Normally, these discussions centre around novices and less confident cyclists who feel that painted cycle lanes alone do not offer them enough security. However, sometimes we also have to talk about places where a cycle lane is a problem even for more confident cyclists – because motorists blatantly ignore it.
Clark Street West in New Lynn has (had?) such an issue. The westbound cycle lane near the train station, at the intersection with Rankin Ave, was quickly discovered by car drivers as another queueing lane. Because it was wider than a usual cycle lane (the designers trying to be nice to cyclists!), it was also sufficient for a CAR to fit in. And since the traffic lights often give a green for left turns, but a red for straight through, drivers had an instant incentive to illegally enter the cycle lane and bypass the queue.
Once one car driver entered the lane, all restraint was gone for the others as well, and shortly afterwards, we had a cycle lane blocked chocker-full with cars. Cycle Action didn’t need any further evidence than a 5 minute period stopped near the intersection during a ride (photos at the right) to realise that there was a real problem here. We raised this with Auckland Transport, using those photos, and pointed out the implications for cycling and road safety. What should be done? was the question.
After that, it got a bit quiet for a while, while Auckland Transport investigated what to do, and CAA had many other projects to work on.
But now, we are please to report that Auckland Transport has installed lane delineators and flexible bollards on the cycle lane edge! You can see these on the separate photo below (click twice for a large version) – the delineators are basically raised humps aligned along the cycle lane edge line, reinforced further by the flexipost bollards at the limit line. We think it looks great – and we and Auckland Transport now would like to know from you how it works for you:
- What is your experience – do motorists stay out of the cycle lane consistently now?
- Do you feel safer and more protected riding there, or is it the same, all said?
- Does it work well for cyclists who continue straight through or want to turn right?
- Does the lane still work well if more than one cyclist rides in it at the same time?
Please comment on what you like and possibly don’t like about the treatment in the comments section, so we can feed it back to the designers.
If people like them, and they show a good track record in terms of maintance and preventing motorist misbehaviour, we may well see them in other problem spots around Auckland.