A salmon is a fish commonly pictured leaping up waterfalls, swimming against the current. A salmon also refers to a cyclist going (legally) up a one way street, against the flow of traffic.
In Belfast a small number of one way streets are open to cycling in both directions.
Most famously, the Arthur Street bin lane has a 2 way track separate from the one way street.
It has its problems, such as bins and the bits of shared space at each end where the lane crosses Chichester Street and May Street, but with some improvements this could be a very good bit of cycling infrastructure.
I am more concerned about this:
This is University Square in South Belfast, looking east. Some years ago DRD painted a bit of the road green, creating an advisory contraflow cycle lane.
It is cheap to implement: for the price of a few cans of green and white paint DRD can tick the “created cycling infrastructure” box in their annual management review.
It’s not very good though.
Photo 1: the parked car is blocking the lane and forces the cyclist out into the car space, against the flow of traffic.
Or you can easily imagine how a door suddenly flung open may cause a cyclist to swerve and become a KSI statistic.
Here, the cyclist must wait until the road is clear and then move out of the lane and move back in after the obstacle.
Consider this: the car occupant can safely swing open the door wide because the cycle lane acts as a buffer zone between parked cars and moving cars.
Now remind me, a cyclist is not equipped with crumple zones, so why are they made the soft padding between two steel objects?
Photo 2. The car space is not wide enough to allow a car to overtake a stationary vehicle without entering the cycle lane.
Would the driver of the dark vehicle have stopped if I had been closer? Experience tells me motorists think cyclists coming the other way are not traffic they have to give way to.
In this case the cyclist has right of way over the dark car, because the red stationary vehicle is on the other side of the road.
Get out of Jail
The Highway Code says vehicles may only drive or park in an advisory lane when it’s unavoidable. It’s a “Get Out of Jail Card”, one of many in the Highway Code.
To enter the parking spaces the cars must cross the lane, and that is against the rule, but it also unavoidable. So you’re allowed.
Across Belfast there are numerous advisory cycle lanes and you’ll see cars parked in them quite legally, because it is unavoidable.
Consider this: the parking space is part of the same direction of flow as the one-way street and these two sandwich a cycle lane running the other way. It’s barmy.
Another example is found off Ormeau Avenue:
The solution in both cases is so simple it is a mystery why they didn’t get it right first time. Looking at the picture of Apsley Street above, the cycle lane goes to the left of the line of parked cars. The parked cars then act as a buffer between moving cars going one way and cyclists going the other way. Like this example in Dublin.