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Greenwich borough

Still no cycle lane wands on dangerous roads in Greenwich borough

Courtesy Will Norman. Street in Camden.

After statements a few weeks ago on measures to improve streets for cyclists and pedestrians barriers were installed in Greenwich town centre.

They’ve divided opinion and were due as part of a package of measures. Since then no other measures have commenced on major roads.

Existing unprotected cycle lane in Charlton

Streets are now far busier with traffic than just one month ago and some children are due to return to school next week. Buses and trains have extremely limited capacity with reductions of 90 per cent in place for social distancing.

Cycle through here?

If we don’t want parents driving kids on short trips to school then walking and cycling measures are essential. Lockdown is now nine weeks old and measures in many places havn’t moved an inch. One area that appears extremely cheap and easy to improve are certain cycle lanes.

Cars parked along cycle lane back in January

Woolwich to Greenwich is a prime example. Spots like Angerstein roundabout are not easy, but plenty can still be done. Schools sit directly on this stretch. In future a multi-million pound scheme is planned – but that’s years away. In the here and now vehicles are parking on lanes day after day.

Two vehicles parked this morning. Van and lorry are parked

EDIT: Since writing another vehicle has parked. Same spot. It’s constant. Greenwich have been told hundreds of times about this over the years by numerous people.

EDIT 2: Five minutes later and now a van has parked up. And now another car. All this in just 20 minutes.

———–

Protecting the lane encourages usage. Blindingly obvious I know. But not obvious enough for measures to be taken it would appear.

If we are to prevent gridlock, measures are needed now to provide options for those making short journeys and in turn free up public transport and road space for those who cannot walk or cycle.

Maybe work will start tomorrow? Who knows – there’s absolutely no information out there or engagement on council websites.

 

8 Comments

  1. Paul SuperUnknown

    Yes! Greenwich Council, the Kings of apathy!

  2. Derek Small

    Good reporting, still little going on from the council, is it apathy or can they come out and say what is happening behind the scenes? I feel and hope that Danny is a guy who truly believes in this, so why the hold up? Money?

  3. Dom

    I wholeheartedly agree that cycle lanes should be protected and maintained to promote cyclists. I live in Woolwich and frequently cycle into Central London. The key areas of concern I see every day are the roundabouts by the Thames Barrier which are constantly littered with aggregate and construction debris (understandable given the industrial estate) and cause regular punctures.

    The second is the stretch between Maze Hill and the Angerstein Roundabout which always has cars and business vehicles blocking cycle lanes (Papa John’s seems to think the cycle lane is their dedicated scooter parking).

    I’ve seen a noticeable increase in new cyclists on the road which is encouraging. But the standards of cycle lanes, drivers and cyclists leave a lot to be desired. Small improvements in all three areas could see a real benefit for all.

    • Derek Small

      Well said Dom (thought i’d never say such a thing as ‘well said Dom’, after this week, shame your name is shared by public enemy number 1 now!! )
      Agree with u totally on the stretches i know and use, Maze Hill-Angerstein, been a problem for a while, now scooters on the lanes outside KFC too, and Tesco continually use a ‘juggernaut’ to deliver daytime to a Tesco Express local!! As a cycle hire outfit owner i too am getting locals suggesting i teach new cyclists how to ride before i rent them out! One lady regularly cycles in her late 70’s to/from work in gardens and her allotment. She tells me she is now scared to because of ‘maniac’ cyclists and the new motorised scooter riders coming up fast behind her..She is not scared to give them a piece of her mind, but has been showered with abuse in return a few times-to a lady in her 70’s. Are we really becoming such a nation of ‘Arseholes’ (deserved an abusive comment here).
      Standards are poor as new cyclists really often don’t know the ropes, and have rarely taken any road users training. We havent actually opened yet since lockdown began, despite turning away masses of business, so are ‘not guilty your honour’ of causing this new problem. The lady in question said what can we do to change things, and I really don’t know. It also scares me when i see nouveau cyclists pelting down the steep main avenue in Greenwich park without a helmet and probably no knowledge of emergency stopping a bike. My son in ICU sees (when theyre not inundated with Covid19) severe brain injuries to cyclists and even motor scooter/bike riders amazingly. I think maybe it has to be a central Govt information programme. Like the seatbelt one in the (70’s?) (Jimmy Saville!!). Basic cycling sense in the form of a series of free public information videos on all channels and social media. Respect other road users being the theme. As there are both good and bad in all road users (including pedestrians!) before i get accused on bias haha. Maybe a petition on change.org, already almost a million signatures against ‘Dom’ (sorry mate!)

      • Giles Cudmore

        Even where there is a lane it often has lorries delivering to the shops, Tesco being a regular offender. I am confident on my bike so happy to ride on the road but that isn’t the point of course.

        I am also waiting for a way to ride safely from thamesmead to plumstead without the Thames path detour. There is a path ( of a kind) but there is also a boy racers roundabout to contend with.

      • Dom

        I think it is a case of fixing and improving what we can right now and hammering home the message of what safe cycling is and being situationally aware. Getting people to read or watch videos on riding techniques, advice on how to cycle on the road and learning about defensive riding can really help.

        Secondly, threats to cyclists (mostly bad drivers) need to be cracked down hard. Too often I see horrendous and dangerous driving, as well as malice towards cyclists.

