2014 Local Elections – LCC Space4Cycling Survey Results

On 22 May 2014 the whole of Greater London will go to the polls to elect our local councillors for the next 4 years. As anyone who has followed the work of RCC over the past 4 years since the last election campaign, you will have see how councillors have a significant influence on the safety and liveability of our borough’s streets and town centres.

London Cycling Campaign has set the 2014 local elections as a campaign priority and plans to ask every candidate in every ward across central, inner and outer London to support pro-cycling policies and measures. We have started to collate what the issues are at a ward level and LCC carried out a survey at the end of last year to identify what people felt was important in the ward they lived and cycled in, based on six policy themes.

Well the preliminary results are in from that survey and there was an overwhelming response rate, with replies from every ward in the borough. Have a look at the chart below for the results:

Across the borough, the same policies were identified as being most important:

  1. Protected space on main roads and major junctions
  2. Safer routes for school children
  3. Liveable town Centres

We’ll report back more on the results and how you can get involved in targeting the candidates for your ward to help you select the person who will do the most for your area. LCC have set up a system that will allow you to email each candidate in your ward.

Many of the wards are determined on just a couple of votes, so it is really important you register to vote (deadline appears to be 14 April as registers updated once a month – you can register here or use Richmond council’s form. Richmond Council allows you to check online if you’re registered) and turn out on the day and share with all your friends and family who live in the borough and want it to be an even nicer and safer place to live and cycle in.

One interesting aside from the survey was the % commuters by bike statistics that LCC included. While it is encouraging to see an increase in commuting by bike between the 2001 and 2011 census periods (and Mortlake and Barnes Common leads the way not with nearly 9% commuting by bike), it is a shame to see that in Heathfield ward, the number cycling to work has fallen and is now the lowest in the borough, although South Richmond isn’t far behind.

Cycling to School – The Numbers

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoinsight/6268383879/

As we reported previously, our analysis of the borough’s school travel plans showed that while many children would like to come to school by bicycle very few chose to do so with some schools actively discouraging it.

It’s interesting therefore to read these statistics from the DfT Cycling to School Report (PDF) which show just how depressingly low the rates are:

DfT School Cycle Rates 06 - 11: Click to view full report

Contrast this to the rest of the world and you can see we have a long way to go:

Source: http://www.ecf.com/

Why are things so different? Well watch these two videos and see which country you would be more likely to allow your children to cycle to school in and also which country has cycle infrastructure that is appropriate for all levels, not the ‘Dual Provision’ nonsense that we have in the UK (see Motion 5 for LCC’s stance on this).


You can read more about how we’ve failed children in the UK in this excellent blog post. (and before anyone launches into ‘it wouldn’t work here’, do read this first)

‘Bespoke Be Heard’ Cycle Scheme

Clarendon school has been running a bicycle maintenance scheme since September 2010, teaching young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN), to refurbish second hand bikes. One hundred percent of profits from the resale of these bikes are reinvested into providing additional opportunities for young people with SEN. Students gain an AQA Unit Award in Cycle Mechanics as part of their experience.

Earlier this year they beat 58 applicants to win the borough’s ‘Richmond’s Den’ competition for social enterprises. Now they have been nominated for The Richmond Business Awards and we’re encouraging everyone to take 2 minutes to show their support to this very worthy enterprise.

Here’s how you can register your support for ‘Bespoke Be Heard’, but be quick, the deadline is Friday 20 September:

  • Go to http://www.richmondbusinessawards.com/nominate/
  • Look for the ‘The People’s Choice’ Box (in red on the left side of the page) and fill in:
    • Company Name: ‘Bespoke Be Heard’
    • Enter your email address (just to stop multiple entries!)
    • Category: ‘Best Charity or Social Enterprise’
    • Click on ‘Vote’

‘Space for Cycling’ Central London Ride

On the evening of Monday 2 September, London Cycling Campaign are organising a ‘Space for Cycling’ protest ride to coincide with the Parliamentary debate on the Get Britain Cycling report that evening. This is an important event, coming after several fatalities on our streets and several previous protest rides this summer.

We’ll be cycling into central London from the borough to join the ride – come along and show your support. We’ll be leaving Richmond Little Green at 4.50pm sharp and going from there to Barnes railway station where you can also join us at 5.15pm. From there we’ll cycle to the ride meet point at Jubilee Gardens in Waterloo where people are gathering from 6pm for a 6.30pm ride start. You can also get the train to Waterloo and meet us there, or if you work in central London, come and say hello and join us for the ride back to Richmond. And do please make sure you have working lights on your bike – it will be starting to get dark on the way back.

Here is the route that we will be taking into central London.

