Thursday, 21 November 2013

Beatrixgasse

Beatrixgasse is a 30kmph one way road with cycling allowed in both directions so it should be good for cycling. Most working days I ride along a bit of it and I absolutely hate it.  It is a great example of bad cycling infrastructure even if at first glance it looks perfect.

There is a problem and that is the quickest way to drive from A to B is not the 50kmph limit main multi-lane road (red line) due to number of traffic lights (red dots).  It is the 30 kmph Beatrixgasse.  Drivers know this and use this shortcut as a Rat Run.


If you are trying to drive from A to B as quickly as possible the last thing you want is a bloody cyclist in the way.  Cycling fast here helps to reduce this conflict but this is not so easy up hill.  Most drivers squeeze past carefully but some squeeze past even if there are obstacles caused by long parked vehicles or cyclists speeding down the hill in the other direction. 

There is a very nasty pinch point going into the road as cyclists merge with cars who started from the same red light, which results in a lot of blind overtakes. I am sure it is just a matter of time before I or someone else gets caught in this trap and has a 60kmph impact head on collision with a car.


Yes drivers should be patient and not make cyclists feel uncomfortable or endangered.  However they are taking a short cut and want to get though as fast as possible.  Asking them to be patient is asking them to ignore their current priorities and objectives.  Behavior based solutions will not work no matter how much useless paint you put on the road.

The Function of the road is clearly not clear and it is conflicting.

What would the Dutch do?  I believe they would stop the Rat Running.  This can be done very easily using the one way system like this.


This allows residents or people to access everywhere but stops the road being a short cut for motor traffic.  This would cause a slight inconvenience for some residents that need a longer distance to access their property but in return they have a very very low traffic road to live on.

Dutch Sustainable Safety aims to reduce conflict with clear road function.  Access roads are not also Through Roads.  Conflict of function leads to conflict of design and use and that creates conflict between the users.  This in turn leads to unpleasant danger as different needs are "negotiated".  I have had more than enough of "negotiating" with drivers here...

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Ignore the problem and blame the users.

Vienna has spent huge amounts of money renovating it's train stations. Wien Mitte is a central train station with a new shopping Mall so it is a very important destination as well as a transport hub. Even before it opened bikes got locked to scaffolding and sign posts as there was no where else to leave your bike.  It was a mess but you have to make a mess to build something better.  However once opened the additional bike parking provided was pathetic.  So understandably creative bike parking continued.  Reluctantly the city provided more bike parking but this too filled up instantly and the creative bike parking continued.

There are problems with the creative bike parking that are really well communicated in this video by Wolfgang Kremser:



Wolfgang has a very good point and we should all consider his perspective when we park our bikes. 

BUT

There is a chronic shortage of bike parking due to what can only be called a planning cock up.  Lets fix this problem, and not blame the cyclists for creative solutions to someone else's mistake.  Unfortunately the issue is being hijacked to force number plates on cyclists as part of an ongoing hate campaign!

http://tvthek.orf.at/programs/1339-Buergeranwalt/episodes/7039885-Buergeranwalt/7040017-Kennzeichen-fuer-Drahtesel

I will not even bother to answer why this is pathetic because the idea is not worth any time.

I went to the Wien Mitte this weekend a few times after the TV program aired and there was always a different bike locked to this very post.  So the TV program had zero effect on behaviour apart from to help fuel anti-cyclists hate politics.

How can the most basic planning cock up be allowed to turn into a debate about user behaviour?  If I was blind I would be furious that I had to put up with this crap.  There is no solution to the problem yet, and there will be no solution to the problem until we stop these pathetic hate political arguments about the behaviour of minority groups and find good technical planning solutions to the problem that has been created due to planning incompetence.

UPDATE 4.11.2013 from WIEN MITTE The Mall:
"Dear Doug, currently Stadt Wien is reconstructing Gigergasse. There will be more bike stands, as soon as their work is finished. We assume that it'll last till the beginning of the new year."

Fantastic.  This will hopefully be a real solution.  Thanks Wien Mitte Shopping Mall.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dual Network.

The London Cycling Campaign had what I think could be a ground breaking AGM. If think Motion 3 (When do we need protected space for cycling?) and 5 (Uniformity of cycling provision and suitability for all-ability groups) are critical to future successful campaigning. They define numerically (not subjectively) when to mix and when to separate. They also end the failing dual network approach to cycling infrastructure.

Vienna to my dismay and disbelief appears to be going backwards.

Is this really Modern cycle planning and freedom of choice or is this total and utter crap?

In Vienna as in every city there is limited space so we have to be very efficient with it. A dual solution takes up a lot of space so it is the opposite of what we should define as a good space use strategy.

In Vienna we have very very poor junction design with very unclear rights of way. The junctions that have a dual solution will be much more complex, confusing, have longer waiting times and lead to much more conflict as cyclists use a combination of the 2 sets of infrastructure to find their path of least resistance.

There is not a city in the world that has made a dual network approach to cycling infrastructure work and there are many many examples of where this approach has failed and lead to compromise that is not good for any type of cyclist.

This might not be the worst bit of cycling infrastructure in Vienna but it is not a template for a modern pleasant cycling city.  It is total and utter crap designed by selfish arrogant cyclists who think they belong on the road because they are advanced and beginners should train on the footpath until they are confident enough to graduate to the road like them. If you guys are reading this Fuck you.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

An inspiring film and presentation.

I get very frustrated when I seem to make no progress communicating what I consider to be the blatantly obvious. Luckily there are people out there that are much better at this, so if you have time please listen to them.

Street films produced a fantastic film about Groningen that explains how they facilitate cycling with traffic planning and infrastructure.



The Movement for Liveable London has some great presentations on their website. This presentation is an inspirational incite into Sustrans DIY Streets, which allows communities to develop affordable solutions to make their streets safer and more attractive places to live.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What should you do here?


So you are riding along on your bike in VeloCity 2013 and you approach this with a motor vehicle approaching fast from behind.  What do you do?


Here are some helpful tips to consider before you make a split second decision.

It is illegal to ride up the curb on to the footpath.
If you continue over the bridge and get rammed from behind it is your fault.
If you leave the cycle lane early to take the lane you have a developed good coping strategy so lets hope the driver has not developed a good contra-strategy.
If you get hit by a motor vehicle it will hurt you more than its driver.
You are totally reliant on the good will of the driver who will have to slow from 50 plus to 20 kmph and be stuck behind you as a reward for their behaviour.
If you stop and wait for the road to clear you loose all your hard earned momentum as a reward for your behaviour.


So what is the correct answer?

Well the most aggressive road user will win here and the other will be punished for backing down. So get a big aggressive motor vehicle and drive it fast and you will be fine.

In next weeks quiz we will be asking: how do we get a better "miteinander culture" to develop on Vienna's roads, and how do we get Austrian drivers to be as considerate toward cyclists as the Dutch?  Is it

A: Culture (whatever that means),
B: Fight the Nazis,
C: Reduction of engineered conflict that rewards aggressive behaviour, or
D: Some other load of made up random bullshit that explains why the Dutch are different and therefore we can not copy them?

Please send your made up random bullshit to roadrage@velocity2013.at and you may win a special prise of  useless paint.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Godwin's Law


After my last post about this terrible road design I have received various well meant advice and comment that the cyclists is at fault for not taking the lane.


