Home
But cycling campaigners say they're a boon for buses too...

 

The boss of bus company Stagecoach Cambridgeshire says plans to improve bike paths in Cambridge that include ‘floating’ bus stops are “absolutely ludicrous”.

Plans for a major overhaul of bike lanes in Cambridge include bus boarding areas on traffic islands, with a bike lane between the footway and the bus stop. A similar design has been included in the recent extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 and is in common use in Europe.

However, artists’ impressions of the proposed design show the cycle lane passing between a bus shelter and the island, and this is worrying Stagecoach Cambridgeshire managing director Andy Campbell, according to Cambridge News’ Chris Havergal.


The proposed floating bus stop layout

Mr Campbell thinks people will be so excited at the prospect of getting on one of his buses they will leap, lemming-like, into the path of oncoming cyclists.

He told a meeting of the city council’s north area committee: “People, when they see a bus coming, will just walk towards the bus and they will be walking across a cycle path.

“To me that’s absolutely ludicrous. If you’re going to put a cycle lane in, put it behind the bus stop.”


Bus stop on London's Cycle Superhighway 2 extension (CC licensed image by diamond geezer/Flickr)

That’s how the floating stops on the recently-completed extension of London’s Cycle Superhighway 2 have been positioned. Bus stop and shelter are both on the island so bus passengers don’t have to cross the bike lane to board.

The plans show the bus stopping in the main traffic lane rather than pulling into a lay-by, which has raised fears of more queues on routes into the city.

Mr Campbell added that cutting down on road space to slow traffic down would only make congestion worse.

But Cambridge Cycling Campaign co-ordinator Hester Wells says the floating bus stop design is better for both buses and cyclists.

She told road.cc: “Andy Campbell of Stagecoach cited the difficulty of driving among the volume of cyclists in Cambridge. This design removes interaction with cyclists.

“Also, the bus just stops in the road. There’s no waiting to pull into the stop because of cyclists, and no waiting for traffic to pull out.

“Plus there’s the obvious point that congestion is what holds up buses. If cycling is perceived as safer, that can reduce car journeys.”

The plans were unveiled as part of a consultation exercise into new, segregated cycle lanes along Huntingdon Road and Hills Road.

A county council spokesman said: “The feedback of the bus operators as well as comments of hundreds of others has been very useful and will help us shape the final proposals.

“Floating bus stops have been used successfully by the Dutch for decades and have also been introduced in the UK. The idea of the stops is to improve safety for both the bus drivers and cyclists.

“In any detailed design of the stops we would look at the best ways to make them work for all users including where possible keeping traffic moving around stationary buses and the best way to help bus passengers.”

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.

47 comments

Avatar
mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

they will leap, lemming-like, into the path of oncoming cyclists.

Nothing new there then

Avatar
bikebot [2119 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Well, after reading that carefully I'm surprised I actually agree with him a little bit. He doesn't seem to be complaining about the island at all, just that they haven't put the shelter on the island.

The chap from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign didn't address that point in his reply.

I'm no expert on bus shelters, especially those in the Netherlands. Do they always put the shelter on the island or not?

Avatar
Initialised [324 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

There are stretches like this in Sunderland on the A690, it works except for joining the main road at the end of the bus lane just before a roundabout.

Avatar
Cantab [102 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

This is my daily commute, to be honest I agree with him entirely, in fact I filled in the online consultation saying so just this morning.

Putting the cycle path between the bus shelter and where you mount the bus is quite simply daft. The problem is made worse by the several secondary schools/sixth form colleges along Hills Road, teenagers distracted by their music and phones crossing the cycleway is a recipe for disaster. The TFL/dutch bus-stop bypass design avoids this because pedestrians aren't distracted/under time pressure when crossing the cycleway and cyclists are slowed by the bend in the path.

A bus stop will always create some conflict because pedestrians, motor vehicles and cyclists have to cross each others paths, the proposed design will exacerbate rather than minimise the potential pedestrian-cyclist conflict.

Overall the plans are pretty good, either a 2.1m or a 2.7m wide cycleway each way, almost as wide as a road, plenty of room to overtake the yummy mummies on their cargo bikes.

