1. Safe for cycling. This is paramount but it is worth noting that many of the current on-road existing cycle ways are not particularly safe because of the actions of drivers. For example, the curves in the road are often places where many drivers will cut the corner into the cycle way which is not pleasant for anyone cycling.
2. Continuous routes - rather than just segments. When going from A->B cyclists can't just cycle the nice or safe bits and skip the rest. But sometimes our cycle ways do that. They just stop, without giving cyclists any good option.
3. Direct and fast. If the routes are too winding or have too many traffic lights many commuters will simply hop back on a busy road. Traffic lights are a pain to everyone, but more so for cyclists who have to apply physical effort to get back up to speed, and also tend to cool riders down in winter. Also traffic lights are seldom timed for bikes which can be a pain.
4. A nice environment. It's true some commuters put their head down and just zoom, but for others the environment will be a decisive element on whether they decide to cycle or take the car instead. A natural and relaxing environment with few hassles will sway some people to take the healthier option.
Innovative ways which we can achieve the above:
1. How to Make it safe
a. Good lighting. While cycling is most fun in the daylight, in Winter it gets dark pretty early so our cycleways need to take that into consideration. There is not point building a safe cycling route and then having people avoid it at night in winter when cyclists are hardest to see. Therefore the cycle way should be well lit
(Thanks to Theresa McLennan, Upper Riccarton)
b. Use rumble strips (as used on the side of state highway 1) for on-road cycle ways to provide instant feedback to remind motorists that they are crossing into the cycle way. This would be a great way to improve the safety of cycleways on busy roads and especially in areas where space is limited. In particular, all bends in the road where motorists habitually cut the corner into the cycle lane should get this treatment.
(Thanks to Ian Ross, Hoon Hay)
2. Continuous Routes
a. Cycle specific road signs would make cycle ways more easy to follow, especially for tourists. Once there is a good network of cycleways, then it make sense to help people to use them to get around. The best car routes from A->B aren't necessarily the best cycle routes (due to busy roads that are unsuitable for cycling or short cuts not avaliable to cars) so it is logical that the cycle network would need it's own set of road signs to help people get around.
3. Direct and fast
a. Design the main comuting cycleways for both round town and into the city travel when suburbs are designed. As we are redesigning a lot of areas as part of the rebuild cycle ways there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design good cycle routes.
4. A nice environment
a. Use a nice smooth tar seal on the cycleways. It is worth noting that the quality of the seal makes a big difference to cyclist comfort particularly on road bikes. In order to encourage a wider cross section of the community, cycle paths (including those on roads) should have smooth seal.
b. Keep it free of glass and other punture-causing items. These after all are the bane of cyclists! Getting the routes away from main roads and liquour store should help with this.
This is a general list of techniques that seem like they would work in Christchurch. For more detailed solutions of how Christchurch could be made more bike friendly see Cycling solutions - area by area
So how do you think we should create a awesome cycle way network?
Please comment below (either using facebook or blogger) and your comments will be incorporated into the document and ideas credited to you.