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Croydon’s Urban Motorways

December 6, 2011 — 1 Comment

As someone who has lived in or around Croydon all my life, I’ve never really noticed it before. That is until it was drawn to my attention by this post.

The post on As Easy As Riding A Bike is looking at a well-known cycling facility on Wellesly road. One that was in fact so bad on the first attempt, it was partially removed and modified. The post mentions how Wellesly road looks very similar to that of a motorway, several lanes of fast-moving traffic, no places for pedestrians to cross and some busses and trams thrown in for good measure. Standing back a little and it clearly divides the town centre in two. On one side you have central Croydon’s shopping plazas and entertainment areas and on the other you have a mass of office buildings, the busy east Croydon train station, Croydon Collage and the Fairfield Halls.

This isn’t the only road in Croydon that has similarities with a motorway. There are several flyovers and multilane roads that were designed in the 1950′s to help motor traffic move quickly from one area to the next. We have Roman Way, Croydon Flyover and The Purley Way for example. None of these roads have speed limits greater than 40mph and like all other speed limits, they are rarely obeyed by motorised traffic.

Roads like Wellesly Road and Purley Way are the kind which today should be very much avoided. They provide a fast and easy route though a busy area, taking away crossings for  pedestrians and providing traffic with the fastest route from A to B. The direct traffic flow with little traffic lights and long sight lines means vehicles travel much faster than they should and provide a dangerous situation for anybody who choose to travel by bicycle.

The centre of the town is pretty much surrounded by these kind of roads and it makes crossing the town by bicycle a difficult and sometimes unpleasant experience. If you have knowledge of the town there are various rat runs you can take to avoid said roads, but they usually involve crossing tram lines at tight angles or cycling through infrastructure which is not maintained.

TFL’s plans for Blackfriars bridge can be compared to these roads, hostile places for everyone that isn’t surrounded by metal, not pleasant to look at or use and certainly not inviting for clean modes of transportation.

Overtaking on ZigZags

October 14, 2011 — 5 Comments

It’s against the law for a vehicle to overtake another vehicle whilst going through a section of zig zag lines right?

Wrong in the case of a motorist overtaking a cyclist. The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 section 28 states

a zig-zag line shall convey the requirement that, whilst any motor vehicle (in this regulation called “the approaching vehicle”) or any part of it is within the limits of a controlled area and is proceeding towards the signal-controlled crossing facility to which the controlled area relates, the driver of the vehicle shall not cause it or any part of it—

(a)to pass ahead of the foremost part of any other motor vehicle proceeding in the same direction; or

(b)to pass ahead of the foremost part of a vehicle which is stationary for the purpose of complying with the indication given by a traffic light signal for controlling vehicular traffic.

So whilst the Highway Code rule 191 only states

You MUST NOT overtake the moving vehicle nearest the crossing or the vehicle nearest the crossing which has stopped to give way to pedestrians.

The actual law only refers to motor vehicles. Motor vehicle drivers are allowed to pass non motor powered vehicles on zig zag lines and non motor powered vehicles are allowed to pass vehicles stopped on the zig zag lines.

We have to make sure we take extra care at zig zag crossings and if it is to safe for people to overtake us then we must take control of the lane to prevent them, as the law is not on our side in this case.