Whitton Town Centre and Barnes (Castlenau/Church Road Jn) Consultations

Post Updated – 1 August 2013
An update on both these consultations. Barnes was rejected after overwhelming opposition to the proposals.

Whitton Town Centre plans went ahead with no consideration for cycling and no consideration for a 20mph limit, despite the council’s (welcome) enthusiasm for one in Twickenham. We suspect in the latter case it was an easy way to pretend they were doing something for cycling. We struggle to find the outcome to LBRUT consultations (compare with TfL where the situation is much different) but we did eventually manage to track down the consultation report. Frankly, it makes depressing reading, the council actually argues that pinch points which squeeze cyclists into the path of motorists are a safety feature. We don’t know about you, but we would rather not be mobile traffic calming.

You can read the full report here and make your own mind up – is LBRUT interested in cycling as their Mini Holland bid purports to be or is the reality on the ground somewhat different.

We used to say that the council planners, engineers and councillors should have to cycle the road designs they come up with and approve. (do Apple engineers design the iPhone without having ever used a mobile phone?) We’ve now changed our minds – they should not have to cycle the streets they design themselves, they should have to cycle along them with their son, daughter, nephew or niece, and then stand up and say they’re acceptable.

Original Post – 13 November 2012
We spotted two LBRUT consultations affecting cyclists that have come out this month.

Barnes Consultation – Deadline 26 November

This affects the junction of Castelnau, Rocks Lane, Elm Grove Road, Church Road and Queen Elizabeth Walk in Barnes (Map Link)

The main physical changes are:

  • Make Elm Grove Road one way in the southbound direction
  • Remove the existing banned left turn from Elm Grove Road to Ranelagh Avenue

There is no mention of cycling in any of the documentation, another missed opportunity as we receive frequent emails from local cyclists who are fearful of this busy junction. The main objective of the proposals is to smooth motorised traffic, but this will just shift it to the two following junctions in Rocks Lane ((i) with Mill Hill Road and (ii) with the Upper Richmond Road. This is key junction, used by many cycling towards Hammersmith Bridge or going to visit Barnes Wetland Centre and it is also part of Sustrans National Cycle Network Route 4, again not mentioned in the consultation documentation.

Full consultation details online – http://is.gd/P56wx3
Map showing the changes – http://is.gd/s1PoCn

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the tick box online consultation, even if just to say “please improve junction for cyclists” – http://is.gd/F2bYF7

Whitton Town Centre – Deadline 30 November

The main physical changes are:

  • Replacement the pavements on both sides of Whitton High Street and resurfacing the road
  • Provide kerb build-outs for on-street parking bays
  • Raised road at existing pedestrian crossings
  • Raised entries at the side road junctions off the High Street
  • Reduce the width of the road at and upgrade existing pedestrian crossings
  • Possible gateway features could be placed at each end of the High Street
  • Reduce the amount of street furniture and signs and planting new trees

The words cycling, cyclist or bicycle are not mentioned once in the document – similar to what we found 2 years ago at the start of the Twickenham consultation. Introduction of 20mph limits, consideration of cycle routes, cycle parking, increased risk from pinch points for cyclists at pedestrian crossings – none of these things are mentioned. As pointed out in the comments below, it looks like cycle parking is actually being taken out!

As with Twickenham, this is a real missed opportunity to attract more business to the town by encouraging people to come by bike to shop (as many studies have shown the financial benefits of this – here and here). As this site shows, a lot could be achieved in the space available. It should also be noted that Whitton High Street forms part of the London Cycle Network Route 174 (have a look on this map), the main route from Twickenham to Hounslow, again something the consultation does not mention.

