Cyclists safer without centre-line markings

12.00 | 25 September 2014 | | 1 comment

Drivers tend to slow down more when overtaking cyclists in circumstances where there are “narrower lanes, lower speed limits and the absence of centre-line markings”, researchers from the University of Leeds have found.

The study also found that drivers passed cyclists more slowly if they were driving a long vehicle or in a platoon, and when approaching vehicles in the opposing carriageway were within five seconds of the passing point.

The study set out to “fill gaps” in previous research by looking at cycle lanes on 20mph and 30mph roads, and the impact of different lane widths and lane markings, vehicle type, vehicle platooning and oncoming traffic.

The researchers collected data from a bicycle ridden a distance of one metre from the kerb which was fitted with an ultrasonic distance detector and forward and sideways facing cameras.

Their report concluded that: “Reduced overtaking speeds correlate with narrower lanes, lower speed limits, and the absence of centre-line markings.

“Increased passing distances were found where there were wider or dual lane roads, and in situations where oncoming vehicles were further away and not in a platoon.

“In mixed traffic conditions, cyclists will be better accommodated by wider cross-sections, lower speed limits and the removal of the centre-line marking.”


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    It’s not surprising that the narrower the road and the longer the traffic queue the slower the overtaking speeds are and the wider the gap given to cyclists. If the road is wide or two carriageways then little distance has to be given and traffic will not necessarily slow or actually have to slow to take into account any oncoming vehicles that may be a danger to them.

    Such narrow roads are more than likely not to have a central white line so we are talking mainly about narrower roads and ones generally out in the urban areas or side streets in rural ones.

    So nothing new there. That being said in the Wye valley the other day there were quite a few cyclists motoring down that road and all caused a queue of other traffic behind them waiting in turn to overtake in the winding narrow main A road. This is becoming a particular problem on such roads and may lead to increased frustration and anger by some.

    This situation is exacerbated when more than one pedal cyclists either collects together creating a wider road block or they ride several yards apart and each one creates the blockage and queue as stated before.

    bob craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (1)

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