Cyclists are expected to block this 50kmph busy road to stop motor traffic overtaking as a strategy of  coping with it.  They are also expected to endure the aggressive contra-strategies from the impatient motorists.  This advice tends to come from the same groups who fights against the compulsory use of the cycle paths because they do not want to be held up by "beginner cyclists".  Expecting others to be patient and considerate so I do not have to be is called "miteinander (together) culture".  At the same time cyclists are surprised why so many people hate them and they get such bad press.

To me this seems like a recipe for conflict if ever there was one.  If only there was a solution. 

Luckily our Vienna Bike Representative has been talking to the cycle lobby and presented Vienna's first attempt at the solution to all our infrastructure problems the Sharrow. A sharrow is placed in the center of a travel lane to indicate that a bicyclist may use the full lane.  This is more correctly referred to as useless paint.  None the less it is an attempt to improve conditions for cyclists so I present Vienna's first attempt at a sharrow.


You my notice the cycle marking that is there to give cyclists authority in the center of the road has been placed at the side to indicate they should get out the way.  You may also notice the black Audi breaking the law by crossing the white line in order to give the cyclist space.  You may also notice the high amount of motor traffic on this 50kmph through road that cyclists are expected to take the lane from.

For a long time I have been trying to communicate that Dutch style road design could reduce conflict and improve safety and conditions for cyclists.  Mark's excellent Video was inspirational to me and it frequently gets posted in cycle forums by others who also think there maybe better ways to design our roads.  This normally gets dismissed with a barrage of we are different comments.  Why on earth would some existing cyclists be so anti these ideas that clearly work well in the Netherlands?



This video seems to be the convincing argument that dictates cycling strategy in Vienna. It is utterly flawed but lets not worry about details. Separation is Nazi oppression and dangerous, so we need to integrate cycles with the motor traffic for their own safety at Junctions.

Godwin's Law states "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison to Hitler (or Nazis) approaches 1."

This debate has gone on far far too long and we have arrived at the Nazi argument.  It would be funny but we are getting worse and worse infrastructure that induces even more conflict.  If you mention that this is uncomfortable a large portion of the reply is it is your fault for not using it right.  I am tired and fed up of these discussions and I know there are people out there that are very very tired of hearing it.  If we want to move cycling forward in Vienna to be a more mainstream activity we have to stop listening to cyclists and consider that when confronted with the idea of "talking the lane" the vast majority will choose to "take the car" and do not care why you are getting in their fucking way.




etc... etc... etc...

Allocation of road space for cycling, and traffic reduction needs main stream support so we need these people on our side.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Kagraner Platz

Kagraner Platz has been totally rebuilt over the summer of RadJahr in VeloCity 2013.  The tram tracks were relayed and the whole street resurfaced.  Of course the planners have not forgotten cyclists in this no expense spared redesign.  Yet again Vienna cycle planning best practice in action:


This bus driver is not expected to tolerate the danger of driving along Habsburgergasse or Mariahilferstrasse but this 50kmph squeeze the cyclist into the doorzone with your long bendy bus is Best Practice?

There is zero logic here and this death by design has to stop. No one with any sense what so ever would cycle along this road, it is just another example of modal share cleansing.

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?

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

2nd Bike Infrastrucute Workshop

On Wednesday (tomorrow) this week there will be a bike infrastructure workshop that is open to anyone that is interested.  If you have time please come along on Wednesday afternoon and take part.  There are more details here: http://www.radlobby.at/cms/index.php?id=105

This is linked to the Mobility Week and the foundation of the RADbotschaft!


This sounds like a very promising initiate that has potential to get some Dutch competence into the planning of the cycle infrastructure in Austria.  At this stage it is very hard to say how this will develop but I really really hope this is the start of the end of this blog.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Mariahilferstrasse

Mariahilferstrasse is a very busy shopping street that had to be closed to motor traffic for 3 weeks a year at Christmas due to the number of pedestrians. The Green Party have tried to turn this into a better more people friendly space. The concept was predominantly a pedestrian zone that you could cycle in.

This involved many political compromises. The surrounding streets needed to be changed so that through traffic was not routed to them. Taxis wanted to be able to pick up and drop off in the street. The Bus route went through it and deliveries to the shops were necessary. Residents needed access to their garages. None of these issues are new issues and the concept of a shopping street is not new either. However, the resulting compromise which is now being tested has turned into a war zone.

After the launch I was very keen to try it out as it is an important cycle link from the inner Ring to the Gurtel. My first impression was that it was totally wonderful. There is so much space and it is so much more quiet and relaxed now that the motor traffic and parking have nearly gone. There were lots of pedestrians walking about freely and I could cycle through in a relaxed calm manor.

In the middle streets length there is a pedestrian zone where bikes are expected to go at walking pace. This of course will never work but with some care and relaxed respect there is enough space for pedestrians and bikes to coexist without problems. It may not be perfect but it is so much better than before and creates the potential for this to become a truly fantastic urban space.

Lets not forget this used to have 2 lanes of parking and 2 lanes of motor traffic and 2 terrible door zone cycle lanes. All that space has now been relocated to pedestrians and cyclists, the occasional bus and car/van requiring access. I thought what a wonderful improvement this clearly is.

Then Vienna polarizing politics came in to effect...

The very complex law for different zones classifications in Austria means no one understands what is legal. Due to various compromises many exceptions had to be added to the zones that no one understands adding to the confusion even more. Confusion leads to personal interpretation and conflict results in order to establish clarity.



The bus drivers union said it was far too dangerous. Watch this video and decide if there is a consist safety policy.


Understandably some pedestrians do not like bikes whizzing past them. Despite the desperate appeal for cyclists to behave unnaturally the police are now employed to control the cyclists and their speed to less than 7kmph.  Interestingly no one has a problem with bikes in the other zones where there is as much space and  slightly less motor traffic and 20kmph speed limit.

Expecting the bike through traffic, that has no other usable route, to ride at walking pace is silly. The zones and exceptions are too complex for anyone to understand and a bus in the middle of a pedestrian zone is not a great idea. I am very happy to criticize technical problems with infrastructure but the battles about this space that are all over the media have nothing to do with reality. There is a political war raging that is totally out of control. This would be funny if is was not so utterly depressing and pathetic.

What would the Dutch do? I suspect this would be pedestrian zone along the length of the street with bikes allowed to use it. Through bike traffic would be routed a long the B1 where there would be bidirectional bike lanes each side of the Naschmarkt.

I suspect that this will end up with the pedestrian zone banning bikes. Cyclists will be expected to get of and walk (at walking pace), through this bit. The danger to pedestrians will be totally overplayed and individual cyclist behaviour blamed for political and planning failures. There will be no alternative thought route for bikes and for years to come there will be arguments about the behavior of cyclists who break the law.  I really really hope I am wrong.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

RADpublik

There is a new initiative in Austria from the radlobby.at that aims to put cycling on the political agenda.  Parties will be queried about their cycling policies and these policies will be analyzed and evaluated.


