Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dumb Helsinki cycle paths #8

First bit of rubbish bike path design for 2010, Katajanokalaituri in downtown Helsinki. Another case of a good intentions not really thought through very far.
(Please click on the picture to get the full-size version.)

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

In a perfect world they have built a tunnel between the two parts of the cycle path. Not sure why this bothersome since cyclist have to slow down for the crossing anyway.

Not an not adverse to the odd rant, but these 'dumb cycle path posts' seem a little petty.

Cheers,

Jody

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

Bike vs. pedestrian accidents can be serious and unlike in either of the above vs. a car, both the walker and the cyclist is quite likely to end up injured. I've got at least two scars going back several years from crashing off my bike whilst avoiding walkers who have wandered on to the cycle path, and I've come off a number of other times for the same reason with fortunately bruises or scabs that have since gone away.

Cyclists riding on the walking path are annoying and dangerous, and pedestrians walking on the cycle path are the same - but in almost all cases there is no malice or even lack of forethought involved. People simply get confused because there is no one system in Helsinki, there are a number of systems randomly interspersed.

Our taxes get used on cycle path provision, so I would like the council to think more, or learn from past mistakes, when doing future cycle path development. If there is a cycle path you are actually breaking the law to ride on the road (plus Helsinki drivers can be aggressive against cyclists on the road), so I want the cycle paths to be safer for both when I'm riding and when I'm walking.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

I should add that I've spoken about these issues with MPs, local councilors, and people standing in local elections, and pointed some to these posts so they serve that little purpose if nothing else! I've also been in contact with the Helsinki cycling campaign group HEPO - so I'm trying to something positive about these sort of problems rather than just rant.

Anonymous said...

Pedestrians will always walk onto cycle paths, especially in built up cities (i.e. your pic) where the barrier between the two different paths is usually just a white line. Also, while pedestrians don’t have to adhere to a ‘walking code’ , Finns usually are very diligent at adhering to the white line and walking on the right side of it.
From what I have seen Helsinki, Espoo, and Vantaa, have gone to great lengths to accommodate cyclists, more so than many other cities. No system is perfect and improvements can always be made, but I am not sure what you expect from your latest post. Cannot see local councilors, MPs etc losing sleep about this crossing or for that matter any of your other cycle path posts.
It is possible that something with the road system, the stage development of the cycle paths, and/ or the old street layout has led to a crossing where pedestrians and cyclists meet. I know you would like to cross the crossing at full speed, but having to slow down for pedestrians is probably a good idea in order to watch out for cars
I have lived in the city for the last 8 years and I do cycle to work and sometimes for fun. While I may not cycle as far or as fast I have been nothing but impressed with the cycle path system. Having see you cycle and heard you talk about it, I know you like to cycle along a good rate and maintain you speed throughout your ride. However, I think the cycle paths are designed for those wanting to get from A to B by bike and not those wanting to set a new record or train fitness. The closer you get to the centre of Helsinki the truer this becomes.
Cheers,
Jody

Anonymous said...

I also went through the past bad cycle path posts and it does'nt seem like you have been innudated with comments of support. Instead,

"If that was the worst problem cycling in London... well.. I wouldn't be typing this."

I have enjoyed reading your blog, its both insightful and entertaining. However in my opinion, your high quality posts show up you 'bad cycle path posts' as empty and a little petty.


Cheers,

Jody

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

In which case Jody, you definitely won't be interested in http://fillarikanava.hel.fi/ it's just the city giving hundreds of Helsinki cyclists a chance to moan! ;-) One bad crossing is a petty annoyance. Dozens of problems all across town is a) bad planning b) putting people unnecessarily at risk and c) stopping more people from cycling and thus not alleviating congestion, pollution whilst improving health.

I want to get from A (my house) to B (my job) safely and easily, just like everyone else.

http://www.copenhagenize.com/

Anonymous said...

I went to the website and out of the couple I could read with my poor Finnish there were even some positive comments. Also, subtract half for pettiness and just plain ignorance that the cycle paths are planned to fit in an old city road system, and you are probably left with a few dozen of genuinely useful comments.

Anyway as mentioned, improvements can always be made, but have you actually looked at the pic in your last post (?). In a old part of central Helsinki a designated (i.e. not just a painted part of a road) cycle path, flanked on the pedestrian side by a granite pillar barrier leads to a crossing, with nothing to obstruct the view of cyclist or walker, then to another designated cycle path. When I see that I am like wow, I wish it would have been like that in all the other UK towns and cities I have cycled in. When you see it you think death trap ?!?!

Also, from the pic I would guess that the cycle path crosses from one side to the other because it has to stay on the side closest to the road and there is no continuation of the road where all the cars are parked after the crossing. I would further guess that keeping the cycle path next to the road is to stop cyclist riding into things coming out off or sticking out of buildings.

In fact your reaction is so strangely over top (i.e. out of sycn with your usually careful opinion) it makes me wonder if your motive for posting is really public safety, or perhaps to clear the lanes so you can cycle to and from work as fast as possible. Which, having seen you cycle right in front of me while I was standing at a bus stop, is pretty crazy fast for built-up areas with many pedestrians around.

With regards to my motive, I didn’t comment on your last 7 ‘bad cycling path’ posts but thought the 8th was so daft as to warrant my self-righteous reply.

Cheers,

Jody

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