How Do Cycle Lanes Impact Our Road Network?

Cycle lanes have been around since the late 1800's, created for the sole purpose of improving safety for pedestrians, road users, and the cyclists themselves.

Although being in use before modern tarmac was even patented and a well-known road material, cycle lanes are still a slightly controversial and divisive topic, with opinions differing throughout road users. However, there is evidence that suggests this may be changing, as a recent report revealed 80% of motorists are in favour of adding more cycle lanes to London's road network.

As with all topics, there are both positives and negatives to the construction of more cycle lanes within the road network.

                                        cycle lanes

Beginning with a positive, cycle lanes have been proven to largely increase safety levels for both cyclists and road users. In fact, a study conducted in Texas, America, proved that when bike space is clearly demarcated along a roadside, drivers are less than half as likely to subconsciously swerve into another lane of traffic. This, as mentioned before, being the sole purpose of designated cycle lanes, the evidence contributes as a major point in favour of cycle lanes.

A negative aspect of the installation of cycle lanes could possibly be the confusion in what rules/laws the cyclist should follow (i.e those that motorists do, or pedestrians?).

Having a separate path to not only pedestrians but motorists as well can easily cause confusion for a lot of people. Many times, something is found to be blocking the cycle lane, such as a temporarily parked vehicle, or an object that has been dumped etc. This would cause a cyclist to have to swerve out of the cycle lane then back in to get around said object. This can be seen as less safe than just driving on the road, as you are swerving out in front of vehicles which can be very likely to cause an accident.

                                         

cycle lanes in london

However, the instalment of designated cycle lanes onto roads has proven to increase the number of cyclists, which results in a huge benefit to the environment.

Cycling is currently being pushed to become an even more popular transport method, with a large focus being on the environment. This is being shown through the increase in plans to introduce more lanes, and campaigning from many companies and people, and even from the Government.

With proof to suggest that the instalment of cycle lanes does, in fact, result in an increased number of cyclists, there have been further talks of a large increase in cycling infrastructure, even including some designs for innovative ways of solving the negative aspect of building cycle lanes.

                                        blue cycle lanes

Cycle lanes have certainly made a large impact on road infrastructure, with many thinking the future will see more and more being built. This is widely supported by both cyclists and motorists, as the sole purpose of cycle lanes is to keep both safe on roads.

 

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