We have heard enough polarizing debate and incompetent technical bicycle traffic management. I am feed up with the conflict and danger this creates on the roads. We all need political parties that will do their homework and produce workable mainstream policy to make a better mobility infrastructure.  This unfortunately will not happen because it is an extremely sensible idea or their job it will only happen if it is a vote winner.  So please please sign up to the RADpublik, send them your demands, vote on the options and add political weight to the issue.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Notes on Copenhagen, Hamburg and The Netherlands

This summer I visited Copenhagen, Hamburg and then cycled from Groningen to Amsterdam through the north of the Netherlands.  The key word was holiday, (rather than scientific assessment) but here are some brief notes and comments for what they are worth.


Copenhagen.

Wide cycle paths on main roads made cycling easy.  No need to plan your route because there was infrastructure where you need it on main through routes.  There were lots and lots of cycles and cyclists in the center and effectively no cars, or infrastructure. Planners had sacrificed car space for bike space, separated out motor traffic from the center and quiet streets and reduced congestion and traffic accordingly.  The junctions were consistent and it was easy to turn right and to go straight, thanks to the traffic light head start for bikes and space to the right allocated to bikes. Turning left was not always easy and the coping strategy of doing this in 2 stages was apparently the official way to do it, even if it was unclear what, were and when this should happen.

Some parts of Copenhagen were clogged up with cars.  These seemed to be poorer immigrant areas. Cars in the street were definitely not a sign of  wealth, but were a sign of affordable (and very good) restaurants.

Copenhagen was a nice place to walk and be.  The streets there are very similar to Vienna but there was much much less space for motor traffic, and parking and more for pedestrians and cycling.  Copenhagen to me shows how easy it is to transform any city from crappy car park/motorway to a nice place for people. All you need is to win, in part, the political battle of space allocation for people.  I spent a really enjoyable 24 hours cycling here and using a bike to connect with, explore and enjoy this city.


Hamburg

Hamburg follows the German bike infrastructure model of allocating footpath space to cycle infrastructure paint.  I did not cycle here as it was not very inviting.  I walked around a lot which was crappy too.  The parks in the center are fantastic and the idea of being able to sail in the middle of the city is a hit for me but outside this the roads were designed for racing cars.  On the famous Reeperbahn there was a sign that said it was a accident hot spot and so a 30kmph green wave existed.  For me this showed how stupid the traffic planners there are.  First they build a motorway through the middle of a drunken party zone and think that the boy racers who are drag racing each other care about green waves.  THEY ARE DRAG RACING!  They like stop / start you idiots.

I saw a crash here between a cyclist and pedestrian at a traffic light, and the ensuing argument about behaviour, space and who should be where... etc.. etc.. just like Vienna.

When eventually pedestrians got a green light they had to move fast to get across the road before the flag dropped for the next set of drag racers. I could not wait to get out of there as my ideal holiday is not standing at a red light waiting for a male with a small penis to lose control of his car and crash into me.


The Netherlands.

The Netherlands was very interesting and as in Copenhagen I started to think to myself that the motorists there are different and so much more respectful to cyclists.  It was clear that there was a totally different experience to cycling in Vienna or the UK.  I can now absolutely understand why the "different culture" label is used to explain this.  However, after some thought I think the maths explain this better.  I have a theory that 90% of people are really patient and respectful.  9% are impatient and 1% will actively try to kill you to prove a point or just for fun.  I confess that I ride thinking that every driver is in that 1% and that is why I am still alive. However, the vast vast majority of drivers are really great and do not deserve a negative label.  If you have 100 interactions with cars that are unclear and involve conflict that has to be negotiated then you will have one bad experience and 9 unpleasant ones and 90 totally fine interactions.  The trick the Dutch do is that those 100 interactions take 1000km to happen, but with poor road design you get 100 interactions every journey.  So it is probable that you will have a bad experience every journey on a bike in some cities.

What surprised me the most was the amount of separation using traffic planning.  Yes Dutch drivers are more familiar and aware of cyclists but they are also not encouraged to drag race through a drunken pedestrian party zone.  Good Traffic planning and urban design are (I would now say) probably as important as the quality of the detailed infrastructure design.

I was involved in one accident where a car driver impatiently overtook me on a village road where there was a middle black stripe for motor traffic that was not wide enough for 2 cars and red strides on each side.  This was common in villages.  I was not too keen on being a human traffic calming device.  The car over took before a bend, when they should not, and got smashed by a car coming the other way.  So there is impatience and poor judgement amongst Dutch drivers but the speed and consequences of their actions are limited by road design and traffic routing and so only some metal got bent.

Navigating by bike is very easy with the dual network of signs.  The red signs direct you to the next town along a direct route and the green number nodes lead you through the scenic routes.

Dutch junctions were more likely to have cycle infrastructure than their connecting road sections. It seemed like the junctions were important to design rather than abandoning cyclists to sort it out themselves as is popular in Vienna.  This makes sense as accidents do happen at conflict points and junctions are for sure conflict points.  Therefore design to reduce conflict and clearly clarify the situation makes sense. However, in nearly no motor traffic roads insecurity is used to reduce motor vehicle speed.

(Outside Amsterdam) waiting at red lights (even when turning left) was never a real issue. Often there were no traffic lights because they were not needed due to the tight junction corners reducing car speeds, the clear rights of way reducing the need for negotiation and the 90 degree angle between cars and bikes improving viability at junctions.  Motor traffic and bikes flowed and could cooperate with each other much better than is possible in Vienna thanks to the junction design making them meet face to face at the same speed.  Where interaction is not desirable (due to high motor traffic volume or speed) bikes are separated with traffic light phases, different routes or underpasses. Conflict opportunity reduction is clearly key to Dutch road design.

Speed is not an issue and I have never cycled as slowly as I did in the Netherlands.   I cycle at least 5kmph faster in Vienna just because of the stressful space invader video game effect.  The mopeds and many MAMILS in the Netherlands showed that you can cycle fast if you want to but frankly it is really nice to not need to.

Dutch Cycle infrastructure gets used by mopeds, mobility scooters, kids, old age pensioners, MAMILS, Velomobiles, hand trikes, cargo bikes,  trikes, e-bikes, recumbents, touring cyclists,  etc....  It is inclusive diverse mobility infrastructure.

Nearly every Dutch town center and access road is effectively car free.

New Dutch towns have better infrastructure than Amsterdam. It seems you really have to design out bikes to repress cycle use in big cities (as most European cities have done). Some of the Dutch towns have new junctions whose design is just fantastic and deserves a Noble Peace prize.

Cyclist behavior in Copenhagen and the Netherlands is often appalling but it does not matter or pose any real issue.  Cycling 2 abreast is great and you can chat and enjoy another person's company while cycling. Even if I personally find it hard to relax while doing it as a result of the years of  bullying.

The new Dutch infrastructure is much better than the old.  The Netherlands is not perfect for cycling but they are improving it every time they build a new bit of road.  It is a lot better than every other country because they design roads to be used by bikes, rather than expect them to behave like fast motorbikes or pedestrians.

Vienna does not need to change dramatically to be a world leader in bicycle use.  It just needs to get new stuff right and linearly improve the cycle infrastructure quality to get exponential cycle use growth.

One key lesson from my holiday is that bikes are a really really great way to get around and for sure more and more people will discover this.  When will Vienna's traffic planners and road designers?

Monday, 1 July 2013

City Bike

As part of the Ring Vorlesung program there was a very interesting presentation about the history and operational issues of the Vienna City Bike system. Presentation by Hans Erich Dechant available here.

