Invisible recumbents narrowly avoid death

A video looking at extreme recumbent risk-takers on Britain’s public roads… (or not)!

See how they blend into the tarmac!

I’ve been meaning to post something like this for years, literally. I make no apologies for having my tongue firmly in cheek with the subtitles… 🙂

So many people (if truth be told, other cyclists mainly) spout off about how recumbents inherently must be hard to see and express amazement that you commute on one for thousands of miles each year, let alone survive a trip to the corner shop without instantly being flattened…

Yet when you actually ride one, or see one being ridden, you inevitably think to yourself, wow – I wish riding a normal bike felt this safe, with so much room given by motorists…

We still have just the one recumbent versus seven ordinary bikes. There are lots of valid reasons why you might not want one. But based on my experience, safety on the road doesn’t come into the picture (unless it’s to say that you’re actually much better off on a recumbent than anything else!)

A tiny aside

Watch the road positioning between 50 and 60 seconds into the video. There’s a serious risk that motorists coming up this road will straddle the central speed cushion, forcing you right up against the doors of the parked cars on your side. This is neatly pre-empted by the assertive positioning of the lower recumbent rider (David Gardiner, the proprietor of the excellent Laid-Back-Bikes).

You will often hear people say that the only way to ride safely is to pretend that people can’t see you. On the contrary, mastery of the road requires you to understand and exploit the fact that everyone can see you quite clearly almost all of the time – their incentives just aren’t well aligned with your needs.

Manufactured conflict: postscript

Despite re-alignment, the natural line to take to enter this new path is still on the “wrong” side of the road…

When even stupid design goals aren’t met

I posted recently about the redesign of a cycleway in Edinburgh which has manufactured conflict between pedestrians and cyclists.

One prominent part of the discussion around this step back in bike/walking provision is the weird way that pedestrians have to walk out onto the “wrong” side of the road then walk across the road onto the pavement, where previously the path just led them naturally onto the pavement.

Apparently this re-alignment is because there “had been reports of conflicts arising with cyclists travelling on the wrong lane and vehicles manoeuvring at the end of Barnton Avenue.”

Ignoring the obvious issue that Edinburgh Council’s design team seem to have forgotten that legally, cyclists are vehicles, and ignoring the issue that vehicles manoeuvring at the end of a mile-long cul-de-sac are basically nowhere to be seen – the natural line to take to enter the new path is still on the “wrong” side of the road.

The chicane could potentially be reversed, but I think at that point a desire line would open up around the boulders on the right instead. I keep thinking the paved gutter there invites a cut-through.

So pedestrians have to dodge through a chicane and walk over the road to get to the pavement because… planners don’t understand how cycling works?

How ironic is that?

Incidentally, I have no idea who the silver fox on the bike in front is – hundreds and hundreds of people cycle on this route and I know about three of them personally. Someone elsewhere suggested I had a ready supply of actors to try and show up Edinburgh council, but that’s quite unnecessary!

ASA-compliant cycling: low life expectancy

If you want to live more than five minutes cycling in the UK you *absolutely cannot* afford to cycle as timidly as this!

If you want to live, get out of the gutter

The ASA kicked up a storm a while back with its ludicrous and widely-condemned verdict that cyclists must be shown cycling in the gutter in the mainstream media.

This week the ASA issued a humiliating climbdown, but too late for this pair of Edinburgh cyclists who I passed on a commute the other day.

Holy shit, if you want to live more than five minutes cycling in the UK you absolutely cannot afford to cycle as timidly as this:

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that these people were killed under the nearside of an overtaking HGV. You can see how little hesitation the three motors in front of me in the queue have in taking up the invite to pass. The internet is littered with the names of cyclists killed by truck drivers in circumstances like this, including more than one in Edinburgh.

Safe responsible cycling means getting in the way of dangerous driving. It’s easier said than done, but I’d rather have a shouting match with a moron every six months than be six feet under.

