please empty your brain below

It’s a tricky one.

Most of my experience of London’s roads is as a cyclist, occasionally a bus passenger and very rarely as a motorist.

The Highway Code are the rules of the road and its basic premise for cyclists is that they will always be the slowest moving road users. However, as we all know, there are numerous times and places in London where the reverse is true: a two wheeled vehicle will move faster than the cars, vans, buses etc. that are stuck in a jam.

So, it is an everyday occurrence that the Highway Code cannot be applied in London and road users have to make it up as they go along – a very unsafe state of affairs. Couple this with the increase in the popularity of cycling, a few very influential blogs (see Tom Edwards’ 6 March post on BBC London) and some very high profile accidents (most infamously at Bow Roundabout) and the result is schemes like this.

Is it the right answer? As a cyclist, yes. For London? Possibly. If it gets more people out of cars and onto bikes, yes. If it doesn’t, then it will just make Bow a less pleasant place to live and travel through.
Does anyone else feel that buses in London seem to be getting slower? Sometimes the driver won't even press the accelerator when there is a clear road ahead, and it's not because they are early (unless they have swapped rotas with the next bus for some reason)
Does this include the scroat cycling down the narrow pavement in my back street last night, without lights & in dark clothing?
A useful image alongside this is showing the comparative use of road space and demonstrating that the devotion to car transport is unsustainable. Alternatives have to be found and, given the unwillingness to make investment in public transport, is there any alternative to two wheeled transport?
Oh, and another thing. As a cyclist who regularly uses this route riding with the traffic, I expect my journey to be substantially slower taking account of the additional cycle volume, that my experience of other CSn. That's fine by me.
There's a fatal flaw in TfL's traffic "modelling", which Ham hints at above and Boris now admits: the model assumes no-one changes their mode of transport.

But when TfL makes it safer to cycle, fewer people will drive and more people will choose to cycle. This makes journeys by car and bus FASTER because there are fewer other cars in the way. Similarly, journeys by bicycle will be SLOWER as the cycle lane clogs up with bicycles.

So a more accurate model of the costs of the scheme should be the other way round: car drivers and bus passengers will not lose out. Pedestrians will win too because it's easy to accidentally kill a pedestrian with a car but almost impossible to do so with a bicycle.

TfL proposes changing the way it models economic costs and benefits of road schemes to reflect this and I agree.

Oh, and what about the reduced pollution when people cycle instead of driving? TfL also currently fails to model reductions in the 4,000 people killed by traffic fumes every year in London, but their thinking is due to change on this soon too.
Do you really think this will get people out of their cars and on their bikes? Mmmmmm
Anonymouse hits the nail on the head. TfL's stated aim is to increase the modal share of cycling (from 2 to 5%). They have finally acknowledged that cycling can be a valuable contribution to the total transport mix, and now talk of 'bang for buck'.

If they are successful in significantly increasing the modal share of cycling they will need to provide less (more costly) transport infrastructure and services for the remaining non cyclists.

Regardless of costs and benefits shouldn't protection be provided to vulnerable road users as a matter of course?

I imagine it would be possible to come up with a scheme for Stratford High Street that did not have a negative impact on bus journey times, but TfL have chosen not to do this as the impact on other traffic would be too great.
I'm staggered at the irony of a cyclist (Marc, #1) citing the Highway Code.

As a pedestrian, my overwhelming experience of cyclists is that they have absolutely no idea what the Highway Code is.

Schemes like this continue to fawn over them at the expense of everyone else, and will just make them even more blasé about basic road safety and manners, as they sail through red lights in the dark wearing nothing but black clothes, with a tiny intermittent LED clipped to their arse.

Do everyone a favour and ban them.
Terrible news for pedestrians, who already have a hard time dealing with cyclists that think that red lights don't apply to them. I know that there are a few that do abide, but in my experience the vast majority don't. At least most cars stop at pedestrian crossings when someone is waiting to cross.
"Does anyone else feel that buses in London seem to be getting slower? Sometimes the driver won't even press the accelerator when there is a clear road ahead..."