Version 1 of the bike system the Vienna Bike was like a shopping trolly system where you could get a bike for 2 euros and had to return the bike to get your 2 euro coin back. Theft was not the issue with the first low tech system (as is often believed) it was that bikes were not shared and vandalized. Bikes were kept too long because that was the easiest way to ensure one was available for your next journey.  The picture of the bike being retrived from the canal by a diver that apeard on the frontpage of a newspaper generated so much PR it delighted the sponsor so much they donated 200 extra bikes to the scheme the next day.

Vienna Bike was a bike share failure but the publicity around the scheme resulted in a large budget and advertiser interest for the next high-tech station scheme.  Some of the highlights of the new system are:

Most City Bike trips are about 3km and 10 mins.  The first hour is free so the vast majority of trips cost the user nothing. The scheme is designed to facilitate short trips and help connect other transport systems.

Optimized software and processes at the terminal attempt to make the system as easy to use as possible.

4.5 people's lives are saved each year because of the heath benefits of City Bikes.

A city bike station costs ~70,000 Euro.

Placement of the stations is very important.  Placing a station at the top of a hill and one at the bottom means you need a truck transporting bikes up the hill all day long.  It would be better to use a bus to transport people in both directions.

Per meter square a City Bike stand gets 5 times more use than a car parking space (in the central short parking zones, even more use happens where parking is free).  That means shops could get 5 times more potential customers if they reallocate the parking space outside their shop to a city bike station.

Paris has 5 times the number of bike stations in a 2km radius than Vienna.  The Vienna system needs more stations and bikes to make it an even more effective public transport system. The KM per Year curve above shows the stages of the station building programs clearly.  Convenience is the key driver of bike usage and usage grows over-proportionally to the number of stations.

I am very impressed by the Vienna City Bike system which I think is really great.  I am an occasional user of it myself. It has a high cost but it has huge social, congestion, health, environmental, space and cost benefits for Vienna. It is much cheaper (for the user and City) than Public Transport, or car infrastructure.  The key to success is understanding people and their needs and developing a system that works with other forms of transport. This has created a real bike share based public transport system.  This is something that is taking off all over the world with the latest system being launched in New York.  However if you watch this Video you will clearly see there are real issues to consider when using bikes as a modern form of mobility.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Space Man

There is limited space in cities and towns and that space if often consumed by cars. Cars are so ridiculously space inefficient they take up as much space as you give them. This reality often leaves people thinking that there is no space for cycling infrastructure or bigger pedestrian areas and dismiss the idea as implausible. But if there is limited space surely there is no space for ridiculously space inefficient forms of mobility?

What would be the consequence of  reallocation of space to people?  Lets take Time Square for example.


A waste of all that space that "could be used for a for a car dealership or a parking lot, or something"?  Here are some less emotional and more numerical effects of this kind of people friendly urban planing in New York.

According to Wikipedia New York City population density is 10,630/km² and Vienna is 4,002/km². So Vienna has lots more space. It is truly a ridiculous argument to say that Vienna does not have enough space for cycle infrastructure the real question is does it have space for car infrastructure?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Another View of Vienna Cycle Infrastrucure.

Dave Horton how thinks a lot about cycling says:
... "although there are many good bits of cycling infrastructure, elsewhere Vienna feels like a city which has been badly damaged by the car, and that damage goes on. And the impression you get, riding around, is that cycling is being squeezed in. Instead of using cycling to start fundamentally restructuring the city away from the car, cycling continues to be seen – and added – as an extra."
http://thinkingaboutcycling.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/velo-city-vienna/

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

2 important lessons I learned from the Dutch Cycle Brunch.

The Dutch Cycle Brunch was very interesting and I learned 2 very significant lessons taking to the guys from Artgineering that I think are well worth sharing.

Lesson 1: Context.

I am extremely frustrated at the lack of basic quality of the cycling infrastructure in Vienna.  I have zero professional or education experience or interest in urban traffic planning but I realize that there are some fundamental problems with cycling infrastructure in Vienna that are being ignored deliberately. In The Netherlands they have gone through the process of developing solutions that actually work. I am very pleased that I am not the only one that sees the real issues clearly but at times it seams like no one in Vienna agrees with me and if they do they believe the solutions are not remotely politically realistic.

From my understanding Artgineering are trying to make better urban spaces that incorporate the bicycle as a modern form of mobility.  The technical issues are of no interest because they are known and clear.  What is often missing in infrastructure projects is attention to the spacial / social / experience  and other basic architectural factors.

When I meet Stefan it quickly became clear that we were not understanding each other at all.  He had no interest in the technical detail planning of cycle paths and I had no interest in the cultural or historical reliance of a space.  I just want to know how the hell normal people on bikes could get from this side of the junction to the other side without having a fight or an accident.  He wanted to know why would they want to go there anyway....  There was a definite clash of 2 worlds and totally different contexts.

So lesson 1 is know the context. The Dutch Consultants that come to Vienna and see strange behavior and interesting bike culture should realize that is because the cycling infrastructure is basically crap.  Cycle advocates that talk to Dutch consultants should realize that they really have no idea that there could be even a discussion about whether people want to cycling in the middle of a busy main road.

I am really grateful that Stefan took the time to talk me out of my frustration into trying to look at the bigger picture.  When he gave his presentation the light bulb went on and I understood lesson 2.

Lesson 2: Do not build the bike infrastructure purely in the image of a space efficient car.

In Stefan's presentation he showed an artists impression of a state of the art high speed cycle super highway that really was a super highway.  There was no possibility for cars or pedestrians to get in the way and there was no way you could be slowed. It had entry and and exit lanes and ramps.  I presume on busy sections you would have multiple lanes and maybe a barrier in the middle just like a car motorway.  I saw the artist impression and thought yes that is exactly what we need to reduce the conflict and make the bike network clear consistent and efficient.

However then the light bulb went on and I thought why the hell would I would to actually use the superhighway to cycle on and be disconnected from the world like I am in my car. Why not just get in the car and drive like all the other Zombies?

For the Dutch the technical understanding is known and it is easy for them to implement great quality mobility in urban spaces.  Their congested cities have invested in the bike and they use the CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic as a guide.  If they really want to go one step better and make really great cities and Urban spaces then they need to look at the architecture and experience of traveling in the space.  This is cycling infrastructure the next steps and it seams that Artgineering at least are trying to get the Dutch to develop new ideas along these lines.

There is a world of difference between the Dutch standard technical level and the rest of the world.  There is such a divide that it is really hard to understand them. If Dutch consultants want to work in places like Vienna they need to go back 40 years with their level of discussion and try to press it forward fast.  If advocates, politicians or planners deal with Dutch consultants they have to realize that it takes time to understand.

Vehicular cyclists have failed miserably to integrate cylcing on the roads. The Dutch have used traffic engineering and developed good quality technical design to make cycling main stream.  The dammage that  Vechicular Cyling advocates still do needs to be eliminated and the Dutch model understood and implemented properly if cycling is to become main stream and cities are to benefit from it.  However we "Go Dutch"  advocates need to be careful that (if people ever actually listen to us) we do not use our understanding of quality car infrastructure to advocate building the same rubbish car experience on a  bike.  This is all very complicated and difficult to get right but I think we have to try.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

The highlight of Velocity 2013.