Avatar
jacknorell [977 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The bus boss is completely right.

The proposed design needs to move the shelter onto the island just like the TFL design.

And from actually reading his comments, that's what he's proposing as well.

People waiting to catch the bus only see the bus...

Avatar
svenrokk [7 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

In Copenhagen they're often like the artist's impression here. Cyclists give way to pedestrians getting on and off the bus and it works really well. That's in a country where there's a widely respected order of priority, though.

Avatar
goggy [157 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I'll stay on the road thank you. I'll take my chances moving with cars at the same speed as them rather than go from 20 -> 3 mph at every bus stop

Avatar
levermonkey [682 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The problem is not the island, and it is not bus passengers crossing the cycle path to reach the bus stop. It is the high kerbs coupled with the narrowness of the cycle path.

Scenario 1. Island without kerbs.
Bus passenger (distracted by need to extract Oyster, phone call, change tune on iPod) steps into path of cyclist without looking. Cyclist weaves round bus passenger and proceeds on his way probably with bus passenger oblivious to what has occurred.

Scenario 2. Island with kerbs.
Distracted bus passenger steps into path of cyclist. Cyclist has nowhere to go and so has no choice but to drop his shoulder and collide with bus passenger. Bus passenger injured and papers full of stupid comments about rogue, speeding, reckless cyclists rampaging about town endangering pedestrians.

Take a look at bus islands on the continent, very few have kerbs of any description.

Rocket science it ain't!

Avatar
HarrogateSpa [499 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

This is an occasion where I understood the issue from the comments underneath, not the article. It does seem that it would be better if the bus stop was on the island.

Credit to Cambridge, though - presumably this is exactly the purpose of the consultation. If they take on board the feedback, it should mean that they avoid mistakes, and build this sensibly.

Avatar
pj [147 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

@goggy I can't imagine why you'd be using the cycle lane in any of your three very expensive bikes. Unless they're your fleet of winter hacks, in which case I apologize.

Avatar
nbrus [548 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I don't get this at all ... what on earth is wrong with a lay-by where the bus can pull in and cyclists stay on the road and keep going without having to pull out to overtake ... other vehicles also can keep moving. Just look at all the space being wasted for the island and cycle path ... there's easily enough room there for a large lay-by and it would cost less than this mess. Am I missing something?  7

Avatar
belgravedave [274 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Whichever cyclists think these new style bus stops are a good idea should try cycling through some of the rougher areas of London during rush hour or school kicking out times.
I would rather take my chances with the motorists.

Avatar
CanAmSteve [257 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

As said - move the shelter to the island. And as we all know, the peds will still be standing in the cycle path the same way they clog up all the pavements in London. 'What? The world isn't revolving around ME?"

Is Stagecoach still run by the right-wing bigots?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stagecoach_Group#Controversy

Avatar
Cantab [102 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

@levermonkey I think you're largely right, which is why I support the variant on these plans with a minimal curb between the cycle path and road/footpath.

That said there's not really a "narrowness of the cycle path" problem in these plans, the cycleway is going to be 2+m wide for the most part and 1.5m wide through bus stops. I'm not sure about your bike control, but I reckon I can steer around even the most gormless of pedestrians (and some of the school kids on Hills Road are frankly entirely oblivious even as they cross the road) in 1.5metres of space.

Avatar
Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
levermonkey wrote:

Cyclist has nowhere to go and so has no choice but to drop his shoulder and collide with bus passenger.

Regardless of which side of the cycle path these bus shelters are built, we should recognise the potential for conflict and just slow down. Road users, whether they are cyclists or drivers, should never place themselves in a position where the only "choice" is a collision.

Avatar
pdw [64 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Not sure how pedestrians crossing the cycle path to get to the bus stop is much different from pedestrians from the other side of the road crossing a road to get to a bus stop.

I think from the point of view of encouraging normal people to cycle for normal journeys, a cycle path which may be crossed by pedestrians is a lot better than having to play leap frog with a bus, although obviously it makes more sense to put the shelter on the island.

Avatar
3cylinder [97 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Having used buses and bikes in Copenhagen I have seen this layout work perfectly well, but the difference is that over there there are a large number of 'normal' people on mostly 'Dutch' bikes travelling at 10mph in normal clothes, no helmets etc. Bike lanes like these are not designed for Lycra, road bikes, and strava.

