Reading Cycle Campaign slams ‘door zone’ cycle lanes

Group says new infrastructure in Caversham puts bike riders at risk

by Simon_MacMichael   August 22, 2014  

Door Lane (CC BY-NC 2.0 licensed by Gary Cavanaugh:Flickr)

Reading Cycle Campaign has criticised the local council over cycle lanes installed in Caversham this month, saying that they put bike riders at risk of having car doors opened in their path. Reading Borough Council has responded to the criticism by saying that cyclists don’t in fact have to ride there.

The cycle lane was put in place on Lower Henley Road earlier this month as part of resurfacing works, reports the Reading Chronicle. The lane has been painted on the outside of car parking bays, which cycle campaigners say creates a hazard.

 

Its chairman, Adrian Lawson, said: “It is disgraceful. Government notes say you shouldn’t put in a cycle lane if it is going to make matters more dangerous.

“But because the lane is so narrow and there is no buffer zone it is extremely hazardous. A cyclist without training will put themselves at great risk.”

He also said that the lane, on an uphill stretch of road heading away from the town centre, was 30 centimetres less wide than the 1.5 metre minimum, and that if cyclists wanted to steer clear of the door zone that would put them at risk from traffic.

However, Reading Borough Council spokesman Oscar Mortali said the cycle lane was purely advisory and that cyclist and motorist alike needed to be aware of each other’s presence.

“Reading is a small, tight-knit urban area with significant pressure on the limited road space available,” he explained.

“The council needs to balance the needs of all road users and the only way to safely achieve this is by asking all road users to be aware of each other’s movements.

“The council’s cycling strategy also states that whilst the ideal width of a cycle lane is 1.5m, the minimum width is 1.2m, which is the size of the cycle lane in Henley Road. This is again a consequence of limited road space to work with in Reading.

“We would also always ask drivers opening car doors to check for cyclists in their wing mirrors, as required by the Highway Code,” he added.

But Reading Cycle Campaign says that another solution could be found to improve the safety of cyclists. Mr Lawson said: “The stupid thing is on the other side there is a very wide grass verge which could be converted into car parking. The council has so many grass verges they can’t maintain them all properly.”

29 user comments

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"It's purely advisory"

But as it's there all that will happen is people being harangued for not using it.

“We would also always ask drivers opening car doors to check for cyclists in their wing mirrors, as required by the Highway Code,” - Brilliant that's worked great so far hasn't it.

How stupid or naive are planners? Do they occupy the same universe as normal folk?

posted by gazza_d [270 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 15:20

89 Likes

gazza_d wrote:
"It's purely advisory"

But as it's there all that will happen is people being harangued for not using it.

“We would also always ask drivers opening car doors to check for cyclists in their wing mirrors, as required by the Highway Code,” - Brilliant that's worked great so far hasn't it.

How stupid or naive are planners? Do they occupy the same universe as normal folk?

Not sure, but it's a universe where a line of paint on a road constitutes a 'cycle lane'. It must be a simple, happy place to live...

posted by pwake [313 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 15:25

40 Likes

Problem here is they have used the cycle lane markings to denote the parking bays. I.E. its primary purpose is not to keep cyclists safe. The reality is that when the re-surfaced this stretch of road (2 weeks ago) they should have re-designed it completely. Typically for Reading there is enough real-estate to put the cycle lane on the other side of the parked cars which makes it properly safe. But the council don't bother thinking about it. If they did the job properly every time then there would be the beginnings of a decent cycling network. But there isn't, there isn't any will for it. Especially with Tony Page as a lead councillor.

Reading is a typical south west sh1t town - but it really doesn't help itself. Its got lovely riverside parks and loads of waterfront that it makes nothing of, and its choking on cars - but does nothing to provide for alternatives.

posted by P3t3 [73 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 15:36

43 Likes

The cycle lane pictured lane in the reading chronicle is about as wide as a bikes handlebars and the lane isn't mandatory.

It's not a cycle lane, it's a get out of our way cyclists you're holding us up lane.

posted by kie7077 [565 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 15:56

54 Likes

Oscar Mortali wrote:

The council needs to balance the needs of all road users

Translation:

"We won't do anything that might upset non-cyclists, so bugger off already."

