hall TRB papers)

Unfortunately the one thing all these 'innovative' designs seem to have forgotten to do is to go out to site and watch what regular cyclists are doing at the junction. This is probably a solution evolved by experience and their analysis of the hazards, with a risk management strategy.

Fatally, the cyclists' solution for a safe and clean route at Bow has been ignored, with 3 deaths to prove it. Let's hope this is not another feature in the same vein.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [533 posts]
1st March 2014 - 12:47

14 Likes

Quick question when there is a bus using the bus stop to upload/disgorge passengers who has the right of way the pedestrians crossing from the bus onto the island then the footpath, or the waiting area/shelter to the island then the bus or the cyclist on a clearly signed/designated cycle path?

This is just

FAILURE TO DESIGN / DESIGNED TO FAIL

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [649 posts]
1st March 2014 - 16:54

14 Likes

I get the feeling very few of the cyclists posting comments here can have cycled in Copenhagen, which is usually instanced as a wonderful city for cyclists and an example which UK cities should be following. And in my experience a lovely safe-feeling city to cycle in.

Over there bus stops commonly let passengers off where they have to cross the cycle lane to reach the pavement.(And cyclists stop to give them precedence)

And when cyclists are making a left turn (equivalent to a UK right turn) it's the norm to cross the lights and then stop and turn 90* to wait for a green light to go in the new direction of travel, which feels much safer for an 8 or 80 year old than "taking the primary position"

peter walford

posted by peter [1 posts]
1st March 2014 - 18:55

6 Likes

peter wrote:
I get the feeling very few of the cyclists posting comments here can have cycled in Copenhagen, which is usually instanced as a wonderful city for cyclists and an example which UK cities should be following. And in my experience a lovely safe-feeling city to cycle in.

Over there bus stops commonly let passengers off where they have to cross the cycle lane to reach the pavement.(And cyclists stop to give them precedence)

And when cyclists are making a left turn (equivalent to a UK right turn) it's the norm to cross the lights and then stop and turn 90* to wait for a green light to go in the new direction of travel, which feels much safer for an 8 or 80 year old than "taking the primary position"

What I usually hear is that Denmark is good but not up to Dutch standards. But I haven't experienced it myself.

But do they require cyclists making a turn to do a 180 followed by a 360 degree turn, which seems to be what is being expected here? Asking you to cycle head-long against the direction of traffic while, as far as I can make out, being totally unable to see any of the relevant lights? It just seems bizarre and entirely unintuitive to me.

Are you sure the Danish approach is exactly the same?

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [881 posts]
1st March 2014 - 19:32

7 Likes

There have always been two things that have really mystified me. Firstly, why planners seem incapable of admitting they're made a mistake, and secondly, why paint seems to cost thousands of pounds a tin when it's used to create bonkers schemes like this one.

But, on a more serious note, it would be so much simpler if planners actually listened to cyclists at the, er, planning stage, rather than the "issue a defiant note of confidence and hope the hoohaa will quieten down, whilst keeping fingers crossed that the KSI figures won't show an embarrassing increase" stage.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

Neil753's picture

posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
1st March 2014 - 19:50

11 Likes

There has been some comment on the views of the politician responsible: “The previous roundabout proved to be one of our highest accident black spots for cyclists so our challenge was to come up with a fresh new approach that would make the junction safer for all users.".

The point is - how is success going to be measured? If fewer cyclists use the junction, there may be fewer casualties amongst them. plus there are long term trends which may be downwards, and it is difficult to agree on what is statistically significant with the kind of numbers involved.

For an account of how danger for cyclists should - and should not - be measured, see http://rdrf.org.uk/2013/11/15/if-we-want-safer-roads-for-cycling-we-have...

posted by ChairRDRF [208 posts]
1st March 2014 - 20:06

11 Likes

Dear god. It's like a cargo cult built it.

Looks like it *could* be safer than a high speed (British style, generous width exits etc) roundabout. If, and only if, all the motorists are paying attention. Otherwise, how long before the usual SMIDSY left hook?.

It's as if they did go to one of the countries that "gets" cycling - my guess would be Denmark, looking at what they've built - but when they got there, it was pissing with rain a 4 in the morning, and there weren't any cyclists around. They saw a junction, didn't understand it, didn't observe it in action, and came back and built something similar.

