Bike Lanes Getting Better?

Remember all that guff in the Council’s Highways Improvement Plan about getting rid of the cycle lanes in central Twickenham. Of course you do. It was a right old dog’s dinner of a proposal wasn’t it? Obviously some self-styled experts somewhere felt that improving the lot of cyclists and encouraging more people onto bikes would be best served by getting rid of bike lanes and forcing cyclists to mix with motorised traffic in the busiest roads in the town centre. Luckily some people disagreed. Richmond Cycling Campaign and others have lobbied for changes to the plan and, to be fair to the Council, they have listened.

According to Tim Lennon’s article on the Richmond Cycling Campaign website, the latest proposals from El Brute will see cycle lanes re-instated in the plan for King Street and London Road and will also see improvements for cyclists at the Cross Deep junction. There’s also an idea to establish a contraflow cycle lane running up Church Street to help people avoid the frantic King Street / York Street / London Road intersection (or ‘junction of doom‘ as Tim calls it) if they want to. Together with a few other bits and pieces this all sounds like a significant improvement on the previous plan. You can read more on the RCC website.

Meanwhile the rozzers have been out and about clamping down on motorists using the cycle lane on the London Road bridge. The boys in blue have been dishing out fixed penalty notices to drivers who’ve chosen to drive in the cycle lane. Good for them we say – the police that is, not the drivers – especially if it persuades school minibuses and council vehicles not to drive in the lane. A little bit like those pictured below, for example.

London Road bike (and van) lane

London Road bike (and van) lane

LINK:
* Richmond Cycling Campaign Article

21 Comments

Filed under Council, Local Issues & News, Twickenham Action Plan

21 responses to “Bike Lanes Getting Better?

  1. MB

    check this: https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/streets/coleparkroad

    There is an opportunity to have a say on how this works for cyclists & the residents of Cole Park Road. Personally, I think the proposed right angled turn from the A316 into Cole Prk Road is not a good idea for cyclists. Get rid of this, plant some more ‘new shrubbery’ at the end of the road so residents can’t see the A316 & put 2 sweeping cycle pathways from the west & east sides of the turning circle to join the A 316 cycle path?

    • twickerman

      MB,

      I like your idea. The T junction will be awkward for cyclists and may result in them peddling into the other cyclists/pedestrians on shared use path.

      There is a great opportunity to go MUCH further here.

      The A316 London Rd junction is a major accident spot for cyclists.

      Cole Park Road could become an attractive cycle route IF a tunnel was built under the A316 to connect the North & South sections of the road.

      This would also benefit pedestrians, and relink the A316 divided CPR community.

      What do you think?

    • Alexis

      Twickerman proposes the installation of armadillos to protect cyclists. Following a near-incident two days ago I’m beginning to wonder whether they aren’t such a bad idea after all to protect car drivers from aggressive cyclists.
      Whilst driving along Cross Deep between The Alexander Pope and Holmes Road alongside 3 cyclists happily following each other in the cycle lane, I looked in my mirror before indicating to turn right into Bonser Road only to see a 4th rider powering up behind the other cyclists and obviously determined to overtake them. Needless to say, because he was almost touching my left rear bumper, he didn’t notice my indicator and had to swerve at the last minute as I slowed causing the 3rd, female, cyclist to wobble and stop and gave me the finger for daring to get in his way – nice! Is Cross Deep some sort of time-trial route? Perhaps our cycling champions Twickerman and Lucullus could let us know or failing that, do something to rein in the hooligan two wheeled element who spoil it for other cyclists just as the 4 wheeled hooligans spoil it for other motorists. Perhaps it’s time the police took as much notice of cyclists bad behaviour as they do motorist’s.
      There is a very interesting article on page 15 of today’s Independent which should give T and L fresh hope the the pendulum is swinging their way. Sadly I fear that there will be even more cyclists like the one who provoked me to write this post.
      Alexis

    • twickerman

      Alexis,

      I agree that separating vehicles and cyclists is in the interests of both.

      I drive, cycle & walk around
      Twickenham and often witness crazy/dangerous behaviour from all road/pavement, users including cyclists.

      Last week I tweeted a pic of a car parked outside Radnor School on Cross Deep. It was bridging the pavement & cycle lane as kids were coming out of school!

      I felt like Victor Meldrew!
      I fail to comprehend such stupid selfish behaviour.

    • Alexis

      A couple of answers for Twickerman:
      He writes: I agree that separating vehicles and cyclists is in the interests of both. I drive, cycle & walk around Twickenham and often witness crazy/dangerous behaviour from all road/pavement, users including cyclists.

      *So do I – does that make cyclist’s aggressive behaviour any more acceptable?

      He writes: Last week I tweeted a pic of a car parked outside Radnor School on Cross Deep. It was bridging the pavement & cycle lane as kids were coming out of school! I felt like Victor Meldrew! I fail to comprehend such stupid selfish behaviour.

