Thursday 9 December 2010

Sunday Cycling

I am not a great fan of cycling around the area on Sunday. I am even less of a fan of driving on a Sunday.

It sounds a cliche, but there really are more people less used to driving in their cars on a Sunday and a significant proportion of my really close shaves (including one amazingly close pass by an elderly man in a green Rover on Monument Way, Tottenham Hale) happen on this day.

The traffic can be worse as well. Tottenham Hale gets completely clogged as people try to get into the retail park. But cycling last Sunday made me realise that the principle reason for the snarled traffic, especially on Hoe Street, is actually parked cars. Perfectly legally parked on a Sunday, but causing utter chaos.

Strings of parked cars such as this row spring up on a Sunday - this is near the Bell junction and buses can barely squeeze through (can you spot the cycle lane?!). When I went the other way down Hoe Street, the queue was all the way from the Bell to almost Church Road because cars had parked such that only one lane of traffic could pass. And further down near Bakers Arms the traffic was chaotic, again as buses struggled to pass the rows of parked cars. All were parked legally.

The problem for the cyclist is that every parked car needs to be negotiated, and the traffic is normally more concerned with scooting through the space than waiting for the cyclist. I find myself needing to be very assertive indeed to stop ending up just trapped behind the car trying to get out. I see cyclists in this position and understand how it happens. It ends up being pretty stressful and roads that are normally able to be navigated without incident become a completely different proposition.

I make the assumption that if a motorist is unaware enough to park in a position that causes gridlock to traffic then they are unlikely to be the type to look out for cyclists before flinging open doors, so I tend to give a wide berth, sometimes to the annoyance of the drivers behind. On a normal day I don't get so much grief and bad driving, and cannot decide if it is because motorists think the roads should be clear on a Sunday or whether the Sunday Motorist is a real phenomenon.

1 comment:

  1. Seen similar poor road design all over Hackney and Tower Hamlets where a road is meant to be two-way but on-street parking on both sides of the road means only one lane of traffic can get through.

    If motorists are being impatient with me on my bike, sometimes I'll point out to them at the next red light that they should contact the council to raise their concerns about the priority given to free parking rather than getting annoyed with other road users. But that's just my sense of humour.