        As a fairly confident cyclist, I have no real problems overtaking parked vehicles – its all well and good when there’s little traffic on the road and its a nice summer afternoon. Flip that to a headwind, in dark and rainy conditions during rush hour and all you wish for is a clear cycle lane.

        I agree somewhat with the newer comments too. Road layouts are generally poor ( take your pick of pretty much any major 4-way junction in Greenwich). You only need to take a look at Amsterdam to see how it should be done. However, road infrastructure does not rectify bad cycling. Things like lane management, basic etiquette, overtaking and setting off need be taught to novices for their own safety as well as the safety of other cyclists and road users.

        • Derek Small

          good points Dom. If central Govt ‘really’ wants to encourage cycling to become mainstream again in UK, infrastructure is key of course, and there has been real progress (in London at least) recently, which needs continued investment (when we’re entering a critical financial period), But also, to encourage public confidence in more cycling and safety, utilising public information methods online & broadcasts on terrestrial tv channels,you tube videos/press and magazine ads. This can also help change the attitude of those aggressive on the roads -both drivers and cyclists, though as a cyclist I’m well aware that we are the most at risk from this.
          A police presence is also crucial both as a deterrent to excessive speed & dangerous behaviour and as a reassuring presence to those cycling. Personally I’d like to see a much increased use of policing on cycles, and the return of community policing to help achieve this.
          Parked vehicles- you’re right as a veteran cyclist one is well aware of the dangers-vehicles pulling out or opening doors without warning or using rear view mirrors. Its par for the course with us, but less confident and novice cyclists need to build confidence over time and have basic safety knowledge available everywhere before they start. So the blockage of cycle lanes, even temporarily, I would like to see made a penalty issue. Delivery vehicles will learn to adjust, and those just abusing both the rules of the road and the ‘spirit of the lanes’ will pay the price.
          Now is the time too to promote a big increase in ‘Bikeability’. Its never been pushed as hard as the old style cycling proficiency test, and too often left out of schools hard pressed budgets. Adults need to know its for them too!
          Road layouts/junctions-yep agreed with you and Matt on need for investment in road design/layouts and particular attention to major junctions (where the majority of fatalities i believe occur). It is happening much more than in the past, partly i think due to Khan, partly pressure to reduce emissions to EU required levels and avoid penalties! Whatever the changes result from they are welcomed but need to be given top priority in forthcoming local and central Govt spending plans as there is much to do!
          Matt- good points too and I can see you are a passionate cyclist! Do think though as cyclists we need to understand its not going to change overnight (no excuse for complacency though either). But I think also there is a point in saying we have some ‘bad cyclists’. I see them and fear for their lives daily! Not only do we need to encourage more to cycle, but we should try and help them stay safe too- before this ‘wonderful new world of networks of cycling safe roads’ will actually take shape, which being realistic is going to take years.
          I really agree with your points Matt about RBG and have made numerous contacts with councillors and MP’s across the years (Stephen Brian is really sympathetic to our cause and understanding i’ve found). They do need to pay much more serious attention to and allocate funding toward cycling, not just await tfl funding as at present and do precious little themselves. Very poor measures taken by RBG recently including the central Greenwich pedestrian improvements you mention.
          I’d like to see Danny the council leader cycling (he may do but I’m not aware of it, I know he’s a passionate runner/jogger.) But seeing a council leader (who’s quite recognisable as a character!) in council PR (not in PPE) at the very least, on his bike and maybe using one or two of the new routes and quiet ways himself and reporting on them (maybe featured in the local ‘rag’ delivered to us all like it or not!) can do much to encourage cycling. Boris on his bike in London did wonders for cycling and his own image to the public (since destroyed), and said a lot for the relativity of cycling being safe compared to its perception of being dangerous. He’s not one to take chances with his own life, just other peoples lives (whoops, strayed into politics again!)
          To all who love cycling already, think and hope it will get better, and to those considering it to make a better future for us all-a very very happy sunny day to you all. Happy cycling and stay safe (its now DEFINITELY safer than public transport since its virtually Covid19 free) (imho)

  4. Matt

    Infrastructure for cyclists has always been poor but now we are asking everyone, not just those who are brave, to get on bikes the need is extremely urgent. There’s no point saying some ppl are bad cyclists. The road design is piss poor and doesn’t protect them at key routes. Measures in Greenwich town have made cycling much more dangerous as cycling clearly hasn’t been considered at all with the barriers in the road.
    By having so many duel carriageways infrastructure promotes excess speed. Reducing speed limits to 20 across the borough, using wands constantly where there are cycle lanes, parking enforcement, removing pavement barriers along main roads and having very visible proactive policing is the first step.

    Novice cyclists are just people riding bikes. Shouting they are bad cyclists or should be better dehumanises them. A driver is a person in a car, a box of metal weighing around two tonnes that pollutes and takes up space. Why on earth don’t we prioritise cycling in normal times let alone as a reaction to covid.

    All cyclists pay road tax, the mythical tax that has nothing to do with owning a car because they pay tax. Many actually have cars but choose not to use them, most have jobs so pay tax everyone else purchases things so pay VAT.

    Greenwich council have consistently done the bare minimum or less, which to me and most cyclists is complicit in every hair raising journey, near miss, encounter with a belligerent driver or accident. Should employees be forced to cycle to work or wherever they travel I am sure we might start to see some improvements.

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