A while ago I posted a video that showed just how dangerous the cycle lane on the southbound side of the bridge is. It’s very narrow and even the average sized car will pass you far too close, just imagine if a coach or bus passes you.
I use Vauxhall Bridge daily to get to and from work. Traveling on it north bound is perfectly fine. There is a lovely bus lane on the left hand side, you will only encounter a bus if you use the cycling short cut through the gyratory.
Taking the Bridge south bound on the other hand is a totally different story. The cycle lane runs the full length of the bridge and is very narrow for the full duration. There is a bus lane that runs the full length of the bridge but due to the busses needing to enter the bus station inside the gyratory, its position is on the right hand side. I’ve used it a few times, but due to its position and the lack of cleaning, it’s full of stones and pot holes.
This means that to travel across the bridge in safety, you must take control of the left lane and keep up a good speed, the traffic behind you will try to reach/break 30mph. So it’s important that you get up to speed and control it. I’ve had a few close calls doing this but most of the time it’s not an issue and is much safer than taking to the cycle lane.
It’s not just this cycle lane that is a problem, many of the cycle lanes in Pimlico are of poor quality, and on the 22nd of may 2010, a cyclist was killed by a HGV whilst cycling in near one of these cycle lanes just north of vauxhall bridge.
The LCC reported on the issue of the cycle lanes in the area and their communications officer, Mike Cavenett, has said
This cycle lane is so narrow it was almost not possible to put a bicycle logo on it.
It’s a facility that says to drivers that bikes should be in the gutter, and encourages cyclists to ride in a position that National Standards Training says is unsafe.
It’s not known whether this lane contributed to Mr Smith’s death, but something clearly needs to be done about these potentially lethal facilities.
Many cycle lanes across the UK are of poor quality and they put the people who use them at risk daily. Motorists fail to understand the needs of cyclists and we are often put in danger because they wish to get slightly further up the road.
Without knowledge, cyclists do not know what cycle lane is good and which is bad, Until we remove the cycle lanes or better educate the cyclists, we will continue to see close calls and read about deaths due to the poor infrastructure that is provided for us at the side of the road.