This interview with Mikael Coville-Andersen communicates exactly why this Blog is here.

http://derstandard.at/1369363646437/Kultur-der-Angst-gegen-Radfahren

Vienna will probably ignore you but the quality of life of its citizens will suffer until it gets competent planners that understand the basic technical criteria for good infrastructure and it chooses better urban planning. I hope there are some politicians somewhere that will see the huge opportunity Vienna has if they concentrate on the quality of the infrastructure as well as just marketing. They will have to be brave to take on city departments and question the dominance of cars but it will happen the only question is when.

Thank you so much Mikael for your informed no bullshit words.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Operngasse and Herrengasse Traffic Data and Radwegbenutungsbullshit.

I sat at Radlager Palazzo which is in the middle of Operngasse and counted traffic.  This is to provide a bit of background information for the Dutch Cycle Brunch.  This is not an accurate picture of the traffic it is just a random sample.

Friday 7.6.2013
16:00 - 16:30  (30 mins. of counting)
Not rush hour but quite busy time of a sunny day.

Bus: 4
Motorbikes: 33
Cars: 538
Bikes in the Bus / Taxi Lane 10
Bikes on the cycle path travelling South: 72
Bikes on the cycle path travelling North: 46
Total number of bikes: 128
 
To be honest I was very surprised by this.  I expected there to be no one cycling on the busy 3 lane road in the bus, taxi and bike lane but there were a surprisingly (to me) large number of people doing this.

I think it is fair to say that on this day at this time 1 in 7 cyclists chose the road (only counting North to South Traffic).  The use of the road here is thanks to the groundbreaking new relaxation of the Radwegebenutzungspflicht on this one street

Is this an example of a real change for cyclists that will help Vienna reach its target of 10% modal share for bikes by 2015?

Would the 1 in 7 cyclists cycle anyway?

Would new cyclists be tempted out of their cars to use the road rather than the cyclepath?

Does this improve the conditions and give lots more space to the majority of cyclists?

Does this reduce the traffic light wait time and improve the light synchronization for the majority of cyclists?

Lets look at the whole population in terms of 4 cyclist groups.


Vienna has 6.2% modal share for bikes.  So does this look like the 1% of the population (Strong and Fearless) advocating what they want and ignoring the 67%?  Are the enthused cyclists the other 7% on the cylepath?  How do we get a significant proportion of the "Interested but Concerned" 60% to choose a bike for transport?

Maybe we should copy the Dutch and make the bike a convenient, quick, safe and pleasant option? Or maybe we should listen to the 1% and scrap the cycle paths and share the road?

My view of the Radwegbenutungsflicht is that it is the biggest waste of energy and time to fight street for street for something that people who will cycle anyway feel they are entitled to after years of repression.  They maybe have a point but only 1% of the population cares.  The other 99% want to get from AtoB preferably with less conflict and congestion.  Surely it is time to  focus on the important stuff and design better roads and urban spaces that cater for the needs of the whole population?

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Feedback requested on Operngasse and Herrengasse for Dutch Bicycle Brunch.

As part of the VeloCity Week there will be a "Dutch Bicycle Brunch" on the 15th of June at the fahrRADhaus in cooperation with the Radlobby ├ľsterreich. The full invitation is available here.

Artgineering are Dutch Planning Consultants that will look at Operngasse and Herrengasse through some Dutch eyes and discuss the space.  This workshop has nothing to do with this blog but I was volunteered to help them with the organisation of the event.  I have taken 2 videos of the route and suggested what I see as the main problem areas.  However it would be really great to get get feedback from other local cyclists so that they have more feedback than my cynical rants.

Here are the videos of the route.  Please excuse my bad language / bad German / riducule of existing infrastructure and traffic law violations...




I think it is really important to get local feedback about this route so that the Workshop can be as informed and accurate as possible.  So please get involved and post your comments in German or English below, or email me: doug at culnane dot net.

I will compile and translate the feedback and I really look forward to the results.  The workshop is open to members of the public so please do also come along if you are interested.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Burgtor: 3rd time lucky?

The original Burgtor crossing was a pedestrian slalom disaster.

This got redesigned and made much much worse:


This has now been redesigned again and now looks like this:


As the IGF Blog points out the desire line of pedestrinas and cyclists has been totally ignored.  The rediculasly wide road with low traffic has not been questioned or addressed and unnatural behavior of pedestrains expected.

At least the turning cars now have stacking space and do not have to worry about getting rammed by a tram as they negotiate through the pedestrians, but that is the only improvement.

This is what I think the Dutch would do:


However "Wien ist Anders".  Why do the Vienna planners need to create so much conflict between road users, when it is not necessary?  This whole story would be funny if it was not such an embarrassing mess that creates so much conflict and resentment between groups.  This is just one crossing at one junction...

I belive people will choose to cycle if it is the quickest, most convenient and a safe way to get from A to B.  If the city really want to increase cycling modal share then they need to understand that this level of planning is not good enough.  Back to the drawing board or are we expected to put up with this crap.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Congestion

Safety is a big argument that can bring about dramatic change in the way we design roads and lead to better infrastructure for cyclists.  However the unwritten rule amongst cycling advocates (but often electronically posted comment) is that we do not talk about safety because it discourages cycling (unless talking about cycle paths off course).

Congestion is another issue that I think motivates people for change and to rethink how we travel.  I ride my bike for many reasons but mainly becuase it is the fasted way to get where I want to go.  I know that when I sit in a traffic jam I am ready to consider anything as an alternative (often suicide seams like an option).  Maybe technology is the answer and we now have the navigation software that re-routes based on traffic congestion data.  This is wonderful but we still have traffic jams and millions of lost hours per year due to congestion.  No one cares unless it happens to them and when it does there is not much they can do about it apart form suicide which just creates even more congestion for others.

R. J. Smeed, noted that at some minimum speed, motorists would simply choose not to drive. If speeds fell below 9 mph (15.5 kmph), then drivers would keep away; as speeds rose above this limit, it would draw more drivers out until the roads became congested again.

Is Smeed right?  Is the speed of a chicken the best car infrastructure can ever hope to archive in an urban environment?  Are people interested in alternatives?

Lets look at the most congested Cities in Europe:

Lets compare these cities to the Copenhagenize Index of Bicycle Friendly Cities.


Is it fair to conclude that the top bicycle cities are dealing with congestion better than the cities that build more roads and have no space for cycling infrastructure? Does modal shift provide a real alternative to congestion in our ever crowded cities?  Is this more complicated and there is no relationship at all; in which case allocating space away from cars to cyclists does not have any effect on congestion?

Maybe this is something to consider the next time you loose an hour of your life with people around you that are too afraid to cycle so drive their kids to school before driving to work themselves.  Maybe those kids could enjoy cycling to school on their own?  Maybe this is something to consider as a powerful argument that will communicate the benifits of cycling to a main stream and get support.

If only this (and other benefits) could be communicated in one simple info graphic.


Maybe cycling advocates have a golden bullet to get main stream support for Dutch cycling infrastructure! 

