Sunday, 18 November 2012

Door Zone

The Door_zone wiki page suggests that 12% of injuries and 3% of fatalities are a result of the Door Zone "accidents". It is common advice to cyclists that you should cycle outside the door zone.

Vienna has 51 km of Mehrzweckstreifen which are normally narrow and along the side park cars, and many cyclists have a dooring or near miss dooring story to tell.

Cyclists develop strategies to cope with these uncomfortable types of road. My strategy is to ride out away from parked cars for 2 reasons. One I try to give myself space to react to pedestrians who step out or opening car doors. The other reason is to slow overtaking traffic down so that they have to do a proper overtake rather than speed on past with no reaction time to my obstacle avoiding swerves. This technique is not understood or very appreciated by some drivers who use their horn and punishment passes to bully me out the way. It is also of questionable legality although cyclists do have the right to leave a safe distance to dangerous objects which is what I am trying to do.

I do use these zones to filter through stationary traffic but I do so at very low speed to give me reaction time. The faster I ride the further out I ride, and I try not to swerve in and out as parking bays change as that can confuse car drivers. This judgement comes with age and is easier if your ride fast to minimise the inconvenience to potentially overtaking cars.

Here is a video of a cyclist in Vienna using these kind of Mehrzweckstreifen (or rather not being able to use these kind of Mehrzweckstreifen.  Note that the diagonally parked cars do not have the door problem but there is still a danger from pedestrians stepping out.)

Certainly being doored or worried about being doored does not contribute to the pleasant, convenient and comfortable design criteria for good quality cycling infrastructure.  As cycling becomes a more common and important part of mobility in developed urban countries the Door Zone problem needs to be solved.

This is the Austrian non-solution:

The Americans are developing solutions:

How would the Dutch Solve this issue?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Proper CROWizing.

It seems cycle campaigning is gaining momentum in London and this conference is evidance that things are started to get professional.

One presentation that I really like was a proper Dutch engineer doing some CROWize London Consultancy.

Presentation can be downloaded here.

I really hope the day comes when this CROWize Vienna Blog is replaced by proper consultants and quality design and implementation.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Welcome to the age of the bike.

As a Brit living Vienna I was very excited about The Times Cycling Campaign when if first was made public because it was a big sign that Cycling in Britain Goes Mainstream.  Their 8 points were nice but focused on symptoms without really understanding the problem.  For example fitting mirrors to trucks is a good idea but will not really make it pleasant for a 10 year old cyclists to share the road with them.  However the Times have stuck at it and are relaunching their initiative and if this article is anything to go by they are really on the right track.

Austria did a better job with its 10 point manifesto, and in terms of Cycle usage and  infrastructure is well in front of the UK.  However Vienna is way behind where it could be potentially.

This all just confirms to me that the world is changing and the bike is a big part of the answer for the foreseeable future of urban mobility.  So I hope the focus in Vienna also changes to infrastructure quality because that is where I see the biggest barrier to utility cycling by a large proportion of the population.

So please to check out and support  The Times Cycling Campaign and lets hope this political realisation is contagious.