I have been writing recently about the Mayor's latest cycling safety campaign and the quality of cycling infrastructure. What I saw this morning illustrates the problems cyclists face. I rode part of my journey with the best racing cyclist I know who, like me, has gained experience from a long commute. The cycle lane is rubbish, and I believe positively dangerous when combined with central pedestrain refuges. Painting it green does not make up for the fact that it is far too narrow. The lorry driver just squeezes to his left to get past the central refuge either blind to, or not caring, what is in the cycle lane. My cycling companion was unfazed. I would have been enraged. Worse many potential cyclists get so intimidated by this sort of encounter that they do not cycle. Such people need properly designed, thought out (and inevitably expensive) cycling infrastructure. Other cyclists need only the roads but with other road users required and encouraged to meet at least basic standards of coutesy and care. The half-way house of cheap inadequate provision is far worse than useless.
Reporting this standard of lorry driving to the Metropolitan Police has in my past experience been futile, but given Tim Lennon's recent and commendable success in getting information from them which suggests that their reporting website leads (sometimes) to action, perhaps I will give it another go and see whether they have any interest in HGVs that get far too close to cyclists.
The title of this entry borrows shamelessly from freewheeler, who provides a compelling critique of the quality of our infrastructure.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Sharing the road with sub-standard (ok crap) lorries and crap infrastructure
Posted by Martin Porter at 13:53
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The video starts a bit late, but it appears as if your friend approaches the rear of a moving HGV on a narrow road and attempts to pass on the nearside. If the point is that the green strip is crap infrastructure that no sane cyclist should pay attention to, I agree. But I can't see this constitutes dangerous driving.ReplyDelete
Sven, you have half the point; the cycle lane IS there and its whole point is to authorise/encourage vehicles in separate lanes to pass (including on the nearside if traffic is moving slowly in queues, Highway Code rule 163). The driver is therefore obliged to check before he moves into/obstructs that lane. This is not approaching a junction so the recent TfL advice does not apply. So yes, I am criticising the lane but I am also criticising the lorry driver. Although my riding companion and I have very different attitudes to positioning, he is doing nothing wrong.ReplyDelete
It looks like the traffic lane narrows approaching the refuge, which is very bad practice for just that reason. If the lane had been consistently narrow, the lorry would have been going slower, and would probably have stayed in its lane. It would also help if it was a mandatory cycle lane. Could you post a link to the location on a map?ReplyDelete
Chiswick High Road eastbound between Thorney Hedge Rd and Silver Crescent. 51.4922N, 0.2771WReplyDelete
If we accept the idea that a cycle lane is a "lane" for all Highway Code purposes, the traffic wasn't "moving slowly in queues". 163 starts with "Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so. You should not get too close to the vehicle you intend to overtake". Hmmm.ReplyDelete
Your companion may have been doing nothing wrong, but he was certainly exposing himself to a higher level of risk than I'd feel comfortable riding with.
Martin, have you removed the video? I cannot see it.ReplyDelete
Yes anothereye, I am afraid I have. The cyclist involved was getting a lot of criticism both here and elsewhere. I felt a lot of it was totally unfair and I did not have his permission to hold his cycling up to the scrutiny he was getting. I decided it would be right to remove it.ReplyDelete
Martin, where poorly sited pedestrain refuges cause cyclists problems some have had success by asking the relevant highway authority to provide a copy of the risk assesment conducted to establish the need for the refuge.ReplyDelete
These risk assesments are very rarely completed properly and this failing can be used as an effective lever to effect change.
Great blog, keep up the good work.