Manufactured conflict

Two way traffic (and pedestrians) are forced into head on conflict which just didn’t exist before, and has been completely manufactured by the redesign of the path…

Public funds squandered making vital cycle route less safe?

In the north-west of Edinburgh a short stretch of tarmac links the city centre with West Lothian and Fife, converting tens of thousands of car journeys from the gridlocked A90 to virtually car-free bike commutes.

Just twenty minutes hard riding will take you from the edge of Edinburgh at Cramond Brig Toll to Haymarket, or down to Leith – without ever suffering from the city’s dodgy drivers.

Recently the city decided to spend a sackload of cash giving this path a facelift, the primary benefit being path lighting to improve personal safety. (Unfortunately an unlit wooded path doesn’t convert all that many car commutes to cycle ones in the winter months, especially – if you can forgive an anecdote – amongst the women I know who would otherwise use this route.)

In short order the contractors came in, repaved the path and added in the handy stud lighting that has proven so popular on the Union canal. So far, so good…

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Then the rot started to set in. Within days, trenches were dug across the path and half-buried bricks put in, to prevent cyclists getting too comfortable. Giant slow signs have been painted everywhere for the benefit of occasional dog walkers, putting them in a strong bargaining position when Fenton is allowed to hospitalise a hapless commuter.

Finally, a chicane has been put in at the top of the path along with the city’s favourite “tramline” tactile paving (naturally no space has been allowed for cyclists to negotiate the paving before the chicane, they’re right next to each other).

Incredibly, the city actually paid to *remove* the existing path entrance and even put giant boulders across it. Now two way traffic (and pedestrians) are forced into head on conflict which just didn’t exist before, and has been completely manufactured by the redesign of the path:

Apparently this has been done because “we are under a lot of pressure from residents there to tackle excess speeding from cyclists”, according to a council source. (Strava reveals that the 85th percentile cycling speed is under 20mph and the official Stats19 data shows there were no injuries, even slight ones, to any pedestrian or cyclist in the ten years from 2000-2010, but hey ho).

Take a look at the video. Is that really what residents wanted? Couldn’t they have enjoyed walking along a path that’s twice as wide where cyclists start off on the opposite side?

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Image pinched from the discussion on the CCE forum, by Kaputnik

Ironically the far side of the path (I didn’t bother uploading the whole video) is considerably narrower as houses have been built hard up to the tarmac, with typical lack of foresight. There the council has installed speed tables because residents’ driveways preclude chicanes.

The moral would appear to be that it’s OK to drive at 20mph but cycling at that speed is reckless, optimistically ignoring the fact that 95% of the people cycling through *are* drivers who’ve given up the cut-and-thrust of Edinburgh’s roads. (While you wouldn’t drive on such a path, after you remove oncoming traffic and parked cars from the width of Edinburgh’s actual roads the space you’re left with to drive in is not dissimilar).

I don’t pretend to offer any kind of solution to the odd nutter on a bike, other than pointing out that we should be using the available space to make wide paths when it’s so easy to do so. Unfortunately so long as the only alternative route is a multi-lane road where traffic is either completely stationary or belting along at 40-50mph, a lot of commuters are going to switch to an attractive empty cycle path, and every so often one of them will annoy a pedestrian.

It’s still better than putting them back in their car.

The Recumbent Attribution Error

It’s easy to blame the bike, but really, bad driving is universal and we shouldn’t be fooled into having a safety debate over superficial differences…

Don’t be lazy when trying to find something to blame

As spring gets into full swing, I’ve dusted off the recumbent to put some miles in ahead of Saturday’s 400km Southern Uplands brevet.

After getting used to the usual antics of drivers between Balerno and the city centre – close passes, cutting in and out of lanes, aggressive driving and horn use – it’s been pretty refreshing to enjoy bags of passing room, no cutting up and no aggression.

I don’t believe this comes from some mystical power of the recumbent to soothe the angry beast behind the wheel, but simply because it jars people out of the well-worn groove that “it’s only a bike, I don’t need to give him much room”, or “it’s only a bike, how dare he hold me up from speeding to the next red light”, or whatever.

