Saturday, 2 December 2017

Coming to a bus stop near you.

The overwhelming proportion (80%+) of collisions that result in injury to cyclists occur at intersections. Targeting improvement at these locations along with slower speed initiatives and traffic reduction should be the key road safety interventions. 

However, the cycle bloggers who frame cycling as a dangerous activity, also tell us that cyclists must 'feel' safe. Cyclists, they say, cannot pass the bus, nor the bus pass the cycle.

The solution is the 'bus stop bypass' - cycles are routed through the pavement and around the back of the bus stop. Pedestrians and bus passengers have to watch out for cycles and dodge them when necessary. If they get hit, then that's OK because its not as bad as getting hit by a vehicle. 

This is clearly disrespectful of bus passengers and pedestrians who will now 'feel' unsafe and worry about cycles, when previously they were safe on the pavement. There are all manner of vulnerable people at bus stops, older, blind and partially sighted people, some with learning difficulties. The groups that represent these groups generally oppose these changes to bus stops, but aren't listened to.

Below are an assortment of what London government has come up with to accommodate the cycle bloggers. They are coming to a bus stop near you and will degrade the pedestrian environment. Bus passengers will just have to put up with. 

Stratford High Street - Whoa

The bus stop bypass needs a lot of pavement width and so the boroughs are mimicking the bus stop bypass with an even more problematic solution - the cycle lane that passes directly through where passengers wait, board and alight. Passengers effectively step into the path of the cycle!

Waltham Forest, an award winning borough, have lots to spend on bus stops to the detriment of bus passengers. The borough has numerous examples.

A busy stop that will get busier in the future

Waltham Forest bus stop cycle lane

Camden is said by the bloggers to be a good cycling borough. They have installed the bike lane below, squeezed between shelter, post box and pedestrians. 

This Royal College Street stop is very busy with passengers,
 even with only one bus service.

One of London's busiest bus stops is at Elephant and Castle. Here the bike lane is squeezed in behind two stops and the building line. On the opposite side of the road it was just too difficult so they moved half the passengers around the corner where they would be less problematic for the bikers.

Passengers have no political power
and have lost the pavement at Elephant
The cycle bloggers have the political power 
and the pavement

Back to Royal College Street, the Camden award winner. At night or when its raining, you're on your way home. Be sure to watch out for cycles through your stop.

Royal college Street stop at night

Enfield have introduced dozens of stops along the A105. There are different designs that keep elderly bus passengers on their toes. Cycles go through the boarding and alighting area on some, around the back of others. Fortunately there are neither many bus passengers, nor cycles in Enfield, but the main demographic of passengers will be older people and they now have to negotiate this.

The bikers campaigning has trumped the
 needs of older people.
Enfield 2

Whitechapel High Street, one of London's busiest high streets is now blighted by the paraphernalia  of bike lanes. There are over 30 stops between Stratford and Aldgate.
It should be a great city street, but now there is no chance of that. Six inch kerbs ensure its really uncomfortable and unpleasant being a pedestrian. But pedestrians are not what the pavements have been designed for.

The bloggers will tell you trashing our high streets is good for business !

The footway was too narrow even before the bike track arrived
Back to Camden. An optional bus stop bypass that most cyclists avoid because there is rarely a bus. If they do use it, then they should do so with great care, because it directs you into the path of unsighted, turning vehicles.

Street layouts should be simple and understandable, not multiple-choice!
And so it goes on. Every location is different and so the designers have come up with a different solution for each. No one has worried about the bus passengers, how much space there is for them or how many passengers there are.  Bus passengers fit around the biker.

The latest modification to try and deal with the problems that have been created for bus passengers is a zebra type crossing of the pavement, complete with Belisha beacon!
A zebra crossing with Belisha beacon on the pavement!
London has thousands of bus stops with any number of vulnerable passengers that have hitherto been able to use their bus stops in relative comfort. Some are blind or partially sighted, old, mobility impaired, some with learning difficulties or just travelling home in the rain at night. All will have to put up with what the cycle bloggers call space for cycling whether they like it or not. This is unfair and disrespectful.

The 'flag ship' cycle lanes Waltham Forest are installing contain a double whammy for bus passengers. Not only does it run cycles through the bus stops they have used the eastbound bus lane for the cycle lanes!

One of many bus stops cycle lanes along the Lea Bridge Road
Served by three important trunk bus routes, the bus lane has been used for a cycle lane 

London's high streets should be full of life. They should be great public spaces, for public life. They have to accommodate multiple uses and users, not just movement. London's streets should be beautiful, walking should be easy and the should be inclusive. 

The bloggers say these bus stops work. What they mean is that they work for the bikers. 

Bus stop bypasses are said to work, but for whom?

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