We ask the tricky questions, so you don’t have to.

We know Richmond has 5% transport share for cycling – which is great compared to a fair bit of outer London – but did you know that we spend 15% of our transport budget on cycling? (See the minutes here.)

What Richmond doesn't spend cycle money on. Picture from http://omonaij.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/nigeria-introduces-bike-lanes-bans-okada/

Well, we were a bit sceptical, given the council’s general attitude to cycling and how it might benefit the borough, so in November I asked Councillors Harrison, Harborne and Naylor if they could explain the numbers: how did they get to the 15%?

Perhaps not surprisingly, no reply was forthcoming, except from Cllr Harborne, who at least sent me a link for the budget paperwork. So I sent them a Freedom of Information request. You can see it here.

And the basic result seems to be that the council couldn’t break out cycle spending from the overall transport numbers. Which is disappointing, because you’d hope that what elected officials tell you would have some backup.

So there’s a few possibilities: someone’s lying. Someone can’t add up. Someone can’t read their budgets. Or, saddest of all, they just don’t care.

We’ve asked for an explanation, but wouldn’t urge anyone to hold their breath.

Dear Councillors,
We were told in October’s CLG that cycling makes up 5% of transport share in the borough, yet consumes 15% of our transport budget. (Minuted here: http://www.richmond.gov.uk/council_committees_list?mgl=ieListDocuments.aspx&CId=453&MId=3069&Ver=4)

But you couldn’t be bothered to reply to my enquiry about this, so I sent a Freedom of Information Request. (To be fair, Cllr Harborne did reply with a link to the accounts.)
You can see the request here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/what_does_the_council_spend_on_d

Unfortunately it looks like the council is unable to separate out cycling spending from anything else, so perhaps you could enlighten me as to where these numbers come from?


Cycling in Richmond – Perspectives of a new and fairly timid cyclist

We were contacted by a local borough resident about the upcoming Cycling Liaison Group meeting, where she hoped to share her perspectives as a new and less confident cyclist. We think it makes a great read, so we’ve published her note in full here.

Safe Cycling in Richmond

Given the forecasts for further growth in the population of Greater London and the increase in congestion that is likely to result, there is a need for Councils to encourage greater use of sustainable methods of transport, including cycling and walking.  The DfT has estimated that 2/3 of all journeys are less than 5 miles.  There would be huge benefits if more of these could be made on foot or by bike.

For this to happen in Richmond to a significant extent, hard to reach groups such as older women need to be persuaded to take up cycling, and it needs to be safer and more attractive for children to travel to school by bike.

As a 50+ year old woman who has only resumed cycling in the last couple of years, I feel I have an insight into what needs to be done to encourage people like me to cycle.  Most of these relate to the provision of more safe cycle routes that don’t require cycling on main roads.  Whilst Richmond has some significant advantages in this area due to its legacy of tow paths and parks, I feel that since its election the current Council does not appear to have built on this with further improvements, unlike some neighbouring boroughs.

I would like to make the following general comments to the Cycling Liaison Group:

  • There is a general impression given by the Council that cyclists are seen as 3rd class citizens (with motorists a clear 1st and pedestrians 2nd).  Nobody would dream of building a road that stops in the middle of nowhere, yet this frequently happens with cycle lanes (for example those on the Kew Road) which are put in place where the road is wide and disappear as soon as the road becomes narrower and more dangerous for cyclists.  Road works closing pavements with cycle lanes often provide alternative routes for pedestrians but leave cyclists stranded.
  • If less confident cyclists are to be encouraged to get on their bikes there is a clear need to segregate cars, pedestrians and cyclists better.  Yet this seems to be getting worse not better in Richmond.  For example, following roadworks in 2011 at the junction of St Margarets Road with St Margarets Drive and Northcote Road, the markings on the pavement to indicate separate paths for cyclists and pedestrians were removed.  I complained several times to the Highways and Transport department in late 2011 and 2012 and each time was told that they would be reinstated.  This was not done.  I wrote again in April 2012 pointing out the work had not been done but received no reply and am still waiting.  This causes potential pedestrian/cyclist conflicts and is dangerous.
  • There is also a need to reduce the actual and perceived threat from motor vehicles through the use of more cycle lanes on busy roads, 20mph zones in quieter ones and better education of drivers (for example most appear not to know that they should not drive within the solid lines separating the road from those cycle lanes that are enclosed by solid, as opposed to dotted, lines).  The most successful cycle tracks are ones which have a kerb at the side separating cyclists and pedestrians and cyclists and cars, as in the Netherlands
  • Speed bumps are great for reducing traffic speed which is welcome, but please can we have the type that have a gap in the middle (or at the side) for cycles rather than those that are continuous from one pavement to another.
  • Signage on certain routes is missing at key junctions – making it easy to get lost for first timers.   There are also a number of paths where it is unclear whether cycling is permitted or not (for example across Richmond Green.

