New London cycle lanes will undertake buses at bus stops

Lanes will cut into pavements so bikes don't have to swerve out into traffic

by Sarah Barth   December 23, 2012  

Barclays Cycle Superhighway CS7 launch

New plans by the Mayor of London will see cycle lanes in the capital undertake buses at bus stops, stopping riders from having to swing out into busy traffic when buses pull over to pick up passengers.

The lanes are at present to be an extension of the blue Cycle Superhighways, and cut left into the pavement at bus stops. Passengers alighting from buses will have to check bikes are not coming before crossing the path.

The lanes are in testing near the notorious Bow Roundabout in East London.

To cyclists it's obviously a great idea - taking away a lot of the stress of overtaking a bus, trying to check the driver won't pull out again - but not everyone thinks so.

However, David Kent, London engagement officer of Guide Dogs for the Blind, told the Evening Standard the design would put visually impaired people at risk.

He said: “Cyclists are impossible to hear — they are the silent menace. Where it puts our particular client group at risk is exactly with designs like this.”

Six of the new bus stops will be installed near Stratford as part of a 1.5 mile extension to the superhighway scheme there, and Transport for London will place more elsewhere if the design proves effective.

TfL said the number of cyclists using the existing superhighway had increased by 28 per cent since it was installed in September 2010, with a 55 per cent rise in the Bow Road section.

35 user comments

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Pauldmorgan wrote:
This doesn't sound like a very good idea. There's a section of cycle lane on the Lea Bridge Road that takes you up onto the pavement and goes past a bus stop. People getting off the bus don't imagine that there would be cyclist there and don't look as they get off. I've clipped someone there - luckily my shoulder, their rucksack. Dangerous. I'll stay on the road thank-you.

Yep I ride this section east & west every weekday & if you are on the pavement cyclepath when a bus pulls up it's advisable to either slow down & wait until the passengers have disembarked or if possible get past before the doors open - not always possible if there are also passengers waiting to get on. A bell does work wonders if pedestrians aren't wearing headphones. Riding on the road would be a better alternative if vehicles, particularly buses it seems, didn't get too close and feel the need to lean on their hooters because you've the temerity to ride on the road as opposed to choosing the 'safer' alternative of the pavement-bound cyclepath (that's quite frequently dug up as it is on the eastern side at the moment).

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posted by jugster [41 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 12:30

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I think it's important that cyclists are seen as legitimate traffic. If these undertaking sections are incorporated as part of an off road cycle path then fair enough but to route cycles around busses in this way gives the impression that we are not welcome on the roads. As a cyclist in London I find Buses to be generally quite courteous in their driving, it's the minicabs that are desperate to over and/or undertake that are the real menace. If the roads were properly policed, especially Advanced Stop Boxes, Bus lanes and those rare parts of Cycling Superhighways that traffic isn't supposed to stray into, it would make the roads much safer to navigate. It annoys me that all these initiatives make it seem that cycles are just a nuisance to other road users.

...

posted by AlexStriplight [65 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 12:39

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Cyclists are easy to hear - they have bells and shout hello... And pedestrians should get used to not jumping when belled or called. Just wave hello - no need to jump off of the path.

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 13:12

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Yawn I continue to stand by my belief that if everyone drove/cycled as the law intended then we wouldn't need any cycle lanes at all.

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posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 13:27

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Have I read this right? People getting on and off buses will cross the cycle lane? Who comes up with these ideas? Have they ever ridden a bicycle? Or travelled by bus? (Runs out of question marks).

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 13:55

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Sounds dodgy to me, is this proven to work anywhere currently?

posted by Charles_Hunter [73 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 14:50

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I'm with municipal on this one

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posted by giff77 [1040 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 15:32

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The word 'undertake' sounds horribly foreboding with a scheme like this. Accidents waiting to happen.

I'm a human being, God damn it! My life has value. I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.

posted by Carl [134 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 15:33

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It's much easier for a cyclist to interact safely with one bus driver paying careful attention to traffic than with multiple passengers who may not be paying attention to anything at all and must be worried that they will miss their stop (or cause somebody else to) if they don't alight promptly.