Full consultation details online – http://is.gd/tDFmWx
Map showing the changes – http://is.gd/efQkqz

Please take a couple of minutes to complete the tick box online consultation even if just to say “please take into account cycling in redesign” – http://is.gd/Bz1iZA

Some useful resources to consider:
If you don’t design for cycling, conflict is the outcome – Hush Magazine and Copenhagenize

“Pedestrians and cyclists should be considered before other user groups in the design process [not] as an afterthought” – Recent NICE Guidelines

Businesses overestimate how important car parking is – Sustrans

Financial benefits of investing in cycle infrastructure – New York City and Bristol reports

Twickenham Consultation – Reprieve or just a stay of execution?

Bow Roundabout

Post updated 15 November 2012
October marks the one year anniversary of the death of local cyclist Brian Dorling on one of the Cycle Superhighways at the Bow Roundabout near the Olympic Park, where poor road design contributed to making Bow such a dangerous junction, where two people were to die within the space of 3 weeks. It also marks the 15th birthday of the London Road Cycle lane which Richmond Council are planning to remove.

Following on from the Cycle Liaison Group meeting on 4th October, the council issued a press release on the 11th October saying that they were no longer planning on ratifying the changes to Twickenham Town Centre, including the removal of the mandatory London Road cycle lane, at the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October. The plans will now be debated at the Council Cabinet meeting on 15th NovemberYou can read the full detail on their website, but the point that caught our eye from the release was:

“This is to enable … more clear communication from the Council regarding cycle lanes”

If this means they listen to the safety concerns of those affected by the proposals that will be great. If it just means more communication about what they are currently proposing (i.e. installation of advisory off peak lanes which form part of the nearside motor lane) then it will be a disappointment. It does, however, show they now realise the original plans were inadequate. No matter how many ways they put it, sharing a lane with an impatient HGV at peak time is no more pleasant at 20mph that it is at 30mph (particularly when average speeds at peak times are closer to 10mph), and no number of Advanced Stop Lines at junctions will make cycling through Twickenham more pleasant if you can’t get to them in the first place. At peak times, when parents are cycling to school with their kids or people are cycling to work, the most protection is needed (57% of incidents occur at peak times). The council’s own safety audit of the plans, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, show there will be an increased risk of cyclist/motorist collisions under the new plans. Even the DfT states cycle lanes should be provided for roads with this volume of traffic, even at 20mph.

This is what you're losing - London Road before and after (thanks to Paul James for visualising for us) We would love to show you the actual layout, but the council haven't produced it yet.

We plan to use this time to continue to try and work with the council to develop the current proposals into something that will change Twickenham into somewhere to go to, not just somewhere to drive through. It is also about more than just cyclists, but also enhancing Twickenham for pedestrians and those who use public transport. There is scope, for example, to retain the bus stops and have protected lanes as per this example:

Safely integrating all modes of transport through good design

What can you you?
We need everyone who is concerned about what Richmond Council to make their voice heard while there is still time. Contact your local councillors, the council’s Cycling Champion, Kat Harborne, the chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor Chris Harrison and the Principal Transport Planner Ben Fryer. These are the people with the most influence on whether we lose the existing cycle provision in Twickenham. Thank them for listening to our concerns and putting back their ratification. Share with them your vision of an inviting Twickenham, where parents are happy to cycle to school or to the riverside with their kids, where those commuting to work at peak times aren’t sharing a lane with a HGV and where Twickenham maximises it’s potential as a place to visit.

TfL are also a major stakeholder in the changes. We are in discussions with them, but we ask you all to share your concerns with them directly.

Also, we don’t want this to disappear off the radar, so help us maintain the high profile of the proposals by writing to the Richmond Twickenham Times

Contact details for all are below:
Ben Fryer – ben.fryer@richmond.gov.uk
Councillor Katharine Harborne – Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk (Council Cycling Champion)
Councillor Chris Harrison – Cllr.CHarrison@richmond.gov.uk (Chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor)
List of Ward Councillors and their contact details – http://is.gd/QFOttI
Transport for London – LONDONSTREETS@tfl.gov.uk
Richmond and Twickenham Times  – lettersrtt@london.newsquest.co.uk

You can also ask the council a question either in person or electronically and they have to respond

And of course, put the Council cabinet meeting on the 15th November in the diary. This is the best chance to get your points put directly to the cabinet members responsible (full list of cabinet members and contact details here) You can even register to ask a question on the night.

