Ampere Way Updates

March 20, 2012 — 10 Comments

For well over a year, a cycle lane in Ampere Way, Croydon was full with plastic jersey barriers. Preventing use of the cycle lane. A few weeks ago there was an update to the cycle lane along Ampere Way.

It used to be like this.

It is now like this.

At least the cycle lane is now usable but the additional bollards now mean that the width of the cycle lane has decreased, road sweepers can not clean them and moving in and out of the cycle lane is difficult.

The bollards have been placed on the left side of the painted lane boundary line, reducing the width that was once there. As we can see from the image below, the road is plenty wide enough for the cycle lane to have been increased in width considerably and still allow for motorised forms of transport to pass smoothly.

Back in May 2011 the Mayor of London announced that Croydon was a cycling borough and would receive £450,000 over a 3 year period to improve cycling in the borough.

Croydon is one of the largest boroughs in London, both by land and by population. £450,000 is not going to change cycling in the borough for everyone. Wondering how the money would be spent I asked the council if they could give me some information on their plans.

The majority of the money is being spent on a cycling hub at East Croydon station. The idea being to attract people to cycling by getting those who use the tram or bus to get too and from the station on their way to work in central London. It’s probably the best place in Croydon to build a cycling hub, it is the busiest train station with a huge range of destination. The east Croydon area is going over a massive re-development process for the 2020 vision. This includes high-rise buildings, arenas and all sorts. The footfall around the area will increase dramatically and it won’t just be seen as a transport hub.

Money is also going to be spent on making Wellesley Road ‘feel less concrete cars-ville [and] more “Connected City” ‘, those are the words from Croydon Council!!! The way they are going to do this is by adding in several surface level pedestrian crossings. Something which Wellesley road hasn’t seen for a number of years! This should help connect East and West Croydon together making it possible for people to easily move around the town.

£105,000 of the money will go to marking more cycling routes in the town centre and to encourage and enable cycling through parks. Croydon has a vast quantity of parks but most of them have bylaws that prevent you from cycling in them. Getting through the town centre is also a bit of a tricky task at present, the options are to go down an urban motorway or try to survive with the buses and trams on the back route.

Money is also being given to provide cycle training at schools and to those who want it, community led rides, and cycle awareness training for HGV drivers.

I’m sure we could all think of ways to spend £450,000 to make cycling better in our boroughs, the Cycle Hub is probably one of the best things that could be done and if done  well, will last us for decades!

I had a run in with a driver a few weeks ago. I was minding my own business in a cycle lane, when all of a sudden I had a car almost touching me and forcing me to take action to avoid a collision. The clip was forwarded to RoadSafe who forwarded it to my local traffic unit for the potential for prosecution.

According to the Road Traffic Act, Careless Driving is

A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention if (and only if) the way he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.

I would say that driving is well below par of a competent or careful driver. The driver came only inches away from hitting my handle bars with her wing mirror and encroached into the cycle lane whilst I was using it.

I was informed yesterday that the police would not be taking matters any further. At this moment in time I am unsure why, I have asked them if they can let me know their choices behind not taking this further considering the evidence.

Helmet Hero!

February 29, 2012 — 13 Comments

We all need a hero in our life, even if it isn’t Spiderman or the Hulk from Marvel. Does cycling need a Helmet Hero?


The HornIT is a 140db bicycle horn / buzzer that comes in a small size but packs a huge punch! This audible warning device is great for making people aware of your presences and has many advantages over similar devices such as the Airzound.

The HornIT appears to mount with a cateye type bracket, at first this was worrying as they are notoriously poor. At a second look it appears to use a slightly different tightening mechanism which is an improvement. It tightens via a hex key which appears to be very solid and the rubber grip of the strap allows the bracket to hold well even on polished metal.

It runs off 2 AAA batteries and I’m told that this will last around a year for some users. The horn was still effective after 6 months if used to power 6 x 1 second bursts every day. The battery compartment is underneath the device and is accessible by a Philips screw.

One of the most attractive features of the HornIT is the separate trigger switch, this allows flexible mounting of the product whilst still allowing the user to trigger the device whilst their hand is in control of the brakes. This is a very important factor, such a device should not impede your ability to come to a safe and controlled stop if required, a warning device will not always be heard or prevent someone from doing something you don’t want them to do.
I have noticed that it is possible to catch the trigger cable with your hand and pull it out without knowledge, it is also a little bit tricky to put the trigger back in whilst moving.
The switch it’s self is made from a stretchy rubber that allows it to be mounted to any part of the handle bars, I had no issues stretching it around the hoods on my road bikes.

There are two modes on the HornIT, one rated at 140db which uses a dual tone which can sound a little bit like a bird tweeting. To me this is more of an annoying sound and not one that would instantly grab my attention as something dangerous is coming my way (as a typical horn sound would). The second mode is 130db and is just a single tone. Much more to my liking, the sound is still loud and I feel still suffers the same issue of not sounding like a normal horn. You can switch between modes by pressing a button on the back of the device. Two downsides I see to this, you can’t change the mode from the trigger, so to change mode you must move you hand back to the device. There is also no way to tell which mode you are in without sounding the device. This can be annoying if you want to use the two different modes for different reasons, as it is easy to forget which mode you are in.


  • Runs on batteries
  • Separate trigger switch
  • Small, easily removable device
  • Two separate


  • Buzzing sound doesn’t always register the same as a traditional horn sound
  • Not able to change modes from the switch
  • No way to tell which mode you are in without sounding the buzzer

The clear rival to the HornIT is the AirZound, a product which is already very popular with cyclists after an audible warning device to other road users. The HornIT has many advantages over the AirZound, such as being small, compact, running on batteries, and a remote trigger. Where as the only advantage the AirZound has is a more true horn sound. I found I was pumping up my AirZound several times a week when I used one, and I have to say the ease of use, the fact that it is small, runs on batteries, is about the size of a light and has a remote trigger, the HornIT has to be the winner out of the two.

Watch my video review of the HornIT

As a note, it is a good idea to read the instructions on this and do as it says. I.E. Don’t use this indoors, it really is very loud and does make you deaf!