On Yer Bike! Well, Are You?

Village bike

A village bike

Did you see last week’s Ricky Twicky Times? Well did you? Cor blimey! That front page all about that bloody cyclist clocking 41mph in Richmond Park. Dangerous eh? And breaking the 20mph speed limit too. The article elicited plenty of comment online. Ban ’em! Leave ’em be! What about the motorists, they’re even worse. And as for those deer, wandering around, eating bark and chestnuts like they own the bloody park: twig-headed idiots. There were no winners.

It got us thinking about cycling. Unlike that chap in the park, not everyone wants to race around wearing lycra that provides onlookers with way too much information about what goes wrong when you hit middle age. But not everyone wants to ride at a sedate pace waving at vicars whether that be on a bike or on a deer. It’s about balance isn’t it? And there are always valid arguments both for and against that.

Lycra louts

Lycra louts on Cross Deep

How about some tolerance and respect and understanding? Why, just the other day, your humble correspondent got called a “two wheeled terrorist” for having the audacity to try to cycle through a green light whilst a group of rugby fans were attempting to cross the road despite the ‘red man’ facing them. Thanks guys. The very next day we witnessed a car braking hard when making a left turn into a side road, not because the driver had made an error when overtaking a bike but because a cyclist had been bombing along the pavement and had crossed the junction without so much as a sideways glance. Pavement cycling by small children is one thing (namely, illegal, a bit irritating but understandable), but there seems to be a small but determined group (usually men in their twenties, often in hi-viz work vests, en route to some place or other) who think a pavement equates to a cycle lane. Dudes, it doesn’t.

And how about this sign spotted on the Eel Pie Island bridge urging local cyclists to show consideration towards residents on foot. If there’s a more polite request than this anywhere in the world we’d very much like to see it. But they have a point too.

Sign on Eel Pie Island bridge

Sign on Eel Pie Island bridge

You’ll note we haven’t bothered to mention all the occasions when motorists have been inconsiderate towards cyclists or the accidents that make the news with depressing regularity. There are too many to list.

Having said all of that, let’s cut to the chase, is Twickenham actually a good place to cycle? Richmond Council’s “mini-holland” bid which sought funding from the GLA to improve cycling in the borough didn’t fare overly well but El Brute does make positive noises about trying to encourage cycling. There’s an El Brute ‘cycling champion’ with a brief to promote cycling across the Council’s work. There are even classes available to help people improve their confidence on two wheels. And yet in Twickenham we’re all waiting (and waiting) for the roadworks and pavement works to finish so that we can see how effective the cycle related aspects of the Twickenham Action Plan turn out to be. Yes, there were some in there. As it stands at the moment riding through the town centre doesn’t feel very different than it did a year ago. Or two years ago. The bus stops have moved, some of the marked bike lanes have gone, there are some advance cycle stop points at junctions (often occupied by cars) and the traffic is just as busy as ever, if not busier. It’s not for the faint hearted. And because of that we’ll reserve judgement until the whole thing is finished.

It would be great to see more locals confident about getting out and about on their bikes whether for work, fitness or just for fun. El Brute and others need to make sure the awareness-raising and education process encompasses those on four wheels as well as those on two. Who knows, maybe next year, those drunken rugby fans might even be shouting ‘nice wheels’ rather than abuse.

So. Cycling? In Twickenham? How’s it going for you?

LINKS:
* El Brute mini holland page
* El Brute cycling page
* Richmond Cycling Campaign

100 Comments

Filed under Local Issues & News

100 responses to “On Yer Bike! Well, Are You?

  1. twickerman

    I agree with Sally, that the combination of road narrowing, cycle/bus lane removal and pavement widening in Twickenham has sadly had the predicted outcome of increasing the number of people cycling on the pavements.

    However, it’s not just ‘young men’ doing it, many women of all ages and older men are doing it too.
    I don’t do it, but have some sympathy for those that feel unsafe on the narrowed congested roads.
    Of course some pavement cyclists are just taking the piss and need to be penalised!

    The only way to stop pavement cycling is to provide safe cycling infrastructure for cyclists. This will also encourage people to cycle rather than drive, thus reducing congestion and pollution.

    It’s time for a rethink of the Twickenham town centre layout to add cycle lanes to our wide pavements, as Sally suggests, or to widen the roads to include safe segregated cycle lanes.
    There is space on King St and London Rd for pedestrians, motorists AND cyclists.

    • Sally

      You’re right, sorry. All ages and sexes are succumbing to the temptation!

    • Twickerman, you are of course correct that there are a wide range of offenders however as mentioned in the original piece there do seem to be rather too many men in their 20s and 30s doing it. They are not old and frail, they are not with young children.

      Whilst waiting at the lights recently the twickerati-mobile was passed by a man cycling along the pavement. When catching up with him further down Cross Deep he’d switched from pavement to road. Why? Because there were a couple of ‘community support officers’ ambling along the pavement far ahead. In that particular cyclist’s case he obviously knew he was in the wrong and just couldn’t be bothered to cycle in the road. Maybe I’m wrong but I think people like him ought to feel a bit embarrassed about what they’re doing. What next? Stabilisers?

    • steve

      Bikes, cars and pedestrians need to be separated. Sadly the new road layout has reduced separation. Bikes either risk life and limb in the narrowed car space, or inconvenience/endanger pedestrians. My point is – no point bickering with each other about who is doing the wrong thing. Instead we should be protesting to the council because they have tragically missed a real opportunity to properly design our High Street for all three user groups. I’m furious that my council tax as been spent in such an amateur way. A disgrace.

  2. Sally

    I think we have to face facts that the new wide pavements are just too tempting now for many cyclists especially paired with the dangerous road cycling conditions in central Twickenham. Young men are hurtling down the footpaths pretty regularly, and yesterday I saw an elderly lady very narrowly avoid being knocked over. I understand the temptation, especially when I am trying to cycle around the current roads blockages, but it is too damn dangerous.
    It seem unlikely the police have the extra resources to patrol the streets any more than they do, and CCTV is not much good in the circumstances.
    Could we not go with it ,and mark off a strip on our new wide pavements specifically for bicycles? Separate it from pedestrians with a raised barrier?
    I really don’t know how else to stop the hurtling. Street furniture att strategic intervals to prevent them getting up a head of steam?

  3. GK

    I commute on my bike through Twickenham Monday to Friday and can say it is more dangerous than ever for cyclists. The road being narrowed in many places along with the removal of cyclist sections at lights. I curse at people that run lights red lights and fly along pavements, I see them every day. They give us a bad name. I am shocked that the idea is to make Twickenham a cycle friendly place with the current improvements I’d say they need to refund who ever is footing the bill.