If you’re writing to your Councillor or the paper, feel free to cc us in via info@richmondlcc.co.uk and we’ll keep a note of it.

Again, we would reiterate that we would like the council to consider the safety concerns that everyone has expressed and:

  • That they review the principals of LCC’s Love London Go Dutch campaign and incorporate the best practice from the Netherlands and Denmark to provide protected cycle lanes. For example, the space is there to do this and still provide wider pavements on King Street. Have a look at a similar street in the Netherlands and these examples clearly demonstrate there is room to achieve this
  • They review why two motor lanes are required by TfL on London Road in each direction, given each end of the road is single carriageway.
  • Ensure that any on road cycle lanes provided are mandatory, full time cycle lanes, which do not share the space of the near side motor lane
  • That the safety of intersections are reviewed as part of the design so that cycle lanes don’t disappear when the going gets tough. These should include as a minimum:
    • Access to Twickenham railway station from London Road
    • Access from King Street to York Road (going to Richmond)
    • Access from King Street to Wharf Lane/Twickenham Riverside
    • Access from King Street to Church Street (travelling from Cross Deep)

Putting the record straight
We would also like to counter some of the claims that the council has made in the emails that many of our followers have passed on to us. As an organisation, we’re saddened to be accused by the council of misrepresentation of their plans. We’ve only ever reported what the council has stated – the initial rejection by two thirds of the removal of the London Road cycle lane by their consultation and their plans to replace the existing cycle lanes and bus lanes with advisory, off peak only cycle lanes.

In the original proposals that formed the consultation, as far as we can see (and we’ve poured over them extensively) there was no mention of the provision of these advisory cycle lanes. We would expect that cycling facilities – including cycle lanes – to be designed into the road layout from the start and clearly articulated on the consultation documents.  Since putting in any kind of bike lane may materially affect traffic flow and road-user’s experience (both cyclists and motorists) – this “bolt-on” approach of bike lanes is not the approach that would normally be taken in a major infrastructure project.  Apple wouldn’t sell many iPhones if the designers weren’t mobile phone users, yet here we have road plans being pushed without taking into account the safety concerns of those who will have to use them.

We’ve heard Cllr Harborne on several radio stations sharing her vision for the Olympic Legacy for the borough through the Strictly Cycling project in schools the council is involved in. Wouldn’t it be great to have a legacy which leaves one of the main parts of the Olympic route safe for families to cycle to school on?

For the background to the proposals, going back to 2011, have a look at this post.

Soon to be no more?

Twickenham Consultation – The Next Steps

This is what you're losing - London Road before and after (thanks to Paul James for visualising for us)

There was a big a big attendance of cyclists at Thursday’s Cycle Liaison Group meeting with Richmond council, showing the strength of feeling about the changes to Twickenham town centre. London Cycling Campaign covered the subject on their website. Many told us they had never taken part in a meeting like this before, but felt compelled to come along to make their voice heard. A big thank you them and to the many others who couldn’t but emailed their support and a thank you to Richmond council for adding the subject to the agenda.

The meeting can be split into two parts – the original agenda (in which we learnt a lot about bat friendly lighting) and the bit that everyone went to hear about. Local cyclist Tim Lennon wrote up very effectively about both parts.

