Greening on Cycle Lanes – the sad, bad and brilliant

Last month one of North Shore’s road cyclists, Mason Spiers, fell from his bike while turning into a side street on North Shore’s busy Lake Road cycling route. The slippery green paint on the cycle lane was a key factor in the incident, so Mason, who helps us from time to time, did us all a favour by telling us about his fall.

Mason was not the only one to have fallen foul of the road surface, so we asked AT’s Road Corridor Operations team to check it out. They quickly investigated the incident, and promptly stripped the surface back on this and other side roads on Lake Rd where the ‘greening’ was not up to spec, replacing it with a series of applications producing a sparkling, highly textured, bright green surface.  Lake Rd Greening 1 Mar 2014

The episode has delivered a number of benefits beyond the simple but important one of improving safety on Lake Rd. The new surface is noticeably thicker than other ‘greening’ seen elsewhere in Auckland. This may just be because it is very new, but we’re interested to know if it is better than the standard, and will be more durable in withstanding attrition from vehicular traffic.  The high visibility means the cycle lane has more impact in vistas up and down Lake Rd. This seems to be raising awareness of the cycle lanes, so cars entering Lake Rd from side roads tend to wait clear of the green cyclelane. This means we don’t have to ride around the protruding fronts of cars at side roads while we’re cycling Lake Rd.

The incident also led Mason to bring a group of experienced road cycling mates to trial of a new green surface for Road Corridor Ops in Central Takapuna.  Great to see this practical collaboration and innovative approach!

Greening of cycle lanes is a relatively cheap way of raising awareness of the presence of cyclists on roads across Auckland, as well as alerting motorists to the need to respect our dedicated road space. However, damage to the green surface from motor vehicle tyres is a widespread issue. The green surface also tends to fade quite quickly, making the greening ineffective. You’d think the green surfaces would get more frequent maintenance than centre lines and lane markings  because they receive more wear and tear, but this extra maintenance is not happening.

I reflected on this today as I rode on the faded green and pitted cycle lane at the southern corner of the Lake Rd/Esmonde Rd intersection. Cars and and buses turning the corner have marked tracking curves that have damaged the cycle lane surface. Cycles cause minimal road wear – you have to wonder why cycling facilities are not quickly repaired and better maintained when they are damaged by motor vehicles like this?

I’d like to learn how other cyclists see these issues. The recent trial shows that AT is interested in better performance from the surfaces used on cycle lanes, including improving cycle safety. Let’s hear it from you, so we know where your concerns lie. We’re keen to work with AT to get the best out of the maintenance and road safety budgets to ensure on- road cycle lane  surfaces are fit for purpose.

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