I would like to make the following specific requests to the Cycling Liaison Group:

  • The tow path between the turn off to Petersham Meadows and Ham House is part of a vital route from Richmond to Kingston, Ham and Teddington for those wishing to avoid cycling along the frankly scary Petersham Road.  Despite this it has been virtually impassable (and sometimes closed) for most of the last 3 months.  If I do not wish to arrive in Kingston with my bike and myself coated in mud, I have been forced to dismount and walk for almost a mile through the meadows and along the main road to regain an off road path at Ham Common.  I feel it is completely unacceptable that such a key cycle link is in such a state.  I raised this with the Parks department in July 2012 and was told that they would like to do something about it but don’t have funding.  If a road was in this condition motorists would be up in arms.  I think funding should be found from other areas if necessary to bring this forward.
  • Access from the Northern bank of the Thames towpath to the A316 cycle path is only possible if you carry your bike up a series of steps beside the bridge.  Whilst this may not be a problem for younger, stronger cyclists, it is a clear disincentive for older and weaker residents.  Is there any chance of a ramp along one side of the steps to enable a bike to be pushed rather than carried up the steps.

Cycling Liaison Group Meeting – 29 January 2012

The next meeting of LBRUT’s Cycling Liaison Group (CLG) is later this month on Tuesday 29 January at 7pm at York House in Twickenham (Full details here).

Here are the agenda items for the meeting:
1. Welcome from the Chairman – the Borough Cycling Champion (or Czar?), Cllr Harborne will welcome those present
2. Apologies – those who’ve given up banging their heads against a brick wall
3. Minutes of the Previous Meeting – really 3 months since the last meeting? Time flies..
4. Biking Borough – some fluff to distract from nothing really being done to make your cycle safer
5. Cycle Theft Update – more on how marking bikes will stop 4 being stolen daily
6. Cycling Strategy Update – yes the council does apparently have one
7. Cycling Consultation – briefing on the process for avoiding consulting cyclists on highways schemes in the Borough.
8. Twickenham Town Centre Update – advice on when the Olympic Legacy sport of taxi rank dodging will commence

You can find out more about previous CLG meetings in this set of great blog posts by a regular attendee. One of the main downsides to this meeting is that in the past we’ve been told that we’re not allowed to discuss cycling infrastructure related items. Coupled with the council refusing to consult us directly on road schemes affecting cyclists (as these recent consultations in Barnes and Whitton, Teddington and Richmond demonstrate) we really struggle to see the value of these meetings in making the borough of Richmond a nicer and safer place to cycle to the shops, to work or to school with your children. So we’ve written an open letter to the council’s Cycling Champion to ask for this situation to be remedied. We want to work with the council, we really do. We all pay council tax and to see it wasted on poorly implemented schemes is heartbreaking.

Dear Councillor Harborne

One of the main objectives of Richmond Cycling Campaign is to obtain more cycling-friendly highways infrastructure in the borough. To this end, we endeavour to respond to the council’s invitations for consultation on highways schemes. However, the notification procedure inviting consultation is unclear to us. Sometimes, there is a notice on the council’s website. Sometimes there is not and we have to rely on hearsay, which is not a reliable means of communication.

