Thursday 25 October 2012

Cycle SuperPARKway 7 today

Half a cycle lane is better than no cycle lane, so why dismount? Cycled over London Road to the next bit of segregated facility, but that was blocked by a cab

 Yes, an Addison Lee cab
 and a van I suspect belonged to the roadworks crew.
When I came back the route was blocked by a lorry doing roadworks
 Blocking the cycle route because the other side of the site was blocked by the Contractor's other vans, which had been parked there all day for, I'll wager, no good reason.

Just a couple of photos from Sunday's ride

It was fantastic, particularly given the forecast of persistent rain, that 46 people took part in Sunday's Waterloo and Vauxhall Neighbourhood Ride. And it didn't rain until the final section of the ride!

There was a wide range of people on the ride, enjoying pootling from attraction to attraction.
 We struck lucky when we arrived at the slipway into the Thames by the MI6 building, with a Duck Tour amphibious vehicle just arriving to splash down into the water.
I'm really looking forward to this Sunday's Lambeth Cyclists' Brixton Neighbourhood Ride - loads of interesting stuff to see!

Friday 19 October 2012

Fab Floral Bikes on display in Lambeth

Lambeth Cyclists' Waterloo and Vauxhall Neighbourhood Ride on Sunday afternoon will pass these two beauties, and a splendid Topiary cycle
 There were loads of artists at work in Leake Street today - I'll be intrigued to see which remain and which have already been sprayed over by Sunday. The swish paving in (gentrified) Lower Marsh is well under way too - see it on the ride.

Friday 12 October 2012

Free Brixton Neighbourhood Ride,Sun Oct 28th, 2pm

 All are welcome on this free family-friendly Lambeth Cyclists Neighbourhood Ride on Sunday afternoon, 28th October, taking a couple of hours to gently explore Brixton and its neighbouring area.

The ride, which will mainly be on quiet streets, starts at 2pm, with a free bike check just beforehand, in Max Roach Park (named after the jazz drummer) on the corner of Brixton Road and St John's Crescent, SW9.

We're meeting just by the moving. if impossible to photograph, statue 'First Child' by Raymond Watson. 

If you email to say you're coming before Wednesday 24th October you'll definitely get a free bag of goodies from Barclays (doesn't include a Barclays Bike) and free back-up lights from Lambeth Council.

  To register just send an email headed Oct 28 with the names of those coming along to . It's fine also to just turn up on the day, but there's no guarantee you'll get the lights etc. (Also check out the Waterloo and Vauxhall Neighbourhood Ride the previous Sunday, October 21st).

On the ride we'll be passing some of Brixton's fantastic and long-lasting murals, such as the 1981 'Nuclear Dawn'.

and following a little of the inner London motorway that was planned in the 1960s to roar through Brixton, resulting in the Barrier Block being built.

We'll also pay tribute to the Effra river (and its tributaries) which, before it was covered over, was practically navigable by boat from Brixton to the Thames at Vauxhall.

We're going to rock down to 'Electric Avenue' (as Eddy Grant sang), the first shopping street to be lit by electricity.

 and we'll be checking out various embellishments to the buildings

 before passing Brixton Tate Library, with the bust outside of Sir Henry Tate - sugar magnate, philanthropist and Streatham resident.
We'll gradually work our way up to the last remaining windmill in inner London (there were twelve in Lambeth alone).
 before heading across Blenheim Gardens (not the ones attached to Blenheim Palace, the monumental stately home in Oxfordshire)
 and down to two recently built houses, the exquisite Tree House and it's neighbour, the rather more imposing house featured in September's 'Grand Designs' C4 programme.

We'll then be passing by the house where David Bowie, the face of the ten pound note (Brixton),  lived until he was six

The ride will end back at Max Roach Park at 4pm.

Barclays are proud to support “Lambeth by Bike” as it allows residents to explore their local area and gain confidence riding on the road. Riders of all ages are welcome on the rides, but under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Free Waterloo & Vauxhall Ride Sun 21 Oct, 2pm

All are welcome on this free family-friendly Lambeth Cyclists Neighbourhood Ride on Sunday afternoon, 21st October, taking a couple of hours to gently explore the Waterloo and Vauxhall area.

The ride starts at 2pm, with a free bike check just beforehand, outside the Garden Museum (right next door to Lambeth Palace, London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury), just by Lambeth Bridge, SE1 7LB.

If you email that you're coming before Thursday 18th you'll definitely get a free bag of goodies from Barclays (doesn't include a Barclays Bike) and free back-up lights from Lambeth Council.