Something interesting did happen the other day though, as I was motoring along Slateford Road at over 25mph in the morning peak. See if you can spot the driver who apparently failed to see my recumbent?

It’s not close, I merely chose this as an illustration of the principle – hands up if your default response to this sort of situation would be “well, what does he expect riding around on an invisible bike?” or maybe “he got lucky, he could have been taken out if the distance had been a bit less”?

For my part, I was mildly vexed that the driver had pulled out on me when I was going so fast – only by flooring it was he able to keep the car in front until I rocketed past at the next set of lights. However, after countless thousands of urban miles, I know better than to take the lazy option of thinking that a bike which is at any distance just a few fractions of a degree lower than another bike is actually going to be hard to see.

Instead, my experience tells me that while there’s no meaning difference in visibility (or conspicuousness?) you’re never going to eliminate that proportion of bad driving that comes from not looking at all, or more likely – being seen perfectly but the driver ultimately doesn’t care.

This was illustrated nicely immediately afterwards… take a look at the full clip:

Nobody would ever suggest that the driver who pulls across multiple lanes of rush-hour traffic didn’t see the white car – that would be ridiculous. We find it easy to attribute this kind of driving to a total failure to look or (more likely) a high risk threshold / unhealthy disregard for the safety of others.

Throw a recumbent into the mix though, and even fellow cyclists are worryingly prone to tacking the blame for any mishap on the height of the vehicle (am I that much lower than the car in the video? Really?)

This “recumbent attribution error” is so common that I can’t even be bothered to find any examples (if you like, try googling for Councillor Michael Stanton, who infamously told a registered disabled constituent that he should have gone to Dignitas, the Swiss euthanasia clinic, rather than ride a recumbent, and you should find some robust discussion).

In my experience of riding a recumbent in rush hour Edinburgh, the only safety disadvantages are found in a few niche, easily avoided circumstances. They’re massively outweighed by the huge safety benefits of removing almost all the wilfully terrible driving that a cyclist normally receives.

In fact, it’s easy to argue that it’s probably a lot safer because it forces the rider away from the temptation to, say, skim the side of parked cars on the approach to a side street, so you just don’t do it. Combined with the mirror, taking a much more positive road position is probably half the advantage, with the rest coming from drivers’ apparent fear to be aggressive towards you.

I’ve been meaning to write something on recumbent safety for years but just can’t get into it as a topic – probably because whenever I ride mine, it feels so safe that I can’t understand why I keep going back to a normal bike for the rat race.

Dooring – depressingly common

It’s lucky I’ve seen so many offences committed on Edinburgh’s streets that I was covering the brakes…

The #1 cause of cycling KSIs is a flung-open door

I’m not going to say much about this, other than to point out that it’s lucky I’ve seen so many offences committed on Edinburgh’s streets that I was covering the brakes and able to stop without drama.

Something I learned the hard way as a student, when I was taken off by a flung-open door in moving traffic (!).

I could write to the council and report the taxi – 8am, no stopping zone, W309 PSX (taxi number 1199) and a clear offence under Construction & Use… but what’s the point? It would merely be noted as no death occurred (and presumably I “came out of nowhere” despite wearing a white jacket 😉 )

These days you can actually get prosecuted if you’re doing something as unusual as driving while eating a bowl of cereal, but something like this is so depressingly common that it’s not even worth reporting.

Donkey Lane and traffic jams

Why do people sit in traffic on the Calder Road when there’s an existing segregated cycle route from Currie to the Gyle?

When ‘almost’ is not much good at all…

Not far from our new house lies the curiously named “Donkey Lane”, a cycle path linking Currie with the Riccarton campus, Hermiston Gait and the Gyle, not to mention the west end and Lothian Road (via the canal).

