Yesterday evening saw the family of Neil Turner, the cyclist who lost his life in Mitcham Road earlier this month, witness the placing of a Ghost Bike in his memory. A dozen or so cyclists also turned up to witness the event, those who regularly travel on the road or actively campaign for safer roads for cyclists in the area.

It was great to see so many cyclists turn up for someone they had never met but could relate to him, his family certainly appreciated so many of us coming. His mother said a few words, moving words about him and his family.

I must admit I found the whole thing emotional, after all I fractured my clavicle only a year ago on the same road.

Olympic Lanes have been popping up all over London, the aim is for them to get Olympic officials and athletes across London in a timely fashion. To do this they have taken away road space from other road users and created lanes which only Olympic vehicles can use.

TFL are advising people to avoid using the roads in London throughout the Olympics due to the expected congestion.

We can somehow take away road space for these olympic lanes but we can’t take away road space for cycle lanes. As was pointed out on As Easy As Riding A Bike, the physical constraints of London’s roads are few and far between.

I was confused by the actions of Boris Johnson in early 2011 when he completed removed a huge section of the congestion charge zone. I would have thought the sensible action would be to increase it, to dissuade people from using private 4 wheeled vehicles in the capital.

If we make driving in London undesirable by making it slow, have less space and expensive. Then we can improve the quality of London for everyone. There will be less traffic, less pollution and fewer people injured. However I fear it is not going to be that simple, this sort of change will require a huge overhaul in the thinking of TFL and Londoners.

Yesterday morning at around 5am. A cyclist was involved in a RTC with a car on the A236 Mitcham Road. The man was pronounced dead at the scene by the air ambulance doctor. Rest In Peace!

For those of you that don’t know Croydon and Mitcham Road, it has been the talking point of many cycling campaigners. Nearly a mile of cycle lane in the door zone in either direction. Parked cars on either side of this very busy arterial road and plenty of pinch points that do absolutely nothing!

I contacted Croydon Council about this road in January. I highlighted the issue with the door zone, the debris in the cycle lane and the pinch points that do not prevent people from speeding. The response regarding Mitcham road is as follows

Most of the cycle lanes in Mitcham Road meet the recommended minimum standard width of 1.5 metres, however there is insufficient carriageway space available to increase the clearance from parked vehicles. This is why the lanes have been made highly visible with green surfacing used for the majority of the length, which should help to remind motorists that they should take care of cyclists using the route.

Some physical changes can be made as the resources become available; changing awareness and habits in respect of cyclists and motorcyclists is a longer term issue.

I did push further and got this response

I visited again this road on Monday morning with my traffic engineer and we have established two courses of actions.

Firstly as these lanes were initially implemented as part of the London Cycle Network Budget and Project, about five years ago, it is long overdue for a review. On measuring the width of the cycle lanes we found that some of the lanes could be widened. We aim to implement a review with a view to extend the cycle lane widths to give greater space for cyclists.

Secondly there is a view to create a parallel route for the Mitcham road on quiet residential roads via  Ockley rd and Rochford way and Westcombe avenue, from just beyond the Lombard roundabout for cyclists who would feel less confident in using the Mitcham road.

The green paint mentioned in the first response has all but faded and is only the width of a car door! So this cycle lane is extremely dangerous to use, especially during the early hours of the morning when people are going to work and taking their kids to school.

Door Zone on Mitcham Road

The insufficient width they talk about is down to parking that is allowed on the road. The A236 is the only arterial road I can think of in Croydon that allows residential parking like this.

Parking on the A236

I was spurred on to contact the council about this stretch of road after my own RTC in which I broke my clavicle. At the same time I also queried what was being done with the £450,500 that was given to Croydon by the Mayor after being named a Cycling Borough. Unfortunately those funds where already being spent elsewhere (a cycling hub at East Croydon station) and could not be used to drastically improve one of the worst cycle lanes in Croydon.

Who would have thought it. A promotional video about cycling in London, showing the nice parts of it.

Cyclorama The Book

June 29, 2012 — Leave a comment

Want to know why many modern bikes have a sloping top tube? Why Human Powered Vehicle racing technology is growing so rapidly? Cyclorama the book is full of information and history of cycling that even the most knowledgable cyclist will learn something from it.

Cyclorama 1

Cyclorama is an online magazine that targets all ranges of cycling interests and abilities. They have taken their knowledge which they have amassed over the years and complied some of it into a truly fascinating book. Read into the different bike cultures around the world. See how bicycles truly are for everyone, even those with all kinds of disabilities. Read case studies on BMX Race bikes, multi-seater machines, folding bikes and many many more.

Cyclorama Book Preview

A must have book for cyclists of any ability or level. With detailed information and great history, the contents of the book is captivating and I can’t wait to see what is included in Volume 2.

The Cyclorama book is available from all good book stores and through their network of Cyclorama book sellers.