Something like that could maybe be made safer with a simultaneous green phase for cyclists. But British transport planners are too proud to learn anything new and radical from abroad. "Not invented here".

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [592 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 9:29

6 Likes

PJ McNally wrote:
Dear god. It's like a cargo cult built it.

Looks like it *could* be safer than a high speed (British style, generous width exits etc) roundabout. If, and only if, all the motorists are paying attention. Otherwise, how long before the usual SMIDSY left hook?.

It's already happenned, that's what the hit and run accident was, a left hook as the cyclist in question was using the cycle lane to go straight on.

See the post higher from the cyclist himself...

posted by Paul_C [289 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 12:54

4 Likes

God, you're a moany lot aren't you?

A few facts:

1. The accident that happened here wasn't to do with the two stage right turn. It was because in Britain there's no law that says drivers have to give way when turning left across bike lanes, unlike NL and DK. It could have happened at any ASL. What we need is a change in the law or at least the Highway Code.

2. Two stage turns work absolutely fine in Denmark, Germany and in the Netherlands (although they're a bit different in NL, with protected corners). They're also recommended by US trainers (the 'box turn') for junctions with a lot of lanes where it's hard to get over to the middle. Ireland is experimenting with them. I do that type of turn myself sometimes in London and it's fine. Yes you have to wait a bit longer but it's easier than battling across heavy traffic if you're riding slowly in ordinary clothes.

3. There's nothing stopping anyone from taking the lane and turning from the middle, but my Granny wouldn't do that - would yours?

4. The bus stop design is pretty much a copy of the designs in the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany etc. Yes people will take a bit of time to get used to it, but for less confident cyclists it's much more comfortable than having to weave around a stationary bus.

I for one think it's good that councils are trying to do things better - it may not be perfect but it's worth experimenting and tweaking things in the light of experience. Or is everything so good now that we can only make things worse?

TB

Just a bloke in a suit on a slightly silly looking bike.

www.twitter.com/TonautBrom

posted by TonautBrom [6 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 14:43

3 Likes

Copenhagen junctions don't have a simultaneous green. Cyclists go with general traffic, which is required to give way (when turning) to cyclists going ahead. We don't have that law. We should be campaigning for it - it would significantly reduce the chance of this type of collision.

If they'd included a simultaneous green (illegal in the UK so they couldn't have, but let's just ignore that for the moment) then it would have proved that they hadn't been to Denmark.

Just a bloke in a suit on a slightly silly looking bike.

www.twitter.com/TonautBrom

posted by TonautBrom [6 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 14:47

4 Likes

Yes it's the same as in Denmark. After having turned, you look at the lights on the far side. It's not that difficult, honest.

Just a bloke in a suit on a slightly silly looking bike.

www.twitter.com/TonautBrom

posted by TonautBrom [6 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 14:49

8 Likes

Absolutely spot on Peter.

Just a bloke in a suit on a slightly silly looking bike.

www.twitter.com/TonautBrom

posted by TonautBrom [6 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 14:50

4 Likes

TonautBrom wrote:
Yes it's the same as in Denmark. After having turned, you look at the lights on the far side. It's not that difficult, honest.

In fairness, it doesn't look as convoluted in the video as it appears in the diagram - it doesn't seem (from what I can make out through all the rain-splatter!) as if at any point he actually has his back to the lights, which is how it comes across from the diagram.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [881 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 20:30

3 Likes

I have a couple of gripes with this junction. Firstly, it's totally non-standard for the UK and no UK road users have been taught how to use this sort of junction. Confusion = collisions. There is even a 'no right turn' sign when in reality you can turn right. Perhaps it is assumed that cyclists will ignore signage?

Secondly, it will take a cyclist twice as long to clear the junction if turning right compared to a driver. If policy makers are serious about encouraging cycling this situation should be reversed.

It also goes against modern cycle training, which teaches us to position to the right when turning right, just like any other road user (except large vehicles with wide turning circles).

It might be fair to say that there is nothing 'wrong' with the design but planners need to be aware of the training, education and culture of users.

posted by Matt eaton [614 posts]
2nd March 2014 - 23:05

3 Likes

its not innovative if its been done before. lol

Feel the fear and do it anyway

hood's picture

posted by hood [117 posts]
5th March 2014 - 13:14

1 Like