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Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians fight it out on one junction in the Big Apple

Thanks to road.cc user slow-cyclo who put us on to this excellent video showing the interactions between different road users on one intersection in New York. The video is part of a master's thesis by NYC-based Ron Gabriel, and Ron has highlighted the interactions between different modes of transport to better illustrate what's happening at the junction.

"By summer 2010, the expansion of bike lanes exposed a clash of long-standing bad habits — such as pedestrians jaywalking, cyclists running red lights, and motorists plowing through crosswalks", says Ron on his blog. "The old habits exacerbate attempts to expand ways to use our streets; existing disfunction makes change more difficult."

The end result of this is a system that for the most part looks pretty chaotic. Certainly none of the three transport groups – motorist, cyclists and pedestrians – cover themselves in glory, with cyclists running red lights and dodging through walkers crossing the street, drivers behaving aggressively and pedestrians jaywalking, which is of course illegal in NYC.

The comments on Ron's blog make for interesting reading too. Whereas some are amazed that more people aren't killed, others point out that the video highlights the perception of danger – ie people in close proximity – rather than danger itself. But it's certainly a very interesting look at a poor piece of intersection design; if you want to see the other end of the scale then it's worth reading David Hembrow's response to Ron's blog, highlighting the work the Dutch have done to avoid conflict between modes.

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

6 comments

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handlebarcam [543 posts] 4 years ago
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It looks like a trailer for a new computer game: Grand Theft Tosspot. Actually, it would be better on a touch screen device, so maybe Angry Berks.

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slow-cyclo [72 posts] 4 years ago
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Ah, fame at last!  16

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Minty [32 posts] 4 years ago
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One thing that strikes me about comparing NYC to the Dutch solution is space. NYC, and many other cities, do not have space for dedicated cycleways, double layer roundabouts and so on.

The only place in the UK I have seen anything like this is Milton Keynes. I'd be interested to see if there are any regular users who can describe what it's like there given the UK's habit of smashing glass, graffitti, shoping trolleys etc.

Not knocking the Dutch I'm just jealous!  22

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 4 years ago
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The only cyclists not jealous of the dutch - are dutch cyclists!

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antonio [1102 posts] 4 years ago
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just hypnotised by it all, jaw droping stuff, fantastic project.

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JohnBuc [57 posts] 4 years ago
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Minty wrote:

The only place in the UK I have seen anything like this is Milton Keynes. I'd be interested to see if there are any regular users who can describe what it's like there given the UK's habit of smashing glass, graffitti, shoping trolleys etc.
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That pretty much sums it up I'm afraid.
It's a fantastic idea but as with most things the mindless idiots spoil it for all.
I even know of a guy at work who rides on the redways (cycle paths in MK speak) with a broom to clear glass away!
A real shame.