Avatar
giff77 [1277 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

It's easy. When you enter this zone you slow down and defer to the pedestrians making their way on and off the island. The only time you will need to use it is when there is a bus there and more likely than not you will be able pull out in front of said bus safely as other motorists will be stuck behind the same bus as he collects the fares. And for us to be aggrieved that a pedestrian is holding up our progress in a feature like this makes us as bad as the motorist who tries to barge past us in a pinch point.

The shelter is also in the ideal position. Well away from the road and protected from oily water being thrown up by passing vehicles. I know that's what I want when travelling by bus. It also means that you don't have someone stepping out from behind the shelter to cross over the main footway.

As for the concern of holding up traffic. I rarely see buses using the bus laybys provided for them. They seem more than happy to stop in the lane and bring everything to a halt so that one holds no water.

As far as I'm concerned this is a thumbs up for the Cambridge authorities.

Avatar
saladfunky [14 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
bikebot wrote:

Well, after reading that carefully I'm surprised I actually agree with him a little bit. He doesn't seem to be complaining about the island at all, just that they haven't put the shelter on the island.

The chap from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign didn't address that point in his reply.

I'm no expert on bus shelters, especially those in the Netherlands. Do they always put the shelter on the island or not?

I can see this point, people wait in the shelter and step straight onto the bus and it would be silly to make them cross the bike path at that moment I think!! So yes the shelter needs to be on the island, makes a lot of sense to me.

Avatar
ribena [185 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

The ones i've used in Brighton have the bus shelter on the island.

Busses don't overtake the immediately pull back in front of cyclists.

Pedestrians don't get in the way of cyclists.

Cyclists don't speed through like maniacs.

They seem to work quite well.

Avatar
toothache90 [41 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

I'm not saying this doesn't exist in Holland but i haven't seen it yet and i use the public transport regularly.

I do see this setup but its for 2 separate modes of public transport. The island for Trams and the pavement shelter for buses.

Personally i think it's a bad idea to have the cycle lane in-between bc UK pedestrians are not used to it like the Dutch and Danish. It would require a huge change in highway code and lots of awareness for public to study and learn it then remember. It would mean numerous accidents would happen before the culture change in UK to happen. Leading to law suits against people, cyclists and councils for failing to listen to the public.

Avatar
levermonkey [682 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Neil753 wrote:

Regardless of which side of the cycle path these bus shelters are built, we should recognise the potential for conflict and just slow down. Road users, whether they are cyclists or drivers, should never place themselves in a position where the only "choice" is a collision.

Speed is irrelevant. It is often a case of whether you are expecting contact. Have you never seen two pedestrians bump into each other at walking pace? Often one of them, the one not expecting contact, will be knocked over by the impact.

I also notice that people think that 1.5m is generous. How wide are your handlebars, 50cm? If we give the pedestrian a width of 75cm as he will be mid-step or carrying a bag, you are now down to 25cm which is half your handlebar width.
Ah! But the pedestrian is not stationary is he? So, how much wiggle room do you have?  39 Don't forget that you are hemmed in by kerbs.

How long before signs start to appear saying "cyclists dismount"?

Avatar
OldRidgeback [2813 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
3cylinder wrote:

Having used buses and bikes in Copenhagen I have seen this layout work perfectly well, but the difference is that over there there are a large number of 'normal' people on mostly 'Dutch' bikes travelling at 10mph in normal clothes, no helmets etc. Bike lanes like these are not designed for Lycra, road bikes, and strava.

I'm just back from a work trip to Amsterdam and the tram stops use a similar concept in many parts of the city. But the Dutch are used to this system and that makes a big difference. Tram users know to check the cycle lane before stepping out and the cyclists know that tram passengers may not always look before they step into the lane, even though they're supposed to. I'm not sure how well this would work in the UK and it'd take something of an education process for bus users and cyclists, possibly with several learning the hard way.

Even the lycra clad cyclists take it easy at pinch points in the system in Amsterdam. I go there for work from time to time and it's struck me how much more laid back cyclists are there, probably because cycle commuting is the norm.

