There is often a perception amongst motorists (and in Youtube video below NY police) that cyclists are legally obliged to stay in the cycle lane. On a few occasions, some motorists have suggested I move off road into some kind of cycle path (usually shared use on pavement)
The UK Highway code states:
63 Cycle Lanes. These are marked by a white line (which may be broken) along the carriageway (see Rule 140). Keep within the lane when practicable. When leaving a cycle lane check before pulling out that it is safe to do so and signal your intention clearly to other road users. Use of cycle lanes is not compulsory and will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer. Multi-lane carriageways (133-143)
A really wide mandatory cycle lane in Oxford
For Car users:
Cycle lanes. These are shown by road markings and signs. You MUST NOT drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a solid white line during its times of operation. Do not drive or park in a cycle lane marked by a broken white line unless it is unavoidable. You MUST NOT park in any cycle lane whilst waiting restrictions apply. Multilane Carriageways
Mandatory cycle lanes seem quite rare, unless they are on double yellow lines.
How Often is Practicable to Use Cycle Lanes?
There is actually a cycle path to the left. It is as the bottom of a fast descent. I never use it, and the road has been narrowed.
I have had the odd motorist remonstrate for not using shared use cycle paths. The main reason is I usually don’t think it’s safe to use certain shared use cycle paths
- it’s dangerous for the cyclists because there are so many junctions to negotiate.
- It’s not pleasant for pedestrians to have to share narrow pavements with cyclists.
Therefore in this case, I tend to ride in road. See: Bad cycle paths
Shared use cycle paths can have their place, especially for cyclists not confident cycling in the road and who like to cycle slowly. But, since I tend to be cycling relatively quick I tend to avoid them. I do fear the day when cyclists are not allowed to use roads, but only use shared cycle lanes at a ‘pedestrian pace’.
1 Metre Rule
Recently, I posted about the suggested one metre rule in the best position on the road for cyclists The interesting thing is that it is the same government site, which suggest cyclists cycle 1 metre from edge of road. But, if we follow that advice it means ignoring narrow cycle paths.
Another feature of cycle paths is that some feel it can encourage motorists (and coach drivers in above pic) to actually pass closer to cyclists because it is like a lane.
Are Cycle Paths Ever Any Good?
Cycle path featured above definitely creates a safe environment for cycling. Also the physical barrier makes parking a van in cycle path quite difficult (though it still happens!)