3 dead, 42 seriously injured. Time for the Crime Priorities to properly reflect this.

This is our response to the Crime Priorities Survey (See our earlier article). Please respond too, here, so they don’t unfairly focus on cyclists.

Dear Community Safety Partnership,

Richmond Cycling Campaign urge you to reconsider the suggested 2015-2016 priorities, in the light of your own data.

You are reporting:

  • a 20% rise in road traffic incidents Jan-Sept 2014, compared to the previous year
  • Three fatalities on our roads
  • 469 casualties in total, this year
  • 2,152 speeding incidents, a number which has risen 40% in April-December 2014

Because of the failure to show trend data, previous years’ data, or indeed to break down the types of incident, it’s hard to add a huge amount of interpretation to these numbers beyond “our roads are getting much less safer, and people are dying and being maimed as a result”.

Yet in the accompanying slides, the nearest you come to worrying about this is to put (at number 7 of 8 in your priorities) “Motor vehicle crime and theft of pedal cycle (including cycling on pavements and through red lights)”

Nowhere in your report is there any indication that cycling on the pavement, or indeed through red lights, is a particular problem in the borough. Whilst it is true that a number of your Police Liaison Groups have chosen ‘cycling on the pavement’ as something they’re worried about, this is not backed by any actual data.

We consider it unacceptable to pay so little attention to criminal activity which threatens death or serious injury, and it is frankly shocking that your use of of data is so poor that you can’t show why cycling on the pavement – which is the way a lot of children in the borough cycle – is more important than the excessive speed used on many of our roads, or the large numbers of killed/seriously injured on our roads.

If you’re actually worried about the safety of our community, you need to give greater priority to the things that are putting everyone in the borough at genuine risk, and read the message this data is telling you: road safety has just got a lot worse in the borough, and you won’t fix it by concentrating unfairly on people who choose to cycle.


Richmond Cycling Campaign

You can respond to the survey here or email it directly to consultation@richmond.gov.uk 

Marksbury Avenue – Let’s just do the A316 properly, shall we?

This is a brief response to the Marksbury Avenue consultation.
Please add your response here

Dear TfL,

In response to your consultation on the changes to the A316 crossing opposite Marksbury Avenue, Richmond Cycling would suggest that this is not a very good use of time or money.

The proposed changes will make virtually no difference to cycling and walking at the junction, and still fail to provide a pleasant solution for anyone seeking to cross the road.

Instead of more piecemeal proposals like this, we’d like to see the Elsinore Way proposal built as soon as possible, and we’d like to see a plan from TfL which covers fixing the whole of the A316, rather than fixing bits and pieces without addressing the core issues the road has for walking and cycling.


Richmond Cycling Campaign.

Roehampton Lane – Our Response to Transport for London

This is our response to TfL’s Roehampton Lane consultation.
You can see our earlier article here

Dear TfL,

The proposal to add additional traffic lanes to Roehampton Lane is, we think, a flawed and poorly considered one.
Richmond Cycling acknowledges that there are issues with traffic volumes along the lane, but the provision of additional lanes isn’t going to fix the problem, since the traffic issues will be moved to different parts of Roehampton Lane instead.
Yet looking at the road for almost its entire length, there is clear space to provide for safe, segregated cycling. We think this could be a great opportunity to trial a segregated route hiding low cost interventions which can help identify the potential modal share which is available.
Our simple summary is this, however: The proposed scheme will, at best, cause the queuing traffic to be moved to another part of the route. If the aim of this scheme is to reduce the number of problems relating to queues of traffic, then the best solution is to give people an option other than driving.

Roehampton Lane is going to change a bit, but only to fit more cars on.

TfL is worried about congestion along Roehampton Lane, so to fix this they’re proposing to pack more cars into the same space. It seems unlikely that congestion is going to be fixed by simply adding lanes – indeed evidence from the 1950s tells us that adding road space will end up with adding congestion, rather than easing it.

roehampton lane

Look like there might eb some space for cycling here?

Yet Roehampton Lane feeds down to a very unpleasant junction for cycling, and nothing in the proposed plans says “We’d like to make it a more obvious choice to cycle this way, rather than drive”. This road serves a number of educational institutions to which the most obvious option should be to get there by foot or bike, yet nothing will change to support that.