Donkey Lane allows you to avoid the sort of daily rush hour traffic which I’ve attached in video for contrast. While you read this article, you may want to play that in a second window alongside (or if you really have the patience… it’s embedded below)

Now, back to Donkey Lane:

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The adjacent residential street, recently and extensively resurfaced…

Considering the huge queues that pile up every day along the A70 and down at the Calder roundabout, you’d think that this would be a popular facility- it takes me an hour to drive to our swanky office on the shore, yet I can bike it in roughly half an hour…

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Unfortunately most people don’t get any further than this – the entrance.

In reality, almost nobody uses Donkey Lane. So at least we aren’t alone there.

We house-shopped based on good school catchments with a linear segregated cycle route into town, so it’s a surprise to admit that we are driving more (vastly more) than when we lived in the south of Edinburgh in a flat which more or less pre-dated our interest in cycling.

Or is it?

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Donkey Lane is a public right of way but is in private ownership, and self-evidently receives no significant maintenance. In summer it’s horrendously overgrown, and for the other eleven months of the year it’s clearly a sort of linear swamp which can only attract the most dedicated masochist.

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There’s a serious upside to using these paths – it’s unusual for even one car to overtake me cycling between Currie and Leith, eleven miles away. And I’m saving 30 minutes each way over driving!

Unfortunately, after initial enthusiasm I have to confess that getting covered head-to-toe in mud and destroying hubs like they’re going out of fashion (despite full SKS guards) can get a little tiring.

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With the council looking to add 10,000 homes or so to this side of Edinburgh in the next few years, and constant hand-wringing over road capacity, you’d think paths like these would be massively low-hanging fruit.

On an average morning I can count a hundred cyclists between Wester Hailes and Leith on the segregated path network. If they all drove, it would be like one extra car every 20 seconds!

There’s only one cyclist who I see (on a blue moon) travelling via Donkey Lane, despite Currie having no shortage of well-off, well-educated people who are (for better or worse) the sort of people who seem to be candidate cyclists today. Instead they all sit bumper to bumper on the A70…

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There’s something of a heated debate on CCE just now about plans to properly surface a couple of East Lothian’s old railways, which has naturally been opposed by the usual competing interest groups.

No doubt the same argument can be made for Edinburgh paths like Donkey Lane and the Water of Leith – but we should be clear that we’re trading a lot of extra idling diesel engines to benefit a minority who prefer their paths filthy.

Cycling is itself a minority pursuit, so I suppose it comes down to whether we want to get people out of their cars at the expense of people like riding schools, whose horses understandably prefer a natural surface.

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You only have to stand on NEPN for a few moments to be passed by dozens of people who’ve left their car at home. Here almost everyone drives despite having a choice of segregated cycleways, because getting covered in mud (and needing expensive lights to avoid rocks and roots) is a hefty disincentive.

Does having a mud surface prevent speeding riders? Well, it is on Strava at 24mph… but would you rather have a 24mph cyclist on a deserted path or a load of 40mph drivers going past your local primary school?

Would you rather queue as in the video or have 10-20% of those vehicles cycling instead?

Evidently, it’s not enough just to have a muddy chute, because people aren’t going near it.

I raised this with our councillors and two of them were good enough to obtain a response:  “Donkey Lane forms part of the Council’s long term proposals to create a ‘family friendly’ cycle network across the city and we plan to focus on its development once the shorter term priorities have been delivered”.

I’m not holding my breath, considering that it took ten years from the Land Reform Act to sort out the *signage* for cycling in the Meadows… but I am looking forward to getting back out of the car some day. 🙂

Contour Roam 2 review

The Contour Roam 2 is a fantastic HD helmet camera – robust, reliable, and excellent quality.

Cycling headcam strikes perfect balance

Join the rapidly increasing number cyclists who both protect and educate themselves on the roads with the Contour Roam 2, an excellent quality, robust and easy to use high definition video camera.

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Picture: Toby Williams via EEN

Other cameras are available, but my experience is that cheaper ones tend to be unreliable; you can also pay more, to enjoy extra features – but none of them are essential for cycling and the price jump can be huge.

