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

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.

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.

40 comments

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CarlosFerreiro [121 posts] 3 years ago
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If the Council are satisfied with the design, would they be willing to state a performance target?
"We will consider this design a failure if the accident rate exceeds X over Y years"?

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northstar [1107 posts] 3 years ago
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Of course they are satisfied, it discourages people not to ride bikes there, ticks a few boxes and riders will die.

Talk about pointing out the obvious.

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Mick Davidson [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Whatever the rights and wrong of this system, did they bother to consult the Dutch or Danes on this? If not, very silly. We've got some great experts with tons of experience an email away: we should be consulting with them as a matter of course. Councils that have little experience with this sort of thing are just making it up otherwise and in the end no one's happy.

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vbvb [621 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

our challenge was to come up with a fresh new approach... a new approach... the innovative design

Little bit too much emphasis on innovation here, I think, maybe, rather than adopting wiser heads' best practice. Question is, why?

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Initialised [330 posts] 3 years ago
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That's just idiotic. It's much safer to leave the cycle lane and take primary well in advance of a junction when you intend to turn right.

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wyadvd [128 posts] 3 years ago
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This is a proper cycle friendly junction:
http://vimeo.com/71511991

At 6.3 million euros. Cheap at the price . If every major junction had one just imagine !

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Paul_C [525 posts] 3 years ago
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now make them eat their own dogfood...

send those councillors OUT on bicycles over the juctions they've approved...

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movingtarget [144 posts] 3 years ago
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Is it me or when the cyclists cross the first part of the intersection to get into position to complete the turn they're no longer able to see the traffic lights to tell whether they're red or green? The poor guy is whipping his head around so much trying to keep track of traffic around him he's going to get whiplash. Looks like a recipe for disaster.

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fret [37 posts] 3 years ago
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That's just stupid.
Typical Scummer mentality.

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Goldfever4 [389 posts] 3 years ago
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What happens if the lights change just after you go through the first set?

You'll be slowing down to turn and join the perpendicular traffic just as they set off.... strange logic there.

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petethegreek [24 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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Goldfever4 [389 posts] 3 years ago
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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?!

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drbreadknife [2 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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drfabulous0 [409 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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drbreadknife [2 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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cqexbesd [100 posts] 3 years ago
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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)

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Pete B [23 posts] 3 years ago
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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 !

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SteppenHerring [362 posts] 3 years ago
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Has the person who designed this actually seen a bicycle? Or looked at the Wikipedia definition of a bicycle? Or been outside?

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mrkeith119 [87 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Argos74 [459 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Paul_C [525 posts] 3 years ago
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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...

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matthewn5 [1094 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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wyadvd [128 posts] 3 years ago
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levermonkey [681 posts] 3 years ago
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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".

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Paul_C [525 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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A V Lowe [619 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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Bob'sbikes [856 posts] 3 years ago
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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

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peter [1 post] 3 years ago
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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"

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FluffyKittenofT... [1936 posts] 3 years ago
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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?

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Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
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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.

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