We do not to consider this to be a satisfactory situation and we should like to arrange to be routinely informed and given the opportunity to be consulted about highways schemes. Your assistance in this as Borough Cycling Champion would be greatly appreciated.

We think this could be a suitable subject for discussion at the CLG, preceded by a short presentation from one of the officers describing how the the consultation process works.

With best regards

John Head
Richmond Cycling Campaign

It’s good to talk: Council highway engineering schemes

Update: 12th February Hampton Court roundabout

A big thank you to all the Richmond Veloteers who replied so promptly to the consultation which meant we submitted our response well before the deadline: click here to read it.

Since then we’ve had this back from Highways and Transport:

“Thank you for your comments on the Hampton Court Roundabout and Hampton Court Bridge proposals.  I can confirm that this does incorporate both Schemes 3 & 4 on the Cycling Capital Budget 2011/12.

The improvements include relocating the zebra crossing further away from the roundabout on the north east arm to help reduce the number of accidents attributed to shunts as a result of vehicles stopping for pedestrians at the crossing.  Kerb re-alignments will also increase deflection, reducing vehicle speeds whilst maintaining existing carriageway widths.

By widening the traffic islands at the zebra crossings we hope to improve safety for the large number of pedestrians and in doing so provide sufficient protection for cyclists using the crossings.

Accidents at the roundabout have also been attributed to lack of clear visibility due to the planters on and around the roundabout. We anticipate that by removing the planting on the roundabout we can reduce this number.

The Council are extending the shared use pedestrian and cycle path facility from Hampton Court Bridge to the north-west arm of the roundabout, with a view to further improving and linking to existing cycle facilities as part of future phases.

The Council have worked with TfL in order to provide a new widened Toucan crossing outside Hampton Court Palace and are proposing shared paths to link the roundabout and the bridge with Barge Walk.

The Council have also worked closely with Hampton Court Palace and the scheme complements their proposals for alterations and further improvements to the entrance and exits and to the area in front of the Palace.”

In the meantime the Highways and Transport report to the Cabinet Member has been posted on the Council website [here] together with the plans [here] for the shared use path, linking Barge Walk to the Molesey side of the Bridge, which weren’t posted with the original consultation.

We’ve written back to the Council:

 “Thanks for the detailed response: we’re very pleased to hear about the extension of the cycle path and look forward to seeing details of the proposed work in due course.  Just a couple of outstanding queries:

  • Was replacement of the 2 zebras [north-east and north-west arms] with toucans considered, and if so why was it rejected? [By the way will cycling over the north-west zebra be permitted?]
  • What’s the Council’s current view on creating a shared use path between Bushy Park and Hampton Court Bridge?”

Continue reading

Cycling Liaison Group 9 January 2012

The next meeting of the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames Cycling Liaison Group is Monday 9th January 2012, 630pm, York House, Twickenham.

Click here to read the agenda which includes a report from the police on bike theft and an update on the Cycling Strategy.

Click here for our proposed agenda items which includes asking for an update on the 2nd Local Implementation Plan for Transport and for cycle collisions at identifiable locations, including Richmond, Teddington and Twickenham town centres, to be a priority for action.

Click here to read notes of the last meeting in October, including:

Item 8: Cross Deep, Twickenham

“LBRuT is working in partnership with LB Hounslow, LB Ealing and Royal Borough of Kingston regarding cycle direction signage for LCN Route 75.  The Heath Road / Cross Deep junction has been identified as an important junction on the route and the consultant’s proposals for how people follow route 75 and join / leave this route are awaited.”

Now interestingly, London Cycle Network Route 75, appears to run along Strawberry Vale, Cross Deep and London Road, including the long-standing problem of the roundabout on A316 Chertsey Road.  The route includes significant clusters of cycle collisions at the junctions with Ferry Road in Teddington, Waldegrave Road, Heath Road, King Street and Whitton Road so we’re very interested to know what the consultants have to say about “improvements to route continuity” and how this fits with the Twickenham Area Action Plan and Item 6 on next week’s CLG agenda A310 Strawberry Vale and Twickenham Road Improvements Update

Item 5 20mph zones and limits confirms the requirement for at least 51% households to agree.  We note this is 1 of 4 issues the Liberal Democrat candidate for this year’s London Assembly elections is campaigning on.

