Friday, May 25, 2012

Stay in bike lane

A delightful piece from an American who after being fined for straying from a bicycle lane adheres strictly to the law from that point onwards

In the UK this couldn't happen (or at least shouldn't). Rule 62 of the Highway Code states that cyclists should
Keep within the lane when practicable.
Not that there should be that many obstructions given Rule 240 in which it is an offence to stop or park on a cycle lane or track.

But how does rule 62 get enforced? If I see a cyclist heading towards Stourport along the dual-carriageway ignoring the perfectly clear and safe cycle lane could they be stopped by the police and 'told off'?


Chris said...

I think there is a similar rule here about practicality, or safety or something (maybe it varies by state?). The problem is, the PD doesn't always know this, and even if it does, a cyclist might have different feelings about practicality/safety than someone who doesn't ride a bike.
As for me, I ride to work most days, and am in and out of the bike lane depending on a number of factors. I have yet to be ticketed, and also yet to be doored. So here's hoping...

FlipC said...

In terms of practicality I agree; we've some humdingers of stupid cycle lanes which I'm sure Dan H would love to share if he's still reading. In the case of the dual-carriageway I mentioned it's perfectly fine - clear and level with no obstructions or even houses with cars parked outside them. The flaw here lies in the setup- there's a footway, then a grass divider, then the cycle lane another divider then the carriageway.

Sounds fine until you realise the authorities don't keep the footway clear; in fact it's so overgrown I'm sure some people don't even realise it's there. So they walk on the cycle lane. Cyclists see this and assume it's a footway despite all the signs and so use the carriageway.

To me the main cause of concern is the one you pick up "the PD doesn't always know this". Far too many instances of the police stepping in without knowing if they have the right to do so and people deferring to their authority.

Dan H said...

And besides, a rule in the Highway Code is not a law. The police have no authority to stop you for it: it's just advice to road users. Let's face it, for any given cycle lane, if it is actually advantageous to cyclists to use the lane (because it's safer, or faster), then cyclists will use it regardless of whether there's a rule.
The fact there are so many cycle lanes and paths that don't get used just shows how much more road planners in the UK have to learn about reducing traffic by provisioning for bikes.

FlipC said...

Dan is, of course, quite right. A rule in the highway code is not per se a law; however such rules can be used in coming to judgement when laws have been broken.

For example if a cyclist caused an accident on a carriageway when a perfectly serviceable cycle lane was present it would be reasonable to ask why it wasn't used.

In terms of the numerous unused cycle lanes I believe we've covered this in that councils get funding for such regardless of relevancy hence sticking them in wherever they can fit one.

For me a large amount of the flaws prevalent in our system is due to fact-finding missions to other countries* to see how their systems work without taking into account their or our country's idiosyncrasies.

*Or 'This is how it works in London' which can be treated as another country for most cases of the rest of the UK.