I agree. The driver slowing down on approach to green traffic lights in anticipation of them going red is my particular annoyance.
Sorry - Lost for bloody words at the moment
You can tell cycling is increasing and the image is improving - it's taken almost 10 comments for the Daily Mail readers to arrive. On the other hand it is quite possible that it took a few hours for them to read those paragraphs, what with moving their lips and all.

Hang on a second - could that possibly mean that trying to lump a large cross section of the population together just to have a go at them doesn't really work? Surely not.

For those that are set in this anti-cycling stance - look around. There are more cyclists on the road from a wider cross section of society. Certainly in London, the behaviour and compliance with road laws increasingly reflects that. Sure, there are still those who flout the law and endangers others. AS DOES EVERY SINGLE DRIVER THAT USES INAPPROPRIATE SPEED DOWN SUBURBAN ROADS. You cannot condone either activity, but I know which one is the more dangerous to life and limb. Why is there so much hysteria about cycling, so little about speeding?

Making the roads safer and more pleasant for cyclists will also make them safer and more pleasant for people - all of us.
Your linked photo is a bit of misleading propaganda. The ratios of roadspace shown for the coach users vs car users is approximately correct, but bicycle users will not in real life ride in the tightly-packed phalanx illustrated, people go at different speeds and some of us wobble more than others.
As for lack of investment in public transport - London Buses alone had an operating subsidy of approx £700,000,000 in 2008-9.
The intended experiment ought to be tried to see if cycling numbers will then 'take off' - you can justify it on that basis alone without needing to rely on half-truths or insults.
Good post and nice to hear about the technical details.

It is amazing that TfL are going ahead with this despite the farcically wrong modelling. As others have mentioned, the effect of making a safe environment for cycling generally makes its slower as you have more people doing it and you don't have to pretend you're Chris Hoy to keep up with the traffic to prevent yourself getting killed.

Additionally, all known experience of traffic engineering has shown that reducing the space available to cars means that few journeys will be made by that mode.

I hope the scheme goes ahead and is a success (it has its heart in the right place at least) but if this is to become the standard, and cycling truely taken seriously as a transport mode, TfL are going to have to get much more savvy with their modelling.
TRANSYT enables you to represent flows and traffic capacity through linked traffic signals and, if the signals are SCOOT'ed (as they are along Stratford High Street thanks to the Olympics), to evaluate traffic speeds and time through the network for certain classes of traffic with optimum performance, including green waves for either general traffic or just for buses. However, the outputs are in a tabular form which needs soem skill in interpretation. VISSIM is effectively the same as TRANSYT but provides the visual output of the network, so you can see the traffic actually running through the network. Different classes of vehicles can be colour coded so that if you are interested in a sub set of vehicles, you can see what specifically is happening to them. VISSIM was used for evaulating the A12 Lea Interchange and Ruckholt Road SCOOT cell for the design and construction of the pre-Games upgrades with Westfield traffic coloured yellow. VISSIM is like "TRANSYT for Dummies"
In my opinion, SCOOT is overused, and causes traffic jams where installed at inappropriate locations. At junctions where (main) the bus flow is at right angles, then (ironically) the system prioritises one set of buses vs the same routes in the other direction. And, this does not help buses on the other two legs either. I'm sure it's ideal for simple junctions with simple route flows but that's it. And, I do not believe these flaws can be solved by tinkering with the system. You cannot prioritise one-way without compromising the other (this is a simple fact) - unless anyone out there can disprove this.
I find it hard to believe that car drivers in London would switch to biking instead. All the people I know who bike into work or switch to Boris bikes for getting between their mainline station and the office, have switched from public transport.
There are lots of people who would cycle to work if it were safer. I ask a lot of people, and a majority would love to cycle, but are scared of the roads, or just think it would be an unpleasant experience. Now, most of these people admittedly take public transport to work, but if they could get on their bikes, and some motorists (perhaps frustrated with increased journey times) could then get on the vacated spaces on public transport.
@sykobee: the evidence in Europe is contrary to what you say: If you provide for cyclists, their behaviour will improve.

One reason people jump red lights is that in London it is statistically safer to do that rather than weight at a green light (and then get killed by a left turning lorry)

Please do not forget that London is probably the nastiest city in Western Europe with regards to pedestrians; 80+ of us are killed every year, by motorists, not cyclists.

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