13 July 2010

Cycle Superhighways: Time of the signs

The direction signs for the two Superficial Cycleways being launched on Monday, are already up.

Most of them are covered in black plastic bin liners for now, which is possibly a comment on the standard of the facilities they advertise.

But on some signs, the ferocious winds of the Southwark Sirocco and Wapping Willy-willy have torn away the covering, giving us a sneaky glimpse of what's to come: in just 40 minutes, you'll be Barking.


  1. Pray tell, what average speed are they assuming for these times to be accurate? Given that it's not completely unfeasible that the cyclists using them might range from 6mph to 20mph they're a bit useless. At least with distance you can roughly work it out.

  2. CS3 was in use even when the barriers were up and the tarmac wasn't even set.

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  4. @recursived... yes, I don't like the use of minutes at all. The official position is something along the lines of 'people don't understand miles', 'it might put people off', etc.

    I don't understand that. All the urban routes I've ever seen in the Netherlands or Belgium use distance, not time, and it doesn't seem to put them off.

  5. No, it doesn't put people off at all to have actual distances on signs over here.

    Where did this "minutes" idea come from in Britain ? It's utterly illogical. How is it even slightly helpful to give distances in anything other than a unit of distance.

    They may as well have printed that the distance to Barking is "half a cheese sandwich."

    If it's good for cyclists, why not also for drivers ? Should not the the signs pointing west from London say such things as that Reading is "1 hour" away, assuming the speed of traffic at some particular point in the day...

  6. The minutes not miles on the signs directive seems to have come from Sustrans I think. Its clearly popular in planning circles, sadly, since its illogical, wasteful and not what normal people want or understand.

  7. Given that bikes are allegedly faster than cars in London, maybe it's just to taunt the motorists?

    We have perfectly normal distance signs on our routes in Scotland. Must be a devolved matter.

  8. To be fair, bikes are generally not subject to congestion or delay (visits by the p*ncture faerie notwithstanding) and grannies and TdF aside, generally travel at 10-12 mph. So it's not *entirely* unreasonable to quote minutes. For the average cyclist, minutes do make a kind of sense. And most novice cyclists probably don't know how long it takes to get from A to B.

    Personally, I'd prefer miles, of course. But hardly the end of the world.

  9. Cambridge's cycling signs use distances, thank goodness. But one issue is that foreigners (other than Yanks) would assume distances were kilometres, and expect to arrive when in fact only two-thirds there.