6/10/2008

Hoe much congestion and traffic problems are caused by public transport and bikes ?

I am fairly lucky in the mornings with the short journey I have to take. I travel five miles with virtually no deviation or turn offs until I reach my school. I travel along an A road, and there are no roundabouts to overcome. However, every day, on my way to school and my way home, I suffer along with scores of other drivers, from sitting in traffic queues caused by buses and bikes.

Along the length of the A road I drive there are bus stops every few hundred metres, however, there are only about three of these bus stops have actual lay-bys for the buses to pull in to. This means every time the buses stop, the traffic has to stop too. In some place, special islands have been built in the road also to stop people overtaking buses that have pulled up. If I am unlucky enough to be behind a bus, it add 5-10 minutes to what should only be a 10 minute journey in to work. Okay, this is a relatively small amount of time. But my car measures my fuel economy. Today on the way to work I got stuck, again, about three cars behind a bus. My miles per gallon for my journey was 21.1 mpg. On a clear day it is 31.2 mpg. So in the first instance buses, or the idiots who place bus stops without creating lay-bys, are reducing the fuel efficiency of cars. Well done to them !

Then there is the issue of bikes. Coming out of the city this afternoon, I was stuck behind a cyclist who decided that biking in the the left of the lane, near to the curb was too much of an inconvenience. This cyclist, like so many others, decided that their bike was in fact a car, and decided to ride almost in the middle of the road. This may not have been so bad if they had stuck to this. but they had only got ahead of me by sneaking down the side of my car (he was prepared to get tight to the curb then) when I was at a set of traffic lights. Then, once in front of me at the lights, he plodded along, nice and slow, with me and several hundred other cars stuck behind him doing about 16 miles per hour. With the lane on the other side of the road very busy, this means we all plodded along at 16 miles per hour, unable to overtake, for about a mile until the road widened and we could get past. Again, my fuel economy fell through the floor, and a traffic jam was caused by an idiot on a bike.

With the latest government guidance on cycle paths saying they should not be separate from the road, but with people on bikes thinking they own the road and don't share it with others, you have to ask sometimes whether there is not a deliberate effort sometimes by cyclists just to cause traffic jams so they can look smug.

If I did a job which meant I could travel light (i.e. no multiple heaps of books to mark, no laptop to carry, no sports kit to change in to, etc), I might want to use the bus. Indeed, it is hard to argue with the principle of bus use or even riding bikes. But as things stand, buses and bikes do not happily co-exist with cars on roads. Planners, and in particular planning guidance from government ought to note this and roads should be designed, altered and modified to take this in to account. Oh, and cyclists should be told to take cycling proficiency tests and learn to share the roads with others.

6 comments:

Peter McGrath said...

No, your drop in fuel economy was caused by a person on a bike who (like me) has probably stood by one too many graves of cycling one too many friends killed by drivers anxious to get somewhere in a hurry.

Cycling in the gutter encourages drivers to overtake in a risky fashion (I used to do this stuff for a living, can dust off the stuidies and stats if you like) and ends up putting cyclists in hospitals and graves. Cycling assertively makes drivers think twice about risky overtaking? Good.

How much congestion do cyclists cause? None. They ease It. You suffered a minor driving inconvenience and generalized from that. Cyclists do learn to share the road with other people, or they get scared off it, or they get killed.

'But as things stand, buses and bikes do not happily co-exist with cars on roads.' Thus speaks an inconvenienced driver. Hey ho, get used to it. Bikes and public transport are the future, and yes the statss suggest they do co-exist well with cars on roads. It could be better, but yes they do.

Wolfie said...

I agree with your observations of cyclists. In London one of the many hazards to a pedestrian is the gauntlet of cyclists who believe neither law nor courtesy apply to them and almost daily I repress the urge to unseat one with a swift karate kick to the side as they pass.

Anonymous said...

Well said indeed. Common sense on the subject at last. Cyclists behave as if they are above the law because of the misguided belief that because they are being good to the environment, they are beyond reproach. Just look at the previous comment from a cyclist.

He ignores the arguments you make, dismisses them out of hand because it is all the fault of the car.

The "holier than thou" attitude of most cyclists is an irritant to those of us who have to pass a test to get on the road.

ThunderDragon said...

That would have been a "summer cyclist". Someone who only gets on their bike when the weather is nice. Someone who doesn't know the road rules.

Anonymous - getting to work every day without being knocked off is tantamount to passing a test - only one where you could actually die.

jdc said...

That would not have been a summer cyclist, that would have been a sensible one. They have as much right to use the road as any other vehicle.

You wouldn't be able to squeeze them into the kerb if they were a car, so why should they put themselves at risk just so the Mr Toads of the world can get home slightly faster?

Given drainage and camber, kerbside isn't a safe place to cycle to start with, quite apart from people cutting you up to turn left, and overtaking when there isn't space.

Go on a cycle safety course and you will usually be taught to stay well away from the kerb. It's motorists who object to this who don't know the rules.

So you have to go at 16 miles an hour for a mile, rather than 30. Fine, it takes you three and a half minutes to get out of town instead of two. Really, deal with it!

Norfolk Blogger said...

Again, someone who misses the point.

Is it sensible to have a transport system or raod network that means everyone goes at the speed of the slowest user ?

Work it out for goodness sake. That is the point I am making, and it does not take a brain surgeon to work it out.

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