Work harder. Buy a tank.

userfriendly's picture

posted by userfriendly [325 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 16:28

43 Likes

"Reading Borough Council [...] said the cycle lane was purely advisory"

The council is merely ADVISING cyclists to ride close enough to cars to get doored. They won't COMPEL you to get your body or limbs cut open by a door edge, they just ADVISE you to.

posted by severs1966 [112 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 16:39

33 Likes

The council needs to balance the needs of motorists to drive an unnecessarily large vehicle, to park it as close as possible to their destination so they don't have to walk more than 100 yards, and go unnecessarily fast, against the needs of cyclists to stay alive.

That's the problem on the talk of 'balancing needs of different groups' in general - one lot's 'needs' are actually more 'wants' but they get balanced against the far more basic needs of the other groups,

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [747 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 16:41

42 Likes

Yeah gotta say it's not relaxing cycling in the middle of a lane to avoid doors when on some faster 30mph roads

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValentinKokorin

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [334 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 16:44

38 Likes

gazza_d wrote:
"It's purely advisory"

But as it's there all that will happen is people being harangued for not using it.

“We would also always ask drivers opening car doors to check for cyclists in their wing mirrors, as required by the Highway Code,” - Brilliant that's worked great so far hasn't it.

How stupid or naive are planners? Do they occupy the same universe as normal folk?

Interesting that on the segregated roundabout thread there are those saying that its outrageous for anyone to suggest that road planners aren't the sharpest tools in the box.

Is it possible that idiotic outcomes like this are entirely down to the politicians? Are the planners only following orders? Or is their own cluelessness about cycling a factor? (This is a real question rather than a rhetorical one - I would like to know where the blame really lies).

The point about 'asking drivers to look' is really outrageous - its not the council planners' lives that will depend on drivers actually doing that is it? And the track record of drivers doing that, and of the courts expecting drivers to do it, is not good.

Will be interesting if someone gets doored in one of these lanes, to see what a court says.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [747 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 16:44

34 Likes

Quote:
The council needs to balance the needs of all road users and the only way to safely achieve this is by asking all road users to be aware of each other’s movements.

This isn't an answer to criticism of the cycle lane. They should answer the point about the cycle lane, and if on reflection they agree that it is crap, they should change it.

But to resort to vague, warm statements about all of us looking out for each other…not good enough.

posted by HarrogateSpa [133 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 16:48

37 Likes

How many careless motorists have actually been charged with 'dooring' cyclists in the past 5 years?

posted by hampstead_bandit [220 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 17:07

32 Likes

Reading Council is pretty notorious for being crap about cycling. They have a history of doing what they think is best and getting it very wrong. Its not that they don't spend money - they just installed a very expensive bike hire network. Problem is that nobody wants a bike hire system. Its been going a couple of months now and I have yet to see anyone on one.

Reading Cycle Campaign (I have no connection) seem quite vocal and really try to get the council to implement decent ideas. Their ideas are usually pretty good. Again, problem is Reading Council just don't listen to them, they just do their own thing.

posted by qwerky [150 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 17:37

30 Likes

hampstead_bandit wrote:
How many careless motorists have actually been charged with 'dooring' cyclists in the past 5 years?

Why? You know drivers typically don't get charged unless they kill or seriously maim someone.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-20725496

I clearly remember a situation with cars parked on both sides of the road, a bus coming from the other direction and then the car driver on my side threw his door open. Now if I cycled in the door zone, I would have very likely been thrown straight underneath the oncoming bus. I would be dead, I would not be having this conversation.

People being doored:
http://youtu.be/CudJvSbS2aY?t=1m7s

posted by kie7077 [565 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 17:45

29 Likes

This is the problem with all this "hey, here's £20 million of money to spend on cycling, whoopee!" announcements by central Government. It's given out with no directive on how to spend it, no minimum standards and it gets squandered on worthless bollocks like this and the council then goes "well we gave you these lanes and you're not using them so we don't see why we should give you anything else..."

In the meantime, it actually causes more problems than it solves - cyclists get stick for not using it, it puts them in more danger, motorists get annoyed cos cyclists aren't using it...

I've said it before on other related threads but give money like that to councils to spend on "cycling" and you end up with some green paint and a whole load of "cyclists dismount" signs. Criminal waste of taxpayers money. Sad

posted by crazy-legs [568 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 17:56

37 Likes

Don't councils get funding to have a certain amount/length of cycle lanes in there area, hence that is why we get 1 meter cycle lanes and lanes with a lamp post in the middle of them.