BUT

There is something cycling advocates also have to recongnise about congestion.  When there is no congestion, people in cars drive faster than a chicken.  Normal people on bikes do not like cyclinging around motor vechicles that are trying to travel faster than them or chickens.  The stop start nature of congestion is not the same as the flowing dynamic of bikes even thought they have very similar averages speeds. As congestion decreases this problem gets worse as less cars drive faster.  Removing cars from the road speeds traffic and leads to an unpleasant cycling environment.  So less cars is not the answer to cycling problems with cars. The roads need to change which is why the Dutch do not expect less cars in general to be the solution for cycle infrastructure and people to use bikes for no reason at all.

The solution to congestion is a viable alternative to the car that has its own separate space and restricts fast moving cars and congestion to it self limiting space.  If you "need to use a car" you can but if you need to get from A to B you can choose the best option only if you have options.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Radwege are Dangerous Bullshit.

I have heard that "Radwege are Dangerous" from  Rad lobbies, District Representatives, Politicians, the Cycle Agency and countless 25 year old male cyclists in Vienna. These comments are backed up with references to studies  showing that junctions are problematical when cycle paths meet motor traffic.  Therefore we should "Share the Road" which seams to be a large part of the policy focus in Vienna, probably because it is cheap and politically easy to implement.

Firstly the studies often do not take into account the quality of the Junctions design.  They are often mis-translated and misused using absolute numbers of accidents, ignoring the dramatic increase in numbers of cyclists that occurs when separate cycle paths are built.  Anyone that pretends there is absolute proof about this is just a lair or a brain washed member of the Vehicular Cyclist Sect.

The Dutch have an excellent safety record for cyclists despite a wide range of ages cycling and many supposedly dangerous cycle paths.  This is often explained  away as being a Safety in Numbers effect.  However this shows either a blatant ignorance of Sustainable Safety principles or a dishonest distortion of the truth.  For sure these are complex themes with many contributing many factors but I think the basic conclusion that Radwege are dangerous shows nothing but arrogance, ignorance and dishonesty.

If  you mention that cycling on busy roads is dangerous then you get quickly shot down for dangerzing cycling and discouraging it by the exact same group who tell you Radwege are Dangerous.

This image seams to be the best statistical safety comparison between the UK and The Netherlands.

The UK has a mix strategy (or no strategy) and the Dutch use Sustainable Safety to engineer their streets which is largely a strategy of conflict reduction and separation of different traffic modes and road functions.

So either there is a safety in numbers effect or mixing cycle traffic on busy roads is dangerous.  Lets ignore the traffic planning and routing, the different junctions designs and road types, the fault tolerance of these designs and all the work that the Dutch have done over 40 years funded by a 30 Euro per person per year budget and say that has had no effect of safety in any way (as some members of the Sect would like you to believe).  Lets just say it is all because of Safety in Numbers.  So how do we get the numbers?

Either we can copy the UK which has a third of Austria's modal share for bikes or we can copy The Netherlands which has 3 times Austria's cycle modal share.  I would suggest that the Dutch have been better at maintaining or increasing the number of cyclists than the British. 

Either way (safety in numbers magic fairy dust or 40 years of cycle friendly road design development) lets please copy the Dutch strategy because it works for some reason.  To do this we need public support and to most people you loose that support instantly when you tell them them cycle paths are dangerous and for beginners and scared old people or children.  No one wants to be in the inferior group and most normal people are not comportable cycling on busy roads, so it is a hard sell.

Today a big important announcement was made that would be perfect if the following sentence was not in it.

"Radwege sind besonders wichtig, um weniger Ge├╝bte, Kinder, Seniorinnen und Senioren zum Radfahren einzuladen"

Translated this means: "Cycle paths are only useful for inferior cyclists that are not good enough to cycle on the road so we will allow you to cycling on footpaths if there is space."

I really hope I have misunderstood and mis-translated that but I worry that I have not, and that the "cyclists belong on the road" V. C. Sect will combine with weak politics to create a city with footpaths built for pedestrians and roads built for cars.  The hope that the "Kultur des Miteinanders" will happen by magic (or  advertising campaign) and mean cyclists will be tolerated in both environments.  This will not work and so we can expect a lot more conflict in the press and on the roads, as people struggle to cope with an environment that ignores their needs.  It is time to stop listening to cyclists.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Painting over the problem.

The vice mayor announced a bold plan to paint all the cycling lanes a uniform colour to clearly indicate to pedestrians and car drivers where cyclists will ride.  A clear consistent marking of the cycle space is a great idea but....

Of course the traditional (in Vienna) Red cycle paths will now be Painted Green.  Red cycle paths built by the Red Socialists will be painted Green by the Green Party.  This will no doubt lead to huge discussion of which colour to use rather than a discussion about the problem which they are attempting to solve.

London and New York are used as examples where this has been successful.  If the London Super Highways are to be described as a an example we should aspire to I despair.

Red marking will be used to mark the danger zones!  Why not design out the danger zones and fix them?

Painting the existing cycle path (Option 2 of 7) was the 4th most popular option in the Ring Radweg Options survey.  It is seen as an improvement but it is not a fix of the fundamental problem we have on the Ring:

According to the experts:
"Vienna has many large roads running right into the city centre with many lanes. These high volumes of cars
cause problems in the city: not only large streets with many lanes to cross but also fewer space for cyclists and pedestrians. AND all the cars on one street go to other streets where they also ask for space and may cause traffic jams etc. If it would be possible to replace part of the car traffic by bicycle it would result in more “space” in the whole system. One lane of 3,5m can carry about 2000 cars per hour. The same lane can carry about 15.000 cyclists. This is 7 times more efficient. By bicycles many more people can move in the city than if they would go by car. Here is the great advantage of cycling for the city."

Painting a poor solution will not fix it or ease the pressure of space that pedestrians and cyclist have due the over consumption of space by car infrastructure.

The Door Zone problem will not be fixed by painting these terrible lanes.

The incomprehensible rights of way will not be solved by paint alone.

The ENDE problems will not be solved by paint alone.

The lack of usable junctions design for bikes will not be solved by paint alone.

Paint is slippy when worn and wet.  It maybe cheap but it is easily damaged (especially by snow clearing) and needs constant repainting.  It is not what the Dutch do they use Red Tarmac. In Burgenland (Austria) they can get this right.


I would really like to support any initiative that makes consistent cycling infrastructure clearly marked.  In principle clearly delimiting the space with colour is a good idea but it does not change where that space is and that the space is poorly designed. Lets not get distracted be the which colour debate and try and get some competent mobility planning rather than politicians painting over their problems and mistakes while they argue about which colour..

Monday, 13 May 2013

To Mix or Separate that is the Question?


Should bicycle traffic be mixed with other Motorized traffic?  The CROW Design Manual for Bicycle Traffic has an answer summarized by Paul James in his cheat sheet: It is complicated but the clear principle is the busier and faster the road the more separated different modes of transport should be.

In Austria the same principle is applied to produce the following guide.

This is a promising start but in Vienna 95% of the roads are at least 30 kmph (30kmph limit does not mean average speed is less than 30). So with the known traffic volume the Austria planner has the advised solution of combined traffic, paint on the roads or separate cycle path.  The divisions are dotted just in case this advice is too restrictive...  This leads to a lot of inconsistency in the type of solution applied to similar locations.

Separate Cycle paths solutions only work well if they are designed to benefit cyclists and do more than get bikes off the busy roads and out the way of cars.

Combined traffic solutions only work if there is no conflict of road function.