Item 8 Adoption of the Elevated Footway in the Terrace includes the Council’s decision on our suggestion, which is “Given the additional responsibility of taking on maintenance of this area, adoption was not possible.”  So, no change here then, which we think is a missed opportunity.

E-mail campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk with your thoughts, comments, questions, issues to raise: we’ve already been asked about the planned works on the footbridge at Teddington Railway Station.

“War: what are we fighting for?”

Safe Cycling on a Cycle Lane in Richmond

Richmond Cycling Campaign, the local group of the London Cycling Campaign, exists to encourage people to cycle.  We do this in different ways:

  • organising two rides a month;
  • running maintenance workshops at different places in the Borough;
  • asking the two relevant highways authorities, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Transport for London, for safe and convenient routes to cycle in the Borough;
  • asking the Council for sufficient cycle parking to meet the need;
  • asking the police to work on the problem of bike theft.

No one of these activities is more important than another which is why we supported Sky Ride Local this year, funded by the Council in partnership with British Cycling [click here for their review of the 2011 programme] and why we wouldn’t argue with Councillor Harborne, our Borough Cycling Champion, about the value of “promoting an exciting programme of events to get more people cycling, more often, safely and for fun”.

But because no one of these activities is more important than another we think Councillor Harborne should be concerned when cycling is not safe and is not fun on the Borough’s roads.  That’s why we wrote to the Council, after Liverpool City Council and the local Primary Care Trust agreed to jointly fund 20mph schemes, to ask if:

“there are any comparable discussions going on between the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and the Primary Care Trust about the public health benefits of 20mph limits?  Are there any plans to do so?”

We received this reply from our Borough Cycling Champion:

“Did you know that:

There are already 46 20 mph zones in the borough and large parts of the rest of the borough where there is no record of any accidents at all, ever.

We are the 3rd safest LB out of 33. Obviously we should be the safest, but that’s a work in progress.

Sometimes campaigning to improve safety is counter productive. It puts potential new cyclist off. Is that what you want to do?

Particularly when the fear of accidents is not backed up by statistics. Don’t you think?

Can we please have RCC encouraging people to cycle not putting them off.  It would be better for everyone.”

Now, we exist to encourage cycling so being told we’re putting people off is a worry, so we wrote back to our Borough Cycling Champion:

very helpfully we have a map of cycle collisions recorded in the Borough between 2006 and 2010 so we know exactly where they do and don’t happen which is why we’re particularly concerned about the 4 clusters identified below

[Click here for our previous post about where collisions happen in the Borough and here for a searchable map of all collisions for the last 10 years]

As a campaigning group we constantly wrestle with the problem of unintentionally discouraging people from cycling but it’s our view that people make informed decisions about risk when they know the facts, hence our concern about these four clusters.  I am very happy to publicise the fact we are the 3rd safest Borough in London if you tell me the meaning of “safe” and the statistical source.

Do you have a list of the 46 zones in the Borough and do you know how this compares with other Boroughs, say the neighbouring Boroughs of Hounslow and Kingston with whom we share our Assembly Member?  It’s been suggested Richmond has the 2nd lowest number of zones in the country, do you know if that’s the case?

Are you able to answer my original question about talks with the PCT?”

We haven’t received a reply to date.

Early in the New Year LCC will launch “Go Dutch – clear space for cycling on London’s main roads” the single issue campaign to accompany the London Assembly elections.  It’s about safe and convenient cycle journeys not least because of the cyclist fatalties in London this year.

The campaign aims to get 100,000 signatures on a petition and 10,000 cyclists on the road to persuade the candidates for the London Assembly that this important, not just for cyclists, but for everyone who want to improve the quality of life in London, who want people-friendly streets.

