This picture here shows a typical road in the
It is the lining here that confirms psychologically that the road is just made for cars, as cars fit exactly in that spot between the kerb and the white line! "Share the road"? Forget it; cyclists are clearly "just in the way" and as a cyclist, you get exactly that same impression as the driver. You feel unwelcome and just not safe, the main reason for many people in the
Many local through roads in The Netherlands used to look exactly the same as the one pictured earlier. Since the 1980s a different lick of paint was gradually introduced, simply when the road was due resurfacing. Thirty years on, this led to the typical look of Dutch local through roads as is pictured here (note: again not a main road with UK- A-or B-road classification!). This road has a similar function, traffic intensity and similar road width as the
The road lining not only confirms to cyclists and drivers that this is a shared space, but it also naturally slows drivers down, especially in a situation of motorised traffic from both directions. In that situation, drivers from both sides have to work their senses to work out their road spacing away from each other, straddling the cycle lanes. This process slows them down to a speed that does much more justice to the limited road width. Also, as you can see in the picture, if there is a cyclist on any of these lanes at the same time, the driver from behind naturally has to wait, instead of the common practice of hazardous "pushing through overtaking" in the
Introducing cycle lanes as above will still be a step too far for many
So, what about if we were to remove all road lines on our local through roads? Now this is a thought. When I cycle in the
I leave you with another striking picture from The Netherlands, showing a narrow medium traffic intensity road with a 30 mph speed limit during rush hour. The center line of this road has been removed and wide cycle lanes on both sides clearly confirm this road is not just for motorised traffic, but also for others. Despite the busy time of the day (yes there are many drivers in The Netherlands as well!), the cyclist pictured here is able to keep going in a relaxed way, with drivers naturally queueing behind, waiting until it is safe to overtake. Again, this is all achieved by just a different lick of paint!
Notes from the author: In 2014, a study funded by the CTC (now Cycling UK) confirmed my case in this article. "Professor John Parkin and Stella Shackel observed a reduction of speed of vehicles passing cyclists on roads with no centre line. A centre line may present a visual clue about where a driver should ‘drive up to’. Its absence may cause the driver to consider his or her road position and speed more carefully."
Further notes: Just providing a change in road layouts by different paint is not a solution for roads with a main through route function (so UK-roads with A- or B-number classifications). Such roads in The Netherlands always have a separated cycle path away from the main carriageway, as is pictured here.
The Dutch system, with varied solutions for various types of roads is further explained in my articles Cycle paths and cycle lanes; the full story! and Sharing the road or segregated cycle paths? Well its both!
As is explained in these articles, a seriously reduced speed limit is always in place on Dutch roads with on-road cycle lanes. Also, Dutch cycle lanes are generally much wider than UK cycle lanes. These are both essential factors to make on road cycle lanes safe to use. The main article above intends to focus on the general design of road lines only!
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