Keeping cyclists in the carriageway is also the solution that caters better to different types of cyclists: speedy, confident cyclists can overtake busses, and less confident cyclists can simply remain behind them.

posted by bambergbike [84 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 16:56

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Sounds like a bad idea. Why don't they create a lay by for the bus to pull into and then maintain the cycle route so you don't have to pull out. Even a partial lay-by is better than none. Thi "idea" has collision between passengers particularly those with prams. They just need to ensure they find areas which are wider to locate the bus stops. They do this already opposite Battersea Power Station. Sure the road may not all be wide enough so other better ideas need to be thought through. Problem is that people who are devising these ideas are not necessarily the end-users!

Bordoi11

posted by bordoi11 [7 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 17:29

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The Rumpo Kid wrote:
Have I read this right? People getting on and off buses will cross the cycle lane? Who comes up with these ideas? Have they ever ridden a bicycle? Or travelled by bus? (Runs out of question marks).

Agreed, and the bit that's missing is right of way. Given the potential presence of kids, the disabled etc, the pedestrians will (correctly, really) be given right of way, so meaning that a cycle commute cannot be any quicker than a bus journey.

No way I'd use it.

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [2966 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 18:17

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Awful idea, not only potential for collisions with people getting off the bus but I can imagine numerous accidents with cyclists rejoining the road and buses pulling away at the same time!

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 18:28

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this is exactly the system they have in Salford, only with trams instead of buses there. It's a waste of time for two reasons,
-the alternative lane isn't swept so it becomes a haven for all detritus including glass
-it's much more likely to remain icy in winter is it's at road level with a two kerbs just a foot apart.

posted by GREGJONES [111 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 19:58

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This is a terrible terrible idea that must be stopped and reversed immediately! It is wrong on every level and will not help the cause of safe bicycling in London. Bicyclists must operate by the same rules as drivers and motorcyclists so that there is consistency in behaviour on the road. This means overtaking is safer than undertaking since all (good) licensed road users have been conditioned to check the overtaking side before pulling out. Relying on the consideration of pedestrians (many of whom are lacking in situational awareness) is just setting everyone up for failure even before we consider the special needs of groups such as that of the visually impaired.

posted by joechin13 [4 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 21:04

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The only result of this will be a tangled mess of bikes and people in a heap by the bus stop...

I can only hope that the committee who came up with this idea had a small number of people of very low intelligence who overrode all the others who pointed out that they would be designing conflict into the flow of bikes and pedestrians... I can forsee lawsuits.

Maybe the intelligent people persuaded the others to at least release the idea to the press to see what response they got?

Can we send them this link?

And I agree this design suggests a mindset that bikes should be 'out of the way' of the flow of the traffic. For as long as that mindset pervades in road design circles then we're going to have to keep making our voices heard...

posted by Brooess [17 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 21:47

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giff77 wrote:
I'm with municipal on this one

Me three

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
23rd December 2012 - 22:35

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OldRidgeback wrote:
giff77 wrote:
I'm with municipal on this one

Me three

Me four, and I wouldn't use it.

posted by mbrads72 [117 posts]
24th December 2012 - 13:05

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Mmmmm....while I do appreciate that there has been some thought of cyclists needing to pull out around a bus waiting at a bus stop but cutting through on a cycle lane on the inside of a bus!?? Thinking

Who in Gawd's name thought this one up, it will put you right in the path of passengers entering and egressing a bus, which is often unpleasant when on foot, let alone on two wheels!?? Angry

As to the concerns that David Kent(London engagement officer of Guide Dogs for the Blind) - well if this went ahead I do agree to a degree that this could cause a serious incident if a cyclist was not paying sufficient attention while attempting to "undertake" a bus a bus stop and a visually impaired pedestrian managed to "get in the way".

