March 16th, 2005


userinfo senji
2005/03/16 15:12:00 - UI whinge
I'm all in favour of tactile paving. However I am also a cyclist and there is what I regard as a serious misfeature in the tactile paving that's often used at the ends of segregated shared-use cycle paths§. At the start and end of such stretches of pavement¥ are placed two grids of tactile paving with parallel linear raised sections aligned with the edges of the tiles. On the cyclist side these raised sections are parallel to the direction of travel and on the pedestrian side they are perpendicular to it.

Now, I've noticed the following behaviour when my bike's front wheel touches linear obstructions. If the obstruction is perpendicular (or nearly so) to my direction of travel then my wheel tends to pass over it without any problems. If the obstruction is nearly parallel then my wheel tries quite hard to rotate so that it is parallel to the obstruction in preference to passing over it, if I'm not paying sufficient attention, or the ground is slippery (for instance if it has recently rained) then this can lead to a (possibly momentary) loss of control.

Other cyclists appear to have noticed this phenomenon as well, since they appear to use the same work around as I do, namely that if there is noöne whom it is likely to inconvenience I shift about metre to the side just before the tactile paving and cycle over the pedestrian tiles rather than the cyclist ones.

For readers in the past and other foreign countries, this is bits of paving that indicate road features via tactile means (primarily for the aid of blind and partially sighted people). The commonest example is small raised circles which indicate a pedestrian crossing in the region.
§ For various reasons I try to avoid these, however there are a couple I use as they provide (significant) short-cuts compared to on-road routes. e.g. the Jane Coston cycle bridge.
¥ Sidewalk.
Images may be found on this site.
Current Mood: [mood icon] irritated
Entry Tags: cambridge, cycling, rant

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userinfo aldabra
[userpic]
2005/03/16 15:54:00
And conversely. If you have an asleep child in a buggy the last thing you want to do is convert it to an awake, screaming child by wheeling it over lots of bumps. So you glance round briefly and then go over the cyclist bit.
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userinfo beckyc
[userpic]
2005/03/16 15:54:22
I, too, find it a particularly muppetish bit of design. I've quite often slipped on such tiles on my bike :-(
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userinfo emperor
[userpic]
2005/03/16 16:01:34
I think this rant would be good on cam.transport.
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2005/03/16 16:57:37
Permission is granted to … …

Hmm, discussion on #chiark has dropped me into a 'confused' state with regard to the general case, but feel free to reproduce this article on cam.transport so long as you credit me as the author :-).

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userinfo cartesiandaemon
[userpic]
2005/03/16 16:05:07
Perhaps the fault is with the guy who paints the little man and little cyclist on them :)
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userinfo simont
[userpic]
2005/03/16 16:45:16
You can laugh, but Park Terrace has a pavement divided into pedestrian and cycle lanes, and the markings on the road are in direct contradiction of the markings on the signpost! (At least in one direction; I have a vague memory that it's correct the other way round and that the problem is that the signpost has the same sign on both sides instead of mirror images.)
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userinfo cartesiandaemon
[userpic]
2005/03/16 16:48:13
I also remember being very confused by the foot/cycle path by cutter ferry bridge; no doubt which side was which was chosen carefully, but I'd've found it a lot easier to remember if the raised pavement bit was foot, and the lower tarmaced road-like bit was cycle, but oh no...
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2005/03/16 17:00:13
So, in that case it's the fault of the person who puts the signs up, rather than the person who paints the pictures on the road? :)
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userinfo slakko
[userpic]
2005/03/17 16:21:35
This looks like a logical error in the original definition of what the appropriate tactile markings should be. I would have thought that it would have been more intuitive to have the pedestrian markings be parallel to direction of travel ('gates', i.e. go through if you're a blind pedestrian) and the cyclist markings be perpendicular ('walls'). The fact that this bit of intuition would have eliminated the bicycle wheel-jump problem is a convenient bonus.
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UI whinge - Squaring the circle...

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