Whiteladies Road in Bristol has had a lot of work done to make it usable as part of the Greater Bristol Bus Network (GBBN). At the southern end there is a strange intersection with Queens Road (and others) which has just had a very short piece of advisory cycle lane added. This first picture shows the lane sweeping to the right across what used to be a continuous forward lane (the straight ahead arrow is still dimly visible). It has been changed into a left exit (as if from a roundabout).
The cyclist in this first picture is planning to stay in the advisory cycle lane around the curve and take the next exit into Whiteladies Road. The #8 bus (one every 12 minutes on weekdays) is going to follow its usual route, straight over those two sets of dotted lines, and the driver is indicating left.
False Friend Part Two
The cyclist had suddenly realised what was happening. He hadn’t looked round, indicated or moved out but at this point he was slowing to a halt. He put his left foot on the kerb and he waited as the bus went past.
OK. Once the bus had gone he set off again. His wife had already cycled ahead and was waiting for him at the other side of the intersection in Whiteladies Road. She had approached the intersection in the right hand of two lanes, and gradually moved into and across the left hand lane as she passed the beginning of the cycle lane, just in time to turn left into Whiteladies Road without interference.
A minute or two later two more cyclists are showing how the intersection might be used. One is on the outside lane that has a right turn arrow painted, the other is on the inside lane that has (I think) a straight ahead arrow. Neither has indicated so far.
Late on Sunday afternoon, with traffic pretty quiet these two looked pretty safe as they swung round the turn. They are well away from the advisory cycle lane.
And off they went into the distance, with the last of the GBBN roadworks twinkling a red light.
To see a map of the junction as it used to be, Google Satellite is very useful. I was standing on the footpath for less than ten minutes as I watched and took a few pictures. There was a steady stream of traffic but nothing like midweek busy times. Motor vehicles were approaching at 30 mph or more and only about half were indicating, whichever way they left the junction. It seemed to me that the probability of a collision between a vehicle and a bicycle on that few metres of advisory cycle lane, sometime bewween now and next year, was high. It would be safer to just remove it, allowing the confident and skilled cyclist to occupy the primary position, indicating first right, then left, to get into Whiteladies Road. Anyone more timid or inexperienced would do well to stop and wait for a break in the traffic, or even to dismount and use the small island to walk across in two stages.
In other words this advisory cycle lane is use to man nor beast. It offers an illusion of safety to the unwary and a nonsensical road position to the experienced. It is what we might call a False Friend and we already have far too many of those. I am pretty sure that First Bus drivers will have noted the problem and warned their colleagues already.