What would you do at this junction?

Here is this weeks Comment Friday or Forum Friday as someone suggested on Twitter (I could tell you who but Twitter only seems to work once every few hours!).

This time it’s a question from Mr J. Who wanted to know what you would do if faced by this junction..

What would you do as a cyclist at this junction?

Would you hop off your bike, continue to cycle or something else?

The road signs seem very unclear for cyclists and as you can see the green cycle path leads onto the pavement.

This example is taken from the Google Maps Streetview near Old Street Tube Station.

Personally, I would rarely be cycling in a cycle lane as 90% of the time they are too slow, useless or more dangerous than actually being on the road.

Last Comment Fridays:

Enjoy your weekend!

P.S. Don’t forget to checkout the Bike Week events happening this weekend.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

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35 Responses to What would you do at this junction?

  1. Calum 25/06/2010 at 9:03 am #

    Funny story: I had an accident at this very junction a few months ago. A car turned right out of the junction opposite whilst I was on the crossing (they are only supposed to turn left). I busted up my shoulder and my Brompton was a write-off.

    • tim 25/06/2010 at 9:49 am #

      i think your definition of funny is different to mine 😉

      • Andreas 25/06/2010 at 10:01 am #

        I second that! But glad you manage to see the “funny” side

  2. Meadowend 25/06/2010 at 9:07 am #

    I know that junction. The design is appalling, but the answer to your question depends on whether you want to turn left or right. If you want to turn left, stay on the black tarmac and turn with the rest of the traffic. If you want to turn right follow the cycle lane onto the pavement – there’s a contraflow cycle lane on the other side of the (one-way) main road ahead. The cycle lane allows you to cut across the traffic and turn right into the cycle lane.

    Confusing first time? Certainly – but I knew I wanted to turn right and I guessed correctly. At least the cycle lane doesn’t make you undertake traffic turning left at the junction ahead, but it does put you into potential conflict with pedestrians.

  3. Steve 25/06/2010 at 9:09 am #

    The cycle lane has dotted lines across the end, I would get off at the crossing.

    Although I would have taken a different route since these projects slow down cycle traffic.

  4. shannon 25/06/2010 at 9:11 am #

    Sorry to hear about your accident Calum, that sucks. It highlights one of the problems people tend to ignore, that accidents can happen even if you are doing everything “right”.

    There are so many bad junctions/bad bike lanes. At this junction if I was on the bike lane, I would LOOK behind me to see if anyone was coming, and then crossover. If there was someone coming I would slow down and let them pass, stop if I had to. Of course I probably wouldn’t be turning onto a main road (I think this is City Road?), I try to avoid them as much as possible.

  5. Craig 25/06/2010 at 9:20 am #

    Its not really a cycle lane is it. Its a feed path for an alternative route for cyclists. You can see it comes directly out of the traffic flow and up on to the pavement. Whilst such routes really do slow down the average cyclist, they do provide a safe route (because you are walking) for this less traffic savvie cyclist.

    So the same as Meadowend, left stay on the bike – right follow the route but since its a pavement get off .

  6. Mr. J 25/06/2010 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks for posting my question Andreas. I need to turn right at this intersection.

    Almost all cyclists I see in practice stay on thier bikes when they need to go straight or take a right. The conflict with pedestrians is massive, and one ped shoulder-checked me on purpose earlier this week. I commute at peak morning time.

    It seems odd that you are intended to dismount because the pedestrian signal also includes a cycle logo green light. But a dismounted cyclist *IS* a pedestrian, so why the cycle light?

    My home city Toronto has zero tolerance for cycling on the pavement whereas London seems more lassiez-faire on this issue. In Toronto you would not typically give way to a cyclist on the pavement, only a dirty look!

    It looks like my instincts are correct and I will dismount here in future.

    Lovely cycling city, London is – happy to be here and glad I brought by wheels with me.

    • Andreas 25/06/2010 at 10:03 am #

      No worries Mr J. Thanks for the good contribution!

  7. Tim H 25/06/2010 at 10:00 am #

    I agree with your comment on cycle lanes, I sometimes come through Tavistock square and the lanes there slow and crowded -I’d rather stick witht he flow of traffic on the road.