    • I feel modern man is becoming a bully! cyclists in particular appear to have a superior immortality complex. A self righteous and selfish attitude prevails. It appears to be survival of the fittest here.

  4. Bikes to the left and bikes to the right is how it feels on Twickenham pavements. No longer is it solely necessary to look left and right when crossing the road but also when emerging from my front garden on Whitton Road. The pavement here is becoming a bit of a speed trap for cyclists whiz zing up and down. Walking on the road is safer during rush hour. At least the road traffic is slower and I can hear it. Quite unerving when a silent cyclist whooshes past myself on the pavement. I live in fear of being knocked over by one of who is uninsured and irresponsible.

  5. I have often wondered whether it might be better to have a one way route from the Three Kings to Cook (pub and shop) that was just for cycles and the other way for cars using the LBRUT car park. There’s little of interest for anyone to walk to on weekdays over that route (market on Saturdays, though) and the cars are going pretty slowly. This would avoid having to get through Heath Road in the traffic.
    BTW, Central London used to be a breeze for cycling because there were so very many cars they were gridlocked and one just sailed past them. Since the Congestion Charge about 25% of the vehicles inside the Zone are actually cycles, not cars, and the cars that are there move a bit quicker. Slower cyclists annoy the faster ones by blocking them !
    The basis of my comments is having done about one hundred thousand miles of cycling in London over the last fifteen years because I’m a cycle commuter. I’ve been knocked over by a car once, fallen off in icy weather three times and had one near miss with a pedestrian (braked just in time and stopped two centimetres short of hitting him).
    I do think, though, that the longer term solution isn’t bike lanes painted between parked cars and the carriageway (drivers’ doors open that side) but is rather a bike lane between the parked cars and the pavement. It takes the same amount of space but the parked cars form a natural barrier between the carriageway and the bike lane, at no expense to the Council, and whilst every car has to have a driver who might open a door in front of you many, perhaps most, don’t have a passenger who will do the same in my proposed scheme.
    Does this sound workable ?

    • Paul

      As CTC rep. I drone on to highway engineers about keeping bike lanes out of the door zone. Being hit by a passenger door is not much on an improvement and passengers are more likely to leave the door open while they have a chat blocking the cycle lane.
      The really bad feature of cycle lanes inside of parking is that at entrances the cyclist and driver are hidden from each other until just before collision.

  6. LBRuT press release:
    £10m to improve cycling facilities (27/03/2015): Cycling facilities along the A316 will be improved, thanks to funding from the Mayor of London, Richmond Council has confirmed.
    http://www.richmond.gov.uk/home/council/news/press_office/older_news/march_2015/10m_to_improve_cycling_facilities.htm

  7. Hi all

    As an avid cyclist, pedestrian and driver. Here are my thoughts

    There’s nothing wrong with lycra, if going a long distance the padded shorts are the most practical way of protecting your bottom and people who don’t wear them clearly aren’t cycling very far. The tops often have wind resistance built into them which is needed and practical and wearing the kit is no different to wearing a football shirt in the park or rugby top whilst out. From my experience as driver and cyclist, many of the lycra clad middle classed people are actually the most respectful on the road (though they will weave through stationary traffic – entirely legal and can be done safely), though you will have the occasional speedster who gives them a bad name… it is often the little old ladies cutting through red lights or builders cycling no handed whilst surfing their mobile phones.

    Speeding. Having cycled thousands of times round richmond park, most of the cars do over 20 (usually over 70-80% – i can see this on my speedometer as i follow them) as do many of the cyclists on the more downhill sections. No particular judgement passed on that other than recommending people be careful and respectful of others which most are. Richmond park shouldn’t be used for time trialling practice though I frequently note it is. This probably does no harm at 7am on Sunday morning but later on is impractical and probably dangerous.

    Cycling 2 or 3 abreast – These guys should pull over and let cars past and be respectful if possible. Equally cars should give bikes space and not overtake into us, cuts us up or pass us (particularly newer riders) with 20cm space.

    Safety – richmond is in general a pretty safe place to cycle all things considered 🙂

    The side paths in richmond park- you can’t cycle a road bike on it without getting a puncture – 90% of the cyclists in RP are on road bikes as it is the only place nearby they can practise. The road paths by the river – again can only be done on a mountain bike – in which case you should go early in the morning so as to avoid people.

    We would all do well to stop whinging about others and generalising based upon bad experiences. Whatever we say on these threads, we will continue to share these spaces. Lets all be respectful and understanding of each other and try our best to get along.

    Cheers – Dan

  8. Anonymous

    I am a very keen cyclist, motor cyclist and car driver and cannot see why there is any confusion, as the highway code is the same for all and states very clearly that you should be courteous to all other road users.

    Though there are some specifics:
    Pedestrians – https://www.gov.uk/rules-pedestrians-1-to-35
    Cyclists – https://www.gov.uk/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82
    Motor Cyclists – https://www.gov.uk/rules-motorcyclists-83-to-88
    Drivers – https://www.gov.uk/rules-drivers-motorcyclists-89-to-102

    Isn’t this discussion more about the different mentalities of footpath and road users, than the type of vehicle? Doesn’t this say a lot about human competency and consciousness? And he who is perfect, should throw the first stone!!

    Live and let live, follow the rules, be gentle with each other and for goodness sake try and enjoy yourself.

  9. George

    I have a road bike but only use Richmond Park at times when I think it’s going to be less busy. I don’t actually enjoy cycling round with several hundred others, being overtaken by group rides, overtaking some who are less fit than me. If I have the time to go elsewhere, I do.

    Interestingly I had a look at the London Dynamo site – they’re choosy about who they let in and give people a try out with a few laps of the Park before they let people join them for proper rides. Perhaps there should be something about limiting clubs using it as their training ground. It would be quite hard to enforce though.

    Consideration is the key. I wonder what the mood would be like if a vintage motor club decided to have Sunday morning laps of the park in their classic cars.

    Back to Twickenham… the new road layout in King Street seems more dangerous for cyclists than it did before. Very unclear markings and lines especially going into London Rd and York Street. Some way to go before it feels safer.

    I also have a car, walk and get buses and trains if that helps.

  10. twickerman

    Let’s have some facts.
    At the meeting that Zac Goldsmith organised recently the Richmond Park police advised that from April-Dec 2014 126 motorists were fined or taken to court for speeding, one of whom was clocked at 56mph! During the same period 30 cyclists received written warnings (a lesser offence presumably).

    So motorists are clearly the major speeding offenders, and a much greater danger to other park users because of their size and weight.