Which is what we want in our Borough.  We want Richmond, Teddington and Twickenham town centres to be people-friendly, which is not how you could describe them now.  Was it coincidence that last week’s Richmond and Twickenham Times had “High street havoc” on the front page and Tim Lennon’s excellent letter “Deal with this congestion” inside?

Which is why we’ll go on commenting about the effect of planned highway engineering schemes even though we have to search for them and even though we were told in September we can’t go to the Transport Management Liaison Group.  And thank you to all the Veloteers who replied to our request for comments on these schemes.

[Click here to read what we’ve done this month]

Which is why we’ll go on asking the Council what they’re doing for people who cycle even though few, if any, of our Manifesto requests at the 2010 local government elections have been realised.

Which is why we’ll keep going to the Cycling Liaison Group and ask the Council questions about cycling in the Borough.

[Click here for the issues we’ve raised ahead of the next meeting on Monday 9th January 2012]

E-mail your comments to: campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk

“On your bike” – Proposed Highway Engineering Works

This post has been updated on: 15th December 2011

Thank you to all the RCC Veloteers who responded to our request for comments on these 3 schemes.  Click on the locations to read our submissions:

Hanworth Road Whitton, Stanley Road Teddington and Terrace Yard Petersham.

It’s worth noting we have been consulted about a proposed Advisory Cycle Lane in Richmond Road, East Twickenham, but this may be the result of a long-standing working relationship with the Highway Engineer: click here to read our response.


Since the Council told us earlier this year that we couldn’t go to the Traffic Management Liaison Group anymore, and while we wait to hear how they will consult us about the potential impact of proposed highway engineering works on people who cycle, we’ve been picking up proposed work through Richmond Council’s Digest, an e-mail list of Council activity [click here if you want them to tell you what they’re doing]

There are 3 this week, all relating to proposals to spend Section 106 Town and Country Planning Act money on highway improvements at:

1. Terrace Yard, Petersham Road, Richmond

2. Stanley Road, Teddington

3. Hanworth Road, Whitton

1. Terrace Yard, Petersham Road, Richmond

3.2 The new layout of the development and the new crossover access to the site has impacted on the existing pelican crossing. To ensure that the crossing is safe for pedestrians it is essential that the crossing is relocated away from the vehicle crossover. Associated footway and surfacing works are considered necessary to ensure that the approaches to the relocated crossing are to an appropriate standard.

3.3 This project will comprise two main elements:

  • A slight relocation of the existing pelican crossing to ensure that it is mid way between the two vehicle crossovers and not partly over one as is the current position;
  • Improvements to the footways and road surfacing in conjunction with the changes to the pelican crossing, with the addition of anti-skid surfacing to improve road safety.”

2. Stanley Road, Teddington

3.2 Residents have reported ongoing issues with vehicles parking on the zig-zag markings on the approaches to the Stanley Road Zebra Crossing and illegal manoeuvres associated with the one way restrictions at the junction of Fulwell Road/Stanley Road. The development site is opposite the junction of Fulwell Road/Stanley Road and just north of the Stanley Road Zebra Crossing.

3.3 This project will have two main elements:

  • Footway widening at the junction of Fulwell Road/Stanley Road to improve the start of the one way working;
  • The introduction of a central refuge on the zebra crossing outside the parade of shops, just south of the development to shorten the crossing distance and discourage parking on the zig-zag markings.”

3. Hanworth Road, Whitton

“3.2 The junction of Hanworth Road/Powder Mill Lane has a history of Personal Injury Collisions.  The junction is currently controlled with a mini-roundabout and has a Puffin Crossing in close proximity to the mini-roundabout.

3.3 The project comprises:

  • Relocation of the existing crossing and the possible provision of a new crossing facility or signalised junction (subject to feasibility/design)
  • Realignment of the mini-roundabout to increase deflection and alterations to the existing parking arrangements.”

E-mail: campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk if you know any of these locations and think there’s an opportunity to make things more safe and more convenient for people who cycle, or you think that what’s proposed could make it unsafe and inconvenient.

