Wandering around a few evenings ago I happened upon a cycle lane I haven’t seen before which runs along the A565 between Bootle and the docks, through a small shopping area.
The main feature of the lane is how it prioritises traffic, we’ve got the usual non-mandatory lane with a lot of its magic paint worn away now, some speed humps, good, some pinch points created by pedestrian islands, not so good. Most obviously though, the recessed parking, to whomever created this lane, cyclist are not only beneath the motorcar, not only are they beneath the parked motorcar, cyclists are beneath the momentarily open door of a parked motorcar, for wherever the two may conflict the open door has priority.
Indeed, on every occasion along this road where cars may park, the cycle lane disappears. Did I stop existing? Surely not, in fact on every occasion it disappears and the cyclist has to pass parked cars they have to renegotiate with whatever vehicle is behind them.
The road is wide enough for a segregated cycle lane, but they haven’t bothered putting one in, so we get these constant points of conflict between cars, bikes and pedestrians and where they exist the car usually wins. The local authority obviously doesn’t want to be found liable for putting a cycle lane in a dooring zone so the easiest thing to do is simply abrogate any responsibility and throw the cyclist back at the mercy of the motorist. The cyclist must check over their shoulder, negotiate with anyone behind and then move out into traffic and away from the door zone. This stretch of road is about 1km long (0.62 miles) and within that the cycle lane disappears 12 times, 7 times for the opening of car doors, 3 times for bus stops and twice for pedestrian crossings.
Despite all that, for one brief glorious moment cyclists are segregated from cars, as we pass the pedestrian island, a great void zone has opened up down the middle of the road and lo, for all of one metre the cycle lane is protected by a secondary pedestrian island.
For the full effect have a look at Streetview