After the ride, we’ll meet on the small plaza area on Belvedere Road (Map link) at 7.30pm. From there, we’ll cross Westminister Bridge, turn left and follow NCN 4 back to the borough and we’ll probably stop off at a pub once we reach the borough (should be back around 8.30pm) for those that don’t have to rush off home. Again, please bring lights – it is September and sunset is 7.45pm – summer is over :-(

Please email us on info@richmondlcc.co.uk if you’re joining in so we know to look out for you or if you want to find out more details.

There’s more on the event on the LCC website. Please do join us to make sure your voice is heard on this important issue. LCC board member, Dr Rachel Aldred, puts it very well in her blog:

“Every year, large numbers of people have been dying unnecessarily on Britain’s roads, and will continue to die, simply because our roads have not been made as safe as they could be.

“It’s not an issue for individuals to manage. It’s an issue for the politicians and the transport authorities at every level. This is why Londoners should support the LCC’s protest ride to demand safer streets.”

Consultation Watch – Cole Park Road / A316

Junction of Cole Park Road and the A316, a notorious rat run

Post Updated – 13 October 2013
We reported in our 6 August update below that despite overwhelming support for closure of this notorious rat run, TfL had decided to proceed with a partial closure. We were aghast, and many of you joined us in writing to TfL to share your feelings. Well, we can now happily report that TfL have decided to go back to the original proposal and implement a full closure. A great result and in no small part down to the many of you who emailed TfL.

Dear sir or madam,

We wrote to you on 17 July and 5 August about this proposed closure and the consultation we have conducted. Generally there was strong support in the consultation for some action to prevent rat-running along Cole Park Road (backed by almost ninety percent of responses), but opinion was divided on whether a full or partial closure would be preferable.

Since August we have assessed options for a partial closure. Compared with full closure, this would have significant safety disadvantages for pedestrians and cyclists on Chertsey Road. We have also looked into the possibility of testing a temporary closure before making permanent changes to the road layout. However, this would cause problems for large vehicles such as refuse collection, which would have to reverse for a considerable distance.

We have discussed these findings with the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, and the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene has agreed with the other Ward Councillors that we should close the junction completely on a permanent basis.

We are now continuing with the detailed design of the scheme and preparation of the necessary traffic orders, and aim to start implementation of the scheme in Spring 2014.

Yours sincerely,

Post Updated – 6 August 2013
After feeling good that after significant support a notorious rat run that cuts across the A316 cycle lane and causes many near misses would be closed off, we were brought down to earth when TfL announced that after consulting with LBRUT they would only implement a partial closure, leaving those cycling along the path at risk to left hooks from vehicles exiting the A316 into Cole Park Road at speed.

You can see the TfL letter and our responses below, we’re asking everyone who cares about this important route for mums and dads to cycle to school with their children to email TfL to object as soon as you can STEngagement@tfl.gov.uk

Email from TfL

Dear sir or madam,

I wrote to you on 17 July to report on the consultation on this proposed closure.

Following the consultation, discussions with the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames and further investigatory work, we propose to implement a partial closure of the junction, with a left turn in (entry only) permitted for eastbound vehicles on the A316. This was proposed by 24 respondents to the consultation. The detailed designs are being finalised in preparation for a safety audit, with a view to implementation of the scheme in Spring 2014.

Yours sincerely,

Luke Howard
Consultation Specialist
Transport for London, Palestra, 197 Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ

Response from Paul, local CTC representative and RCC Committee member

Dear Mr Howard

I would protest in the strongest terms at this design however detailed. A “left hook” is known to be a major cause of cycle casualties and an eastbound vehicle travelling at speed along the A316 swinging across the cycle track here, probably coming from behind an unsuspecting cyclist, is the worst manoeuvre that you could allow to happen. Counting respondents does not guarantee a safe choice – the original proposal showed more evidence for professional judgement.

Regards

Paul Luton

CTC Representative for Richmond

Response from Tim, RCC Campaigns Coordinator

Dear Mr. Howard,

I write concerning your recent letter about the Cole Park Road consultation, and the apparent decision – in consultation with LBRUT – to abandon the decision to make this a safer junction for pedestrians and cyclists, and a more pleasant road for residents.
The original proposal, as per page 9 here – http://is.gd/WsWt9e – would have provided:
1. A safe place for cyclists to continue their journey, after the still very sub-standard London Road roundabout
2. A safe place for pedestrians to continue their journey – they and cyclists would not need to play chicken with cars taking the current apex at the high speeds usually seen on this road.
3. A quieter road for residents.
Over half of the respondents gave at least partial support for full closure, and the vast majority sought action on rat-running. Yet you’ve now cooked up an idea with LBRUT which would effectively render the scheme pointless There’s really no reason for this road to egress onto the A316 at all, because only in the very worst of peak periods traffic would people need to take this as an exit to the main road.
It’s a matter of very great disappointment to Richmond Cycling that TfL and LBRUT are once again prioritising the movement of motor traffic – and often high speed motor traffic – over the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. To be honest, it also renders this entire consultation process an expensive and pointless exercise if you’re going to ask for views and then mostly ignore them, don’t you think?

