ViaStrada has been commissioned by VicRoads to undertake research on physical bicycle lane separators. Undertaking the trials included site selection, design of the empirical study and evaluation of the results. The aim of the study is to establish whether the devices are safe for all road users and effective in reducing the occurrence of drivers utilising the cycle lane. The separators are shown in Figures 1 & 2.
The research was commissioned by VicRoads, the state roading authority of Victoria, Australia. However, to minimise costs, the study is being undertaken in Christchurch where the traffic environment is considered suitably similar to Victoria for the results to be transferable. The consultancy undertaking the research (ViaStrada) is based in Christchurch.
Christchurch City Council officers are very supportive of the research and the Council contributed staff time to the research and arranged for the devices to be installed by their maintenance contractor. The devices are free of charge to Council, who will retain the hardware after the trial and receive the research results.
There are several locations in Christchurch where motorists regularly encroach into cycle lanes. Following discussions with the Christchurch City Council, Strickland Street and Kotare Street were chosen as the two trial sites where the effectiveness of bicycle lane separator devices are being tested. One site is an intersection where left turning vehicles queue in the cycle lane and the other is a cycle lane on the inside of a curve that is frequently encroached by cornering vehicles.
Strickland Street south of Brougham Street
Strickland Street is a Minor Arterial with about 8,000 vehicles per day. The Strickland Street / Antigua Street route carries substantial numbers of city-bound adult cycle commuters. The cycle lane is to the left of a 4.4 m wide shared left and through traffic lane. The width of this lane encourages left turning vehicle to queue alongside through traffic and block the cycle lane.
The Strickland Street trial involved widening the cycle lane from 1.4 m to 1.8 m and installing a series of lane separator devices at the edge of the cycle lane. Surveys of vehicle encroachment were undertaken by video after the cycle lane was widened, but before the separators were installed. Another video was taken after the installation of the separators. As the lane separators by themselves did not prove effective enough, flexible posts were retrofitted in the gaps between the separators.
Kotare Street to the east of Clyde Road
Kotare Street is a Minor Arterial with about 12,000 vehicles per day. The cycle lane is used by a substantial number of cyclists travelling between the University of Canterbury, local schools and the city. To the east of the Clyde Street / Kotare Street signalised intersection, motorists frequently encroach into the eastbound cycle lane to smooth out their path although the adjacent traffic lane is 4.0 m wide.
The Kotare Street trial involved the installation of a series of lane separator devices at the edge of the cycle lane as it rounds the corner. Surveys were undertaken by video before and after installation. As the lane separators by themselves were not effective enough, a flexible post has been retrofitted in one of the gaps between the separators.
Outcomes of the Trials
The findings of the trials have now been reported to the Client and also presented in a conference paper.
Given that the research conclusions support the use of physical lane separators then, in a subsequent stage of work, the results may inform the development of best practice guidance. The guide would provide information for road controlling authorities on the most appropriate types of treatment and locations for the physical bicycle lane separator devices.
Please follow this link if you want to contact the researcher.