Flashback Friday – Adelaide: Laneways

I had to review a road safety audit this week for a one-way central city shared space in NZ, and it called into question whether bikes should be allowed to ride contra-flow along this street. It reminded me of some interesting examples I saw over in Adelaide (when I was there for Velo-City 2014) of similar treatments for quiet central city lanes. This blogpost (originally from June 2014) shows you how they worked – should we have more of them here?

One really interesting feature of my recent visit to Adelaide was the urban laneways; they are a great example of how providing better for cycling doesn’t always mean building some cycleways.

A shared street in downtown Adelaide – no thoroughfare for motorists but those walking and biking can get through.

Rather like Christchurch, Adelaide has many small narrow streets interconnecting the larger grid network of major streets in the CBD. They’re not very wide (or have been made narrower by on-street cafe seating), so typically they are only one-way for motorists. However, generally they have been set up to allow for cycling in the opposite direction.

A little bit of green at the start of this street is a hint that bikes might be coming the other way. Note also the 20km/h speed limit.

Some of these streets have a line marked to denote space for “contra-flow” cycling. However, rather like parts of the Frome St Bikeway we saw last week, some streets don’t even have that:

A one-way street, but bicycles are excepted from this rule (see signs) – BTW, no, that’s not a bike lane on the left

The only hint to this state of affairs might be some signage at the start of the street:

Motorists are told to look out for oncoming bikes

While this approach might seem a little bit hazardous, the key to its success is probably the low speed environments involved (and generally low traffic volumes too). If we consider some of the reconstructed laneways in the Christchurch rebuild, I could envisage this working equally well there.

You go your way, I’ll go mine…

What do you think of Adelaide’s laneway treatments?

3 thoughts on “Flashback Friday – Adelaide: Laneways”

  1. Interesting idea, but a painted line on the ground offers little in the way of protection and separation.

    Plus riding toward oncoming cars would be unsetting – closing speed of car + bike is higher than if they’re going the same direction.

    1. These are low-speed, low-volume situations – the risk in this case is perfectly manageable. Only when traffic volumes/speeds are higher do you require physical separation. Best practice here in NZ (based on European standards) recommends this exact treatment – https://nzta.govt.nz/walking-cycling-and-public-transport/cycling/cycling-standards-and-guidance/cycling-network-guidance/designing-a-cycle-facility/between-intersections/contra-flow-cycling/

  2. when looking at the one way system of StAsaph and Tuam Sts,. Both are complete with a cycle lane. If marked properly, both these cycle lanes could worl counter flow. the traffic control lights would need to be able to be read from the opposite way as well, but cyclists arent stupid, many do it already with out serious consequences so I can not see a valid reason as to why not

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