 To register just send an email headed Oct 21 with the names of those coming along to . It's fine also to just turn up on the day, but there's no guarantee you'll get the lights etc. (Also check out the Brixton Neighbourhood Ride the following Sunday, October 28th)

We'll mainly be on quiet back streets and we'll see plenty of famous sights, from the Houses of Parliament to the London Eye.

But there are also loads of quirky facts and unusual places along the way. We'll visit the true centre of London, discover the birthplace of Circus and Music Hall, and see the grand entrance to the Necropolis, the railway for the dead. We might even see astronauts on trees.

We'll certainly drop into The Regal, a supremely bling basketball court with real gold plated hoops.

and we'll pass by the Museum of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, home of Cocaine Throat Pastilles, Leech Jars and many more wondrous things

We'll cycle through The Tunnel, London's ever changing graffiti gallery under the former Eurostar station,

and we'll see the magnificently ornate former headquarters of Doulton Pottery, founded in Lambeth and with a factory here until 1956.

To be 'a la mode', we'll go by the Water Tower, the subject of the 100th 'Grand Designs' programme on Channel 4, shown on Wednesday 17th at 9pm. And we'll also see the Master's House (now The Cinema Museum) of the workhouse where Charlie Chaplin was once a resident.

Staying with famous former residents, we'll also chance upon memories of Captain Bligh of the Bounty,

and maybe we'll hum or sing the hymn 'Jerusalem' as we pass through a dark and satanic tunnel nearby the former home of the writer and artist Sir William Blake.

Guerilla Gardening is all over the area, and we'll visit one of the grand-daddies of the form - the extraordinary Bonnington Square. Food for thought also given the current law changes regarding Squatting.

There's also the chance to see a 'Fietshangar', the new to England, secure cycle parking so common in parts of the Netherlands.

We'll finish at 4pm where we started, at the Garden Museum, then those who feel they merit a refreshing drink can join us in Vauxhall's authentic German pub, Zeitgeist.

Again, to register just send an email headed 21 Oct with the names of those coming along to . It's fine also to just turn up on the day, but there's no guarantee you'll get the lights etc.

And, if you can't make this one, maybe we can see you in Brixton on the 28th?
Barclays are proud to support “Lambeth by Bike” as it allows residents to explore their local area and gain confidence riding on the road. Riders of all ages are welcome on the rides, but under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

5 year old pedestrian dies on St George's Road

The BBC reported (5th October) 
A five-year-old boy was killed when he was hit by a lorry in south-east London.
Police believe Hichame Bouadimi, from Southwark, was walking with his mother when he tried to cross the road as the flatbed lorry approached.
The accident happened in St George's Road in Elephant and Castle at about 15:45 BST on Wednesday.
The lorry driver, 46, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and has been released on bail.
Hichame was a pupil at Charlotte Sharman School, one of three primary schools and a secondary school that snuggle up to this fairly short, but wide, straight, one-way (speed tempting) road off the Elephant and Castle mega roundabout.

 Transport for London very recently removed the railings from the crossing but made no changes to alter the motorway nature of the road. You can see a concrete plug where a railing was removed in the photo below, to the bottom left of the 30mph sign.

I blogged at the time that removing the railings was TfL's equivalent to rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. For example, the speed limit remains, nominally, 30mph though, given the road design and lack of enforcement I'm confident that's flouted daily..

 I don't know sufficient details of the crash to comment on whether or not the absence of railings was a factor in the collision.

I have been told that skid marks from the lorry remain visible, and presume these are the ones,

as they end by the location of the flowers. The point I am standing at, in the photo below, is where the skid marks start.
There is a petition you can sign at Charlotte Sharman School calling for changes to be made to reduce the likelihood of another child being killed on this road. Please drop in and sign it.

RIP Hichame

Huge amounts of capacity on Lambeth Bridge

This post is a follow up to one I did a couple of days ago about TfL's plans, which are under consultation, to change the roundabout at the northern end of the bridge, in Westminster.

This morning I stood on Lambeth Bridge for forty minutes, from 8.25 to 9.05, analysing the motor traffic going towards Westminster (except motor bikes).

In that forty minutes 358 motor vehicles passed me and, whilst I wasn't counting them, I'd be very surprised if it wasn't a similar number of bicycles.

The thing is, every bicycle I saw had full occupancy -  a bicycle designed to carry one, with one person riding it.

By comparison, most of the motor vehicles were hugely under capacity - in fact over half of the taxis/mini-cabs didn't have even a single passenger.

