Monday, 5 May 2014

Response to the Salford Armadillo Trial

I have finally finished compiling and emailing my comments on the Armadillo trial.

This is the Summary

The Armadillo trial on Middlewood Street and Liverpool Street have clearly demonstrated that the armadillos fail on four key accounts:-

Firstly, they are far too low to have any deterrent effect on drivers. Even the smallest car can be driven over the armadillos and into the cycle lane without damage. These rounded plastic lumps are ineffective at keeping parked cars and lorries out of a cycle lane, and on their own do not deter people from driving into the lane. Without additional protection like bollards or traffic islands the armadillo is ineffective.

Secondly, the armadillo is large enough to be a significant hazard for people cycling. The armadillo is large enough to throw someone off a bicycle if they were to hit it, and they prevent someone cycling getting out of the cycle lane, or make it very dangerous if a vehicle is obstructing the lane.

Thirdly, they are the wrong colour. Unlike a concrete kerb or steel bollard, being black they do not stand out visibly from the road surface and are particularly invisible in low light or dusk conditions.

Finally, as they are made of low grade recycled plastic, the armadillo is prone to damage and will not withstand repeatedly being driven over by heavy vehicles like buses or HGVs.

By contrast the Jislon plastic traffic islands with bollards that have been installed over the past few weeks have been remarkably successful. Whilst they are also of plastic construction and therefore unlikely to survive permanent deployment, they do seem to be keeping drivers out of the cycle lane and protecting the armadillos.

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