Protecting cyclists in street space
Marking a cycle lane in the middle of a one-way street
Entering Soest's city centre from the west, the Jakobi Street serves as an important one-way street within the local network. Both sides of the road are covered by closed coverage type houses and sideways. On one side of the street, there is a parking lane, discontinued by trees.
In Jakobi Street, the daily volume of traffic is about 4,000 cars, 200 trucks and busses and 900 cyclists. The wide of the road, which has to be shared between all users, varies between 3.50 and 4.20 metres. Due to a mobility study from 2011, Soest's cycling modal share lays around 23%.
In Jakobi as well in other streets, we are facing the following problem: Within the 450 meter one-way street, a car may overtake a cyclist if both ignore safe distances. Pre-condition is, that the cyclist has to move close to the parked cars, running the risk of being hit by an opening door.
That situation consistently caused conflicts. Thereupon, in 2008 the municipality forced the idea of marking a cycle lane in the middle of the road.
Prior to this, the idea of a bicycle street had been discussed, but it was refused as being not purposeful. In cooperation with the local traffic department and the police, also the marking of a safety zone between cyclists and parked cars had been no better option, because it was assessed as being too misunderstoodable. Finally it was decided to mark a 1.50 metres wide cycle lane in the middle of the road.
As an effect of that measure, the distance between the cyclists and opening car doors is wide enough to avoid accidents. At the same time, cyclists using the lane cant be overtaken by cars, trucks and busses. Consequently, the cyclists' safety could be potentiated.
The effects were surprisingly positive, even for the municipality: From the beginning, the cycle lane was highly accepted by the street users. A reason for that lays in the simplicity that everybody can easily understand the marking. Car drivers stay beyond the cyclists, driving with moderate speed (average of 18-20 km/h). Scarcely any cyclist has to switch aside. The effective speed of motorized traffic is much lower than the 30 km/h allowed.
Due to that positive experience as well as to suggestions from the road users, the municipality is currently thinking about marking another one-way street suchlike. This have to be proofed clearely, since it may lead to reduce acceptance when every street possible might be marked this way, and we don't want to compromise the good relationship between car users and cyclists in Jakobi Street.
Running expenses are marginal: not exceeding 100 Euro per year for the renewal of the road marking
City of Soest
- Manfred Scholz, road construction office
- local road traffic authorities
- Kreis Soest police department, traffic unit
First as an experiment, since 2008 as a continuous measure.