Saturday, 8 January 2011

Reasons to be grumpy?

What a start to the year!

Today I cycled 15 miles on relatively free flowing roads in Haringey, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Newham with little in the way of close passes or inconsiderate behaviour. To be honest, most of the drivers were so considerate that I was starting to feel unsettled. This new phenomenon  coupled with TfL managing to fix the cycle lights at Hoe Street made me wonder whether I was in danger of losing my grumpiness. What would become of me if I simply became "The Cyclist"?

Luckily, on my way through Leyton, I noticed some things that helped restore the natural balance of things.

At the junction between Leyton High Road and Grove Green Road, this bus just completely disregarded the ASL. There was no reason for him to not stop at the first line. This type of behaviour is really anti-social as it means that any filtering cyclists either have to stop next to the bus (not the best place in the world for a cyclist to be at a junction), or alternatively, cycle forward of the bus into the pedestrian crossing. 

And, it looks like Ruckholt Road / Alexandra Road is getting a makeover.

The big sign on the left is advertising the "streetscape inprovement scheme", whilst the two red signs say "cycle lane closed" and "cyclists dismount here". 

It is very kind of the council to make sure that cyclists are not endangered by the roadworks with the cycle lane shut. The narrow cycle lane that runs right next to parked cars. How could us cyclists cope with this road without a facility like this? Clearly signs asking drivers to take extra care for cyclists on the road during the road works couldn't be put up could they? And I assume that the cyclist is supposed to wheel their cycle on the narrow pavement left by the roadworks and hope that no-one wants to go the other way.

So all is not lost in 2011. I think my Grumpy title is safe for a little while yet.


  1. I think the scheme here probably involves more parking bays on a widened footway, which simply perpetuates the threat of 'dooring'. This is a terrifying road to cycle on, especially by the sharp bend, and the 'improvements' do nothing for cyclists. But I like the new lamp posts.

  2. I shouldn't be surprised.

    There is only one way to cycle down this road without fear of dooring or close passing. And that is in primary. Which is exciting when the driver gets impatient for waiting 30 seconds.

    Once around the corner, the road opens up a bit and has less parking. All the current idiotic cyle lane does is make drivers think that the cyclist is in the "wrong place" if they move away from the dooring zone.

    Maybe no-one has explained the dooring zone to Waltham Forest? Quite a simple concept really : cycle too close to door + door opens quickly + close passing traffic = cyclist bouncing from car door into passing traffic.

  3. For what it is worth, surely the "Cyclists dismount" sign is unlawful? Bicycles are vehicles in law, and as such have an absolute, inalienable right to use the public highway with the sole (I think) exception of roads classified as Motorways. As it is clear from the photograph that the signs refer to a lane running in the same sense as the one-way direction of the road, rather than to the contraflow direction (you can see the arrow clearly), the position is clear.

    Is the lane, when open, a same-sense, a contraflow, or a two-way?

  4. Paul,

    It is the same way as the traffic flow only. There is no contraflow.

    The cycle lane runs right next to parked cars. It is dangerous, and causes more problems than it solves. The dismount sign is a disgrace and makes any cyclist that ignores it "fair game" in the eyes a few motorists.

  5. Why don't you just remove the 'dismount' sign and put it in the local skip? I have done it many times, including strategically moving bollards and cones to divert traffic elsewhere. Works nicely, takes the council weeks to figure it out.