Avatar
weeksie31 [2 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
ribena wrote:

The ones i've used in Brighton have the bus shelter on the island.

Busses don't overtake the immediately pull back in front of cyclists.

Pedestrians don't get in the way of cyclists.

Cyclists don't speed through like maniacs.

They seem to work quite well.

This is all true. I live in Brighton and use the Lewes Road cycle lane regularly, with the shelters on the island.

Hasn't been a single problem as far as I know: pedestrians are aware there is a cycle lane there before crossing to the island to get their bus, and cyclists slow down when necessary.

Avatar
giff77 [1277 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Well said Oldridgeback. I'm rather bemused by the inability of some of our fellow cyclists unwilling to slow down for the more vulnerable road user. Maybe they're closet clarksonites  39

Avatar
David Portland [83 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
levermonkey wrote:

I also notice that people think that 1.5m is generous. How wide are your handlebars, 50cm? If we give the pedestrian a width of 75cm as he will be mid-step or carrying a bag, you are now down to 25cm which is half your handlebar width.
Ah! But the pedestrian is not stationary is he? So, how much wiggle room do you have?  39 Don't forget that you are hemmed in by kerbs.

It'd have to be a very high kerb to not allow nearly half your bar width to overlap the pavement or island  1 Even assuming the kerb's too high to clear pedals (which would be daft) you can still put your wheels within, say, 15cm of the kerb. 25cm of bar sticking out the other way leaves over a metre for the errant ped. If it's a kerb at sensible height you can ride right up to it and win even more space.

Avatar
durrin [30 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
svenrokk wrote:

In Copenhagen they're often like the artist's impression here. Cyclists give way to pedestrians getting on and off the bus and it works really well. That's in a country where there's a widely respected order of priority, though.

I hate to disagree... but that's just not true. The lemming quote from the bus boss isn't entirely accurate, but it is definitely a problem in Copenhagen when the bus shelter (or any other waiting area) is on the other side of the bike path from the bus loading area. The Nørreport area NE-bound on a bike (admittedly a temporary thing) is a particularly bad example of this.

In fact, there was an article in Politiken a while ago about this very problem: many Copenhageners don't know when pedestrians are supposed to give way to cyclists and vice versa.

There are also a few places where the shelter is on the correct side, like the new Nørrebrogade or the main train station.

Avatar
Tovarishch [59 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes

Looks like the right option to me. How many people actually use the shelter, particularly if it not raining? With it on the island anyone in the shelter will have to lean out too see if a bus is coming making them pointless, especially if people are standing around outside. If you separate the people in the shelter from those outside everyone can see when the buss is coming.

Avatar
mrmo [2096 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
Tovarishch wrote:

Looks like the right option to me. How many people actually use the shelter, particularly if it not raining? With it on the island anyone in the shelter will have to lean out too see if a bus is coming making them pointless, especially if people are standing around outside. If you separate the people in the shelter from those outside everyone can see when the buss is coming.

Do you use buses? I ask because plenty of people use the shelter regardless of weather, do you want to stand for 15mins+ waiting for the bus or do you want to use the "seat" in the shelter?

Avatar
Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
0 likes
levermonkey wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

Regardless of which side of the cycle path these bus shelters are built, we should recognise the potential for conflict and just slow down. Road users, whether they are cyclists or drivers, should never place themselves in a position where the only "choice" is a collision.

Speed is irrelevant. It is often a case of whether you are expecting contact. Have you never seen two pedestrians bump into each other at walking pace? Often one of them, the one not expecting contact, will be knocked over by the impact.

I also notice that people think that 1.5m is generous. How wide are your handlebars, 50cm? If we give the pedestrian a width of 75cm as he will be mid-step or carrying a bag, you are now down to 25cm which is half your handlebar width.
Ah! But the pedestrian is not stationary is he? So, how much wiggle room do you have?  39 Don't forget that you are hemmed in by kerbs.

How long before signs start to appear saying "cyclists dismount"?

I'm afraid speed is very important. You need to stop working out how much "wiggle room" you have, stop readying yourself for a collision, and maybe start thinking about just slowing down. Remember, how you ride affects how other people see cyclists collectively.

Pages