In a study published this week, Professor John Parkin and Stella Shackel observed a reduction of speed of vehicles passing cyclists on roads with no centre line. A centre line may present a visual clue about where a driver should ‘drive up to’. Its absence may cause the driver to consider his or her road position and speed more carefully.
Lowering speed limits to 20 mph was also found to be associated with lower overtaking speed, whereas the presence of a cycle lane was not associated with either any differences in distance or speed of passing motor traffic.
The report’s findings that drivers overtaking behaviour is not dependent on cycle lanes makes a strong case for protected space for cyclists. This is an issue that highway authorities should take seriously. Well designed cycling infrastructure which leads to people’s feeling of safety is essential to getting more people on the road.”
Results from the paper were also presented at the Cycling and Society Research Group meeting in Newcastle on 15 and 16 September 2014.