Seville: bikeway color choice by popular poll

Please excuse the Spanish in the illustration below — though really, the content is self-evident. English resumes after the illustration.

City of Seville, Spain poll for citizens to choose bikeway color

City of Seville, Spain poll for citizens to choose bikeway color

This post is a follow-up to the earlier one, “what color is your bike lane?”, which made the points, among others, that different pavement colors have specific, defined meanings, and some colors show up better than others under streetlights. These technical issues might not come to mind for José Average Citizen.

How did the city government of Seville, Spain address these issues? With the public polling form shown above.

A local cycling advocate has described the process on a Web page. A translation of the first lines reads:

The Seville authorities, who are going to spend 156 million Euros increasing danger for cyclists with a network of 77 km of segregated bikeways, most of them bidirectional — (Yes, bidirectional like these) has conducted a poll so that Sevillans can choose the color.

Very modern, participatory and democratic, yes sir!

The text continues:

Well, the first thing that is clear is that there is no way to select “none”. They’re going to screw you one way or the other, cyclist, whether you like it or not, with one or another color. So, choose, kid!

The page includes a parody catalog of colors — Brussels model: lilac, to attract women to cycling; Amsterdam model: phosphorescent green, promoting environmental consciousness; Copenhagen model: blood red, to reduce the visual impact of crashes, etc. Here’s the London model (click on it to enlarge it).

Translation: "London Model: disco laser blue. Excellent to provide good nighttime visibility. Will attract the younger set, danceaholics and night-owls to the bikeways. Use your bicycle 24 hours per day!"

Translation: London Model: disco laser blue. Excellent to provide good nighttime visibility. Will attract the younger set, danceaholics and night-owls to the bikeways. Use your bicycle 24 hours per day!

In fairness, the colors shown are not necessarily the ones used in those cities — the red for Denmark and laser-blue for England are reversed and a couple of the other colors are, well, imaginative — but, on the other hand, the quote from a safety study cited along with each proposed color is genuine.

Here’s a link to the cycling advocate’s page:

http://bicilibre.livejournal.com/2006/09/17/

What did Seville get as a result of its advanced bicycle program? Among other things, it got to be the site of the 2011 Velo-City conference, where Euro bicycle program planners meet, greet and trade ideas. More about Seville will follow — stay tuned.

5 Responses to Seville: bikeway color choice by popular poll

  1. England has uncoloured, red, blue or green cycle-lanes. I don’t think the colour has any significance.
    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/index.htm
    Blue is for ‘Cycle Superhighways’ in London.
    Red often means Bus Lane.

  2. I’ll adopt your British spelling for this reply!

    You don’t think the colour has any significance — but I’m not sure what you mean. You could mean that

    No design standard says what colour should be used, and so there is no meaning attached to the colour; or

    You don’t know of any meaning attached to the colour.

    The lack of a design standard would reflect (sorry) a missed opportunity to specify a colour which shows up well under different lighting condtions, and conforms to the colour scheme of street signs and markings.

    If there is in fact a design standard, but you are unaware of the meaning of the colour, that reflects (sorry again) a failing of the authorities to educate road users.

    Coloured tarmac and carpet painting are expensive, and so they are used only where a special message need be conveyed. What is the special message? In the USA, blue indicates parking spaces reserved for disabled people, and green is the standard for bikeways in locations where heightened attention is expected or motorists. to be sure, the standard isn’t always followed. The initial use of colour in bikeways in the USA was with blue; and colour is often applied as a sort of band-aid (plaster?) solution where hazardous right-of-way conflicts have been created.

  3. Bizarrely, we use coloured footways (buff or beige) to help people with visual impairment to locate crossings. If the footway was all the significant colour everywhere already, the bit by the crossing will be surrounded by a contrasting border. To be fair, the tiles are lumpy as well, and there is a rotating/vibrating nipple next to the push-button to request permission to cross. Some crossings beep when clear, but that was deemed intrusive and unhelpful to those with both visual and auditory impairment (formerly known as ‘deaf-blind’).

    If cycle-lane colour has any significance that I don’t know of, then I don’t know of it. I think I would know. I’ve skimmed about 100 documents so far, but I don’t have years of training and a degree in this stuff.

    Unfortunately, neither do the people responsible for planning facilities or implementing them over here, as far as I can tell.

    http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pete.meg/wcc/facility-of-the-month/index.htm
    scroll down to the bottom, and click a month … any month !

