Thursday 21 November 2013

ASLs: A SimpleTruth

Oh, here we go again. Magnatom is in the news again. What's he saying this time?...oh, he's called ASLs (or ASZs) the Spawn of Satan......what a muppet he is.....

Yes, it's true. I have made it into today's paper, and you can read the article here. Yes, I did say that ASLs are the Spawn of Satan. As is often the case, though, there's always more to a story than the newspaper suggests. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame the reporter (Alastair Dalton) for writing the article the way it is written. It's fine. The problem is, that in a short article like that you cannot get across the detail behind the assertion.

To learn more about where my assertion comes from, have a read of this blog here.

So I'm going to assume you've now read the article. If you haven't do it now. Go on. I'll wait.

Right. Now that you have definitely read it, I'm hoping that my muppet level rating has reduced a little. My whole argument was based on logic and the fact that it is better not to have infrastructure that encourages dangerous habits in inexperienced cycling road users.

I absolutely stand by everything I say in that blog and I'm happy for anyone to challenge the logic and to tell me I am wrong.

I do though understand the approach that Spokes takes and that they can in certain circumstances be useful, and it is nice to hear about the police taking cycling more seriously. I just think that we need to focus all of our efforts on designing junctions and roads properly.

One of the big issues with ASLs is the conflict it encourages between cycling road users and HGVs. In fact the Netherlands is not immune from this issue either as this (translated) article demonstrates. Luckily the lady involved in this incident survived, and I wish her well.

The reason I have mentioned this particular incident is demonstrated below in the google map of this particular location.

Grotere kaart weergeven

It happened at an ASL with a feeder lane, something that is a rare sight in the Netherlands. The Dutch are in the process of removing ASLs and I suspect that following this incident this one will be removed soon.

So yes, I am against more ASLs, but only because I think we deserve much, much better.


  1. For those who find it hard to read the Google translation, the main translation errors are:
    "bike star" should be "female cyclist"
    "saw on the head" should be "overlooked"
    "drive. Gansstraat the" should be "drive into Gansstraat"

  2. I wouldn't be so defensive, I'm firmly in the "spawn of Satan" camp :)

    To my mind, 90% of the problems with ASLs would disappear if they all had an advance light phase as well. But without that... Satan.

  3. I live in Utrecht and sometimes cycle through the Albatrosstraat. I'm 54 and cycle about 5.000 km/year, so I consider myself an experienced cyclist. The Albatrosstraat needs a cycle path, it is on the whole length dangerous with too much cars (11.000/day, of which 150 heavy trucks) riding too fast (50 km/hour). I try to prevent using this street, even if it takes me longer.
    The problem with this street is not the ASL of the feeder lane. The accident did not happen at the feeder lane.
    Both directions have green light at the same time. If you want to turn left, you must cross before the cars of the other direction reach you. Waiting halfway, in the middle of the crossing, for the cars to pass, is not something I dare to do. I won't turn left here.

    The women went straight on, the truck took a turn. The driver had not seen the women, but she did have right of way. If there had been a cycle path ending in a ASL the accident might have happened as well, as both were past the ASL and already on the crossing itself. She was in the blind spot of a truck, a dangerous place to be.

    The donwside of not having ASL's is that then there are bycicle paths. They have a separate green fase at the traffic lights. Cars have green for ages and bikes for a few seconds. That's not fair...
    We need separate cycling infrastructure, separate from car infrastructure. Cycling through residential streets, along waterways and railway lines, through parks etcetera. Not noisy, not polluted, relaxed, pleasant, socially safe and very quick as there are hardly traffic lights.