Archives For Boris Johnson

A few months ago a cyclist in New York got a ticket for not cycling in the bike lane, he made a video about various reasons why and it’s got millions of views.

Well now a Mayor in Lithuania has come up with a different approach to dealing with drivers parking illegal.

When will Boris Johnson be getting one of these?

Picture this, it’s 8.30am on Friday the 20th of May and the pavement on the south to north bound side of the bridge is full of cyclists. Cyclists which were called to this location by the LCC and campaigners less than 24 hours ago.

The result was nearly 300 cyclists cycling over the bridge each way as slow as possible. By my Garmin device, we travelled 0.83 miles in 14 minutes and 30 seconds. That gives us an average speed of 3.4mph.

We stopped outside of the TFL building on Blackfriars road, only a stones throw away from the bridge, to voice our concerns to them in person but they didn’t want to talk. I suspect because we caught them off guard, I heard that they didn’t even know we where coming.

All in all it was a good ride and we only had a few minor issues with motorcyclist that where in a rush to get to somewhere. Below is a 3x speed video i recorded.

Something that is hard to make clear, is why we did this.

TFL have rejected several plans which would have suited many people’s needs and instead have tried to push plans through that favour the motorist and fast-moving, dangerous traffic.

The upgrade to Blackfriars station is going to produce a huge increase in pedestrians that are using the area. But in TFL’s plans, pedestrians and not being looked out for, the speed limit of cars is being increased and space is being taken away from pedestrians and cyclists to allow another lane for vehicles. Which resembles a motorway.

Cyclists we will also be affected, our cycle lanes will be smaller and we will have faster traffic moving around us. If you choose to turn right at the north side of the bridge then you will have to cross 3 lanes of traffic which is moving at 30 mph (well that is the limit).

So the reason we grouped together as cyclists, bloggers, cycling groups, road users and people of the city is to voice our concern over the plans to put vulnerable road users at the bottom and allow faster and more dangerous vehicles to have the priority.

We are meant to be going through a cycling revolution in London but as anyone that knows, it was not Boris that came up with or laid the initial plans for the Cycle Superhighways or the Cycle Hire Scheme. The two leading schemes of the revolution. It seems that the cycling revolution can only progress if motorists are not hindered.

I must say a big thanks to the London Cycling Campaign, Mark at i bike london, Danny at Cyclists in the City and the MET Cycle Task Force.

LCC, Mark and Danny have provided us with fantastic information and detailed descriptions about the plans and potential issues with the designs for Blackfriars bridge. And they helped organise and publish the plans for this group ride. Without them, where would we be?

And a big thanks to the MET Cycle Task Force. An ever-growing group of officers that watched over our event and spoke to a few impatient motorcyclist. They are working hard to prevent and catch bicycle thieves and make the roads of London a safe place for any mode of transport to use. I even got my bicycle security marked after the event, a big thanks again for that :)

[UPDATES] Missed the time in the post, time added back in.

Someone on a cycling forum posted a link to this website which boasts about a new cycling facility in Copenhagen for cyclists who stop at red lights.

Leave it to Copenhagen. While other bike geeks fight over guerilla-painted bike lanes, or shine them on the street with laser gadgets, or dream of floating them in mid-air, the City of Copenhagen and the bike advocacy group ibikecph installs a simple, low-tech fix that makes riding in the famously bike-friendly city even easier.

In the picture above is what i’m calling the cyclists balance beam. It’s being put in by a company to help cyclists get going after being stopped at a red light. It means you can stay in the saddle and move away quicker.

London had these years ago. Back then we called them railings and their primary design was to protect pedestrians at crossings. They went all the way around crossings apart from where you could cross. They had a few issues, it kept pedestrians in and meant they had to cross at specific locations, drivers felt because pedestrians where not going to be running free they could drive faster and cyclists got crushed up against them!

Cyclists in London have been using these railings to balance on whilst stopped at red lights. Although we didn’t have the bottom section for our feet, we managed alright with just our arms holding us up :)

But over the past few years the London councils have been removing these. And it’s because of the reasons above. Major Boris Johnson wants to make the streets and roads a nicer placer to be, by making pedestrians feel more open to the environment and vehicles slowing down (year right) and hopefully less deaths from cyclists being trapped between the railings and vehicles.

These will only work for safety reasons at segregated cycling facilities. Copenhagen I hope you are listening, the UK did this first 😛

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, announced yesterday that £4,000,000 would be spread across the 13 cycling boroughs of London that he had named in 2010.

Those boroughs are Barking & Dagenham, 
Bexley, 
Havering:, 
Redbridge, 
Brent, Ealing, 
Haringey, 
Hillingdon, Hounslow, Bromley, Croydon, 
Kingston and 
Merton.