- If you mix with motor traffic that is trying to get through the area (rat running) or you will have conflict.
- If you mix with a queue of motor traffic that is stuck you will have conflict as you filter though it.


Combined solutions should be for the roads you live in where you just need access with motor vehicles.  You should feel comfortable walking in the road and then people will feel comfortable cycling along it or living / socializing / playing / shopping in it.  These roads need to feel like nice places to be for people without the threat of motor cars bulling people away.  The cars need to be separated out of these roads.

There will be some roads where this is not possible because they have a mix of functions.  These roads are problems to design for because they involve a compromise.  I believe one of the main problems in Vienna is that the fist principle of sustainable safety is not applied.  Each road is a compromise rather than having a clear function, so the solution becomes a compromise and there is conflict as a result.  I believe this conflict and the danger associated with it is why a lot of people do not cycle in Vienna.

Sustainable Safety is clearly not understood by planners or politicians in Vienna who try to put behavior laws, or media campaigns in place to cope with the unpredictable or aggressive behavior that results from stressful, conflict situations.  I worry that this will not be a very effective strategy to make Vienna an even better place to live.

Often cycle activists  in Vienna are religiously anti separation.  I have some sympathy with them as they have had years of roads that they used to ride happy a long turned in to door zones and or pedestrian slaloms.  However not all cycle infrastructure is bad and very few people felt comfortable riding along the roads before cycle infrastructure was built.  These two minor points seam to get lost or ignored in the anti infrastructure religion.  There views manifest into a advocacy for mix strategies where cyclists are used as traffic calming devices.  This strategy is not going to create a pleasant cycling environment for anyone and will increase the car / pedestrian / cyclists conflict that is getting so much attention in the media right now.

I want to answer the Mix or Not question in a simple way. If you want to design roads for bikes you must ALWAYS SEPARATE.  Either you have a separate route, separate cycle path or you separate motor traffic out of the street.

Dutch Cycling Embassy: ThinkBike report workshops Vienna Januari 2013

The Dutch Cycling Embassy were in Vienna earlier this year and have produced a very interesting report: here.




Friday, 19 April 2013

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Bike Boxes

Advanced stop lines (ASL) or Bike boxes look like a good idea because they give the cyclist pole position.  However they do not work very well and they are a 1970s Dutch idea that the Dutch are phasing out and replacing with better solutions for good reason.

Why do they not work?

They create conflict with motor vehicles encouraging cyclist to filter past a queue of frustrated stationary vehicles and stand in front of them.  When the lights change cyclists then have to race off in front of the vehicles who try to then overtake them.  This leads to conflict.  A lot of drivers position themselves in the box to stop this conflict happening which aggravates the situation even more.  They also encourage a lot of cyclists to filter when, for their own safety, they really should not:



Advanced riders in the UK (where there are a lot of ASLs) decide to use them based of some well developed logic.  The danger of large trucks to cyclists means if you do not have a good understanding of that logic you could easily be then next victim to die a very horrible death.

So they are not good for inexperienced cyclists and they are not particularly good for experienced cyclists. Who are they good for?  I worry that they are good for politicians, incompetent traffic planners and frustrated cyclist groups who like and need cheap quick paint on solutions that look like a good idea and can be marketed as such.

We do not have many bike boxes in Vienna but I worry this will change and we will copy poor infrastructure solutions that keep cycling modal share in the UK very low despite the best possible marketing while ignoring 40 years of research and development because...??????

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Relocate space back to people - but not in VeloCity 2013.

This blog is not about copying cycling infrastructure from countries with low numbers of cyclists but this fantastic film shows that even in car dominated cities it is possible to relocate space back to people and the positive effects of doing so.


In London the major has announced his vision for cycling.


Paris closes roads to cars and opens them to people in the summer so that people in the city can enjoy being there.


The Ciclovia in Bogotá Colombia shows how popular roads are when they are closed to car traffic.


The last 60 years of road building have shown that car traffic consumes all the space that is available to it. In modern cities this must be challenged. Cities will become more and more densely populated and so we need more efficient space solutions for transport and leisure.




The solutions are there but it is often the irrational fear of loss of car space that is congesting and choking our cities. Quality cycling infrastructure can be build along side car infrastructure and as part of car infrastructure where motor traffic volume and speed is low, however it can not be built if the design brief is to build it in such a way as to have no negative effect on car space. I am not a fan of "Share the Road" without specifying the road type and function but I am a fan of "Share the Road Space".

It is extremely disappointing that in Vienna (Velo-City 2013) even the Green Party does not even consider the removal of one lane of cars to be at all politically realistic. I feel there needs to be pragmatic political pressure to fix this problem rather than painting over the fundamental design problems.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The City of Vienna constantly improves bicycle accident spots in Vienna

In a Press Release Hr Chorherr identifies problem / accident spots for bikes in Vienna, so lets look at these locations and CROWize them.


I will apply the Cycle Provision Cheatsheet although I do not have accurate numbers for traffic volume I am sure the City of Vienna does and could easily adjust for any inaccuracies in my traffic volume guesstimates.  I also have no access to the accident data so I am only guessing what the real issues are.


Margaretenstra├če, Operngasse bis zum Karlsplatz:
Stadt Wien Solution: "Hier wurden neue Einf├Ąrbungen des Radweges aufgebracht, um die Sichtbarkeit f├╝r die VerkehrsteilnehmerInnen zu erh├Âhen."

Margaretenstrasse is a 50kmph Distributor road.  with many junctions to access and other Distributor roads.  From the Cheat sheet the solution should be Cycle lane or track with right of way at junctions.


So far so good but why is this a danger spot.  The rights of way are not humanly possible to understand. Even if you study them in great detail (and seek clarification of questionable issues) you have to apply them to the junction you are approaching, possibly control your speed, and your bike specification while making sure you do not surprise anyone and you also have to look at signs you can not physically see.  If you can do all this then you can be confident of your right or lack of right of way.  However you also have to hope the other road users are as super human as you. In short the right of way rule is that the most aggressive road user has right of way.  This is easily solved with Sharks Teeth but unfortunately this fool proof system is not fool proof enough for Vienna traffic planners.

I am not sure that repainting the cycle path will increase the clarity of the rights of way.  It certainly confuses them at Zedlitzgasse. Will it increase awareness of bikes?  Maybe this will work a bit but as a solution I worry that it ignores the main problem.



Kleine Neugasse/Margaretenstra├če:
"Die Kreuzung wurde zwecks Verbesserung der Sichtbeziehungen umgebaut. Die Ma├čnahme zeigt die erwartete positive Wirkung. 2011 hat an dieser kein Unfall stattgefunden."

I think this it the junction pictured above.   The adjustments to make the road come up to the footpath level seam to have worked.  I bit like this.


Argentinierstra├če/Schwindgasse
"Die Radfahr├╝berfahrt wird rot eingef├Ąrbt und ein Piktogramm "Radverkehr" f├╝r die Fahrzeuglenkerinnen aufgebracht. Zus├Ątzlich sollen Mistk├╝bel etc. versetzt werden um die Sichtm├Âglichkeiten zu erh├Âhen. Die Bodenmarkierungsarbeiten erfolgen bis Ende M├Ąrz 2013."

