Re: Re: There will be Blood

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I appreciate the idea behind creating a separate thread but most of these arguments have been beaten to death already in the other thread. I’m probably just restating what I’ve already said there.

As weehamster points out, no matter what your personal opinions, the statistics are there; motorised vehicles have caused about 400 deaths a year on average over the last few years; pedestrians and cyclists have caused absolutely none. In London, a cyclist caused the death of pedestrian a couple of years ago but it was remarkable because it was exceptional despite the demographics of London. Unfortunately most of these arguments end up with some sort of equivalence being suggested between the irritation caused by the behaviour of cyclists or pedestrians and that of drivers when there is no equivalence at all. A pedestrian or cyclist breaking a red light is not even in same ballpark of moral equivalence as a driver doing the same. So the whataboutery is disingenious.

On a different tack, tommyt has to a t. Where the average speed of motorised traffic is more than 40 km/h or so, fully segregated cycling facilities can make sense. In the city centre any attempt to provide segregated cycling lanes will fail; simple topology indicates that it is impossible to provide a segregated network. Just as pedestrians have to interact with traffic (by crossing streets), cyclists will always have to interact with traffic. It is far safer to become part of the traffic rather than keep out of the way and suddenly impose yourself at junctions where 90% of cyclists are killed. Where traffic is going 30 km/h or less (most of the city centre), cyclists should be advised to cycle as part of the traffic – in the middle of traffic lanes – and negotiate lanes (using signals) like vehicles. When I drive, I far prefer having cyclists visibly in front of me than beside me where they can drift in and out of my blindspot. I can handle cyclists I can see; I fear for cyclists I cannot. I’ve put a lot of effort into thinking about these things over the years and hopefully will not sound immodest by saying that I’ve managed to avoid injury despite cycling around Dublin for more than 15 years. Maybe I’ve been lucky but I am sure that cycling without asserting yourself is deathly dangerous.

As a result of this thinking, I firmly believe that, for example, the experiment on O’Connell Street with a section of fully segregated cycle lane is misguided to say the least. What is required is a universal imposition of a 30 km/h speed limit within the city centre for motorised vehicles. This would save the lives of pedestrians and cyclists without requiring the physical imposition of segregation (i.e. by cycle lanes or pedestrian barriers/railings on footpaths) which is guaranteed to be implemented in a haphazard fashion at best. I would remove all cycle lanes within this area and remove all pedestrian barriers on the edges of footpaths. It might sound idealistic but I believe that the streets can be shared by drivers, cyclists and pedestrians; I’d rather rattle my bones cycling though Temple Bar in a milou of taxis and pedestrians than try to use the cycle lanes on O’Connell St.

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