We’d like to see this opportunity being taken to begin the installation of proper cycling all the way along Roehampton Lane, to support people cycling to and from Richmond Park, to support getting to Roehampton University and Queen Mary’s Hospital along here, to support shopping and leisure trips to Roehampton High Street, and to make getting to these places by bike an attractive and practical option.

We’re preparing a response at the moment – if you’ve got any comments, please leave them here, or contact us at info@richmondlcc.co.uk or check the original consultations documents here.

Marksbury Avenue / A316 Consultation.


Richmond Cycling Campaign welcomes the removal of the pointless ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs at the Marksbury Avenue crossing of the A316, but we’d really like to see some other changes in the current TfL Consultation

Planned changes at Marksbury Avenue / A316 junction.

Planned changes at Marksbury Avenue / A316 junction..

The crossing is nicer

The new design improves the crossing, but we think it could be better: why not allow pedestrians to cross the whole road at once, rather than have to wait for up to several minutes to make two separate crossings?

Removal of the guardrails could accompany this change: if we are worried about pedestrian safety on this road, the best way to fix it is with much more rigorous enforcement of the speed limits.

How does It Join Up?

On the south side of this junction is a cycle lane which should be connected to the crossing. Instead of the minor changes in paving, the opportunity should be taken to repeat the design of Elsinore Way. This would mean that the cycle lane would have priority at this minor road, and would become a more attractive, useful place to cycle.

Elsinore Way will get priority for cycling.

Elsinore Way will get priority for cycling.

More Joining Up

Just south of here is Somerton Road, and a network of quieter residential roads. These could all be part of a wider upgrading of routes to allow cycling both ways on the one way street.

Signing It

Despite the welcome removal of the ‘Cyclists Dismount’ signs, the only other sign changes are more ‘no cycling’ signs at precisely the place where most people will prefer to cycle. No opportunity has been take to improve the signing to key local destinations or other cycle routes. (Such as North Sheen station, Kew Gardens station, and into Richmond.)

It is Richmond Cycling’s strong proposal that this should be a straight through crossing for pedestrians with a single light phase, and that serious consideration is offered to the improvement of the connected cycling facilities.

Please respond to the consultation via their email consultations@tfl.gov.uk or using the form on their consultations page

Have your say on Cycling in Richmond Park

On December 17th, Zac Goldsmith is hosting a meeting about Richmond Park. We don’t want this to be another “cyclists ate my hamster” session, so we’ve got together with Kingston Wheelers, London Dynamo, Twickenham Cycling Club, Barnes Cycling Club, Chevaliers, Kingston Juniors, and Kingston’s own LCC branch, to make the case for why cycling in the park is a good thing, and why the Royal Parks need to be doing more for it.

Here’s our view, and you can find the meeting details here. Come along and support cycling for all in one of the finest natural reserves we have access to.

Richmond Park is there for everyone, and we want it to stay that way. The present situation, where cycling can comprise up to 75% of all the traffic in the park, is clearly objectionable to some users.

However, the usual reaction – especially in the letters page of the local papers, and in frequent conversations even at the Police Liaison Group – is that cycling, and people who choose to cycle, are the villains in this piece. None of the groups representing cycling will tell you ‘All cyclists are angels’, because breaking the law on a bicycle is almost as endemic as breaking the law in a car. That makes it neither right nor acceptable, but we believe that it is time proper consideration were given to making sure Richmond Park can continue to be a recreational space for the thousands of people who flock there, week in, week out.

There are a number of issues that any proposed solution needs to address:

  1. The park is a wildlife haven and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is home to a huge variety of wildlife, large and small.
  2. The park is used by large volumes of traffic during the day which is avoiding roads outside, or ‘rat-running’.
  3. It’s a recreational space for walking and hiking, with the current road effectively acting as a continuous pedestrian crossing. The Tamsin Trail is also used extensively for walking.
  4. It is also a recreational space for cycling, with cyclists tending to use either the main circular route, or the Tamsin Trail.
  5. A number of businesses operate in the park, and require access for themselves and their customers.
  6. This is a park, and therefore street furniture such as posts, signage, etc. is not very desirable. (Although there is clear value in some signage to support safety needs.).
  7. So far as possible, the park needs to be accessible to everyone - whether able-bodied, or with some form of disability.

