TfL have started to build, or rather paint, the new cycle super highways around London. The first pictures I have seen are, in one word, crap. Not thought-out or well-planned. Simply a dash of blue paint randomly added at a junction. Just like the green paint we have already seen on the roads, which is clearly ignored by other road users or puts us cyclists in danger. I will no go into a rant about how crap, annoying and unsafe they are to use. Just look at the nightmare that is Vauxhall, – just read this blog post from realcycling.blogspot.com. I will happily go the extra mile or two to avoid this junction. And often I stay on the road as most cycle lanes here in the UK are just ridiculous: send you the wrong way, stop randomly or send you right into oncoming traffic with no clear idea of what do to.
TfL have also come up with the Cycle Safety Action Plan, there is a .pdf and it is a good read. There are some good facts and good information and it looks like there are a few good ideas that can help to make road users safe in London. Though these SillyCycleLanes aka “cycle super high ways” are not the answer. Yes, it is a start but just like the green lines, these blue lines are going to be ignored by other road users, unless they are clearly told what they mean and there is some policing.
I cycle around 25miles a day in around London every day, both for commuting and part of my job as an Cycle Instructor. I do see lots of SillyCyclists on the road every day. Honestly it surprises me that there aren’t more fatalities here in London.
Don’t get me wrong, I do feel for the families of the ones we have lost, any loss of life is sad and should be avoided. We really need to do much more to cut down on these fatalities. Though it does just seem to me with that every death we’ve seen, we are blaming the HGV driver. Everyday I see cyclists jump red lights, turn right out in front of me and others and worst of all going on the inside of a big vehicle and even when it is clearly turning across their path. These manoeuvres I see make me wince, and cross my fingers in hope that I will see the cyclist on the other side of the junction. So therefore it surprises me that every time that we have a cyclist fatality and there is a HGV involved it is the HGV driver that gets all the blame. From what I see every day, it simply can’t always be the HGV’s fault.
This is gratefully nicked from road.cc’s article, Cyclist killed by HGV as London Mayor launches Cycle
Safety Action Plan. In Issue 7 of its Keltbray Live newsletter published earlier this year, the company highlights on page 5 the steps it has taken to improve cyclists’ safety including the use of sensors on its vehicles, which are also featured on a video on YouTube.
Yes, this is a great idea to add to the HGV’s but seeing how other cyclists already are cycling on the roads of London I do not think this is the answer, though it might help and teach some, how and where to ride in London.
I have been working on this blog for some time and still don’t have a end to it. Today I found a blog on ibikelondon – A call for action on cycle safety and HGVs, which does tell it much better than I ever could a very interesting article. We clearly need to do something, but the cycle lanes we are putting in here in the UK are not the answer. We also need to give bigger fines and someone out there to do something about it. When I lived in Denmark you will be stopped if you cycled without light at night, you will be stopped if you jumped the red light, you will be stopped if you cycled on the pavement etc. That goes too for other road users, life will be so much safer and easier if we all think, look and take care out there and d/ride to the highway code.