Archive for the ‘Cycling’ Category

Watch out: Cyclists ahead

July 6, 2011

Over the past few years, councils and authorities have gradually been trying to encourage increased travel by cycling across the Adelaide metropolitan area. Some of them are genuine efforts including the dedicated cycle way that is being established alongside sections of the Noarlunga train line and Southern Expressway in Adelaide’s south. Other schemes have been trialled and then reversed such as the Sturt Street bike lanes that were established and then removed due to local opposition. And then there are other token efforts that make you wonder what the responsible planners were thinking when the plan was implemented.

One of those examples of token efforts is at the intersection of North Terrace and Pulteney Street in Adelaide’s CBD. A few months ago, this intersection had a small upgrade which introduced dedicated zones and lanes for cyclists to cross North Terrace in both the north and south directions. However, the upgrade demonstrates some of the issues that have continued to discourage cycling around Adelaide particularly when it comes to safety considerations.

New bike lanes. Northbound is indicated by red and southbound is indicated by green. (Source: Nearmap)

For the north bound approach to the intersection, cyclists have this small indented bay to allow them to wait until the signal on the other side turns green. However, cyclists must negotiate other road traffic on the left turning lanes on Pulteney Street in order to reach this bay which is far from safe. As the bay is not very large and not isolated from the adjacent lanes, it is also possible that a waiting cyclist may be clipped or knocked over by a turning vehicle.

The indented bay for cyclists heading north on Pulteney Street, adjacent to the left turning lanes of Pulteney Street.

On the south bound direction the situation is even worse for cyclists due to the traffic signalling sequence of the intersection. While cyclists have the safety of the footpath when waiting for the light to turn green, they must be careful of vehicles turning right from North Terrace into Pulteney Street as the cycle lane ends up on the left lane of Pulteney Street which some vehicles access as they turn right, creating the potential for a collision if drivers and cyclists are not careful. There is also a number of parking bays very close to the intersection which adds to the danger of cyclists being hit by vehicles turning in and out of the bays.

Notice where the southbound bicycle lane ends - on the left lane of Pulteney Street and next to several parking bays.

When planning to accommodate cyclists, the surrounding areas need to be considered and not just the individual focal point of the upgrade. Bicycle lanes along Pulteney Street to and from the intersection and the realignment of a number of lanes and parking spaces could have been considered. In the above instance, it is clear that the surrounding areas of the intersection have not been taken into consideration during the upgrade which has resulted in a number of new safety issues. I worry about some of the accidents that may occur as a result of the recent changes.