I think this is deliberate. Why?

Genuine question.

Obviously the left hand side of this is supposed to be for bikes and right hand side for walkers. What puzzles me is the stretch of ribbed paving. On the bike side, the ribs are parallel with the kerb, on the walk side the ribs are transverse.

When I first started noticing these I assumed that the contractors who had implemented the design had misunderstood and got them the wrong way round. A set of ‘tram tracks’ going in the direction of travel is, at very best, scary for a cyclist becuse you fear it might catch your wheel like actual tram tracks. At worst it actually might be dangerous. Yet every example of this treatment has the ribs arranged like this so it must be deliberate. Why?

Is there some advantage to visually impaired people in having tactile paving with transverse ribs? Are the longitudinal ribs a subtle form of traffic calming – it is intended that cyclists are disconcerted? As I say, this is a genuine question.

There are plenty of examples of this in Bristol but I took this photo, funnily enough, just outside Warrington, famous in bike-blog circles, for their documentation of bad bike infrastructure.

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4 comments on “I think this is deliberate. Why?

  1. MikeC says:

    It’s as recommended by the DfT in http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/guidance-on-the-use-of-tactile-paving-surfaces/tactile-pavement.pdf The principle being that the bars lie across the pedestrian’s path. That this makes it the worst layout for cyclists does not seem to be acknowledged by the DfT.

  2. I can answer your question. This arrangement of tactiles is the recommended and standard way of marking the start and end of a pavement that is ‘shared use’; it denotes to the blind that one side is for cycling, the other side is for walking, with the ribs running parallel on the ‘cycling’ side. See section 8.16 of the DfT’s ‘Cycle Infrastructure Design’, LTN 2/08.

    A tactile arrangement like this – while being fairly horrible to cycle over – does at least have some use. It alerts you to the fact that you are about to enter a compromised and inadequate cycling facility.

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