What? You actually wanted to cycle somewhere?
February 14, 2003 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Weird cycle lanes of Brighton (and Hove, actually). 'This website grew out of an article...claiming that some cycle lane up north was the shortest in Britain. What! I thought, we have many many much shorter lanes!!' Not so much a competition, more an amusing photolog of some of the more ridiculous attempts at creating cycle lanes in Brighton, UK...are they this bad in other cities around the world?
posted by i_cola (19 comments total)
Some local knowledge:
'Hove, actually'.
The Level is a triangular grassy area in the middle of Brighton.
posted by i_cola at 9:19 AM on February 14, 2003

Wow those are just messed up. Is this some sort of a joke by the Dept. of Transportation?
posted by riffola at 9:31 AM on February 14, 2003

These, for me, are the essence of British town councils - pretentious, expensive, committee-based random decisions that ignore less "vibrant and innovative" problems such as pavements that look like a scene from Chechnya.

Aren't I irritated?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:31 AM on February 14, 2003

Damn, i_cola, the number of people who'd have smiled knowingly at 'Hove, actually' and understood they were in on a great private joke... talk about jumping the gun...

I actually have friends down there, and got into the habit of addressing letters and cards to 'Hove, actually', since that's the de facto name of the place.

(I like the Eye's 'Skidrow-on-Sea', though, especially looking at this.)
posted by riviera at 9:44 AM on February 14, 2003

posted by i_cola at 9:50 AM on February 14, 2003

as an irritated Brighton cyclist I would like to add that these lanes are also made out some ingenious form of corrugated tarmac (asphalt) which makes actually riding a bike along them so uncomfortable that everyone either rides on the pavement or road anyway. Brighton council reminds me of those people who make toasters with a setting that allows you to burn your toast to a cinder.
posted by gravelshoes at 9:51 AM on February 14, 2003

Great links. Our bike lanes would make you weep with jealousy, and I'm the only one that uses them. Of course, most U.S. cites are relatively young, thus, we have an orderly grid of wide streets with which to work.
posted by rotifer at 10:01 AM on February 14, 2003

As odd & amusing as some of these bike lanes are, I'm still jealous. My city doesn't have it in gear for it's size. Case in point, most people drive to the bike routes, dope!
Yet the area where I live now did produce a great cycler.

This photo is more than odd for me, is it legal to ride on the side walks?(I'm asking as I'm unfamiliar with the laws of this land) Example, in most cities in the US if you're in a cross walk or side walk, you are to walk your bike. Growing up the beach communities enforced these & other laws to the t's with cyclist.

{{{Ring}}}{{ Ring}}}, this thread is great i_cola.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:05 AM on February 14, 2003

Heehee, this is great. British eccentricity meets local council bureaucracy. Thanks. :)

thomcatspike :- Some cycle lanes do indeed run over pavements, as we call sidewalks.
posted by plep at 10:27 AM on February 14, 2003

Lots more daft examples at Cycle Facility of the Month.
posted by normy at 10:33 AM on February 14, 2003

I think that town/city councils (the authority responsible for local traffic measures) get grants from national govt for cycle lane construction and more lanes mean more money! The fact that the lanes are bugger all use seems to have escaped a few people...
posted by i_cola at 11:03 AM on February 14, 2003

Some of these are truly weird, but the "jug handle" is supposed to provide cyclists who intend to cross the road for a left turn (or, in the UK, a right turn) with a place to wait for a gap in traffic without blocking through traffic in the bike lane.

Here's more:
posted by batboy at 11:14 AM on February 14, 2003

I think the clear message here is that the British hate bicyclists.

Sign posts in the dead centre of a bike path? Come on! What other explanation is there?!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:40 PM on February 14, 2003

I am not entirely certain why but I really enjoyed that site (and the others). Not because of any animosity to cyclists -- I ride as well -- but something about the utter lack of thinking things through that is often demonstrated by urban planning.
posted by Dick Paris at 1:05 PM on February 14, 2003

I suspect the problem is that these diffacilities are are 'designed' by local authority engineers who are told to do something to meet the requirements of government who want to appear to be doing something for the environment, by encouraging cycling. Unfortunately, none of the middle-aged bureaucrats involved in policy or engineering has ridden a bicycle since childhood and they seem to be inexplicably unwilling to ask for advice from anyone that has.
posted by normy at 1:39 PM on February 14, 2003

A perfect example of how councils are told to provide x miles of cycle paths, but lack any sort of idea as to how to implement such a directive.

Oxford is similar, although I haven't encountered anything quite as bizarre as some of the weirder cycle lanes in Brighton.
posted by salmacis at 2:53 PM on February 14, 2003

I was working down in Wilmington, Delaware for a few months last year. One of the first things I noticed were the gorgeous, spacious bike lanes.

And then I noticed:
cars parked in the bike lanes all the time (even when the ostensible owner had a huge driveway(s), i.e. all of them)
cars driving in the bike lane
idiots^wpeople jogging/walking/congregating in the bike lane (even though there were plenty of large, nice sidewalks)

naturally I observed cops who were observing all of this, and who did absolutely fsck-all about it.

once or twice I saw some poor sap actually trying to use the bike lanes, but they were quickly discouraged.
posted by dorian at 5:16 PM on February 14, 2003

...and further evidence that this is not a uniquely British problem.
posted by normy at 7:49 PM on February 16, 2003

I believe that my home town (Leicester, England) has one of the smallest cycle paths. And irony of ironies, it's directly outside the local council offices.
posted by boneybaloney at 12:09 AM on February 17, 2003

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