Why a camera?

There are lots of articles about this online (including at least one by me), but to cut a long story short:

  • in the event of a collision or near miss, you’ll have extremely strong evidence on your side
  • you can watch back footage of yourself to learn from mistakes, such as riding too close to the kerb or failing to take a strong enough line through a pinch point.
  • if you want to put pressure on your council over infrastructure, video footage of the current failing setup will make them squirm
  • It keeps you calm and relaxed when riding – although it won’t directly block physical injury, knowing you’re recording may give you the confidence needed to interact assertively (and thus safely) with other road users.

contour-roam-review

Why the Contour Roam 2?

There are bargain camera options available for under £100, but my experience is very much that you get what you pay for. Cheap cameras tend to be flimsy; to attach badly to your helmet or bike; to cut out unexpectedly (usually when knocked – so at the worst possible moment).

They often fail to hold a charge, while controls leave much to be desired and there is no easy way to get the camera status without plugging it into your PC. Some aren’t even waterproof!

Can you tell I’ve tried a few? Good money after bad! 🙁

In contrast, the Contour Roam 2 will keep working when dropped; it is waterproof without a case and has a very secure method of attachment. The battery, although integral, has enough charge for plenty of riding and there are multiple status LEDs to help you with the camera in the street.

Key adjustments such as the 270 degree rotational lens (with laser marker to help get it straight) are worlds ahead of fixed lens cameras where you have to spend ages fiddling with a mount before riding.

YouTube makes a mess of the quality anyway, but use the cog icon to switch to 1080p high definition and you’ll see it’s pretty good:

Obviously, don’t try that at home 😉 A demonstration under controlled circumstances by an expert is not the same as best practice for every day riding!

Modes and controls

The Contour Roam 2 records either in 720p or 1080p full high definition. Quality is great for such a small camera – easily enough for evidence purposes, but also good enough for broadcast in some circumstances.

Other than that, a switch from 30FPS to 60FPS (when shooting 720p) is the only option you’re likely to worry about (setting these can’t be done on the road, but it is straightforward indoors).

Out on the road you just move the chunky sliding button on the camera forward and it starts recording immediately – do the reverse and it stops. There’s an “instant on” That’s more or less it – enjoy great footage!

The Roam 2 connects with a standard USB cable and this both charges the battery and mounts the memory card for easy access from your computer. Files are pretty big: going on for 1GB per 10 mins, so you will want a large SD card and you won’t want to keep old footage hanging around for too long!

Conclusion

The Roam might seem expensive, but it’s not so much compared with the cost of replacing your bike (or your teeth!) after a hit and run or contested insurance claim. Even better if this up front investment allows you to improve your cycling enough to anticipate or deter a collision from happening in the first place!

Use of these cameras for ‘crowdsourcing’ evidence to use in campaigns against local authorities and politicians (as with the QBC video above) is still in its nascency, but it’s only going to get more and more common.

I highly recommend you get yours here – Wiggle do free delivery but also free no-quibble returns, so even if it’s not for you… it’s not the end of the world.

I seriously doubt you’ll regret it though. 🙂

I’ll leave you with a couple of frames from a video I chose at random, to demonstrate the sharpness:

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Video protection on the roads

Police Scotland (amongst others) need to start taking road safety much more seriously….

I have a compact HD video camera which I use routinely when travelling around Edinburgh – always when I use the car and almost always when I travel by bike. Relatively inexpensive, charges by USB with zero hassle and I don’t need to sit through unwanted footage – perfect 🙂

I recently had a near miss at the hands of a driver I subsequently filmed tapping away on their mobile phone; I might not have been so bothered had they not waved their phone under my nose while telling me it wasn’t their problem.

I rang it through on 101 – something you’d think would be an open-and-shut case but which Police Scotland could hardly have been less interested in.