Croydon will be receiving the largest amount of money, £450,500 which should go towards making Croydon a better place to be a cyclist. Be that adding more cycle facilities, adding more parking or offering cycle training.

And Croydon certainly does need that! At present cycling isn’t great in Croydon, despite being the London borough with the highest population of people and the 5th largest borough the cycling facilities are poor and parking is hard to find outside of the town centre.

When you do find a cycling facility it will be the usual crap, substandard, not maintained, not cleaned and often putting you in danger. Many cyclists have stated the danger of the cycle lane that travels along Croydon Road (A236), for miles cyclists are encouraged to cycle in the door zone and I see many unaware cyclists falling into just that potentially life costing trap!

Croydon has had 5 cycling facilities in the well-known cycling facility of the month which is run by Warrington cycle campaign. Each is a great example of the fine work and thought that is given to cyclists in Croydon. Don’t think we are any different to anywhere else, this happens all over the country!

Will nearly £500,000 improve cycling in Croydon? I shall certainly be on the look out for new and updated cycling facilities but i doubt that what we get will be any better than what we already have!

Croydon will certainly be a tough place to improve. Cars are relied on heavily by anyone that doesn’t live near a shopping centre, supermarket or local shops. Places like the Purley Way which contain a vast array of shops is very impracticable to travel to and from by bicycle. Bulk purchases are made in these shops and bringing them back on a bicycle would be a challenge.

Croydon isn’t exactly known for its road planning anyway. Look at Valley Park as an example. It contains a vast amount of shops including the only Ikea in South London, cinema, dining and a large B&Q. Yet there is only one way in and out!?
Which stupid designer thought of that idea?
It’s almost impossible to get out of there on a busy afternoon as everyone has had the same idea and gone shopping!

Croydon will never become a cycling town if the council doesn’t start looking after cyclists. Adding new facilities and parking is great! But if they are not maintained then  how can we use them safely?

Another example from Croydon Road (A236) is a small section just after Mitchem common and before the petrol station. A small section of cycle lane is in very poor quality, it is always filled with water, stones and glass. And just yesterday I had to move a tyre out of it.

I can only hope that we won’t be sold the same fairytale that TFL is doing with the Barclays Cycle Superhighways!

It’s approaching the time of year where another set of Barclays Cycle Superhighway routes are going to be opened. Work has already been underway for several weeks, with the roads being re-surfaced and blue paint being laid. In some places it has even meant a remodel of the road design, reducing 2 lane sections of road into one.

The cycle superhighways are meant to make it easier and safer for cyclists to commute into and out of London via direct and continuous cycle route . But CS7 and CS3 haven’t exactly done that.

CS3 is pretty much a nightmare. The shared pavement sections on Cable Street and the A13 aren’t continuous and aren’t exactly what i would call safe. Pedestrians walking onto the cycle route, plenty of roads crossing the path where they have priority. And due to how narrow it is, it makes it very hard to pass slower cyclists if it’s busy.
Due to the on road bits being built on sections of road which are quite narrow, then there is lots of conflict with drivers as you are forced to take a primary road position at plenty of points to keep safe. Not exactly what a novice cyclist wants to be doing on their dream cycle path to work.

CS7 is much the similar, i use it near daily for my commute to and from work and anyone that watches my videos will know that it certainly comes with issues. At certain sections you have to take a primary position to avoid dangerous overtakes and to keep your self safe.

Most of the cycle lanes along both routes only meet the minimum requirements set by the DfT (1.5m in width). With less than 1 mile of both of them being any greater. Even less of them are mandatory, and thus you will often find that other vehicles are driving in them and it’s not uncommon for it to actually be completely blocked.

Re-design of the road structure has been kept to a minimum. Sections of road have been re-designed to attempt to keep traffic flow and cycling flow constant but key issues like left hooks have not been addressed.

TFL boast about the increase in ASL size and quantity. Which is pointless considering they aren’t even enforced and more often than not they are full with other kinds of vehicles or you can’t get to them!

The main problem I see with these cycle lanes is the mentality of cyclists. I witness on a near daily basis cyclists filtering in the blue cycle lane in an unsafe position. Be it through a small gap or up the inside of a left turning TP flat-bed lorry. When these blue cycle lanes of death are laid down on the road, it gives cyclists the feeling that they are safe because they have their own designated area but in reality we are still at risk from the motorists that care not for our safety.

These cycle lanes are meant to aid in the cycling revolution that is happening in London. An increase of 70% of cycle journeys was recorded on CS3 and CS7. But the cycle lanes do not meet the demands of commuters, more often that not they are overflowing with cyclists overtaking each other and conflicts with drivers are not dropping.

Will the new cycle superhighway routes be an improvement over what has been given to us?

On a side note, don’t even try to use the superhighways on a weekend. It’s like cycling down Oxford street!