Sincerely,

Tim Lennon
Campaigns Coordinator, Richmond Cycling.

Email from Twickenham resident Aniello

Dear sir or madam,

My name is Aniello and I commute to work every morning on my bike.
I do not see myself as a cyclist. I see myself for what I am: a person on a means of transport. Same way as people driving a car or a motorbike. I don’t drive, I ride and that’s where all differences stop.

Still, I feel, no, I correct myself, I am SURE that you are
prioritizing and making the road safer ONLY to people who are already safe in their car, surrounded by huge amounts of steel and loads of research to help them make safe while using an unsafe means of transportation.

Even when TfL and the Mayor of London are pushing for safer means of sharing the roads among ALL the users (people walking, driving, riding) you clearly are still aiming at making the roads unsafe to everyone just for the sake of “smoothing traffic” (which, however, you are totally failing to do).

Last morning I was riding my bike to work, I was 1 minute away from my destination, and yet I was close to NOT making it to the office or even back home alive due to a person driving her car thinking (as you suggested her) that the road is all her. She sped past me on the right (despite me riding fast in a primary position, i.e. at the center of the lane so to discourage drivers from passing in that particular stretch of road in Chiswick), with her “left” light blinking and as soon as she passed me, she cut me on the left to make a “left” turn on a road (which, moreover, was busy due to a vehicle maneuvering). I had to force my brakes to avoid hitting her or, worse, being caught up under her car.

Now I hear that there was a consultation for closing Cole Park Road to left turning vehicles from the A316 and that lots of people were happy with the solution, but still you dropped it following consultation with the LBRUT council.

I am, again and again and again, disappointed. Hugely disappointed. You keep claiming you are making our roads safer, and yet at every opportunity you create the ideal conditions for motor traffic to speed and you are actually encouraging people driving their cars into making dangerous actions that could potentially (and are actually) killing people walking or riding. You are clearly aware that the major reason people die on bike is because of left turning vehicle. And yet, you favor it. While still claiming that that is safer for all of us.

Could you please tell me why is that? Why you think that NOT closing access to Cole Park road would make it safer for people living in the area, for people walking in the area, for people riding in the area or even for people driving in the area? And could you please tell me why you dropped the original proposal EVEN IF people LIVING in the area (and thus clearly those who KNOW more about that junction than everyone else) were in favor?

At least that would be appreciated.
Regards,

Aniello, a guy on his bike.

Original Post – 1 August 2013
We reported back in our May newsletter that TfL were proposing to shut off a notorious rat run on the A316, near to London Road roundabout. Cutting across a well used off road cycle lane, it was the scene of many near misses.
TfL have now published the findings of the consultation, and we’re happy to report that aan overwhelming proportion were in favour of removing the rat run (85%). TfL will now work with the local ward councillors to decide on how the change will be implemented. Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation.

The report from TfL is worth a read, if only to see the response from the Alliance of British Motorists! Cole Park Road Consultation Report

We continue to push for improvements to the A316 cycle lane, including getting priority for cyclists across junctions, improving Chalkers Corner and sorting out the London Scottish car park exit.

Consultation Watch – Walton on Thames

A special guest post from Walton on Thames cyclist Parimal highlighting an important consultation for anyone who cycles in through that town, or in fact anywhere within Surrey CC’s remit.

Walton Bridge has shared paths for cyclists and pedestrians. Photo by Get Surrey

Surrey County Council are, at the time of writing, consulting on implementing some cycling facilities in Walton-on-Thames to act as a link to the shiny new bridge that has been installed.

Walton-on-Thames proposed cycle plan overview. Shared pavements in lime green. Original image from the consultation plans

The full consultation including plans can be found here (deadline to respond Monday 19 August). In summary, the proposals being consulted upon involve:

  • Widening certain pavements to between 2.5-3m along roads that link to Walton Bridge
  • Marking these widened pavements for shared use between cyclists and pedestrians
  • A limited portion of these shared pavements will be painted to show a separate bicycle lane
  • Plans stop shortly before the road turns into a 40 mph zone
  • At all junctions with side roads, motor vehicles have priority

On superficial analysis the plans appear to be very good in separating cyclists from motorised traffic, providing a subjectively safe space for existing and would be cyclists to go about their business. But that would be superficial analysis indeed.

