Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Monday, 26 February 2007

Things calculated to make a cyclist angry

Speed Humps

Example: the new work on the Avenues in Norwich.

Where there used to be a bicycle lane there is now no bicycle lane, but rather a series of terrible humps and a 20 mph speed limit, which is a volatile combination that causes the motor traffic to be a serious nuisance to bicycles, and bikes to be a serious hazard to motors.

Here, for instance, in the space of three minutes are some of the consequences.

1 The humps are placed such that a car must squeeze in close to the left to get a wheel either side of the hump. As a bike approaches a hump, the car behind must hang back to wait until after the bike has gone past.

2 If the motor vehicle chooses not to hang back and wait, it may pass the cycle at the hump by travelling on the wrong side of the road. However, since it is limited to 20 mph it will need to spend some considerable time on the other side.

3. If there is traffic coming in the opposite direction, overtaking on the right is not an option. The motor vehicle must stay behind.

4 However, 20 mph is not sufficient speed to pass a sequnce of cyclists between humps. If the cycles are travelling at 10 or 12 mph and the motor vehicle is travelling at 20 mph it will not have time to pass even one cyclist, let alone several, before coinciding with a cyclist at the next hump.

In order to get past, then, the motor vehicle is obliged to move out to the right hand side of the road and accelerate as fast as possible, rush past the cyclists on the wrong side of the road, and then swerve urgently into the extreme left, cutting in in front of a cyclist, so as to have its wheels square on either side of the left hump.

5 The alternative is to drive on the right hand side of the road at break neck speed the whole length of the Avenues, hoping that nothing will come in the opposite direction.

It is, of course, also impossible for cyclists to overtake each other between the humps. In the three minutes I spent getting these photos I didn't catch one of the problems that ensue for the cyclist who needs to get past a slower moving cyclist. Maybe in another post...

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