The type of motor vehicle; total number of that type; and occupancy was as follows:

Car: 118 of which 81 (68%) only had a driver leaving all passenger seats unoccupied. Of the few cars with passengers, most appeared to be on the school run.
Van: 104, most with one or two occupants, and an unknown quantity of essential, heavy items to move..
Taxi/cab: 87 of which 49 (56%) were empty, bar the driver. 32 of the cabs with passengers had just one (84% of cabs with passengers had just a single passenger).
Lorry: 24, most with one or two occupants and, presumably, stuff to carry around.
Bus: 19 (mainly single deckers), of which 10 were roughly full, 3 half-full, 6 quarter-full
Small coaches: 5, all empty bar the driver (okay, one had a driver's mate too)
Big coaches: 1, empty bar driver and his mate.

So, I'm not going to suffer any nonsense from TfL about putting in a cycle lane on Millbank roundabout affecting motor traffic capacity adversely. It's clear that a huge amount of the motor traffic straightforwardly needn't be there, and assigning it loads of space at the expense of clear, safe space for cyclists is a ludicrous thing to do given the CO2, health, pollution, economic  etc. reasons to promote cycling, never mind its comparative efficiency in terms of space use..

Sunday 7 October 2012

Network Rail sends clear message to cyclists

 I was going to cycle past the Hire Bikes to the cycle parking at Waterloo Station only there was a Network Rail van parked in the cycle path / pavement that's there because the street is one-way towards you.

Sorry, make that six of their vans.
(The van drivers may have been inspired to park here en-mass having viewed today's post by Freewheeler)

Saturday 6 October 2012

Act now! Tell TfL half-hearted change isn't enough

Transport for London is consulting on the first of 100 dangerous junctions they are to redesign, with construction work scheduled to start in just four weeks time. It's the roundabout on the Westminster side of Lambeth Bridge and TfL's design just isn't anyway near good enough, so there's no time to lose. As soon as you've read this post please, please send an email to

Rather than introduce a serious Dutch style street design, like the one above that allows cyclists to glide along in their own lane, TfL plan to give cyclists two options: either mix in with the lorries and taxis as now, or weave in conflict with pedestrians on the pavement and zebra crossings :

Cycle Superhighway 8 along Millbank will still just fizzle out as you approach the roundabout. And the cycle lane over the bridge from Lambeth will also fizzle out just as it does now at the start of the zig-zags to the zebra crossing, but with the option to cycle onto the pavement if you wish to irritate the pedestrians.

TfL's design allows three options should, for example, you wish to go straight on from Lambeth Bridge.

1) Stay where the cycle lane was, but has gone because of the zig-zag starting, and go straight ahead hugging the left hand side of the roundabout. Expect to get left-hooked by a driver turning left.

2) In accordance with cycle training advice, move from the cycle lane to take the centre of the nearside lane. Expect a driver to run into the back of you as they've forgotten you're there (as happened to me). Also expect to be shouted at for not being on the pavement.

3) Cycle onto the pavement and cross on the zebra crossing with the pedestrians (it's not clear from TfL's drawing if you're meant to dismount), then cycle along the pavement and join Horseferry Road at some unspecified and seemingly unprotected place. Expect conflict with pedestrians and a tricky merger back into the main traffic lane.

I agree with London Cycling Campaign's view that, if the roundabout is to remain, this is a perfect location for a Go Dutch roundabout like the photo at the top, which I copied from the LCC blogpost. I can see teenagers, tourists and commuters happily and safely using the cycle lane as it is segregated from drivers, doesn't have pedestrian conflict, and is no slower than using the general traffic lane..

There can be no better place to start top quality cycling infrastructure than adjacent to the Houses of Parliament, where any MP not sensible enough to have cycled in the Netherlands yet can see for themselves what the future should be. Let's also remember that this roundabout forms part of this year's Diamond Jubilee Walking and Cycling Greenway - even more reason why it should be inspirationally good rather than badly compromised.

Now please email, with the heading Lambeth Bridge Northern Roundabout Consultation and tell them you don't like their plans but, if the roundabout is to remain, want a proper Dutch style design along the lines that London Cycling Campaign proposes.

If we accept a feeble, watered-down pastiche of 'Going Dutch' at this point, the next 99 dangerous junctions will be dealt with by TfL just as feebly. So please write!.

Also, check out the results of my snapshot survey, showing a very low occupancy level of the bulky motor traffic on Lambeth Bridge

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