    • Andreas 25/06/2010 at 10:04 am #

      Tavistock is one of the few places with segregated cycling infrastructure – its good when quiet but during rush hour I imagine the narrow lanes are far from adequate.

      • jane 25/06/2010 at 12:48 pm #

        The cycle lanes around Tavistock are a complete nightmare – very few vehicles even seem to notice that there are cycle lanes running along the north side of the road and go to turn across them without checking. I would never recommend anybody use those cycle lanes even when it’s quiet – at least during rush hour there is a steady stream of cyclists along the bike lane to alert drivers to its existence. I cycle that route regularly and have seen so many near misses.

        • Steve 02/07/2010 at 12:50 pm #

          I used them for a while when they first opened, the East-West bidirectional path near Mallett Street was a nightmare with Black Cabs turning across it into side roads, I bought an air-horn to warn them, it only worked because they didn’t recognise the sound as a bike sound I’m sure.

  8. Tim 25/06/2010 at 10:05 am #

    Like most cycling in London. Look both ways at least three times, assume all around are homicidal maniacs out to get just you and of course take the route that will get you there in the safest,quickest and most convenient way.

  9. Bassjunkieuk 25/06/2010 at 10:08 am #

    That’s a good one! Given the fact that there isn’t a clearly marked cycle lane on the pavement I’d say if I was turning right I’d get off an walk, not that it makes very clear unless there are signs further back up the road to indicate as such.

    As some others have said some cycle lanes really can cause more problems then they solve. I have one in my local town that takes you from a perfectly good, but rather busy dual carriageway (30mph zone) w/ bus lane and makes you do a rather nice little chicane before spitting you out onto the tram tracks! I always miss that one as it’s a complete waste of time as you then have to cross the tram lines to re-join the bus lane when you could just stay on the main carriageway another 5-10 yards and join it like a bus or taxi 🙂

  10. Tom Mc 25/06/2010 at 10:10 am #

    I use this junction daily and, while confusing, context makes it slightly less puzzling.

    I doubt many cyclists would turn left here; it leads straight on to Old Street roundabout which this route is ‘designed’ to avoid.

    The green cycle lanes take you over the lights and, on the pavement mind, onto a contraflow cycle lane on the street with the No Entry sign and this is where the fun really starts as there are always cars parked on the right and it’s only two cars plus a fag paper wide meaning you get people rallying around the back streets, avoiding Old Street, driving straight at you at 40.

    Oh, and death stares from pedestrians who presume you are just riding the wrong way down a one way street and there is sod all signage.

    And don’t get me started on the next junction, between Leonard Street and Paul Street.

    I’m guessing a car driver ‘designed’ the whole thing

    • Mr. J 25/06/2010 at 10:15 am #

      Tim Mc, do you have a better route to get from here to 201 Bishopsgate? Or just grin & bear it?

      Even if bike lanes are not well implemented, they at least cycling is a priority for the city.

  11. Adam Edwards 25/06/2010 at 10:40 am #

    What would I do? Send it to the Warrington Cycling Campaign for their Facility of the Month.

    I assume it’s based on the cycle path at Aldwych from Drury Lane to Waterloo Bridge. Maximum conflict with pedestrians guaranteed.


  12. Adam S 25/06/2010 at 10:51 am #

    I would turn up my MP3 player, take another swig of Red Bull and pull a wheelie up the pavement, trying to knock as many pedestrians over as possible.

  13. Roy 25/06/2010 at 11:18 am #

    I geuss if I came accross this for the first time I’d slow right up as you’re directed onto the pavement anyway, & carry on to see what goes.

    And as for black looks and daggers we should all be used to that by now, when they walk out into the road in front of me and I shout at them the look is like “what you doing there”

    I can only assume it’s because if they can’t hear us then were not there.

  14. Pete 25/06/2010 at 11:26 am #

    Does anybody know if there is a law to say if there is a cycle lane then you have to use it?

    There is a cycle lane near Richmond park on the road that leads to/from Roehampton gate. The cycle lane is on the footpath but is always littered with glass not to mention the driveways that cars like turning into without indicating.

    I always stay on the road on this section because I feel far safer, but every few weeks I get this builder who hurls abuse at me (and other unlucky cyclists) for cycling on the road.

    My approach is that I cycle where I feel safest, us cyclist have just as much right to be on the road as any other road user.