And there have been quite a few ideas previously floated for how to deal with this combination of issues. But what we think that The Royal Parks needs to consider is this:

What is the purpose of the park, and how can that best be fulfilled?

We think the park is a resource that everyone should be able to enjoy, however they visit it.

Of the proposals we’re aware of, we think there are pros and cons for each of them.

One way traffic

One way traffic will basically encourage the park to be used as a race track one way, and will encourage commuting / rat-running in the given direction, as well as actually requiring more driving (wasted time and pollution) round the park as people have to circumnavigate it in order to get to a particular place.

Congestion charging in the park

Charging people to enter the park if they don’t stay beyond a specific time (for example, charging those who stay for 20 minutes or less), will discourage through traffic.

More pedestrian crossings

Although pedestrians can (and should be able to) cross anywhere in the park, there’s a good case for providing clear places for crossing especially around the car parks. and particularly busy areas. It should not be necessary for a zabra crossing to have the full DfT-mandated paraphernalia of zig zags, Belisha Beacons, etc., as evidence from other 20mph locations indicates good compliance where the crossing is clear.

A new cycle-only route round the park

In the Netherlands, the usual guidance is to build separate provision for cycling when motor traffic is above a particular volume, and or a particular speed. We believe that while the speed of traffic in the park – where the limits are observed – might not require segregation, the volumes certainly do.

Through traffic bans

The park is an area for recreation and for nature, yet there is a significant volume of traffic which uses it as a cut-through to various locations. Especially given the sensitive nature of the park environment, and the very real danger that is posed to wildlife and to other park users by high volumes of traffic which is keener to get somewhere than to enjoy the surroundings.

And a possibly contentious point to make …

If we accept the premise of the public meeting that there is very real conflict in the park, experienced by all users, then we should follow the logic of many such conversations, which come round to “Well, whose fault is it?

On a fundamental level, the conflict which is experienced in the park reflects the day to day experience of driving, walking and cycling in London generally. Many conversations that we’ve heard tend to pick out ‘cyclists’, and often ‘club cyclists’ as significant offenders, and anecdotal evidence is usually called upon to demonstrate how cyclists ‘intimidate’ other road users, including the slightly bizarre assertion in the last Friends of the Royal Park newsletter, that cyclists are a danger to wildlife. (We’ve yet to find someone who wouldn’t stop their bike to avoid hitting a deer …)

At the same time, we hear stories of intimidation, dangerous driving and actual assaults from people who cycle in the park. (As well as stories of dogs causing riders to fall off on the Tamsin Trail, and cyclists intimidating pedestrians there.)

Our response to all of these is simple. Firstly, what does the data say? An investigation of the STATS19 data shows that bicycles are overwhelmingly the victims in Richmond Park incidents, with the other party invariably motor vehicles. Secondly, we argue that no amount of discussion around sharing, mutual consideration or other such proposals is going to resolve the problems in the park, because there is simply too much traffic on the small area allocated to it. .

And this is, very simply, because it is inappropriate to have this volume of cycling and driving traffic in the same place. People who drive, walk and cycle through the park are no more or less lawless than anyone else in London. The solution to this problem is the same as the solution which is about to be implemented in central London – proper and safe separation of the modes, so that both can be done without conflict.

A316 / Manor Circus – RCC response update.

We’re preparing to get our response in to TfL on the Manor Circus junction. Please take a moment to read this and get your own response in.

Consultation is here. Remember you can respond by using their form, or just by emailing consultations@tfl.gov.uk and saying “I agree with Richmond Cycling Campaign’s submission”.  

Dear TfL,

Richmond Cycling is not in favour of the current proposals for the A316 / Manor Circus roundabout, for the reasons we outlined on our site: http://www.richmondlcc.co.uk/2014/10/16/manor-circus-a316-consultation/

Since writing that, we’ve had a chance to talk to one your engineers when there was a public exhibition at Sainsbury’s.