  4. Sorry I forgot to link
    http://goo.gl/bj8TA – tactile footpaths
    light-controlled crossings should be red
    uncontrolled crossings should be buff
    http://goo.gl/QeGtf

    http://goo.gl/m5ux5
    “Note that coloured surfacing has no legal meaning under
    TSRGD. It becomes largely ineffective at night.”
    We have many monochromatic orange Na D-line LPSV street-lights.

    “A visual “cycle lane” can be continued by stopping the lane marking [white lines] at the zigzags [no parking/waiting] but taking the coloured surface of the cycle lane right up to the crossing point. However the colour should not continue through the crossing point itself.
    Colour can be used in this way because it has no legal meaning under the
    regulations.”
    http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/11509/
    Note the cycle lane only exists each side of the crossing, not all the way along the road !
    One cyclist is going contraflow on the grass – the other has ignored the cycle lane and ‘taken the lane’ since there is no other traffic.
    Mom and buggy are crossing 10 yards away from the actual designated crossing.
    Yup – that’s the UK for you.

    http://goo.gl/XXLm2
    We have everything here !
    4 o’clock – on-road cycle lane + diagonal-striped 2-yard no-mans-land ‘buffer’
    5 o’clock – off-road cycle lane on footpath
    7 o’clock – red tactile blobby tiles guiding the blind to the crossing
    8 o’clock – white tactile tiles:
    laid with ridges perpendicular to the foot-flow ;
    laid with ridges parallel to the cycle lane which ‘END’s
    9 o’clock – [1'x3'] +[3'x3'] of green as the cycle land exits the crossing
    9 o’clock – main lane has a single zig-zag each side, and a silly cross-hatched triangle to get buses to the stop
    10 o’clock – red is a bus stop – cycle lane might re-appear beyond ?
    Looks like the other direction is shared foot/cycle path – but bikes on the outside (green ?).
    6 o’clock – three large white rectangles (half on grass) are covers for the cabling and controller for the lights – irrelevant
    Too complex ?
    I bet if you removed everything, there would be no higher risk or problems ! (for the sighted, anyway)

    London Cycling Design Standards
    http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/lcds_chapter4.pdf
    green should be used to raise awareness :
    • Across the mouth of side road junctions
    • Feeder lanes and reservoirs at advanced stop lines
    • Through junctions
    • Alongside on–street car parking
    • Through zig-zag markings (where cycle lane markings are not permitted)
    • Any other areas of potential conflict with motor vehicles

    TSRGD? Officially “SI 2002 No. 3113″
    Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 + amendments
    http://goo.gl/eWkHF
    It’s the 5th one – 2002 : the first 4 are amendments.
    It’s too huge to read or even search – I gave up dowloading at 120Mb as my disk is almost full.

    It could be good if cycle lanes away from traffic lights (parallel lanes) are red but
    feeder lanes leading to Bike Boxes at lights (or all junctions?) are green
    (better vice-versa !)
    We tend to ignore them, or regard them as places NOT to cycle anyway.
    London has rules – there’s no consistency.

    Cycle lanes on roundabouts (‘traffic circles’? with diameter 1m to 200m) have been tried andabandoned.

    http://goo.gl/3Epnc
    “Barclays Cycle Superhighways use blue surfacing to
    provide high levels of safety and visibility, to
    help way finding, to
    provide a consistent look and feel, and to
    distinguish them from other cycle lanes in London”
    So not significant, just different.

    Of course blue matches the corporate colour-scheme of both Barclays Bank and the Mayor’s party-political orientation. Pure coincidence !
    I’m not a Londoner, but they seem good in principle.
    I’m aware of one accident hot-spot that they didn’t help – Bow Roundabout.
    Searching YouTube suggests they are trialling ‘early start’ green lights just for cyclists. I think those should be everywhere there is a Bike Box (ASL in English !)

    They seem to have planned a segregated segment for the place when the motorists catch up. Cunning.

    I’m not sure why we are doing this by trial-and-error : you would think bikes and cars have been mixing for long enough, and many countries already know what they are doing ! I think Paris had zero cyclist deaths in 2011, while london had 16 … they banned lorries ?

    Maybe I should get my own blog instead of camping on your lawn ?
    (guest post ?)

  5. PS That’s a ‘Toucan Crossing’ – there is a separate green light for cyclists wishing to cross the road ! I missed that. Sorry. I thought it was a ‘Pelican Crossing’. See Wikipedia.

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