Thursday, February 01, 2007

The right-hand lane for going straight on

This diagram is intended to represent the path a cyclist would need to take when going straight on at a junction where the left-hand lane is designated left-turn only and the right-hand lane is designated straight on.

Examples of these include the North Road-Thompson Street junction and the North Road-John Street junction, when travelling towards the town centre. There are lots of other examples around the town also, plus several roundabout approaches.

In order to go straight ahead at these junctions, a cyclist must cross the left-hand lane and take up position in the right-hand lane. This is scary, even for a confident experienced cyclist, when there are several tonnes of car travelling 15 to 20 mph faster than you are right behind you. In theory, a cyclist could take a central position in the left-hand lane, but in practise cars going left will attempt to overtake and then turn left.

These features seem to be designed with the sole intention of increasing a car's average speed within the town, with no consideration given to cyclists when designing the junction.

What do readers think of these junctions? What other junctions in the town are arranged like this?


richardgrassick said...

Traffic measures for cyclists in Darlington fall into 2 categories:

1.Try to take into account the fact that cyclists exist, and design routes for them, BUT don't disrupt the speedy flow of motor traffic.

2. Forget the fact that cyclists exist.

This type of junction falls firmly into the second category. Another glaring example is the ongoing Building of the pedestrian Heart, and the diversions designed for pedestrians and motor vehicles, but not cyclists.

Beatrix said...

Well actually, it could work for cyclists if car drivers were more careful about other members of traffic. But in Darlo they regard the roads as their own (private) territory, pedestrians, cyclists and disabled people are looked at as intruders and disturbing.
As long as the police, the council and the politicians do not do anything about antisocial behaviour of car drivers instead of constantly (verbally) attacking esp. young cyclists on mountain bikes (who dont have much space to enjoy themselves) things won't change.

Car drivers have to learn, that there are vulnerable members of traffic, that want to use the roads, want to cross minor roads joining major roads without being hit by a car, that comes out of this minor road, and don't want cars parking on cycle paths and pavements. Cyclist don't want to dismount at every junction and they want to cycle through a round-about without being hit by a car leaving the round-about overtaking them just in front of his/her exit.

These are every-day-experiences in Darlo, and I have never seen any constable stopping car drivers behaving like that.
All the talk about safety is always geared to stop pedestrians, wheelchair-users and cyclists, but I have not heard anything or a thought about educating the car drivers about their rights and duties towards vulnerable traffic members.
At our symposium we would like to talk about all these issues!