    FYI, I don’t agree with anyone speeding in the park, and I agree that some cyclists are inconsiderate, but so are some motorists and motorbikers.

    I was nearly blown off my bike the other day when a Porsche 911 driver gave his/her speed machine full throttle as he blasted past me, presumably just for ‘fun’.

    Unfortunately, the park is a victim of it’s own success, and is very much more popular with all types of visitors than it was a few years ago.

    I tend to avoid it on weekends when the weather is good, because it is too busy to cycle safely/enjoyably or to be able to park a car. Instead I walk from Twickenham.

    Last Sunday I rode back ‘gently’ through the park along the Tamsin Trail from Roehampton to Richmond Gate. As the trail towards Ham Gate was very busy, I tried the road, only to come up against a massive queue for the Pembroke Lodge car park. Having slowly squeezed by the queue, avoiding passenger doors being carelessly flung open, I encountered a couple of impatient motorists driving towards me on the wrong side of the road trying to overtake the lengthy car park queue from Ham!

    It was a massive relief to exit Richmond Park in one piece and continue my ride to the much more civilised Bushy Park via the riverside.

    I will continue to avoid cycling in Richmond Park at weekends (unless it is very early/late in the day) because it’s not only unenjoyable, but it’s also dangerous. The reason is not the number of ‘lycra louts’ or ‘boy racers’ (in motors), it’s because it’s just too busy and congested. 

    In that sense, the problem is much the same as the surrounding ‘urban’ roads – too much traffic on narrow roads leading to frustration and conflict.

    There’s no easy solution. But, if the road was widened slightly to incorporate a cycle lane on each side, conflict between cyclists and motorists would be greatly reduced and we could all enjoy travelling in the park a whole load more. 
    We would, of course, all still need to stick to the 20mph speed limit.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      I will agree that the park is completely different at the weekends than during weekdays. Mind you the park has always been busier at weekends for obvious reasons!

      Question…What type of cyclist are you Twickerman? Are you a lycra clad type?

    • twickerman

      By your definition I must be a ‘gentle cyclist’.
      How long have you been obsessed with lycra?

      BTW, another White Van Man was stopped by park police today.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Glad to hear you are a gentle cyclist.
      No obsession with lycra at all.”Lycra clad” has been in common parlance for some years to describe those cyclists who are…er… lycra clad. Bit like White Van Man…same sort of idea.

    • Bushy Park remains a quiet haven, even on summer Sunday afternoons, particularly on its eastern side. It has an all weather path round the perimeter which has pot holes in parts, which may serve to discourage the lycrans.

    • Sally

      I cycle and drive in Richmond park.I have sympathy with the slower riders of whom I am one, although I occasionally wish they would more often use the excellent shared pedestrian/cyclist paths rather than the road or,at least not ride three abreast.
      It is far, far more serious of course for a motorist to speed.
      That said I am not sure if the figures actually reflect the speeding rates of both groups. Any motorist speeding in the park should be hauled off to the clink.
      However, I am very used to driving though the park on 20 as riders zap past me. I have never seen a rider stopped.
      The hills can be a nightmare. I recently had a Tour De France fantasist tailgating my car all the way down a slope, clearly very angry from his rude words that I was holding him up through sticking to 20. I was terrifed. If I had had to stop suddenly the man would have been into the back of the car and killed.
      Perhaps with the increased use of the park by racers additional park police are needed on weekends to manage the traffic?

    • stellagdb

      I don’t think that your comparison of the number of motorists fined with that of cyclists warned is necessarily valid. It is much easier to track down erring motorists because cars have registration numbers; cyclists are anonymous and so get away with breaking the law of the road. I totally agree with your final comment that ALL road users should comply with the speed limit..

      Swarms of cyclists racing round the Park together should be discouraged if not banned. That is not what the Park is for.

      I think that a major mistake was made when the Tamsin Trail was constructed, for pedestrians and cyclists to share, around the outer border of the Park. This brought vehicles (bicycles) to parts of the Park which had previously been free of them. Being away from roads, these areas were considered safe by parents and dog-owners for their charges to run free, but with cyclists whizzing around one now has to be on a careful look-out the whole time.

    • Paul

      There are still large areas of the park where children can run free with no risk of collision with bicycles – I have had one walk into my stationary bike. Having dogs uncontrolled in a National Nature Reserve /Deer Park is a bad idea.

    • Alexis

      Paul may well have a point but where would we be without Fenton?

      I wish he would chase some of the time trialists rather than the deer!
      Alexis

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      In fairness to the dogs most are friendly types…mind you I remember the days the park had sheep…many a dog would chase and round them up!

    • Only collie dogs have the instinct to round sheep up. Whatever it looked like most of the dogs were out hunting: had they been out in the countryside they would have been shot on sight – and rightly so.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      As well as the various types of Collies who like to herd, we can add German Shepherds, Corgis and of course Old English Sheepdogs. Bear in mind also some Heinz varieties may have one of these breeds in its DNA and thus like to do a bit herding! There are other herding dogs too but a bit rarer.

  11. I was run down by a cyclist in Richmond Park and was lef tinjured and bleeding in the ferns. There was no concern for me while he was clearly upset that his new record run had been destroyed.He swore and finally made off,
    So what is the park for? pleasure or for “serious” racers trying to beat their personal circuit time?
    I was apalled by Twickeratti boasting about slipping through a red light and crowing his Holier than thou right to do so. Apparently these days cyclists can go any speed they want, wrong way up one way streets, or onto pavements and not bothering with any lights at night. If anything happens it is always the motorists fault and some even engage in intimidatory tactics hurtling down on pedestrians yelling obscenities.
    They race through the roads at a speed totally inappropriate for a machine with sharp edges and poor stopping. (and I speak as someone who lost a friend skewered through the kidneys by handlebars). This is a macho thing. The statistics show the majority of the racers are male, white and 30 something, Why should that segment of the population believe rules do not apply to them. Why do pedestrians who represent a bigger slice of the population, get no hearing? after all the old and children cannot necessarily cycle. You cannot do the family weekly shop on a bike.
    What are they going to say when it is not a pensioner but a dead child under their wheels. They have no identification and no insurance. The belief is that they are somehow guardian angels for the planet and therefore permitted to ignore rules? why?
    On a specific local note:. tell me why the emphasis is always on cyclists? Why is Tfl demolishing a pedestrian bridge over the A316 next to a school and spending millions on Toucan crossings for cyclists when nobody but cyclists (apparently) benefit?