      *Doh! It was probably a late parents car – what do you expect? Perhaps Twickerman has all the time in the world to go about his business or whatever he does, many others don’t. The driver of that car risked a fine, perhaps his published photo will ensure that they get one – I wonder if that will satisfy him?

      I fear he is indeed a bit Meldrewish. Despite his torrent of strangely jolly tweets most of his stuff seems quite pointless or meaningless to those of us who are not in on the finer nuances of this newspeak. It’s surprising how many people feel the need to share their often private and sometimes strange thoughts and habits, not only with their twitter chums but also with the public at large. I’m delighted they do so because it allows us to understand a bit more about the psyche that drives those we spar with. Its quite an eyeopener and I could easily become an addict/voyeur!
      I don’t do any of it, so no point in looking me up.
      Alexis
      PS: Does anyone else know whether Cross Deep is part of a time-trial route?

    • twickerman

      Well done Alexis!

      You’ve shown your true colours this time with your defence of illegal parking outside a school as kids were departing. The car was on the pavement, across a cyclelane, on a yellow line.

      Presumably, you would be only too happy to drive on pavements if that got you from A to B more quickly, and would no doubt complain about the abusive behaviour of startled pedestrians as they dived out of your way to save their lives!

      Perhaps you can explain your aversion to children, pedestrians and cyclists to the Road Safe Schools campaign, Richmond Cycling, Strawberry Hill Residents and many others who are concerned about road safety.

    • Alexis

      Oh dear! Twickerman is rallying his twitter chums thus:

      “Check this out from the child, pedestrian & cyclist hating Alexis 😦 ”

      That will teach me to attempt to engage in a reasoned discussion with someone who is clearly obsessed with his own rectitude and prone to making simplistic assumptions on the flimsiest of erroneous grounds. Sanctimony springs to mind.
      As to the car parked on the pavement, that is perfectly normal behaviour in other parts of the world where adherence to the rules is optional rather than mandatory – could that have been the case? After all there are plenty of foreign students at Radnor School. Had the spy cars still been deployed it would have been nicked and rightly so.

      My thanks to Twickerman for his order to appear in front of the various road safety groups. Sadly I must decline and suffer the consequences.
      What a silly fellow he is – I did suggest lightening up a bit but he seems to have ignored my observation.
      Alexis
      PS: I’m not going to rebut his tweet – it would be a pointless waste of time and effort.

    • Rufus McDufus

      There’s no ‘reply’ option on your post below but in Alexis’s defence you fail to mention the yellow line in this comment, which you added later below, so there’s no way of Alexis knowing you were talking about illegal parking.

  2. i would love to see a cycle lane system more in keeping with the Netherlands; can we do it ………yes we can!
    After all we dont have the trams to cope with………….contra flows are great but what about more filter lanes for bikes turning left and contra lanes up one way streets.
    It is interesting that all of this works in the Netherlands because every motorist is a cyclist and there is no animosity between the two.
    More dedicated cycle lane signs for cyclists will educate motorists to accept that bikes are here to stay.

    • Alexis

      I really should have followed up David’s post rather than wasting my time and patience on Twickerman. I absolutely agree with him.

      Several years ago I drove from Brussels to attend a meeting in Vianen in Holland, unfortunately I took a wrong turn off the motorway and found myself on an unpaved road which became narrower as it approached a huge iron bridge over a river. It was obvious that I had got it wrong because my car wouldn’t fit through the arch! Fortunately a cyclist came up behind and cheerfully helped me to back down the cycle route which I had inadvertently strayed onto. No animosity, simply cheerful assistance – he joined us for lunch on the other side of the bridge for a dish of meat and potatoes which he said was a national favourite. I have seen and enjoyed this sort of easy co-existence throughout Belgium and Holland – why doesn’t it exist here?
      I know that I risk yet more thumbs down from Twickerman and his cyber chums, which I can hack, but I blame most of the conflict that exists on the minority of aggressively obsessive cyclists who provoke drivers and spoil it for everyone else. Twickerman’s tactic of bludgeoning into sumission those who have different views can be seriously counterproductive as many have discovered to their cost.
      A good comment David – perhaps this silly squabble is down to our anglo-saxon warlike antecedents!
      Alexis

  3. twickerman

    Rufus, I’m sure the cynics said much the same about cat’s eyes decades ago!

    If pedestrians were to cross the King St dual carriageway at crossings they would be safe provided road users, such as the minibus in the photo above, were to behave legally.

    For Alex’s info I’m a pedestrian, motorist & cyclist with an infant & a granny who would like to walk the mean pavements of Twickenham safely.

    I would also like to be able to cycle thru Twickenham safely and drive thru carefully & conveniently.

    What would you like to see Alexsi? I’d love to hear a positive suggestion from you?

    • Rufus McDufus

      I’m still struggling to see how large plastic humps would make it better! Apart from pedestrians tripping over them (it is legal in the UK to not cross the road at a crossing, and you do see it quite frequently), surely a bike would go flying too if it happened to wobble into one. And they’re much higher than cats eyes, which tend to be spaced out a lot more and on generally busier out-of-town roads with poor-no lighting anyway.