CLG Meeting – Part 1 Roundup

CLG Meeting – Part 2 Roundup

The council has stated that it is listening to our concerns, which is welcome to hear, and that the changes are not yet a done deal, though we are concerned about previous information that they would be ratified at the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October. They now say that they are going to install cycle lanes throughout Twickenham town centre, but these still appear to be the advisory, off peak only, cycle lanes, which will form part of the nearside motor lane, rather than an extra width. We still feel strongly that this is inadequate, given at peak times, when parents are cycling to school with their kids or people are cycling to work, the most protection is needed. In the words of one of the attendees, ‘they are as useful as a chocolate teapot’ but it does show they now realise the original plans were inadequate.  No detail is available on these lanes or consideration of the safety of  junctions. There is no detail on when the new updated proposals will be available for review. We hope that, unlike the recent cycle lane installed on the approach to Richmond bridge, the lane just doesn’t peter out when the going gets tough.

The subject of our next steps will be on the agenda at our monthly meeting, this Monday 8 October, at 8pm in the Old Ship pub in Richmond. We shall discuss what we do next, including follow up with TfL to understand their involvement. TfL will be critical, as they are part funding the changes.  Come along and share your views, or if you can’t make it, email us on info@richmondlcc.co.uk.

There is still some way to go on this, and we take the council’s willingness to listen as a positive and that they will take this opportunity to make a Twickenham, as we’ve said all along, somewhere to go to, not just drive through. We would like the council to consider our concerns and:

  • That they consider the principals of LCC’s Love London Go Dutch campaign and incorporate the best practice from the Netherlands and Denmark to provide protected cycle lanes. For example, the space is there to do this and still provide wider pavements on King Street. Have a look at a similar street in the Netherlands.
  • They review why two motor lanes are required by TfL on London Road in each direction, given each end of the road is single carriageway.
  • Ensure that any on road cycle lanes provided are mandatory, full time cycle lanes, which do not share the space of the near side motor lane
  • That the safety of intersections are reviewed as part of the design so that cycle lanes don’t disappear when the going gets tough. These should include as a minimum:
    • Access to Twickenham railway station from London Road
    • Access from King Street to York Road (going to Richmond)
    • Access from King Street to Wharf Lane/Twickenham Riverside
    • Access from King Street to Church Street (travelling from Cross Deep)

As Tim puts it, everyone should be concerned about the provision of cycling infrastructure in Twickenham, regardless of whether you cycle or not.

‘What can I do?’
We’ve had this question from many of you (and thank you for all your supportive emails, they are appreciated), so here’s our rundown of what you can do to make your voice heard:

– Write to Richmond and Twickenham Times to express your view – lettersrtt@london.newsquest.co.uk

– Write to your local ward Councillor – This nifty site will let you know who your councillors are

– Write to the Council’s Cycling Champion Councillor Katharine Harborne (Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk) and chair of the Transportation Committee Councillor Chris Harrison (Cllr.CHarrison@richmond.gov.uk). They have the most influence on whether the views of cyclists are incorporated.

– Ask the council a question – you can do it in person or electronically and they have to respond

– Come along to the Council cabinet meeting on the 18th October – This is the best chance to get your points put directly to the cabinet members responsible (full list of cabinet members and contact details here) You can even register to ask a question on the night.

If you’re writing to your Councillor or the paper, feel free to cc us in via info@richmondlcc.co.uk and we’ll keep a note of it.

To help, here’s some background reading to the history of the proposals:
June 2011 we commented on the Twickenham Area Action Plan, where the word cycle was only mentioned once
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2011/06/17/i-want-to-ride-my-bicycle-i-want-to-ride-my-bike/

October 2011, we were hopeful as based on the feedback on the consultation (ending July 2011), cycling started to appear and promises were made
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2011/10/25/maybe-they-are-listening/

January 2012 – a very cold month, and the next consultation stage. We got lots of feedback from local cyclists, and Nick provided a very detailed submission
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/01/18/twickenham-town-centre/

July 2012 – and we find out what the proposals are – removal of cycle and bus lanes and a consultation (in the form of a tick box, do you support these proposals) comes out. The results were promising, 67% opposed the removal of the existing London Road mandatory cycle lane. Surely they would now listen.
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/07/25/twickenham-street-scene-and-highways-scheme-consultation/

September 2012 – We find out the cycle lane removal is to proceed but that there is now the addition of off peak advisory cycle lanes, though these are not shown on any of the consultation drawings. Anyone who works on major projects, will tell you that such a detail would not be omitted until later – it would be a key design variable incorporated from the start
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/09/25/twickenham-consultation-cycle-lane-removal-proceeds/

October 2012 – After several attempts, the council agrees to update the agenda for the upcoming CLG meeting to include discussion of the cycle lanes.
http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2012/10/03/twickenham-consultation-cycle-liaison-group-meeting-4-october-2012/

Local blogger Tim Lennon stated very simply the flaws with what the council is proposing.

