Considerate Cycling 17: Too Many Compromises?

There is a newly amended junction on the Greater Bristol Bus Network that, I think, needs sorting out. Preferably by a sharper mind than the one I was born with. In trying to improve bus timings it has created some puzzles for other kinds of users. These include, as we shall see, schoolchildren walking to and from school.

Here is a scruffy plan of the junction. The north-south road is the main bus route, Whiteladies Road. Coming in from the west is Tyndall’s Park Avenue. Over on the east side is St Paul’s Road.

There are two user-controlled crossings, just two, shown with dotted lines. Each of the four corners has its standard traffic lights and each user controlled crossing has a button with lights for cyclists and  pedestrians. In addition a cycle lane has been painted on the north-south side of Whiteladies Road and there are Advanced Stop Lines on all four approaches. Clear?

Well, I’m not sure. For one thing there are several moves that must not be made. This left turn is puzzling a couple of pedestrians who are speculating on crossing where no crossing is provided but it is legal.


On the same part of the junction these schoolboys are using their athleticism to get home. They seem to have been attracted by the empty ASL and the drop curbs that suggest “cross here”. But they are running, just in case.


And so are these schoolchildren, with what looks like a more pressing reason to do so.


The right turn there is legal, and the driver did slow down and use a horn. But still, I was only near the junction a couple of times for a few minutes (trying very hard to see a logic in the arrangements). And there was this cyclist too:


He is travelling north to south on Whiteladies Road. He will have just passed this No Left Turn sign.


I have no idea what happened next, but my second photograph from the same position as the first looks like this:


Notice that he is over the edge of an ASL. He seems to have crossed the junction and then doubled back to cycle diagonally across Tyndall’s Park Road, possibly taking advantage of drop curbs on the two crossings. Look carefully and you will see the green cycle light showing. Notice, too, that another couple of schoolboys are waiting to cross Whiteladies Road where there is no light controlled crossing for them. Tyndall’s Park Road at this time of day has a steady stream of school pupils on this side of the road, because this is the side the school is on. Logically they will be making the same choices on the way to school in the morning. If they made the double crossing required to get over Whiteladies Road with lights, they might still have to cross back over St Paul’s Road again (with no lights to help)  to continue their journey.

I expect by now that you are now feeling as confused as I do. To help you get everything fixed in your mind, here are some more illustrations of what happens when a City Council tries to please everybody and ends up confusing an old duffer who just wants to know “What am I supposed to do here?”.


There’s my cycle lane to The South.  Is it just “advisory”? Looks like it. I bet that camera saw me taking pictures at some point.


It looks like a cyclist has accepted the invitation to mount the pavement here. Tyre tracks tell the story. Perhaps it was to avoid the “No Left Turn” and scare the pedestrians? On the other hand it could be one of Bristol’s many unsigned “Shared Space” areas.


See that drop curb again? Just the thing for enticing school children onto the main bus route. Shame about the vehicles waiting in the cycle space. And heaven help anyone who used it in a self-propelled wheel chair.


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