It's not about common sense, it's about money

posted by Binky [115 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 17:57

26 Likes

Copies of the design and completion safety audits for the works please.

posted by CarlosFerreiro [66 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 18:00

17 Likes

Quote:
purely advisory

Aye. I get plenty of purely advisory tailgating and beeping when not using cycle lanes due to the car/taxi/skip/tree/road sign parked in them.

posted by Argos74 [301 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 19:57

24 Likes

Local bbc news facebook page has some proof that some motorists are aggressive https://www.facebook.com/BBCSouthToday/posts/690154384408488

Well done you. You all managed to mention a dead tax LMAO Applause

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [204 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 19:58

19 Likes

This is the car door lane...look at the picture? Therefore it should be avoided if you're on a bike and there are parked/stopped cars. No?

Comrade's picture

posted by Comrade [165 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 22:26

19 Likes

Another incompetent local authority. Just wait 'til a cyclist is doored and injured then sues them. This will wipe the sarcastic smug grins off their podgy faces.

Airzound

posted by Airzound [491 posts]
23rd August 2014 - 0:40

22 Likes

If it wasn't so dangerous I'd find it funny how incompetent planners can be

posted by N3al [6 posts]
23rd August 2014 - 9:28

19 Likes

hilarious amounts of entitlement and ignorance as usual.

"maybe they should pay road tax like ALL the other road users" - not heard of a tax-free Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius & the other 100+ cars then?

"The council spent a lot of money installing a cycle lane which probably came from all the extortionate parking charges drives pay" Hahahahahahahaha

posted by gazza_d [270 posts]
23rd August 2014 - 10:51

21 Likes

“Reading is a small, tight-knit urban area with significant pressure on the limited road space available.”

Limited road space seriously? Almost a four-lane road on that picture.

posted by FourteenIslands [2 posts]
23rd August 2014 - 11:20

23 Likes

Would it be helpful if we used a neutral country to show Reading Council how it should be done?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/cyclable/9465769243/

posted by Ramuz [30 posts]
24th August 2014 - 13:49

14 Likes

P3t3 wrote:
Problem here is they have used the cycle lane markings to denote the parking bays. I.E. its primary purpose is not to keep cyclists safe. The reality is that when the re-surfaced this stretch of road (2 weeks ago) they should have re-designed it completely. Typically for Reading there is enough real-estate to put the cycle lane on the other side of the parked cars which makes it properly safe. But the council don't bother thinking about it. If they did the job properly every time then there would be the beginnings of a decent cycling network. But there isn't, there isn't any will for it. Especially with Tony Page as a lead councillor.

Reading is a typical south west sh1t town - but it really doesn't help itself. Its got lovely riverside parks and loads of waterfront that it makes nothing of, and its choking on cars - but does nothing to provide for alternatives.

I'm with you on the sh1t bit but south west? Isn't Reading a suburb of London?

posted by paulrbarnard [147 posts]
24th August 2014 - 16:53

9 Likes

The picture is not taken in the UK, and is therefore not in Reading.

Interestingly, the picture DOES show other places marking out an area where cyclists should NOT ride (which is exactly where Reading council are encouraging cyclists to ride).

posted by BikeBud [116 posts]
25th August 2014 - 8:59

6 Likes

BikeBud wrote:
The picture is not taken in the UK, and is therefore not in Reading.

Interestingly, the picture DOES show other places marking out an area where cyclists should NOT ride (which is exactly where Reading council are encouraging cyclists to ride).

Agree it isn't the UK, but I figured it was a photoshop joke...

DaveE128's picture

posted by DaveE128 [85 posts]
26th August 2014 - 11:41

4 Likes

Although... I'm sure making a template couldn't be that hard...

DaveE128's picture

posted by DaveE128 [85 posts]
26th August 2014 - 11:43

1 Like

I think that people need to realise that stuff like this happens because councils want to add bike lanes. They want to add more and more kms of lanes, not so that cyclists and motorist can share space more safely but because it's a council target.

That's why crap like this happens. It's why you trees and lampposts in cycle lanes or why they start and then stop a dozen or so metres later (another dozen metres added for the cost of some paint). As they accumulate more metres of cycle lane they hit certain targets and can then brag that they hit this or that target on some plan or another.

It's nowt to do with cycling or cyclists or road safety.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [745 posts]
26th August 2014 - 12:13

2 Likes