  12. Just wondering if any of you out there have had a cycling lesson from a qualified instructor – you might be surprised as to how much safer you can be when you know about what your road position should be and how to interact with other road users – check out the LBRUT website for details – it’s not expensive.

  13. Angelina Jolly

    Totally agree with previous comment about cycle lanes in Holland and the very congested Amsterdam, their bike-lanes have a raised curb about a foot high separating the cyclist from motorists on one side and a lesser wall separating pedestrians on the other. If you’re a pedestrian you cannot walk in these lanes, bikes will not stop for you, and that is clearly understood by locals. But bikes cannot go on any pavements and are completely protected from cars by the raised wall. Cycling is such a pleasure there. Likewise, in parts of Northern Italy, we experienced lovely cycling along very wide pavements with lanes drawn out and a grass verge and pavement keeping motorists well away from the cycle lanes – plenty of room for everyone.

    Why can’t we come up with something for the UK – totally safe cycling, safe walking, cars kept away? I find cycling in this country sometimes terrifying. A more thoughtful infrastructure would solve so many of the problems mentioned here. Surely it’s not beyond the bounds of our town planners – although it seems to be at present.

    • stellagdb

      Part of the problem is lack of space in English towns. We just can’t fit in nice wide cycle paths.

    • Paul

      In the older parts of Dutch towns there is a similar shortage of space – solved by keeping out through motor traffic. With motorised traffic limited you don’t need cycle paths.

    • Angelina Jolly

      Yes, but Amsterdam is congested and they manage it there

    • It’s about attitude. If cyclists think they have to cycle on pavements although illegal at least they could do it slowly with regard and respect for unsuspecting young, elderly, infirm pedestrians. Unfortunately the bully cyclist shares the very traits of the bully car driver they wish to avoid on the road and the pedestrian is bottom of the pile.

  14. Ex Twickenham Resident

    May I say I am heartened by the comments on this thread and would suggest that we are all broadly in agreement and have similar experiences when cycling. I would just like to point out that the R&TT article is about Richmond Park. We should separate the park environment from everyday cycling issues. They are distinctly different.

    The riders in the park are sports cyclists and not commuters. Many drive to the park with cycle on roof rack, park at Roehampton gate, whizz round and then drive back to wherever they came from. Many bring attitude with them too.

    • twickerman

      Tosh. All sorts of cyclists use Richmond Park, just as motorists use it for a variety of reasons.
      The issues and dangers faced in the park are similar to those on surrounding roads, with the exception of deer crossing.

    • Ex Twickenham Resident

      Have you been to Richmond Park at the weekend?

      When cycling in the park are you encountering buses, lorries, traffic lights, people turning in from side roads? Tosh to you too…

    • twickerman

      I go regularly, and yes there are buses (to/from ballet school), yes there are minibuses, yes there are lorries (from car park works), yes there are side roads (and car parks), yes there are mini-roundabouts…..and yes there are no traffic lights.

      You may also have noticed that the road is narrow and there are no cycle lanes so cyclists are frequently cut-up by speeding motorists.

    • Ex Twickenham Resident

      So you are telling me a Royal Park has similar issues and dangers to an urban environment? You haven’t noticed that the park is used as some sort of velodrome at weekends despite these dangers of buses (to/from ballet school), mini-roundabouts and minibuses? You forgot the horses in your dangers of the park thesis.

      There is a perimeter path that the gentle cyclists use to get from a to b, that avoid the particular dangers of the buses (to/from ballet school),mini-roundabouts and minibuses.

    • dellboy

      the cyclists causing problems in the park are those who are using the park as a training ground.
      One member of the london dynamo club has posted on “streetlife” a time of 15.9 minutes for a circuit of the park using strava, a GPS app. for smart phones etc. This is 25 MPH, approx. so not only speeding he is time trialing and road racing all of which is breaking the law.
      As to the similarity to conditions outside the park, unless the park rules have changed, commercial vehicles are banned; do the buses to the ballet school run every 5-8 minutes in the rush hour and every 15 minutes otherwise?
      You are an apologist for the lycra clad mob and your arguments are sophistry .

    • Cleo Talbot

      Well said, Sir!
      If any proof were needed, have a look at this:
      http://www.strava.com/segments/tour-de-richmond-park-610040?hl=en-GB

    • twickerman

      I see that one speedy woman, a cycling journalist, has given her Twitter name @susannah_journo on Strava.
      Seems a bit stupid to advertise that she’s broken the speed limit.

    • twickerman

      I see that one woman, a cycling journalist, has given her Twitter name @susannah_journo on Strava.
      Seems a bit stupid to advertise that she’s broken the park speed limit.

    • Alexis

      Twickerman doesn’t seem a very good ambassador for cycling – here he draws attention to a female on the strava heroes/rogues list. Why her I wonder when 10 of the 20 listed males have also used a real name – every one of whom has broken the speed limit?

      Because I’m like that, I googled one at random and got a probable hit for a mad keen time trialist who lists his club and the county in which he lives, funnily enough his club is London Dynamo which has just sacked the 41mph speedster!
      I guess in Twickerman’s world that makes me a troll – It doesn’t, it simply makes me inquisitive. Perhaps the police should adopt the same MO if they are serious about stamping out this sort of antisocial cycling in Richmond Park? The Surrey Hills are also blighted but at least the speed limits are mostly too high for the trialists to break.

      My thanks to Cleo Talbot for the strava link – perhaps the Parks police might like to have a word with them and London Dynamo? After all everyone wants to enjoy the park and encouraging this sort of antisocial behaviour by the minority of users spoils it for the vast majority – sadly, it is so often thus.
      Alexis

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Yep…funny how there were no real problems in the park until the lycra brigade arrived en masse.

  15. Steve

    I cycle a lot, walk a fair bit and drive regularly. I see all sides. Each group has good and bad players, and a full mix of reasonable and shrill opinions. All these groups will be travelling together for many decades to come. To me the finger pointing and blaming each other completely misses the point. All this goes away if we get the infrastructure right and keep each group safe and sensibly segregated. This is what we all should be fighting for. When millions of OUR money has just been spent upgrading our streets and nothing has been done to improve this then we should hold our elected leaders accountable. In my view the safety aspects of the design are a disgrace and we sadly will have to live with it for decades to come. Tragic.

