Cyclepaths: designed by/for psychopaths?

Sometimes you can’t avoid a blog posting: it is something that just happens. At first you just see it in the distance – you know it is there, and you just cannot avoid it. Rather like the pothole that buckles your rim when you’re sqeezing between the bus and a brand new Merc, with no room for manoeuvre. Or like the protruding root on the muddy downhill, sneakily sticking out on a corner, half-hidden by dappled shadow.
You know you are going to come into sudden contact with whatever it is, and you don’t know how it will pan out.
This gaping hole that lies straight ahead of me is a rant. Specifically a rant about cycle paths, and even more so about those who design them. For the past few weeks my experiences and observations of cycling through London have been building up to this rant, and suddenly, when I no longer commute (don’t ask) I now have the time to write about it.
So, where do I start? With this sign, I think.dismount
Now, we have all seen these signs, and they seem to breeding at an exponential rate. There must be a few that are actually necessary, but most are planted in the most inane places, where no cyclist would consider getting off his or her mount and pushing.
Take where I live, for example, just off the A20, where there is a cycle lane in both directions. When cyclists leave the busy road for our estate, they are ordered to dismount. Why? Do the road designers seriously expect them to hop off and push through a residential area?
Come on! These people are paid good money to use their noggins.
My guess is that they work on a quota system – they are told how many dismount signs are needed per square kilomtre in urban and rural areas. Either that, or they bought a job lot and have to justify the purchase by disseminating them. They aren’t that expensive – a mere £29 each from Equip4Work, and something off for buying bulk.
As cycling gathers momentum as a sport, pastime and means of transport, there will be a proliferation of signs affecting cyclists. Let’s just hope that that the signs of the times are pointing in the right direction.
Next: a proliferation of potholes

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