Out of sheer frustration I posted footage of the incident on YouTube and, amongst other channels, it looks like this is going to run in tomorrow’s Edinburgh Evening News [edit: now updated with link – a very positive piece by Jen Lavery].

Although I’ve featured numerous videos on the site I haven’t yet discussed the actual act of filming the streets and thought this might be a good time to do so.

The truth is good for everyone

The main person who is being filmed by drivers with dash cams and cyclists with headcams is the driver/cyclist themselves. From the moment I start the ignition the film starts rolling and my every move is precisely detailed until the moment I park up.

Ditto on the bike. Another driver or cyclist may feature for a few moments but then they’re gone and (mostly) forgotten. Should I hand over footage to anyone the feature attraction is my own speed, positioning and attentiveness.

It might sound daft, but watching video footage of yourself on the roads has a massive impact that you just can’t get any other way. For instance, you keep getting cut up at a particular junction but when you watch the footage back it’s obvious that you’re too close to the kerb and inviting a dangerous overtake.

You slow down to half speed on a cycle track (like the North Edinburgh paths) but you still get a couple of tuts – you can actually watch back and decide whether you were out of order, or if it’s just a spot of NIMBYism from a vexed pedestrian.

A camera also protects you (or condemns you) when things get more serious. I hit an uncontrolled dog recently and there was nothing stopping the owner claiming he had it on the lead and I was “speeding” except the cold hard truth of the video reel. At the same time, if I do nail someone on the paths and we both get carted off to A&E it’s just as possible that the video might be used the other way.

While cyclists seem to get all the press when it comes to cameras on the road, widespread use of recording equipment is coming fast across all vehicle classes.

More than six hundred buses in Edinburgh city centre are continuously filming from multiple angles and this has helped Lothian Buses’ drivers attain an enviable reputation for sensible driving. Goods vehicles, fleet vehicles and an increasing number of private vehicles are following suit. Everyone’s a winner (so long as it’s not your bad habit of texting and driving that’s getting an airing).

Out-grouping and survivor’s justice

Cyclists in particular face a massive uphill struggle for safe treatment on the roads and do not often enjoy the protection of the legal system when things go wrong.

In the worst case scenario, the authorities are left with a corpse and a driver who insists they did nothing wrong (“he came out of nowhere!” “he was in my blind spot” “he swerved and there was nothing I could do”) and as you might expect, justice in these scenarios is in extremely short supply.

Some drivers actually manage to kill twice, such as lorry driver Joao Lopes in London, or Edinburgh’s very own Gary McCourt, and it’s not impossible (in fact, odds are it’s likely) that these two are just the tip of an iceberg of bad driving that often – thankfully – doesn’t have terminal consequences for innocent passers by.

Ask any accident investigator what they’d give for high definition, 60FPS footage of any driver’s actions in the moments leading up to a crash and I wager they’ll bite your arm off.

Infrastructure and public comment

While life is too short to bother with every dangerous manoeuvre you see on the road, video footage can still be very useful for more mundane tasks like harassing your local councillors over a dangerous or substandard section of road, as I’ve tried to do with Edinburgh’s ridiculous “Quality Bike Corridor” and also in the campaign on the redesign of Leith Walk.

A growing number of drivers who speed through Edinburgh’s southside 20mph pilot zone are, unknown to them, being archived in high definition video. Sure, Police Scotland aren’t keen on enforcing 20mph limits but you can bet they will be interested in establishing a pattern of behaviour after any collision (as will drivers’ insurance companies).

This type of crowdsourced data may also be invaluable for targeting any enforcement or infrastructure efforts that come along at a later date.

That awkward thing – evidence

As the number of cameras on the roads increases they are steadily being cited in more and more convictions (and uncounted insurance victories), but the real problem is not the use of video footage in court – the Metropolitan Police have gone on record to say that video footage is helpful in encouraging people to “plead guilty rather than trying it on” and that they have “reduced a lot of time at court”.