After that discussion we have some additional points and clarifications:

  1. The roundabout could be replaced by traffic lights, with an ‘all ways green’ phase for walking and cycling.
  2. The objection we were advised of – that buses use the roundabout to turn around is easily dealt with, because buses can either use the Homebase car park which they use at present, or the turning opposite the fire station could be extended.
  3. We were told that the owner of the petrol station would object to better pedestrian access around the periphery of the station. This is a completely unacceptable position to take  - the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in this area is of significantly more importance than access which, in any case, is not being prevented but de-prioritised versus other users.
  4. While we welcome the intent of the plans – to legitimise the existing behaviour, where cycling and walking co-exist – any minor advantage which accrues to walking and cycling from the changes is wiped up by crossing changes which are specifically designed to prioritise the movement of motor traffic over the movement of pedestrian and cycle traffic.
  5. The move away from specific space 4 cycling to shared surfaces is a massively retrograde step, far out of keeping with the new designs being considered in central London.
  6. Perhaps most significantly, if the intent of the changes is to improve safety for walking and cycling, then the design of the junction should make significant steps to lower traffic speeds with tighter radii and other engineering changes: it is not appropriate to accept that vehicle speed is a problem, without finding some resolution for it.

So in summary, while we welcome the new attention being given to this junction, these plans are simply not good enough for walking or cycling: where the design either increases conflict between walking and cycling, or encourages through poor design risk-taking crossing of junctions, it is probably also unlikely to lead to an improvement in safety.

We strongly urge you to take these back to the drawing board.


Richmond Cycling Campaign

Hampton Consultation – Why we think it sucked.

Richmond’s Hampton consultation was fatally flawed, and we were very disappointed that this was the first major consultation from the new team at the council. You can see our original response here, but we’ve tried to explain it better as well.

Thankfully, it sounds like this one was started before the new team were in place, so we’re offering these notes in an attempt not to repeat consultations like this. We think the council has the skills, the knowledge and the will to start doing cycling right, and we’re going to do our best to help. If you want to help us get cycling in Richmond for everyone who’s 8 to 80, drop us a line.

The proposed route to Hampton Court has apparently been abandoned. Richmond Cycling objected to it – as we find we’re objecting to more and more council plans – and it seems the council also didn’t manage to consult some key stakeholders.

The engineers on the project have been good at discussing with some of the interested parties, and we’ve looked through some of these back and forths. After doing a site visit with senior Hampton Court officials on Friday, it seems an appropriate time to talk in more detail about why we weren’t able to support the plan.

To be clear, the intentions in the plan are very good:

“Whilst the Council has invested significantly in the shared-use schemes at either end of the proposed section an investigation of the area identified that it is not possible for cyclists to travel continuously along the route without risking either their own safety having to join heavy fast moving traffic or that of pedestrians using narrow footway with poor visibility.

There are pre-existing National Cycle Route facilities coming across Hampton Court Bridge as well as popular cycle usage of Bushy Park. The scheme as proposed will serve to link all of these provisions into a unified network and reduce vehicle speed along the 30mph section of the A308, enhancing vehicle and pedestrian safety.

The proposed upgrades to the Bushy Park entrance will improve traffic flow and vehicle safety by increasing the sightlines into and out of the Park as well as providing better access to and from the Park entrance.”

But the resulting plan has a number of quite serious flaws. We’ve outlined our views on these below.

Cycling for Everyone

The most important problem with the plans is that they still provide for long stretches of on-road cycling on a busy route which can include very heavy good vehicles. When we did our site visit, the majority of people we saw cycling chose to use the paths and pavements, with only a few braving the unpleasant, busy conditions on the road. If that’s how people cycle now, we know from long experience elsewhere that making it marginally nicer is going to have marginal gains at best: where people are already cycling on a pavement, we know there’s demand, but we also know that demand isn’t going to be satisfied by simply making cycling on the pavement a bit easier.

But for most of the route, the intention was to widen pavements and to make them shared use with walking and cycling.

“Shared Use”

This seems to be a favoured option for far too many engineers in the UK, and RIchmond’s seem to be no exception. “Shared use” is engineer-speak for “making everyone walk and cycle in the same place”. On some routes, this can work Ok. For example, Richmond Riverside is shared use and, despite the occasionally very high volumes of both walking and cycling, it works for both.