Interesting debate in the comments section to the article in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

Confirmed to soon be no more

Twickenham Consultation – Cycle Liaison Group Meeting – 4 October 2012

This is what you're losing - London Road before and after (thanks to Paul James for visualising for us)

We’re planning a big attendance at Thursday’s Cycle Liaison Group meeting with Richmond council (7pm, York House, Twickenham) to make it clear how strongly we oppose their proposal to remove the Twickenham cycle and bus lanes and replace them with advisory off peak cycle lanes. (for full details on the change, read this post)

Details of the meeting including the agenda are available online here:

Email us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk if you are going to attend and we’ll give you the low down on our plans or just turn up on the night. Please tell everyone you know who will be affected by these changes to come along and make their voice heard.

The drawing at the top of the post (kindly produced by one of our followers) shows starkly just what we’re losing in these changes. Given the bottle neck at the London Road, King Street, York Street Junction (shown here – http://goo.gl/maps/ahpQU) there is no benefit to traffic flow of providing two lanes. As we’ve said all along, every one loses in this proposal. A ‘Go Dutch‘ model for Twickenham Town centre would benefit everyone – pedestrians, bus users, cyclists and motorists – but most importantly it would regenerate Twickenham to be a place to go to, not just drive through. Local blogger Tim Lennon has stated very simply the flaws with what the council is proposing. There is an interesting debate at present in the comments section to the article in the Richmond and Twickenham Times.

We have proposals, based on studies we’ve carried out going back to 2009, that would make streets of Twickenham safer and more inviting for everyone, whether on a bike, walking or on public transport, while balancing the needs of those who chose to drive through the town. Let’s hope the council will accept our offer to assist in improving the current scheme.

 

Confirmed to soon be no more

Twickenham Consultation – Cycle Lane Removal Proceeds

Confirmed to soon be no more

Post Update – 29 September 2012
The removal of the Twickenham cycle and bus lanes continues to get lots of attention both inside and outside the borough. Twickenham based blog Twickerati covered the story. It made it onto page 2 of this week’s Richmond and Twickenham Times as well as the letters page. Outside the borough, Cyclists in the City and Merton based CycaLogical both covered the story.

The council made the unprecedented move of releasing a statement via their website saying:

“the Council are now considering installing advisory cycle lanes throughout the town centre in King St and London Road in both directions. In peak periods vehicular traffic would use these lanes but for the greater part of the day they would be used by cyclists. These cycle lanes would increase cycle safety throughout the town centre and would also help to encourage cars and other vehicles to stay in the central lanes in off peak periods, therefore keeping their distance from pedestrians.”

So, instead of a standalone all day mandatory cycle lane (as per the above photo on London Road) or bus lane (as on King Street), extra lanes for motor traffic will pop up with off peak advisory cycle lanes shared with the nearside motor vehicle lane. Our thoughts?

