Saturday, 19 November 2011

Superhighway review

Since posting about the tragic death of Brian Dorling on CS2 at Bow Roundabout, another cyclist died in a collision with a lorry at the same roundabout within a month.

Over 300 cyclists, including me, participated in the "Tour du Danger" which was organised by Danny from Cyclists In The City and Mark from IbikeLondon. Both of whom must be given a huge amount of thanks for organising such an event with so many cyclists attending. Local LCC branch volunteers marshalled the event superbly and the local media covered the stories of both the cyclist deaths at Bow and the ride extensively.

I think that the pressure applied by LCC, the media coverage, and some GLA politicans - who participated in the ride as well - have forced TfL and the Mayor into a review of all SuperHighway junctions, with a priority on the Bow roundabout. Certainly this seems a departure from the Mayor's previous comments to the GLA where he had pronounced that the Elephant and Castle roundabout was fine:

"Though I have to tell you ...sometimes I just go round Elephant & Castle because it's fine. If you keep your wits about you, Elephant & Castle is perfectly negotiable.

Words, one can only hope, the Mayor now regrets.

The "Tour Du Danger" didn't take in the Bow Roundabout, but the other junctions were more than enough. Even within the safety of 300+ cyclists and marshals controlling traffic (I heard comments that it was the safest people had ever felt cycling in London), it was obvious that the junctions we negotiated were not designed in any way for cyclists. How Elephant and Castle can  be thought of as "perfectly negotiable" is utterly beyond me. In case we forget, it currently looks like this

Elephant & Castle gyratory
image courtesy of  London SE1 blog

Although there may be a (somewhat tortuous) cycle bypass to this junction, the same cannot be said for the Bow Roundabout. There are no options I can see aside from this junction if one is cycling from Aldgate / City to Stratford. Which makes Ben Plowden's "recommendation" to cyclists to "avoid the route" even more facetious than the already laughable fact that TfL, after spending millions on the CS2, are now advising cyclists against using it.

IbikeLondon linked to a youtube clip which highlights the danger to cyclists using CS2 on Bow Roundabout, as well as the LCC comments on consultation concerning the Bow cycle facilities. The video is below

None of this is good enough. And there are more and more people realising this. On the "Tour Du Danger", which was my first ride of this kind, I met city workers, lawyers, academics and an eclectic mix of ordinary people who are simply want cyclists and pedestrians to feature in TfL's plans when they examine junctions such as Bow. This isn't an unreasonable request.

There is another "Tour Du Danger" being held on March 17th. This will include the Bow junction. I hope that TfL and the Mayor will have reviewed the junction thoroughly before then and implemented changes to make cycling and walking through the junction easy and safe. And then the "tour du danger II" could become a celebration of the Mayor's commitment to improving road conditions for the increasing numbers of people who believe that walking and cycling are great ways to navigate our great city.

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