  16. Great piece, totally agree with all of it. The mini-Holland reference is a cynical joke. In Holland, the cycle routes from A to B often take a different path from the car routes from A to B. The Dutch planners don’t just lazily paint a few extra white lines on the road or pavement and abandon the attempt when it gets a bit tricky (eg at roundabouts). Making cycling safe and pleasurable involves someone with a bit of imagination looking at a map methinks. Still, if they can do it in Holland, one of the most densely built and populated countries in the world, they should be able to do it here. I remain in hope…

    • Rufus McDufus

      I largely agree but the Netherlands does have some advantages over us in that the streets tend to be a fair bit wider than we have here and they don’t tend to cram as many buildings into a tiny space limiting any options for road/cycle path expansion.
      Interestingly England’s population density is greater than that of the Netherlands now and has been for a few years. The population density of SE England and London is of course much higher still.

  17. Sally

    We are very lucky with the tow path. Peace and harmony reign. Cyclists of all levels use the path,
    Problem is getting there. The centre of Twickenham is horrible to cycle in. Cycle paths should be separated from roads by more than a bit of paint, as in the Dutch model.
    So many more people would cycle if safety was improved . Good God, I would happliy cycle into London on a safe path than struggle through peak hour!
    Yes racing cyclists zip about ,but the majority are ordinary people on uncool bikes or children, who want to cycle but don’t want to run terrible risks.

  18. twickerman

    A bell might be helpful on shared paths, though they often cause pedestrian confusion.
    But a bell isn’t going to protect cyclists against inconsiderate, impatient and dangerous drivers.

    • Paul

      I am worried that ringing a bell suggests “get out of my way”. (People either ignore it or over-react). A polite “passing on your right” is more informative and means I can keep both hands on the brakes.

  19. David B

    Get. A Bell. And. Use. It.

    Is it that difficult?i

    • That would be good – how many cycles actually have bells these days? – but ringing a bell mustn’t be taken as justification for careless riding terrorising pedestrians. Bicycles mustn’t be used on pedestrian areas.

    • Rufus McDufus

      Bikes need to have a bell fitted at point of sale and I believe this has been mandatory for quite some time. There must be a lot of bells getting taken off just after the point of sale!

  20. blimey – well done for going for such an unemotive and uncontroversial topic!
    My own opinion is that shared space, as there is down the riverside path, works fine. We all give each other space and a little politeness works wonders. On the rare occasions i cycle on footways i go at walking space and probably have more control over my bike than when im pushing it. Unfortunately what happens is that you cycle up behind someone who doesnt hear you till you’re right behind them.. At which point they jump out of their skin and are convinced you were about to run them over! Much tutting follows.
    The problem with cyclists is the same problem as with motorists, pedestrians, rugby supporters, estate agents, gingers, dog owners, the Chinese, people who walk hand in hand in front of you, and of course immigrants – it’s PEOPLE! Any group of more than half a dozen of these pesky “people” will have its fair share of mostly lovely normal civilised folk like you and me, as well as a few impatient, angry, or maybe just having a bad day types who let the side down.
    Sort them out and we will all live a peaceful harmonious life and all will be lovely.

  21. Robyn

    I am a cyclist, not a lycra clad one but one that cycles because I prefer it to driving (paying to drive). I rarely feel safe cycling through Twickenham, constantly squashed by vehicles on the corner near Greggs (the detour behind can be dangerous with pedestrians walking along Holly Road). Never given enough space by buses outside M&S. The road markings coming over the bridge by Regal house are a cyclist nightmare with cars not knowing where to go.
    And don’t get me started on where to park my bike…Whitton seems to have all our bike parks!!

  22. Debster

    The wider pavements especially at bus stops make it really difficult to get past a bus. Or past stationary traffic.

  23. Bike boy

    I cycle to work in central London a few days a week. I obey the laws as I would in my car. If a red light is taking too long I get off my bike and walk it to a safe place to get back on it. Simple.

    The council wishes more people to use their bikes, a worthy goal for many reasons.

    At the same time we have a bike crime problem in the borough. To prevent theft residents are putting metal bike sheds in their front gardens. This acts a deterant, reduces disturbance in the morning from wheeling bikes down narrow back lanes / through houses etc and keeps bikes dry and easy to access to encourage more local journeys on bike rather than car……

    However the council planning office is rejecting requests for these stores to be put in front gardens saying they are unsightly or 10 cm too high or some other bureaucratic nonsense. They suggest residents use wooden, easily broken into sheds. The council will also let you put a caravan, skip or decaying old car in your front garden and store your bikes in there. You can fashion a bike store from 2 washing machines and a mattress in your front garden too, but the council will not allow an actual bike shed.

    Other local councils allow them but not ours. If our council is serious about cying in the borough they should start acting like it…

    • I am surprised by this as I do not believe planning permission to be required for a store. We have put a store in a car parking space without asking anyone and have had no complaints. It’s at 316 Richmond Road, East Twickenham, in a conservation area, visible from the road.

      The worst t hat can happen is that you will be told to apply for retrospective permission, which will be decided by the same rules as a prospective application. I think this would only happen if the neighbours complain and report the matter to the council and they decide to act.

      Such an application would go to the committee to decide democratically. Are the going to risk upsetting the cycle lobby? I think not. If you are turned down the cycle lobby would surely fund an appeal.

      So unless you can supply actual examples of stores being refused permission, I think this is an urban myth. Evidence please?

    • these are generally listed buildings, i think 10% of houses in LBRUT are listed and you need planning to make any external alterations including Bike stores.

      I drive around the borough every day for work I see a lot of aggressive cycling, it is the Wiggins effect which the Dutch, who ride around on vintage ‘sit up and beg’ bikes, do not suffer from. I will now avoid Richmond park at weekends, it is an unpleasant environment full of testosterone. I was there a few weeks ago and it was truly awful.

      we are limited for recreation space and have to co-exist but you cannot do that with a peloton doing 30 mph downhill in a park, sorry, there needs to be legislation.

      the trouble is these things are never enforced, i would love to know how many prosecutions there have been in Twickenham for driving in excess of 20MPH, i am guessing none.

    • 316 is in the Cambridge Park conservation area but is not listed; nor is its neighbour 318 ‘The House on the Corner’ but it is a ‘building of townscape merit’ which means that it is treated as if listed.

      My point is that you can safely go ahead and put up your store,just as you can a store for your dustbins, in your front yard if you take care not to do it in such way as to fall out with your neighbours and cause them to report you.

    • conservation area consent would be required then

    • There is no such thing as ’conservation area consent’ – you are perhaps thinking of ’conservation area demolition consent’. It did not occur to me that any consent was needed when we put up our store so I have not investigated how large a structure we can erect before we need planning consent, which would be affected by being in a conservation area.

      The shed has been up for 5 years with no complaints from anyone – in fact our front yards is neater and tidier than most. Experience shows that this issue is not an obstacle to having a store.