  • This is the time when parents who cycle to school with their children or commuters who cycle to work are at the most risk and need more protection, not less – 57% of [cyclist] injuries happen at beginning or the end of day
  • The Highway code advises motors on advisory cycle lanes ‘Don’t use unless unavoidable’ which effectively renders them not legally enforceable due to the interpretation of the word ‘unavoidable’. Motorists can and do enter them, particularly with the design proposed by the council where the cycle lane is part of, not in addition to the inside traffic lane. The reality is you’ll have a motor vehicle sitting impatiently on your rear as you use these cycle lanes, or overtaking dangerously, regardless of time of day.
  • There is likely to be a greater incidence of pavement cycling on the wider pavements as cyclists are intimidated off the road and fewer people choosing to cycle through and to Twickenham.
  • The council recognises the current cycle lane network is disjointed – so work to improve it, don’t rip it out

But this isn’t just about cyclist safety – pedestrians and bus users also lose out to ease traffic flow. Indeed, one councillor went as far to say “bus passengers in Twickenham were ‘spoiled’”. Over 650 residents have signed a petition against moving the bus stops.
We asked for the subject of the cycle lanes to be included in the upcoming Cycling Liasion Group Meeting, but the council have refused to discuss it (a local blogger has previously covered the effectiveness of the CLG). UPDATE 1st October – The Council has now relented and added the subject to the meeting, but with provisos. We’ll be there, come and make your voice heard.

So this leaves the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October as the last opportunity to raise your concerns alongside us.

Please read the ‘what can we do’ section at then bottom of this post and make your voice heard – write to the R&TT; write to your councillor; come along to the council’s Cycling Liaison Group meeting on 4th October; come along to the Council Cabinet meeting on 18th October.

Original Post
Perhaps we should have realised that it was too much to get our hopes up when LBRUT issued a press release showing that over two thirds had rejected the council’s proposal to remove the London Road cycle lane. We had hoped the council would listen to this strong message and not only retain and improve this lane, but look to provide high quality cycle infrastructure across the borough. It had been a long struggle, but perhaps, just perhaps they would listen.

Sadly we now learn that is not going to be the case. On Wednesday 19th September, the council debated the consultation and we’re informed that the council believes that the introduction of a 20mph limit, the removal of the bus lanes and removal of the cycle lanes would safeguard cyclists. On 18th October, the council will meet to make it’s final review and it is likely that they will support the removal of the lanes.

Cycle lane out, more room for cars (click picture for the full plan)

Firstly, this goes against the Government’s own guidance. The Department for Transport states that on roads with greater than 8,000 vehicles per day, cycle lanes should be provided, even if the speed limit is reduced to 20mph (Table 1.3 in this document). Twickenham has 10,000 to 20,000 vehicles per day (TfL Statistics – PDF). Given that at busy congested times the traffic barely crawls, a 20mph speed limit isn’t going to have much impact. The council is extremely reluctant to introduce 20mph zones elsewhere in the borough (despite their benefit being shown by one of their own reports), putting in the barrier of requiring a referendum with 51% of residents needing to vote yes for it to pass. Note that is 51% of residents, not respondents, so a no response counts as a No vote. Image if that was applied elsewhere… Meanwhile, nearby councils like Surrey County Council are pro-actively introducing them. This leads us to believe that the intent of the change is improving traffic flow, at the expense of cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Secondly, while the current council has history in not listening to RCC, with the current Cycling Czar constantly telling us to stop campaigning about safety, it is now ignoring a growing number of residents who value cycling as a means to get to work, to the shops or to take their children to school and want to do so safely. You can understand their concern, given the significant increase in road injuries suffered by cyclists in the borough shown in the latests TfL statistics (1 every 4 injuries from a road incident is to a cyclist). The breakdown of the responses to the consultation are available online, and there is an overwhelming majority against the cycle lane removal. Why go to the expense of a consultation if you are going to ignore those who took the time to fill it in?

This is a real missed opportunity to turn Twickenham into something more than somewhere to drive through on the way to somewhere else. We’ve previously posted on the Twickenham Area Action Plan and we submitted a very detailed analysis of their previous proposals which you can read online. We looked at cycle routes through Twickenham in a review in 2009 and a further review in 2012 and we also looked at Twickenham Railway Station in detail in 2010. Sadly, all of this has been ignored.