Here is the location:
I rode past this when I passed here because it is a very confusing junction.  This is a very important City to Vienna Central train station link and the small radweg solution should maybe be re-thought.  I get the impression that this road is a low traffic 30kmph road and if this is the case then a Combined traffic solution would maybe be more appropriate.




Heum├╝hlgasse/Margaretenstra├če
Sanierungsvorschlag wurde bereits erstellt, Verhandlungstermin zu Realisierung der Ma├čnahmen ist der 14.3.2013. Die Umsetzung der Ma├čnahmen ist f├╝r 2013 geplant.

This is another Margarentenstasse Junction see above.


Kreuzungen Augustinerstra├če/F├╝hrichgasse und Karlplatz/Operngasse
Beide Stellen wurden bereits saniert, das Unfallgeschehen hat signifikant abgenommen.

This is a big open (inviting hi speed) junction with a confusing coming together of 30kmph busy roads. Not exactly sure what the problems are here or what the solution was but it would not surprise me if confusion and speed have a lot to do with the problem.


Habsburgergasse/Reitschulgasse
Die m├Âgliche L├Âsung der Radfahrm├Âglichkeiten in der Habsburgergasse werden derzeit hinsichtlich der Verkehrssicherheit ├╝berpr├╝ft. Bis Ende M├Ąrz 2013 soll ein Ergebnis vorliegen.
Hauptallee/Meiereistra├če
Das Kreuzungsplateau wurde umgebaut. Die Wirksamkeit der Ma├čnahme wird evaluiert.

I am not sure why this is a problem junction but I hope that physically slowing down motor traffic on Meiereistrasse is part of the solution. 


Kreuzung Lisztgasse/Traungasse
Da es keine H├Ąufung von Unf├Ąllen aus einer bestimmten Unfalltypobergruppe gab, wird die Kreuzung weiterhin hinsichtlich der Verkehrssicherheit beobachtet.

You can drive down Lisztgasse into Zaunergasse at high speed with a quick glance to the right to check nothing is coming which there never is.  This works great untill you get a cyclists going west along Zaunergasse.  I know this junction as I thought I was going to die here once because i was that cyclists on one occasion. SMDISY Central for cyclists and pedestrians I suspect.

The whole juction is a big wide open space where many roads meet and so physical speed reduction and tight turning radii are an important part of a new junction design. Two 30kmph and 50kmph Distributor roads meet other 30kmph access roads all with low motor traffic volume so from the cheat sheet this is complicated.... but I would go for a roundabout with tight curves and physical island that you can not drive over as my first guess at a good solution.  However "beobachten" might mean ignore.


Davidgasse/Kundratstra├če (Triester Stra├če)
Diverse Ma├čnahmen zur Verbesserung der Verkehrssicherheit wurden bereits im Fr├╝hjahr 2012 umgesetzt. Die Wirksamkeit der Ma├čnahmen wird evaluiert.

This is a horrible place. A distribution roads meets Motorway.  The cheat sheet says: "Cycle track or parallel road" for Triester Strasse, which has a poor quality footpath solution for bikes.   Separation with time and space can be the only solution here.  Clearly the traffic lights are not designed for cyclist and pedestrian safety because Triester Strasse motorway capacity is more important.


Neutorgasse/Schottenring
Kreuzung wird weiterhin kritisch beobachtet. Die H├Ąufung der Unf├Ąlle im Jahr 2009 beruhte vermutlich auf (heute bereits entfernte) Baustellen. Unabh├Ąngig davon erfolgt die Herstellung von Fahrbahnanhebungen am
Schottenring bei der He├čgasse, Hohenstaufengasse, Neutorgasse und Gonzagagasse. Baubeginn ab Mai und Fertigstellung vor dem 7.6.2013

Building site with no consideration of non motorized traffic (again) I suspect.


Parkring 12
Unf├Ąlle sind hier wegen einer falsch postierten Litfa├čs├Ąule erfolgt. Diese wurde bereits 2010 versetzt. Danach hat es keine gleichartigen Unf├Ąlle gegeben. Die Wirksamkeit der Ma├čnahme wird weiter evaluiert.

I think I remember this advertising board/tube and I am very gland it has gone.  Why was it not removed when the radweg was built?  It is a shame that many accidents have to happen first before visual obstructions are considered dangerous.


K├Ąrntner Ring/Schubertring (Schwarzenbergplatz)
Die h├Ąufigsten Unfallursachen waren Linksabbiegeunf├Ąlle und Unf├Ąlle zwischen abbiegenden und entgegenkommenden Fahrzeugen an unterschiedlichen Bereichen der Kreuzung. Die Ausarbeitung von
Sanierungsvorschl├Ągen ist im Gange und f├╝r 2013 vorgesehen.

This is a terrible junction.  A car got shunted from behind by another car here once when it stopped to let me cross on a green light. It is a 3 lane motorway turning on to a 2 lane motorway with pedestrians and cyclists crossing very messy light controlled crossings.  Even on green the cars turn at you fast and have to break hard.  This whole area is a traffic mess and I know many cyclists that just try to avoid it all together.


Franz-Josefs-Kai/Rotenturmstra├če
Eine Verkehrssicherheitsuntersuchung wurde an ein externes Institut vergeben. Ein Sanierungsvorschlag wurde erarbeitet und von der Beh├Ârde am 15.10.2012 verhandelt. Die Radfahr├╝berfahrt wird rot eingef├Ąrbt und das Piktogramm f├╝r FahrzeuglenkerInnen "Hinweis auf RadfahrerInnen" wird angebracht. Die Fahrbahnsanierung am Franz-Josefs-Kai wird in der KW 13 und KW 14 mit anschlie├čender Herstellung der Bodenmarkierung durchgef├╝hrt.

Paint is expected to protect cyclists from a motorway? Which institute thinks this is an adequate solution? This is another mess that will hopefully get done right rather than painted over. See here for more info


Arbeitergasse/Gaudenzdorfer G├╝rtel
Der Sanierungsvorschlag wurde erarbeitet und von der Beh├Ârde am 9.10.2012 verhandelt. Die Radfahr├╝berfahrt wird rot eingef├Ąrbt, Wechselblinker f├╝r RadfahrerInnen/Fu├čg├ĄngerInnen f├╝r Linksabbieger
installiert und Fahrbahnmarkierungen f├╝r Fu├čg├Ąnger/Radfahrer im Vorfeld von der Kreuzung entfernt.
Die Bodenmarkierungsarbeiten erfolgen bis Ende M├Ąrz 2013, der Wechselblinker wird bis zur KW 13/2013 realisiert.

More paint....

Hernalser G├╝rtel/Ottakringer Stra├če
Die Poller werden im Bereich G├╝rtelradweg von J├Ârger Stra├če bis Herbststra├če bis Ende M├Ąrz 2013 entfernt.

I do not know this issue.

H├╝tteldorfer Stra├če/Schweglerstra├če
Ein Sanierungsvorschlag wurde erarbeitet. Die Radfahr├╝berfahrt wird rot eingef├Ąrbt. Die  Bodenmarkierungsarbeiten erfolgen bis Ende M├Ąrz 2013.

More paint....



I appreciate the effort by the City of Vienna but I think painting over the symptoms of their bad design is not going to make a significant change to cyclist safety objectively or subjectively.  What cyclists need is real quality rather than paint on fixes.