Dropped kerbs, Crossovers, Cambers and cycling infrastructure

I have a new mobility aid and street audit tool, a Christiania Cargo Trike 🙂

I think there are many unchallenged design assumptions, and would be pleased to hear any thoughts about the following


Kerbs are a type of barrier. They are a reactive invention.A detailed study of all types of kerbs, their history and their implications for inclusion is urgently required. Carmen Hass-Klau7 has written extensively about this, but from a pedestrian and woonerven perspective, not inclusive.

Kerbs should only be used only where clearly and explicitly argued for and where there is an explicitly agreed purpose.

Dropped kerbs

Probably first introduced in Berkeley California in the late 60’s following protests by severely disabled students using the then heart lung machines who could not get around town because of ordinary kerbs acting as barriers.

They are a reactive design feature.

Changes of level and slopes with extremely common maintenance and design issues, for example position not being on desire line makes dropped kerbs severe hazards and dangerous.

Dropped kerbs should be abolished for pedestrian and cycling movements

P94 Crow states:

“Bumping into kerbs or armadillos (cycle lane delineators) and falling into verges must be prevented. Hitting kerbs and wheel stops is dangerous and it would be best to leave these out of the design.

Copenhagen Crossings

Near me, in Waltham Forest, what are called “Copenhagen Crossings” have been installed, but as part of cycling infrastructure improvements, when actually I understand them to be a critical inclusive design feature.


I found the following interesting, again about cycling, but actually creating excellent infrastructure for disabled and older people.

But we have driveways8

One of the many excuses used by people who oppose protected cycling infrastructure is the ‘but we have driveways’ excuse. There are people who believe that cycling infrastructure, especially a separate protected cycle path, does not go together well with driveways. But of course the two can be combined: as long as the design of both the cycle path and the driveways are well done and follow strict rules.

  • Driveways may not interrupt the sidewalk or cycle path.
  • Driveways may not influence the level of the sidewalk or cycle path.
  • Driveways may not have priority over pedestrians or cyclists

When a drive way does not interrupt the sidewalk or the cycle path, when it does not change the level of either of those and when it is clear it has no priority over pedestrians or cyclists then such a driveway is no problem at all to separated cycling infrastructure.

Driveways that do not interrupt cycle path nor sidewalk, have no influence on the level of either of those and clearly have no priority.

My local area is plagued by crossovers into what were front gardens but are now storage areas for heavy moveable coloured bits of metal machinery, causing me serious hazards with the many slip, trip and fall opportunities.  I know someone who experienced serious hip pain whilst walking along front “garden” crossovers because of the changes of level.

I am not sure why, but I understand this to be discriminatory – why is it that a large moveable object seems to have better infrastructure and to have rights of trespass over footpaths?

If this trespass is allowed, should it not therefore be licensed and a licence fee charged for upkeep of the public pavement that is trespassed upon? Is not planning permission now granted to park in front “gardens”? Part of this permission should include a licence that has a charge for the maintenance and management costs of this grant of a permission to store and “park” heavy machinery

Cambers and sleeping policemen.

Trikes come in two basic forms, delta and tadpole – are there two wheels at the back or front? They are statically stable and dynamically unstable, the opposite to a bike.

They are actually like spacecraft, with yaw and pitch and roll.  I emailed a Danish neurophysiotherapist to ask if a trike were a useful physiotherapeutic tool – excellent, but watch out for broken hips from cornering too fast!

My experience is that cambers and sleeping policemen (persons?) are profoundly discriminatory and dangerous design features that have not actually been thought about much from a disability equality perspective.


One thought on “Dropped kerbs, Crossovers, Cambers and cycling infrastructure

  1. Pingback: Cwis call for evidence – Clive Durdle's Blog

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