So, what can we do? The council meets on 18th October to make it’s decision. Before then:

– Write to Richmond and Twickenham Times to express your view – lettersrtt@london.newsquest.co.uk

– Write to your Councillor – This nifty site will let you know who your councillors are

– Come along to council’s Cycling Liaison Group meeting on 4th October;

– Come along to the Council cabinet meeting on the 18th October – This is the best chance to get your points put directly to the cabinet members responsible (full list of cabinet members and contact details here)

The next Local Elections are in 2014 and like last time, we shall be asking the candidates for their views on cycling. As part of this, we’ll also look at how they have voted on issues affecting cyclists, such as the Twickenham Area Action Plan.

Twickenham

Now it’s “Are you one of the 4,181?”

How not to lock your bike!

When we last looked into the cycle theft stats in the borough back in 2010, the post was ‘Are you one of the 2,296’. This time around 4,181 bikes have been reported stolen between the start of 2010 and the end of July 2012. This comes after we were told that 1 in every 5 theft in the borough is of a bike. We obtained the numbers via a Freedom of Information request and we’ve uploaded both the FoI response from the Met and an analysis of the numbers so you can look at them for yourself. For comparison, this is the previous FoI response from 2010. Some of the main points:

  • On average, across the borough, 4.5 bikes are reported stolen every day (that’s a lot of unicycles..)
  • There has been an 152% increase in the number of reported thefts between 2007 and 2012, with a step change in 2010. Either the Mr Big of cycle theft has moved into the area in 2010, or perhaps there is better reporting and we are seeing a truer picture?
  • In the first 7 months of this year there have already been 938 thefts, an increase of 3% over 2011
  • Several wards have shown an improvement – Barnes;  Ham, Petersham & Richmond Riverside; Hampton and Hampton Wick wards are on track this year to nearly halve the number of bikes stolen in 2011
  • Thefts have increased significantly in several wards this year, particularly Fulwell and Hampton Hill, North Richmond and West Twickenham
  • While a greater number of bikes are recovered, due to the increase in thefts it amounts to only 5% of bicycles reported stolen

The chart below shows where the thefts have occurred since 2010 (click on the chart to see a larger version).

We asked the police in Richmond what they were doing to tackle cycle theft in the Borough and they provided the following statement:

“Richmond upon Thames SNT’s regularly perform cycle marking at a variety of community events and locations. SNT’s also operate an ‘on demand’ system to mark cycles for the public. Since inception, the total number of cycles security marked across the borough is just approaching 12500 (as of 15/08/2012). They also plan their patrols around the locations of reported crime and the feedback received from Police Liaison Group meetings with local residents. The Richmond Borough Safer Transport Team do a lot of work around the borough’s transport hubs to deter and prevent thefts. They have run and continue to do so, pro active operations targeted at bicycle thieves and their uniformed presence at rail stations is a key deterrent. Richmond Borough Police also work closely with the Richmond Local Authority as part of the Community Safety Partnership. They post cycle crime prevention advice via both the Council and Police websites as well as through Twitter. Communication on cycle crime prevention advice is provided by Operation Lockout at regular events in collaboration with SNT’s. Pan London the Metropolitan Police Service has The Cycle Task Force which is a dedicated unit to tackle cycle theft and improve cycle security across London.”

Here at RCC, earlier this year we contacted Richmond Police, with the offer to promote their cycle marking events on our website and in our monthly email newsletter – so far North Richmond, South Richmond and Kew Safer Neighbourhood Teams have taken us up on our offer and we hope others will too. We’ve also produced an updated Bike Security page, with advice on how to lock your bike securely, getting it marked and minimising your chances of becoming a statistic in our next round up in two years time. As a local cyclist shared with us, it’s not fun losing your pride and joy.

The Richmond Magazine

Post Updated 18 September
As a further update, we can confirm we have arranged an event involving Richard Nye, which will be covered in a future edition of the Richmond Magazine and will highlight the concerns and challenges we face as cyclists and why the reaction was so strong. We’ll provide further details online here closer to the date, but again, a big thanks for all the words of support we’ve received over the past few weeks on this.