Rather, the issue is getting the police and prosecutors to accept and act on documentary footage when it is presented to them – in London a scheme has been established which allows direct video submission from the public that in turn may lead to targeted enforcement or prosecution (with variable enthusiasm) but this has not been widely adopted.

As my own experience shows, it can even be difficult just to get your footage aired despite making a direct allegation to the police. It’s not like these things have to result in masses of paperwork or someone going to jail (there are options like cautions, fixed penalties and the s.59 antisocial driving marker that can be easily applied).

Cracking down on dangerous driving is a no-brainer and a road which is driven on with care is a road that all of Edinburgh’s citizens can enjoy living around and travelling along.

But before that can happen, Police Scotland (amongst others) need to start taking road safety much more seriously.

Quality Bike Corridor : still not quality

After a winter to bed in, how does the Edinburgh Quality Bike Corridor fare? Is it just a long strip of cycle lane painted underneath de-facto parking bays?

It’s been several months since the Edinburgh’s £650,000 Quality Bike Corridor was launched to great fanfare.

I wrote in November that I considered City of Edinburgh Council to have “failed utterly” to have delivered any meaningful interpretation of the phrase “quality”, or indeed “corridor”, and this winter’s daily use has given me small reason to revise that harsh assessment.

It would be untrue to say that the Quality Bike Corridor is by any means a step backward for transport provision in Edinburgh; quite the reverse. It doesn’t make conditions appreciably worse for cycling than they were before, and in one or two respects has made a positive contribution.

However, that cannot excuse the sorry shambles that is the experience of trying to navigate the QBC. This video was shot today at 7pm, just as the evening rush is tailing off. It covers ~650m of the Quality Bike Corridor, and there are 55 (largely legally) parked vehicles: one obstruction forcing cyclists into traffic for every 12m. There are a large number of moving vehicles in the video – how many cyclists do you see?

Incidentally, if you’re interested in getting a camera yourself, I’m using (and can highly recommend) this compact HD video camera by Contour.

I will try to be fair: it’s nice that the surface is (generally) improved and I think the sections of cycle lane which have been built around parking are a significant improvement, especially heading north at the bottom of Ratcliffe Terrace (just before the illegally parked Bonaly Dairies delivery lorry I keep encountering on video). The short section of 20mph limit, hamstrung as it is, is punching well above its weight. I’d even go as far as to say that Summerhall, which saw a superfluous traffic lane removed northbound, feels dramatically safer.

However, the bottom line is that the Quality Bike Corridor has largely ended up as a very expensive resurfacing which benefits two groups of people: cyclists who were using the route anyway (I raise my hand here) and motorists who park (legally or otherwise) at cyclists’ expense, now without fear for their alloy rims.

Not that it needs reinforcing, but check out this video, shot during the hours of daylight:

Can you even spot the cycle provision here? What space has been set aside (in practice) for two-way cycle traffic on this section of the “Quality” Bike Corridor?

A true “Quality Corridor” would be very well used – this one has mainly seen growth on the “Quiet Route avoiding Quality Bike Corridor” (that is not a joke) which was created simply by sign-posting quiet neighbourhood roads a quarter mile to the west.

I wouldn’t suggest children cycle along it, I wouldn’t encourage the elderly or unfit try to cycle along it, and I certainly wouldn’t advise the inexperienced try to cycle along it – surely three things which are fundamental to sorting out the city’s transport (and “liveability”) issues.

The Quality Bike Corridor does not provide cyclists with any dedicated space to allow them to travel across town in confidence and safety. So long as it’s necessary to deal with speeding taxis, delivery lorries cutting in and out of illegal parking and private vehicles blocking up both sides of the road, cycling on this route will remain the province of the brave and the few.

We could be doing so much better.

Anyone on the Council who doesn’t understand why this is so frustrating is welcome to a free guided tour (I’ll even suppy a bike). I know there are people in the traffic department absolutely screaming out for this type of service…

Are you affected by the Quality Bike Corridor? Do you agree or disagree with me? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts…