A bus bypass for bikes that is NOT a bike bypass

The new mixed bike path/bus stop on Bryce St is designed to harm (refer paragraph C), is not efficient (refer paragraph B), and is not sensible (refer paragraph A). If only HCC had looked at the Dutch ‘design manual for cycle-friendly infrastructure’ (CROW), we could have had a safer and more efficient bike/bus stop bypass.

Bryce streets forest of signs

(A).  If a bus is stopped at the new Bryce St south/west-style bus stop, the cyclist must also stop behind the bus, and the delay will be similar to that experienced if a bus was stopped in the bike lane. Using Charlotte, NC as an example, where they use the same style of bus stop, their rule states; ‘bicyclist … must yield once approaching a bus stop to allow for bus passenger pickup/drop off’ (link 1).  In Melbourne, the rule states; ‘be alert at bus stops and watch out for passengers getting on and off buses: stop behind the bus until it has moved off’ (link 2). You can see similar examples for biking near Melbourne trams in the image below. A Bike Auckland blog post included a comment about this style of bus stop saying, ‘where the cycle lane will ramp up to a bus stop platform people on bikes will have to stop when a bus is there’ (link 3).  Is the new Bryce St bus stop efficient or sensible?

(link 1) https://charlottenc.gov/Transportation/Programs/Pages/BusBikeLane.aspx

(link 2) https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/bicycles

(link 3) https://www.bikeauckland.org.nz/make-great-north-road-great/

Stopping behind a Tram – Victoria Law Foundation

(B). The Dutch designed a sensible bus stop bike bypass in the 1980s, which needed 5m between kerb and property line. On Bryce St the width between kerb and property line is 5.5m. The Dutch design maintains a safe zone for people to protect pedestrians getting on and off buses and allows cyclists to travel through without the need to stop behind the bus. There is absolutely no reason why the Dutch option could not have been used. It is a mystery to many people who have biked in the Netherlands to understand why a proven bus stop bike bypass design that has existed for decades is not copied elsewhere. It does not seem sensible to come up with a design that is less efficient.

Image from Dutch ‘Design manual for a cycle-friendly infrastructure’ (CROW) Page 114

(C). Safe Zone – NZTA has stated minimum footway requirements at bus stops as follows: ‘A boarding and alighting clear area of 1.2 metres by 8.0m upstream from the bus stop flag’ – see NZTA Guidelines for public transport infrastructure – p29, and for bus stop shelters, see page 28 (link 4). The new Bryce St stop also includes a pedestrian crossing at bus door locations. The New Zealand rule for pedestrians using a crossing is, ‘Don’t step out suddenly onto a pedestrian crossing if any vehicles are so close to the crossing that they cannot stop’ (link 50). The inter-visibility between a cyclist and a person stepping off a bus is zero.  We can find an explanation of how traffic engineers chose the Bryce St style bus stop in the ‘Infrastructure Operations Committee’ report, 7 Dec 2021 page 153 – ‘To minimise the risk of conflict between buses and cyclists, the cyclists will be taken off-road on to a short section of shared path around the bus stops and then back on-road after the stops. While this increases the risk of conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on the short section of shared path, it is likely that a cyclist-pedestrian collision will be less severe than a cyclist-vehicle collision’. Earlier in the report on page 136 – ‘Drawing on best practice guidance, roads that have been identified with a focus on cycling should consider cycle lanes behind bus stop, where bus stops are to be installed. Pedestrians may have to cross the separated cycleway to access bus stops and pedestrian crossing facilities. The choice of mitigation for these potential conflict points is a function of how much space is available – ideally people stepping off buses should not step directly into a separated cycleway’’ (link 7). On Bryce St there was enough room (5.5m) to design a bike path behind the bus stop, so is it sensible to build something less efficient and designed to increase the risk of harmful conflict for the very people the bus stop is designed for?

 (link 4) https://nzta.govt.nz/assets/consultation/guidelines-for-public-transport-infrastructure/docs/guidelines-pt-infrastructure-draft.pdf

(link 5) https://www.nzta.govt.nz/roadcode/general-road-code/about-other-road-users/information-for-other-road-users/information-for-pedestrians/

(link 6) https://www.hamilton.govt.nz/AgendasAndMinutes/Infrastructure%20Operations%20Open%20Agenda%20-%207%20December%202021.PDF

(link 7) Infrastructure Operations Committee’ 7 Dec 2021 page 136

Further references

Dr Nadine Dodge from Abley consultants – When we build a bus stop bypass, we fix one problem but can create a different one. We get rid of conflicts between cyclists and traffic and introduce a conflict between pedestrians and cyclists that didn’t exist before.

Bike Portland blog post – ‘when a bus pulls up to the curb, cyclists are required to stop before the pedestrian crosswalk area, allowing passengers to safely get on or off the bus’

Melbourne – Bike riders must stop behind a tram that has stopped at a tram stop, to allow passengers to get on and off safely.

Examples from Cycling Embassy of Great Britain

A view from the cycle path blog post – Ten Bus Stop Bypasses for Bicycles. Bikes, buses and bus passengers can be in harmony only when separated (floating bus stop).

NACTO – Transit Street Design Guide – Shared Cycle Track Stop – ‘Bicyclists can ride through the boarding area when no transit vehicles are present, but must yield the space to boarding and alighting passengers when a bus or streetcar stops’

UK Department for Transport (DfT) – Research – Bus Stop Bypasses – ‘presents serious hazards to both cycles and to pedestrians trying to access a bus stop (p58) … We think there should be no further construction of Bus Stop Bypasses …. For blind and partially sighted people who find it difficult or impossible to detect the presence of bicycles (p59).

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