    • twickerman

      Rufus,

      There are crossings at either end and in the middle of King Street. This is the town centre’s busiest road (dual carriageway), so although it is legal to cross the road anywhere it is far from advisable when there are plentiful crossings.

      Not long ago an old lady was knocked down, and tragically died later, when trying to cross the road between two of the crossings.

      Cyclists are often barged or squeezed by vehicles along King St. That is why separators would be beneficial. They would help stop misuse of the proposed cycle lane, as witnessed on London Road.

      There are a variety of ways of providing separation. Armadillos are just one option.

      Two lanes for vehicles, one for cyclists, and wider pavements, on each side of the road, is achievable as officers have confirmed to Richmond Cycling Campaign.
      There are also plans to improve the crossings for pedestrians which is great news.

      Please let us know what your proposals are?

    • Mike

      The problem with the armadillos is when cyclists come to a red light they need to be able to swerve into the middle of the road to avoid hitting pedestrians on the crossing – these armadillos will stop them doing that which means they may need to stop at pedestrian crossings which would be no good at all,

    • twickerman

      Mike,

      There will be advanced stop lines at traffic lights for cyclists to stop at junctions in front of the vehicle stop line.

      Cyclists can cycle between separators to move in/out of lanes when necessary.

      There would also be extended gaps between separators at junctions and crossings.

      Separators are simply there to encourage motorists to stay in vehicle lanes, and to keep cyclists safe on the busiest stretches of road.

      FYI, smaller separators are available, such as elongated high-vis rumble strips.

      If you were cycling through Twickenham with children wouldn’t you want them to be safely separated from the 10,000s of vehicles using the town centre roads every day?

    • Rufus McDufus

      I admit I’m not contributing terribly positively here because I just feel the options are rather limited and the plans just appear to be rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. I agree with the bulk of the plans that things will be a little bit better for all road/pavement users, but can’t help thinking something more radical could have been tried such as one-way only traffic, or possibly dropping a bomb on the shop units on the south side of King St. (which wouldn’t be too popular with the existing owners) and utilising the whole block from there down to the river more.. Twickenham is ultimately (in my opinion) seems to be a place that most people want to travel through to get somewhere else so it is not easy.

      Incidentally how are delivery lorries going to reach shops? Are they allowed to stop in the cycle lanes?

    • Alexis

      Twickerman asks “What would you like to see Alexsi? I’d love to hear a positive suggestion from you? Here’s one – Lighten up a bit. It’s all too easy to get bound up in a personal crusade whilst forgetting that you have to bring people with you or accept compromise. Let’s not forget the ethos of Twickerati which seems to be rather well captured by this intro: “Twickerati is the premier hyperlocal website for Twickenham. Probably. It contains news, comment, ill-informed opinion and occasional humour for all..” I try to follow that principle and am unashamed in taking a little artistic licence – I don’t run the gauntlet of King St with my incredibly well behaved grandson but others do.

      As to other “positive suggestions”, which he demands, somewhat peremptorily. I think the revised TWAP plan seems a pretty good compromise and I hope it will be implemented. A couple of other suggestions which he might consider positive are: 1. Remove the parking bays in Cross Deep between the schools and King St – all residents have off-street parking and they simply increase congestion when the occasional car parks there, usually on a match day. Wouldn’t that be better for cyclists as well Twickerman? 2. Standardise the bus lane operating hours so everyone knows where they are or have a simple flip over sign that says “Bus Lane Open” when it’s de-restricted.

      It’s simple really – eliminate confusion which reduces congestion which makes everyone’s journey less stressful which makes everyone smile and we all become much nicer people. I’m sorry Twickerman, my ill-informed opinion is that Armadillo’s will only make the existing mess even worse.

      Alex

  4. Rufus McDufus

    I’m struggling to see the point of those apart from breaking the ankles of pedestrians (poorly sighted perhaps?) crossing the road – is that what they’re for?

    • Alexis

      I’m with Rufus – pedestrians in Twickenham have quite enough to cope with already what with aggresive cyclists, van drivers on the phone, red light jumping cyclists who appear out of nowhere and confused car drivers who aren’t sure whether they have done something wrong because all the rules are different. Imagine all of that when you are a grandparent trying to cross the road in Twickenham with two fractious infants throwing stuff out of their buggy and are suddenly faced with an army of armadillos.
      Perhaps Twickeman would like to give a little more thought to the poor benighted pedestrian who seems to get forgotten by the increasingly activist cycling lobby of whom he is a member. Reading the cycling blogs and tweets they seem to be an incredibly self absorbed group – worryingly, some of them are quite scary.
      Alexis

  5. twickerman

    The question is: Is Twickenham ready for Armadillos?

    Here’s a pic of funky and practical cycle lane separating armadillos in Barcelona:

    separador-carril-bicicleta-plastico-reciclado-ecologico-seguro-barcelona4

    .