Good safety means that the human dimension of urban cycling is catered for; it is about providing a pleasant and safe experience through high levels of both subjective safety and actual safety. This is created through proper infrastructure. Subjective safety is a feeling, a perception of being unthreatened. This can be facilitated through proper infrastructure, along with taking care of social safety by ensuring that cycle routes do not pass through dangerous or anti-social areas, do not include blind corners or dark tunnels, and have open sight lines. Safety can be measured through looking at how many of the most vulnerable groups in society feel able to cycle.
In practice, creating cycle safety might mean making sure that where possible cycle and driving routes follow different paths, avoiding the mixing of high speed traffic with cycles, and ensuring that enough space is provided. Generally in the UK, cars and bikes are forced to coexist in far too close proximity, and too often cyclists are forced to follow paths that don’t provide either subjective or actual safety. The usual scenario for cyclists is having the choice of riding along a horrifically busy road or of taking to a narrow badly designed cycle path which relies on crossing of that road. The following examples from my case studies form minor adjustments to the cityscape that increase the sense of safety and consideration cyclists experience, as well as helping ensure harmonious relations with pedestrians and motorists.
Bus Stop Islands
Bus stops have their own small island from which pedestrians must cross over to the pavement. This prevents passengers from leaving the bus and stepping straight onto a cycleway.
In this instance the rumble strips help prevent cyclists’ wheels from catching on the low kerb. These are also used along painted lanes to help prevent absent-minded cyclists from merging into vehicular traffic.
Right turns on red for cyclists
Cyclists are able to turn to the right, even when the signal is showing red for vehicles.