Friday, August 07, 2015

Are bike lanes invisible?

Like most regular cyclists I find my way blocked by oafs who park in painted stripe bike lanes: post vans, plumbers, shoppers, coaches, long distance buses, etc and I could go on and fill the whole blog with moaning, but I won't. I have learned to ignore these types who are too idle to walk ten metres when there is a perfectly good spot opposite the shop. Remonstrate and there's a good chance they will punch you or run you or some other cyclist off the road. It is not worth the high blood pressure. Forget it! These people have no idea and no manners. There was bike shop owner in Bolton who used to park his delivery van on a cycle lane on a busy main road in front of his shop. I am pleased to say that he is no longer there and the shop is shut.
What I didn't realise is that bike lanes are also invisible to city transport planners. The City of Mannheim, Germany is building a new tram line in the north of the city which has necessitated shutting 5km or so of track for six weeks during the school holidays. The service is now being covered by buses. At the end of the interruption passengers need to change from the tram to a bus and sometimes wait until one appears. The bus tram interchange at the southern end is by the Mannheim University Hospital just north of a bridge over the River Neckar which is also a main route for cyclists leaving the city centre to get to the northern suburbs and to the hospital. The cyclepath runs on past the site of the temporary bus stop. Unfortunately the road rises over the bridge and then drops past the hospital, so most cyclists let the pig out, i.e. speed up, as they drop down the slope. The two photographs below show that collisions and disturbances are pre-programmed. These were taken on a Saturday afternoon when there are fewer passengers. There are more during the week. Notice how the little hut has been cunningly placed to reduce the amount of space available on the footpath. The red brick area is the cyclepath.
Cyclepath (red)

The bus and tram arrive and the passengers cross to reach the bus, ignoring the cyclepath.

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