    • Filippo Negroni 25/06/2010 at 11:53 am #

      The law says exactly that: you cycle where is legal and safest. Cycle lanes/tracks are not compulsory.

  15. Jon M 25/06/2010 at 12:06 pm #

    If needing to follow the cycle path on to the pavement, and the pavement is at all busy with pedestrians, I’d get off. Pedestrians – quite rightly – view cyclists the same way we view motorists: as a potential threat to their safety, and all too often completely inconsiderate. Just because some fool designer has directed us across a busy stretch of pavement doesn’t mean we should hurtle across it at full speed. What’s the hurry? If you’re on a bike you’ll always get there first anyway.

  16. botogol 25/06/2010 at 12:17 pm #

    along Cable Street the road surface is exquisite: beautifully smooth high quality tarmac. the cycle lane, however, is appalling – bumpy, ridged surfaces with bits off loose surface crumbling (they are redoing at at the moment to make CS3)

    I always take the road (except where is is one way against me, obviously) and like you I sometimes get hooted. What makes me mad is that because of humps, lights, junctions, roundabouts and traffic my average speed is significantly faster than then the cars that are hooting me.

    • Mike 25/06/2010 at 12:49 pm #

      There you go, botogol – your last sentence just about sums up why we’re so unpopular with motorists – we get there markedly faster than they do!

  17. Roy 25/06/2010 at 12:45 pm #

    But botogol,

    The car rules we all know that, that’s why they are hooting us, because we are where they want to be.

    Sod em let them wait I say, they’re not gonna stay with us in London traffic anyway.

  18. Kevin Steinhardt 25/06/2010 at 6:30 pm #

    If the Old Street roundabout wasn’t signal-controlled, I’d probably save myself the annoyance of trying to turn right using the cycle farce-ility and head ’round the roundabout. Is there any indication that the ‘pavement’ on the right after the little ramp up is of the shared-use variety?

  19. Russ 01/07/2010 at 10:39 am #

    I go through this junction every day and to be honest I’m just happy to skip the Old St./City Rd. roundabout.

    It could be better thought out – it seemed obvious to me (with the cycle signal on the light) that you’re supposed to cross the pavement on both sides to the cycle lane on the far side, and yes that does put you in conflict with pedestrians (including those standing outside the pub opposite!) – but I’m not sure what the alternative would be. There’s a similar dodgy set of bike plus pedestrian lights when you rejoin Old St. further on.

    Generally I think my route is improved when they’ve put *some* concession to cyclists in (advance stops FTW!), rather than nothing.

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  21. Sarina 04/08/2010 at 12:54 pm #

    I use this junction every day (as I work on this street) and I agree that the full context makes it easier to navigate. I ride up the green path and turn right at the pedestrian crossing, managing to piss of as few pedestrians as possible. The stupidest part is the opposite side of the road has an cycle entry onto a contraflow path which is usually blocked by people waiting at the lights or the pub’s tables positioned across it!

  22. rbrant 15/08/2010 at 10:27 am #

    I would remove the advertising board directly in the way of the cycle feed lane.

  23. Dan 21/01/2011 at 7:30 pm #

    Only done this junction once, and wanted to turn right. I assumed that I could cycle the whole way, but I obviously did it at a snail’s pace. Looking at it now, I can see the dotted lines and end of the green area indicate the end of the cycle lane, but looking at the ground 10 feet in front of you is something I try to avoid, especially when I thought I was entitled to carry on cycling!

    Some clear signage would be better! A sign under the one way signs saying “except cyclists” might help, but how about a whole new colour of signage for cyclists?

  24. Chris Hendrie 29/01/2011 at 1:07 am #

    I use this junction all the time. Go straight on, as the pelican crossing is for pedestrians and cyclists (it has a green cycle light too), joining the green cycle lane on the street opposite that takes you round to Great Eastern Street / Old Street.

  25. Cycle Maximus 02/02/2011 at 10:25 am #

    It’s almost like they are testing cyclists to see how much they will put up with. I never use cycling infrastructure because it is more dangerous that the normal roads. I never understand these give way lines at the end of the cycle lane. What do they mean? The cycle lane has come to and end and so you must get off, so you can’t give way any more. Imagine if the M1 just came to an end!

    I want to be treated like any other vehicle and so would turn left here then do a U-turn later on,

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