Friday 20 September 2013

Junction Design

As part of the Ring VO Radfahren in der Stadt there was a very interesting lecture from Michael Meschik on cycle infrastructure design.  His lecture can be seen and heard in full here:

A lot of very good reasonable points are made in this lecture but I was very disappointed to see the following slide.

This is text book Vehicular Cycling Sect Radwege are Dangerous Bullshit.  It results in the conclusion that cyclists need to be integrated into the motor traffic at junctions so that they can be seen.  This idea is part of the Dutch Strategy for Access Road junctions but in Vienna the VC Sect constantly use this to corrupt planning discussions about Through Roads where this strategy is totally inappropriate and irresponsible.

Austrian design guides and junction implementations often abandon cyclists or use them as human traffic calming devices.  This induces conflict and is very unpleasant for all road users.  Cyclists develop various creative strategies to cope that normally involve illegal use of pedestrian crossings, conflict with pedestrians and unpredictable movements and blocking positioning that annoy car drivers.

Junctions are accident spots so the Dutch use a wide range of designs to reduce conflict and or motor traffic speed depending on traffic volumes. This is complicated but Paul James has done some excellent drawings and explanations. Click the pictures for an explanation.

Mark Wagenbuur's brilliant video explains the basics of some of these types of junction.

This all looks a bit confusing and difficult to understand but the use of Sharks Teeth and other details make these junctions clear and intuitive for all road users.  I believe the clarity of purpose and resulting predictability of movements together with the clear rights of way create a better low conflict Road Culture.  I might be wrong but I am sure it is not intelligent to state that Dutch Junction design is all wrong and only works because the car drivers and cyclists are some how different.

So the big question is how do we get politicians, planners and cycle activists to get over their prejudices about separation and get them to spend the time to understand why the Dutch have been so successful with their cycle traffic planning, rather than brushing it off as a culture thing?


  1. Good post. Good drawings of the various options that are available. Re the big question, might I suggest they all go on a 3-day Study Tour with David Hembrow in and around Assen and Groningen to not only see how junctions work but to feel what it's like to ride through them. Safe and privileged are some of the feelings I can remember. Righteous indignation that I don't have this type of infrastructure in Australia is another.

  2. Thanks for your comment Jim. The drawings are great but not my work. I stole them for Paul James ( and his excellent blog. I wish lots of people (including myself) could go on the Study Tour with David Hembrow. I think we have a lot of righteous indignation to deal with before the established planning and cycle advocacy groups realises the level of sophisticated simplifying elegance in some of the Dutch design.