Personally from my experiences cycling in London I would honestly prefer to see all the bus stops (where practical) cut deeper in to the pavement with a cycle lane provision on the off side of the bus, rather than cycling on the inside of a bus stop!

posted by Furry Mommy [32 posts]
24th December 2012 - 19:54

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Better idea: have the bus stop placed back in to the pavement so that when the bus pulls to the left to stop, it leaves space for cyclists to pass the bus on the right, in the bus lane.

posted by kie7077 [435 posts]
24th December 2012 - 20:40

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This plan reflects an emphasis, whether through naiveté or willful ignorance, on promoting bicycle use by creating the appearance of safety rather than actual safety -- and at the expense of other travelers.

This from an American visiting Copenhagen:

"I was in Copenhagen for only four hours the summer of 2011 ... I also saw two bus riders hit by cyclists as they exited a bus directly into a cycle track. Nobody hurt, but much shouting and picking up dropped packages. All in all, an exciting four hours."

The recent large-scale Copenhagen study found a crash rate increase of 17 times and an injury rate increase of 19 times in collisions between bicyclists and bus passengers when bicycles were routed on the kerb side of bus stops. Do the London planners bother to read the research literature?

posted by John S. Allen [1 posts]
26th December 2012 - 17:32

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Municipal Waste wrote:
Yawn I continue to stand by my belief that if everyone drove/cycled as the law intended then we wouldn't need any cycle lanes at all.

I agree.

Stupid idea IMO. In London, at peak times the pavements get full of people waiting for buses... are they going to part like the Red Sea to allow cyclists through? Not a chance. Traffic should be on the road and all road users should pay each other due care and attention.

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [765 posts]
27th December 2012 - 10:55

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If I take avoiding action and leave the marked lane, is that cycling on the pavement? Could I be fined?

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
27th December 2012 - 11:14

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Wow I wrote something people agree with Nerd

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posted by Municipal Waste [190 posts]
29th December 2012 - 13:14

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I believe that cycle lanes around bus stops is standard practice in the Netherlands. You obviously can't have bus passengers stepping off the bus directly into the cycle path. There needs to be an island for the passengers.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
10th January 2013 - 16:14

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Whilst I agree with the sentiment of most of the comments here, perhaps 'we' are not the intended users of this facility?

Riders who lack the confidence to overtake at a 'current' bus top might just find this idea a real bonus. Also ideas such as this enhance cycling as an inherently safe thing to do in a city, thereby encouraging those who might not currently consider it.

regarding 'collisions', which would you prefer, a pedestrian, or a bus/car? I'd take an increase in the former for a decrease in the latter.

For a refreshing take on the wider issues here, try looking at: http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/enough-is-enough/

They're gonna hit the line almost together!

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posted by daloriana [12 posts]
10th January 2013 - 16:47

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daloriana wrote:
Whilst I agree with the sentiment of most of the comments here, perhaps 'we' are not the intended users of this facility?[...]
regarding 'collisions', which would you prefer, a pedestrian, or a bus/car? I'd take an increase in the former for a decrease in the latter.

Seems like a false dilemma. If there's enough spare width for a decent bike lane, dent the bus stop into the path by it and enable bicycles to overtake, in lane, on the right.

Maybe we're not the intended users, but we're the ones who'll get abuse for not using this dangerous nonsense!

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
10th January 2013 - 17:17

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Baby steps, this idea being a small step in the right direction.

Canning this idea will not stop abuse.

They're gonna hit the line almost together!

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posted by daloriana [12 posts]
10th January 2013 - 17:51

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daloriana wrote:
Baby steps, this idea being a small step in the right direction.

Canning this idea will not stop abuse.


It's the wrong direction! This is on the left when we need space on the right!

Canning this idea will prevent more abuse.

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
11th January 2013 - 1:11

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So, lets keep everything exactly as it is, and achieve peak cycling early?

I KNOW this isn't ideal, but I think its progress. Perhaps not in the direction we'd like, but its better than what we've got is the only point I'm trying to make.

They're gonna hit the line almost together!

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posted by daloriana [12 posts]
11th January 2013 - 18:14

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Is it better? It replaces one problem - bus/bike conflict - with another - bike/walker conflict. Crashing into Walkers might be better for bikes, but is it better in general? I'd rather have no problems if we could!

posted by a.jumper [681 posts]
11th January 2013 - 23:26

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