And why not e-mail the Council as well: HighwaysAndTransport@Richmond.gov.uk

Maybe they are listening…

1. Twickenham

Back in June we asked you to respond to the Council’s consultation on the Twickenham Area Action Plan [click here for the original post] We said then:  

“Unfortunately the 8 page consultation leaflet ”Twickenham Rediscovered, looking back looking forward” available at yesterday’s public meeting and here doesn’t actually use the words “bicycle”, “cycling” or “cyclist”.  “Cycle” does appear, once, on page 3: “Limited widening of eastern footway in London Road through removal of cycle lane.

Well, a report on the consultation for the Council’s Cabinet has been published [click here] together with a summary of all consultation on the options [click here]  If you live, work or spend time in Twickenham you’ll be interested in all of it but as cyclists we’re particularly interested in what it says on page 49 of the Cabinet report under 3.19 Responses to Traffic and Pedestrian Proposals:   

“Separate comments received within the questionnaires and at various meetings included concerns about sufficient provision being made for cyclists.”  

“It is proposed that further detailed feasibility work and modelling is carried out.  The main areas for further investigative work are:

Station area improvements, including consideration of bus lanes and stops, provision for cyclists and taxis, improved junctions and site access;

King Street/York Street improvements including changes to bus lanes and stops, improvements for pedestrians, cyclists, servicing and consequent environmental improvements;

Water Lane/Church Street/Embankment – further investigation of opportunities to reduce turning movements and through traffic, consequent environmental improvements to public areas.”

So thanks to all of you who responded to the consultation and made sure cycling in Twickenham is on the agenda. 

What we didn’t have in June was the cycle collisions data the Council gave us in September.  This shows clearly clusters of blue squares [serious collisions] and green circles [slight collisions] in Heath Road, King Street and London Road [click on the photo to make it a bit bigger and a bit easier to see]


At last night’s meeting of the Cycling Liaison Group we asked the Council if they use the cycle collision data to 1) prioritise highway engineering works and 2) decide what work is appropriate.  They said “yes we do“, the officers discuss it with the Cabinet Member when deciding on the programme of works for the next financial year.  That time is soon so while we work through the CLG we’re asking those of you living in Twickenham to ask your councillors what’s being done to reduce the number and severity of cycle collisions. King Street and London Road south of the railway are in Twickenham Riverside Ward, London Road north of the railway in St Margaret’s and North Twickenham and Heath Road is South Twickenham, according to My Richmond

Depending on the cause of each collision maybe 20mph zones are the way to go in Richmond [including Richmond Bridge] and Twickenham town centres.  

2. A316 Cycle Route

In August we asked you to respond to TfL’s consultation on the proposal to permanently close the junctions on the Chertsey Road at Godfrey Avenue, Redway Drive and Jublilee Avenue [click here for the original post] We’ve received this reply to our response:

TfL considers that this current proposal will reduce illegal rat running through Redway Drive, the proposals will also encourage cyclists to use this adjacent route as an alternative to the shared use footway.

With regard to the bollards at Jubilee Avenue, I can confirm that the bollard on the northern side of the junction between the telecommunications box and the railings will be removed from the proposal and a further bollard will be relocated as per the attached design. TfL considers that the remaining bollards follow the line of the northern timber fence and therefore do not present a significant barrier to cyclists or pedestrians.

TfL is currently investigating renewal of the lighting columns on the A316 and will, subject to feasibility and the availability of funding seek to relocate the lamp columns away from the centre of the footway. Resurfacing of the route will be considered as part of our future maintenance. In the interim we will instruct our maintenance team to trim back the existing foliage to maximise the available width.”

Reasons to be cheerful, 1, 2, 3?

E-mail: campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk with your thoughts about cycling in Twickenham and on the A316 Cycle Route

Cycling Liaison Group Monday 24th October

We’ve not recieved notes yet of September’s CLG meeting, which may be the result of an apparent change in how it’s administered by the Council.

Click here to read our previous post about that meeting and click here to read the questions we’ve asked in advance of the meeting on Monday.

E-mail: campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk if you want an issue raised at the meeting.