But this is an attempt to build a route which is about getting people from place to place, and in these situations, everyone needs a bit of space. In fact the council’s consultation already recognises that people cycling on pavements isn’t a great thing, yet the proposal explicitly outlines a design which takes a space two metres wide and suggests that you can cycle and walk on it at the same time. To give you an idea, stand up and stretch your arms out with a wooden spoon in each hand. You need to walk in that space and feel comfortable having someone riding by at the same time – does that sound compelling to you?


A key area of issue that has been mentioned is that of cost. It sounds like the money for this scheme has been assembled from a number of different ‘pots’, giving a very limited budget, and also accepting a series of compromises, depending on where the money comes from.

This is an ongoing issue for Richmond’s transport department. The lack of money to do jobs properly means that, well, they don’t get done properly. Little bits of funding get sourced,and then things like the expensive crossing change on Kew Road, and the pots of paints splashed on the A305, south of Richmond Bridge.

“Dual Network”

Embedded in the consultation is the idea that you have fast cyclists and slow cyclists, and that therefore you can have two separate types of provision. TfL has abandoned this idea in its new flagships schemes in central London. Instead it aims – as the Dutch and Danes have for years – to provide a single, safe, pleasant riding experience for everyone on a bicycle.

The best to think about a dual network is like this: for any ordinary journey by car, would you expect engineers to build one route for people to go fast, and the other for people to go slow? Or one route for people who were brave and another for people who are more cautious?

Naturally not, you’d ask them to do the job properly, once. And that’s what we’d like them to do every time they build a cycle facility.

“Continuous Routes”

This is a good try by the engineers to provide a cycling route all along this unpleasant road. However, routes still need to be actually continuous. This one has a great big ‘stop’ in the middle, where you have to cross the road to keep on using the off-road cycle path.

For an idea of why this is poor, try and think of how you’d do it for a pavement or a road: would you suddenly stop it dead and make it cross a busy junction, because you can’t implement a suitable engineering solution?

Richmond Sheen Road Zebra Consultation.

This is our proposed response to the changes on Sheen Road. See here for the borough consultation. 

Richmond Cycling is in general supportive of improving crossings when the upgrades benefit both pedestrians and cyclists.  This proposal unfortunately has not fully thought through the interaction of cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles, and therefore we cannot support it in its current form.

We would recommend that the scheme is implemented with the changes outlined below.  The recommended changes will ensure that vulnerable road users’ safety is prioritised and the comfort of the cycling and pedestrian experience is enhanced:

  1. The crossing should be raised to slow approaching vehicles.  Vehicle speeds are too high in this area, particularly considering the proximity to a primary school.
  2. Removal of the central refuge to create a single stage crossing is to be applauded.  This will remove a cycle pinch point and will correctly prioritise pedestrians over other road users.
  3. The new road space that is created by the removal of the central refuge should be used to extend the existing mandatory cycle lanes on each side of the carriageway.  It is our understanding that the 2015 TSRGD (traffic signs regulations and general directions) will permit the extension of the cycle lanes over the crossing.  The work should pay heed to this so that this can be incorporated when the new regulations go live.
  4. Keep the zebra crossing.  RCC cannot support the removal of the zebra crossing at this location, changing to a traffic light controlled crossing, prioritises vehicular traffic over pedestrians and those on bicycles. It is RCC’s belief that concerns, from users, that vehicles are not stopping in a timely fashion at this location are due to excessive speeds rather than the style of crossing.  As mentioned earlier lower speeds should be achieved through a raised crossing to make the zebra crossing more effective.   An enhanced zebra crossing keeps priority with the most vulnerable road users.
  5. The proposal suggests widening the pavement to make the crossing shorter.  This would only have a marginal impact on the time to cross.  The pavements should not be widened since this will not permit a continuous cycle lane.  It will force cyclists to pull in front of fast moving motor vehicles, creating a new pinch point and hazard for cyclists.
  6. The railings on either side of the road should be removed.  TfL research has shown that these encourage high traffic speeds and do little to protect vulnerable road users.