From the overview of the plans we can see that the shared paths run through the shopping areas of Walton-on-Thames, pavements that are heavily used by pedestrians to go shopping. These plans deliberately put cyclists in conflict with pedestrians because they fail to recognise that shared paths only ever work when there are very few users of vastly different speeds. In these plans at each junction along the main road, cyclists do not have right of way posing a further danger to them and pedestrians.

The plans appear to have been designed to get cyclists out of the way of motorists and put them into direct conflict with pedestrians in an area heavily used by pedestrians.

This excellent video by WokingTrafficSafety shows a walkthrough of the pavements in Walton-on-Thames that these plans are for.

Surrey County Council are willing to take away some road space in an attempt to widen the pavements. However, the use of shared pavements in this area is completely inappropriate. There is enough room on the roads in question to have pavements, wide separated cycle lanes, which have same priority as adjacent roadway, and two way roadway for motor traffic. However, it requires the will to reallocate space properly.

The full consultation details can be found here. Please take 2 minutes to fill in the tick box online questionnaire before the Monday 19 August deadline.

LBRUT Cycling Liaison Group Meeting – 11 July 2013


Meeting with Richmond council to discuss issues that affect cycling across the borough. The meeting is open for anyone to attend – come and have your voice heard.

Meeting agenda

Previous meeting minutes – 24 April 2013

Meeting details – 19:00, 11 July, Salon, York House, Twickenham, TW1 3AA – Location details

Email us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk if you’re coming along and we can let you know what our priorities for the meeting are.

Twickenham Bid for ‘Mini Holland’ funding

Literally hot off the press today (Monday 1 July), the draft version of LBRUT’s bid for Mini Holland funding.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8LFztRO67voaThiMVF4bEJaV2c/edit

Deadline for comments to LBRUT is Wednesday 3 July at 12noon (yes, that’s this week!)

Comments should go to c.smith@richmond.gov.uk (and cc us in on campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk so we get an idea of everyone’s thoughts)

Two years on is it still the most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond?

Back in 2011 we reported on what we thought was the “most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond” where a mum was knocked off her bicycle by a car while cycling with her son. Fortunately the child was not hurt but the mother required medical attention. Serious though it was, they were lucky not to have been knocked onto the dual carriageway and hit by the passing traffic. Located on the A316 at the exit from London Scottish Rugby Club car park between Richmond Circus and Pools on the Park cars often exit as speed without looking for passing cyclists or pedestrians.

The photograph below shows the danger, a lady nearly knocked off her bike by a car exiting the car park.

So what has happened since 2011? Has the source of danger been removed and as we proposed, the exit closed and cars redirected to use the entrance?

The photo below was taken in 2011 from inside the car park. Cars exiting are supposed to Stop or Give Way depending on whether they look at the sign or the road markings. An advisory blue sign says ‘Cycle Track – Look Both Ways’

Is it Stop, or is it Give Way

Fast forward two years to 2013 and the picture below shows the current scene. The exit remains open and a new sign has been added off to the side stating ‘Cycles crossing’. The Stop sign has been replaced by a Give Way sign. No speed bump has been added and we continue to get reports from people cycling along this part of the A316 of close calls with cars pulling out at speed. The sort of person impatient enough to drive out at speed isn’t going to be influenced by the presence of a sign or care that it has changed colour.

New signage but not much else

It’s really disappointing that this is the approach to the safety of those cycling or walking along this stretch. People are quick to jump to ban cycling from paths and parks but there is a real reluctance to remove the danger when it is posed by motor vehicles. When was the last time you saw Motorist Dismount signs? Copenhagenize capture this cultural blindspot really well in this post.

As already said, this is a key route in the Borough, and is used by many families cycling to Pools on the Park and the Thames path. We’ll continue to pressurise TfL on this dangerous section – we met with them earlier this month for an audit of the A316 and this issue was highlighted.

You can do your bit to keep the pressure on – raise it via TFL’s online form and email our London Assembly Members – Tony Arbour (GLA Member for the area tony.arbour@london.gov.uk ) and Caroline Pidgeon (GLA Member for Transport – caroline.pidgeon@london.gov.uk) and also the Council’s Cycling Champion, Cllr Harborne (Cllr.KHarborne@richmond.gov.uk), to make the push for this serious safety issue to be resolved (cc us in so we have a record).

There is also an online discussion of the issue at our Cyclescape page complete with more recent photos.

It’s vital that this issue is dealt with, otherwise, next time we may be reporting a more serious incident.