Whatever you call them, if you are a cyclist, you probably hate them. They narrow the road, meaning there is not enough room for a car to safely overtake you.
That means that for your own safety, you need to get into primary position or else invite a dangerously close overtake. This brings its own issues, as some motorists cannot understand why a cyclist will “take the lane” like that and assume, wrongly, that they are doing so purely to annoy them. And we all know that an angry driver is a dangerous one.
Even when you do adopt a strong position, you sometimes get motorists dangerously forcing their way through when there simply isn’t the room to do so safely. Have a look at some of the close passes I have had through these pinch points.
On some of those my positioning could have been better, but drivers really need to be aware that they shouldn’t overtake through pinch points. It would not affect their journey time by more than a few seconds, if that, to simply wait behind until the cyclist is through the pinch point. I always make a point of waving my thanks at drivers who have patiently waited behind until clear of the pinch point.
I get that they are mainly designed for the benefit of pedestrians, but they are unsatisfactory for even that purpose, as pedestrians still often have to contend with fast moving traffic.
They are basically a failure of road designers to properly take the needs of vulnerable road users into account. They are awful, and in my opinion they should all be replaced with zebra crossings or pedestrian traffic light crossings.