The dangers of sharing
Alan Davies, The Urbanist, has recently presented some valuable information gathered by the excellent crews from CrowdSpot and The Squeaky Wheel on both perceived and actual dangerous spots for riders in Melbourne. Their project looks like an excellent model for pinpointing priority spots for action to improve the safety of riders and pedestrians.
The Urbanist's article is well worth reading, and his takeout message is that:
Cyclists and pedestrians aren't the same; mixing them up in busy public places on the dubious grounds they're both "not cars" inevitably leads to conflict.
Hear, hear! It is longstanding best practice - from countries and cities that have significant numbers of people riding for transport and that are well practised in the development of safe infrastructure - that Pedestrians, Riders and Drivers need to be allocated their own safely separated zones. There's a quick mantra for this: the 1 - 2 - 3 principle i.e. one zone for walking, one zone for riding, one zone for driving.
With the current popularity of shared path projects in Hobart (Sandy Bay Road shared path section, Morrison St, Bridge over the Brooker), transport engineers and urban designers need to be aware that this approach is a recipe for increasing tension between people walking and riding. Zones for walking and riding should be clearly delineated via use of colour and consideration of well-designed kerbs. And bikes need to be seriously catered for with allocation to bikelanes of some of the road space which is currently allocated to carparking.
As an refresher, here is the Copenhagenize Design Company's Danish best practice infographic. This shows how road infrastructure needs to be adapted to safely provide for bike riders depending on the average speed of traffic.