  24. Sally

    I would love there to be safe cycle paths through Twickenham.By safe I mean divided from the cars, not just a painting on the road. I have been knocked off my own bike twice by busses moving into the cycle lane not able to see me there,.
    I would love it if my children could cycle safely to school. King St and Heath rd are still very dangerous for cyclists. The lanes simply cease to exist and are ignored by cars in most cases. And I don”t want my children cycling on the footpath as it endangers pedestrians.
    Cycling should be for everybody, not just Lycra clad heroes who live dangerously.

  25. Paul

    Love the Eel Pie sign. Much more typical is that at Crane Park Island
    ” Please keep your dogs on a lead” followed by brusque “No Cycling”.

    • Penny

      To be fair to Crane Park Island, it is a nature reserve with wildlife, such as kingfishers and water voles, that could be disturbed by dogs and cyclists. It is a very small (and isolated) part of Crane Park – the rest is entirely available for cycling and canine recreation. The tone of the sign reflects the importance of these edicts.

    • Paul

      I have no objection to the rule only to the way that dog walkers are asked politely and cyclists are ordered.

  26. Ex-Twickenham Resident

    My guess is that this thread (not my comment) will attract a lot of comments. I will be adding my own tuppence worth in installments. The cycling ‘debate’ just illustrates to me the worst aspects of this country both on a macro level and micro level.

    My first point is that cycling is not new. Many people have cycled in this country from the dawn of the penny farthing. In the late 70’s early 80’s I used to cycle to school a distance of some 7 miles or so on busy roads and quiet roads for about 5 years. No crashes, no incidents, occasional hoot from a motorist when cycling 2 abreast, no helmets, no vivid colours, no confrontation. Traffic was probably marginally less though faster.

    My natural mindset was cars are bigger than me, they rule the road, keep it safe and no risks. In my experience cars tended to be considerate and would give space as they passed by. What they saw was a young chap riding to school and whilst not knowing the mindset of all the drivers that past me, my guess is that there was a certain due diligence and responsibility as they came across my friends and I. In the holidays I loved cycling and happily went from a to b without a second thought. I would also add that there was a certain decision process whether cycling or bus was the better option taking into account distance and road traffic. Cycling in central London I would NEVER have considered. Cycling to Richmond or Kingston was de rigeur.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Part II

      Turning 17 I embark on driving lessons and within 6 months I am a car driver! (Yep, passed test 1st time). Got myself a jalopy and the joys of motoring are upon me. Yes, some parental help but the onus was on me to pay for the running costs myself. Part time jobs, holiday jobs and University grant all helped paying for petrol, occasional garage bills, MOT, Tax…some help with insurance as my parents saw a vested interest in me driving as I could pick them up from their boozy friends on occasions.

      Problem was that I seemed to be spending a lot of money on motoring when I wanted to buy a Squier Fender Strat, increase my record collection, go to concerts and meet friends in the pub. Car was now to be used for specific journeys in a bid to save money, I dusted down my bike and decided biking and bus were to be main modes of transportation unless car was only option. Again no incidents, cycling was exactly same experience as when I cycled to school. This combination saw me through until I enter my career.

      By the early 90’s I am earning good wages, have a nice car and my cycling days are in the past.

    • A serialised autobiography as well as a comment about cycling. Good work!

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Part III

      Driving is great. As the 90’s progress, I drive a lot. Long journeys, shortish journeys though bus and tube at the weekends for going up to London for nightlife, concerts etc. When driving in the suburbs I am aware of cyclists and having been one before am familiar with the cyclists environment. As I encounter a cyclist there is an automatic and almost subconscious check on their circumstance. If there is a bus or obstruction, slow down to allow them to negotiate it. If all is clear and the cyclist is on a steady course just pass them without problem. Perhaps if needed give them a bit of space.

      In London the only cyclists I am aware of are cycle couriers. Brave guys …wouldn’t do it myself but a way of earning some money.

      The cyclist then in the 90’s is still the same as in my day, Dressed for wherever they are going though I am seeing a preponderance of horizontal plastic flags attached to the rear of bikes. No problem with that…wouldn’t have had one on my bike back in the day nonetheless. And BMX’s…didn’t have those either in my day.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Part IV

      Late 1998 my boss strolls into my office,
      ” We are opening up a new section, probable location our Italy office…you fancy it?”
      “Sure do boss”, I reply.

      Early 1999 my boss strolls into my office,

      “New section to open next month, Dutch office, all location costs etc included. Go over, meet the team get yourself settled…”

      “What about Italy?” I ask.

      “We considered Italy but strategically the Dutch office is the better location”.

      Dreams of better weather, pasta, decent coffee, Italian cities and other such fantasies vanish.

      I set off to the Netherlands and meet the team.

      In my first week in the Netherlands I go for a walk. I am in a small town and very pretty it is too. I am walking along and a bell rings from behind.
      A pretty girl on a bicycle says something in Dutch.

      As I express surprise and apologies she says…”oh you are English. I was saying you should not walk on the cycle path”.

      ” Ah yes sorry, I was on a footpath, I seemed to have lost it.”

      She laughs…”Yes…it is not clear, the walking path goes through the wood and the cycle path goes along this way. Even Dutch people make the same mistake as it is not clearly marked.”

      “Thanks” I reply.

      “You are a tourist?” she asks.

      “Nope i am here to work, arrived here yesterday and am just having a look around”.

      “Oh, well welcome, you must get yourself a bike, everyone cycles and it is great fun!”

      Later that night I meet some colleagues for a drink. Words of wisdom they impart to me included that in Holland if you are driving the cyclist is king. If an incident between a cyclist and a car happens the car driver is in the wrong automatically. Another pearl of wisdom imparted to me was that Dutch women tended to be very fit due to cycling. And the final advice was that there was good bikeshop in such and such Straat.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Part V

      Within a few days I go to the bike shop to look at the bikes. I have in my mind an ‘Omofiets’ or in English a grandfather bike. These are the typical sit up and beg Dutch style bikes that I would say 98% of the Dutch cycling population would ride. (The Omafiets is the grandmother bike without a crossbar).

      I should say I was in a small Dutch town with the office nearby in another small Dutch town. I narrow down my choice and the bikeshop owner says to me …”take this one, try it out for a few days, if you like it come back and pay me”.

      I was surprised at his trust, but he reassured me that firstly I was English and an Englishman’s word was his bond and secondly he knew where I lived as Dutch towns were small places!

      I did have a car in Holland too, but cycling seemed to be the way to go…when in Rome etc.