Post Updated 11 September
Richard has been in touch and we’ve something in the offing. We’re working out the details so watch this space.

Original Post
Early on 6th September, after being contacted by some local cyclists on Twitter (credit goes to @freespeedlondon and @Ekynoxe), we highlighted an editorial in a local magazine, The Richmond Magazine, where the editor Richard Nye shared the view that “the only good cyclist was a dead one”. Coming on the day that a cyclist had been killed in Walton on Thames, we felt it was particularly insensitive, as did many of you, and the story was picked up by several online sites, including Cyclists in the City, LCCRoad.cc, BikeBiz and The Times. Several advertisers, including Moore’s Bike Shop, Sigma Sport and Action Bikes stated that they would not advertise in the magazine in the future.

Subsequently, Mr Nye posted an apology on The Richmond Magazine’s website.

We feel Mr Nye’s original comments were extremely badly misjudged to say the least (and on a personal level, having lost a friend this year in a road incident, offensive) and the reaction by the magazine should have been much better handled. They reflect much of the aggression many cyclists experience on a daily basis on the roads. We don’t, however, believe at this stage there is anything to be gained from pursuing a personal vendetta against Mr Nye or the magazine.

We would therefore like to open the invitation to Richard to come along to one of our rides (http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2000/01/01/rides/), or we’d be more than happy to take him out for a short ride around the borough to see some of the issues we face on the roads and hopefully highlight why the reaction was as strong as it was. He can contact us via our normal email – info@richmondlcc.co.uk

LBRUT Cycling Champion Press Release

Post Updated – 21 November
The London Assembly Transport Committee has released the report from its Cycle Safety Consultation and it’s pretty hard hitting. An article by BikeBiz can be found here and you can read the full report here. It is worth a read, particularly in the context of our campaigning to get a safe and inviting Twickenham. Two interesting statements (among many) are:

Outer London is home to the majority of London’s cycling potential (54 per cent). Half of all trips in Outer London are less than 2 miles, but only 5 per cent of ‘cyclable’ trips are cycled. Increasing cycling – and reducing car traffic – can have multiple benefits: it can work to improve air quality, ease congestion, and deliver an economic boost to local shopping centres

and

Cycling will not increase without political leadership which treats cycling as a mainstream form of transport

Coming as Richmond Park MP, Zac Goldsmith, has sponsored an Early Day Motion to “embed cycling into the heart of transport, planning and other relevant policies”, we hope that LBRUT will take this opportunity to take on board our concerns and those of other cyclists in the borough. A simple start would be to restart consulting RCC on road consultations again and unlike their latest two consultations, ensure that they consider the impact of any road schemes on pedestrians and cyclists from the outset.

Post Updated – 22 July
The first public meeting of the London Assembly consultation on cycling safety took place on Thursday 12 July. Local father of two Tim Lennon spoke eloquently about the barriers to his daughter cycling to primary school and London blogger David Ardetti has an excellent analysis on some of what was said.

Following on from that, we received another press release from LBRUT’s Cycling Champion which we’ve copied below in full. Continue reading

Better by Bike – Cycling on Film

Our ‘Better by Bike’ series, allows us to share stories of local residents and their experiences on their bikes. This week, Teddington resident Mathieu shares his personal experiences of cycling with a helmet camera along with a selection of his videos. Mathieu’s experiences on film have been used to good effect to capture the current problems with Hammersmith Bridge. You can check out his blog here.

If you’d like the opportunity of a guest spot on our website to write about anything local and cycling related, do get in touch.

Why do I ride with a helmet cam? I’ve been asked this question a few times, and yet I never give the same answer. So allow me to explain it fully. I didn’t buy my camera with the initial intention of filming my commutes, but more to film rides in the mountains with my club.

It however became apparent that I could put that little camera to other uses.

Continue reading