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, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.