      It was the weekend and I had arranged to meet a colleague for a beer and to show me the bars of my locale. I rode to the meeting place and the ride there was a revelation, experiencing the cycle paths and complete ease of cycling in the Netherlands. Ordering a beer a voice from behind said,

      ‘Hello I know you…you are the English man on the cycle path”. It was the Dutch girl I had encountered in my first week.

      Surprised but somewhat pleased I told her that I had now got a bike and Yes cycling was fun! She asked me if I played cricket…she explained she loved cricket and played for a local team in a mixed league about to start up for the new season. Not a high standard but fun. Would I like to play? They were short of players. She gave me her phone number and said they played Tuesday evenings, 20 over matches.

      It was early spring and my love of cycling was rekindled. Cycling along the Dutch cycle paths was great., Dutch people just get on their bikes and ride to their destination unruffled. The cycle infrastructure was amazing, dedicated traffic lights for cyclists and smooth paths, being mostly flat helped too. Occasionally road traffic and cycle traffic would negotiate the same space. To my surprise the cars would wait for the cyclist even when to my reckoning they could have nipped through without even being near to me. Sometimes I felt i should speed up as cars waited for me to pass before pulling out. It was revelatory. I cycled to work, I cycled to cricket, I cycled to parties, Spring turned to summer. The car was only used for when it was raining. At weekends my now cricket playing Dutch girl friend and I would cycle to lakes and the beach. It was heaven!

    • Heaven. What a great place to end. (Hint: no more, thanks)

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Part VI Final

      Oh I was going to bring in all sorts of interesting points and environmental considerations and politely too.

      Let me just conclude…the points are.

      1). Cycling is good for you and should be encouraged.
      2). The infrastructure is a joke. White painted lines in the road are ridiculous. The authorities are to blame for this.
      3). Cyclists could do themselves a favour by realising they do not own the road.
      4). Drivers would not be intimidated if cyclists dressed as normal people getting from a to b not Tour de France riders or rigged up for some sort of SAS raid.
      5). The cyclists in Richmond park are sports cyclists and are a relatively new phenomenon. They also are a pain.
      6). Cycling in the road with a children’s panier behind is stupid.
      7). I cycle and I do not encounter any problems because I am careful,do not ride in inappropriate places and respect all around me and take my time.
      8). The whole thing is just typical of this ridiculous country and its half arsed way of going about things.

      Solution is to cut road size by a third and make a dedicated cycle lane. This would mean car drivers would need smaller cars, cleaner emissions and use less fuel. Cycllsts would have a safer environment. All in all this would make for a more equitable urban environment. Cycling should be enjoyed and not be some sort of confrontational exercise.

      All citizens should be required to live in The Netherlands for a year at least to see how a liberal and relaxed country works.

  27. Purple Haze

    I’ve never understood why the more vocal lobby of mainly middle class cyclists, who have a massive sense of entitlement and egos to go with it, think they deserve special privileges or dispensations when using our roads.
    I’ve been a cyclist for decades but the behaviour of some of the lycra-clad, arrogant idiots that cycle around Richmond and Twickenham is beyond belief.

  28. Steve

    The clash of pedestrians, bikes and cars is always emotive and often dangerous. Hence good design is absolutely key. I know it’s early days but my sense is that we have a huge lost opportunity with the new town centre design. Roadways are more narrow, generally without cycling provision – with all new space going to pedestrians.

    In particular the approach from the west to the lights at the Cross Deep junction is a cycling disaster. The bus/cycle lane disappears just before the lights, leaving bikes stuck behind parked buses and dodging out into the narrower traffic lanes to get round. Buses also have to pull out into the car lanes , hazardous for bikes, cars and cyclists. Quite appalling planning frankly. An accident waiting to happen.

    And of course we still have the crazy unsafe bike lane in Wharf Lane unchanged. This bike lane runs downhill against the traffic and is used by many children heading for the river. The bike lane unfortunately does not continue when the road bends left, instead it directs bikes straight into the path of oncoming traffic!! Again its just waiting for an accident to happen and I would think close to a civil liability with the council as its so badly designed.

    So, hoping to be proved wrong but my first impression is not great.

    • Paul

      The bike lane in Wharf Lane does actually turn left in a weird diagonal cut across the footway. I have often thought that a bollard on that corner would be a more sensible solution. Additionally some sort of separator – at least armadillos – is needed on Wharf Lane.

  29. Rufus McDufus

    As a once-keen bike rider I have to admit I am really reluctant to cycle around the Borough now. This isn’t a problem unique to Twickenham of course but the very close proximity/narrow roads and sheer bulk of traffic make it unappealing to say the least. That said there is plenty of bad behaviour by cyclists – i.e speeding down the pavement, no lights etc. Most of the cycle ‘lanes’ (and for decades, not just recently) appear to be totally inadequate and token gestures by the council, but the good cycle lanes – such as the one up the Staines road beyond the Shell garage appear to be completely ignored by cyclists. I think I once saw on cyclist using it and felt like applauding!
    Also re. speeding in the park – is it not difficult for both cyclists and cars to adhere to the 20mph speed limit and face possible prosecution if not? I realise most cars etc. go over 20mph too.

    • Paul

      If that is the part of the Staines Rd I am thinking of the “good cycle lane” = permission to use the footway. The reasons that it not used include the fact that it isn’t joined to any other meaningful cycle facility (the cycle lanes in the adjacent part are blocked with parked cars) and doesn’t even continue to the junction.

    • Anonymous

      The lane/wide pavement from the Shell garage up to the fitness centre (on the golf club side) is where I mean. It’s pretty wide and lacking in obstacles and shared use. The main snag is see is actually getting on it – is there a dropped kerb at either end?

    • Paul

      Lacking in obstacles apart from a bus shelter ! There is a Toucan at the North end and you can ( ? legally ?) cut round behind the fitness centre to Burtons Rd.

    • Rufus McDufus

      The path from the Shell garage to the fitness centre on the golf club side of the Staines Rd is where I mean. I’m not aware of it having a dropped kerb at either end though?

  30. john

    Cyclists are a danger to themselves and to pedestrians, regularly going through red and amber lights. You are either a road user or you’re not. Stay on the road, obey the road signs or walk. Maybe the council could introduce cycle registration and fine the cyclists who contravene traffic laws as they would with motor vehicles.

    • A great idea, John. Perhaps pedestrians should have to have a licence before they cross the road, too. Or maybe you have other ideas for introducing regulations the council can’t legally adopt, or are just outright foolish?

      Perhaps you should go and read some data about who breaks the law on the road, and who gets hurt. Bicycles are no more likely to run red or amber lights than cars, and as a pedestrian, you are more likely to be killed by a car *while on the pavement* than to be killed or injured by a bicycle whether on the pavement or the road.

    • Alexis

      Ignore the insult John, Tim Lennon is a local cycling “ambassador” so can be forgiven for getting a bit carried away when defending his obsession.

      Nevertheless, I’m glad that he’s popped up because I have often wondered what was the outcome of the prosecution of a driver or passenger who had “doored” him in North Rd. Kew, some time ago. To those not in the know “dooring” happens when a car door is carelessly opened in front of a passing cyclist. That happened to Mr Lennon and, since he was upset that the police chose to take no action against the car driver he complained about police innaction to the R&TT and got a story published which resulted in a change of heart and the driver or whoever opened the door was prosecuted. I wonder if Mr Lennon could let us know the outcome of the case and who was found to be at fault?

      Like Ex-TR, I started cycling a long time ago for transport on a sturdy Raleigh racer with 3 speed Sturmy-Archer gears and a dynamo. Cars, which weren’t non-PC then took over and I only rediscovered the pleasure of recreational cycling in the eighties. No confrontation with cars or time trials along Cross Deep for me, just a gentle potter to Waitrose or wherever, dismounting and walking where I feel at all vulnerable and exercising courtesy to motorists which is almost always reciprocated.

      Why do lycra clad cyclists shout at each other all the time and pound along within feet of your near side rear bumper just where you can’t see them when you want to make a left turn?
      Ambassadors like Mr Lennon don’t speak for me.
      Alexis.
      PS: Thank you for noticing my troublemaking Ex-TR, whilst it obviously irritates vested interests, it seems to amuse others so I shall continue – for a little longer.

    • Ex-Twickenham Resident

      Well said Alexis…I especially agree with ‘exercising courtesy to motorists which is almost always reciprocated’ . This has been my experience too.

    • I believe he accepted a police caution, Alexis. Who do you imagine might accept fault when the law is so clear? My only ‘obsession’ is for cycling to be safe and pleasant so that everyone can do it, and so that it can be a real transport choice, as described by ex-Twickenham resident, above.

      I’m intrigued by your comment about feeling ‘vulnerable’ whilst on a bike. Surely the only reason that would happen is because the council have made a good fist of building a new Twickenham which is a terrible place to be on a bike. You should be able to get around, on your bicycle, without coming into conflict with either pedestrian or motor vehicle, and that’s how it would work in the Netherlands.

    • Paul

      I fully agree with exercising courtesy and that a fair number of motorists do so to. If they all did , and the infrastructure was more helpful you might not be forced to dismount and walk.

    • Alexis

      Thank you for the update Mr Lennon. As to “fault” I, unlike you, choose not to prejudge issues such as this – there might well have been extenuating circumstances, might there not?

      “Feeling vulnerable on a bike”. Interesting that Mr Lennon should pick that up. I have a strong instinct for self preservation which has served me well as my fitness fails and sense prevails – all to look forward to Mr Lennon! Seriously though, we are talking about bikes here, however I feel equally vulnerable when passing a foreign truck on a motorway and get past it as quickly as possible. My option when in heavy traffic on a bike is to dismount which I sometimes choose to do where there is an inevitable choke point such as the junction where all the banks are in the middle of Twickenham – what’s so hard about that? I’m comfortable with it and my journey remains stress free. Paul might like to notice that I use the word “choose” rather than his interpretation of what I said which is that I am “forced to dismount and walk”.

      I agree with Tim on one thing, Twickenham town centre is not cycle friendly and would benefit from a review once the roadworks are completed. Notwithstanding that, I will continue to dismount and turn my trusty steed into a pushbike when I choose to do so.
      Alexis
      PS: Good to see Twickerman getting aereated!

    • john

      Thanks. Glad we agree, it *is* a great idea.

    • Alexis

      I do hope john is who I think he is – if so, well remembered!
      If not, thank you anyway sir.
      Alexis

    • michelangelo

      The Council can’t fine cyclists – that is up to the courts.
      I cannot understand why Lucullus seems to object to cyclists who contravene traffic laws being fined? The law is the law for everybody

    • Paul

      The Swiss tried cycle registration and dropped it as not worth the effort. An equally valid dichotomy would be motorised or not.

  31. Anonymous

    What a well balanced argument, thank you.

    As a member of the two wheeled and four wheeled section of society I can appreciate the frustrations when the two collide (metaphorically of course). The trouble is that motorists fear the cyclist because they are so vulnerable and as a consequence tend to drive over cautiously causing fellow road users to react unpredictably. It is the cyclists ability to ‘dodge and weave’ that encourages this anxiety resulting in the occasional collision. Pedestrians feel this most acutely.

    The answer is consideration or designated cycle lanes where vehicles and people are technically speaking banned. The trouble is educating the cyclist to remain in the lane which by definition challenges the freedom felt when on two wheels.

    One final thought for our hard pressed officers of the law to consider would be a few high profile arrests/cautions/confiscations for cyclists who choose to practise their art at night without lights. Stupid, foolish and dangerous are words that jump to mind but I have used many more in public!

  32. Well spoken. And yes we all, as you say, know about inconsiderate motorists who fail to watch out for cyclists. But Twickenham has become a dangerous place for pedestrians. I’m not old and frail – and obviously not a small kid! – but have had a few close calls when cyclists have speeded past me on the pavement and I’ve thought, thank goodness I hadn’t moved slightly at that moment. They frequently ignore red lights and basically have turned Dutch (ever cycled in Holland?) and think they own the road. But LBRUT have made so serious attempt it seems to make cycling safer. If it was I’d be out there with my bike more often. It’s too dangerous for cyclists on the roads and it’s dangerous for pedestrians on the pavements. But what about all those wide pavements where a sensible and safe cycling lane could be introduced? It’s not just LBRUT. Central London’s no better. Ever tried walking along Sutton Walk near Waterloo. Clue in the name ‘walk’ but there’s a Boris bike stand at other end and bikes zoom and weave through the mass of pedestrians leaving the station. But a painted lane at side of road isn’t safe for cyclists either – we need to introduce proper cycle ‘roads’ in the capital.

  33. Hester Huttenbach

    Cycling down Heath Road is hopeless once you get to the buses backing up outside M&S because you cannot get to the single bike lane in front of them. Unless you are super brave and slip between them and the cars you get blocked. As for cars sticking to the 20mph speed limit, I think you’ll find that is ignored most of the time if the road is clear. Taking the back way down Holly Road against the traffic works if you have a bell to warn the pedestrians to get out of your way as the pavements are pretty useless so everyone goes in the road.

    • Paul

      The solution would be a “floating bus stop” with a cycle track behind it. (Why is the bus shelter so far back here ? )