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 The Stop sign has been replaced by a Give Way sign.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.

What’s happening?

Post Updated 8th March 2012

1. Teddington Railway Station

We now know more about the proposed secure cycle parking at the station following publication of the Council’s report to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene [click here to read it]:

“It is proposed that 3 existing shelters on platform 1, with parking for up to 30 bicycles, will be enclosed with fencing to form a secure restricted access compound. This will be accessed by a security gate controlled by a swipe card which is provided by SWT upon payment of a returnable deposit.” [para 4.7]

This is also interesting:

“The Transport for London (TfL) Cycle Security Plan highlights that stations in Outer London suffer from a disproportionate level of cycle theft. The Borough has 4 stations in the top 25 stations (in Greater London) suffering the highest levels of cycle theft (2009/10)” [para 4.4]

Twickenham in 12th place, Richmond 14th, Hampton Wick 18th and Teddington 22nd [p18]

2. A305 Richmond Road – Introduction of advisory cycle lanes between Rosslyn Road and Richmond Bridge

We responded to the public consultation on this at the end of last year and we know others did as well. We highlighted that the lane, at 1.3m, did not meet the London Cycle Design Standards which state the minimum should be 1.5m, preferably 2m and that it did nothing to deal with challenges of crossing Richmond Bridge – You can read our submission to the consultation here.

Click here to read the Council’s report to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene to see which comments made it into print and what the Council Officer has said about them [Annex B]. On the subject of narrow cycle lanes, their comment was telling on their attitudes to cyclists:

“There are many examples where advisory cycle lanes of less than 1.50 metres provide a safe and convenient facility for cyclists, particularly when vehicular traffic is stationary or slow moving” (item h in this report). Have a look at this video by a local cyclist and see if you think the lanes are safe and convenient:

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“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.

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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

Patchwork – put wheels under the Big Society

We’re moving fast towards the end of the campaigning year with RCC’s annual meeting on Monday 14th November and LCC AGM on 16th, so we’ve been thinking about doing things next year, with the London Assembly elections on 3rd May and the associated LCC 2012 campaign “Go Dutch“.

We think we can strengthen what we already do by continuing to develop the veloteer idea used so effectively for the railway station cycle parking audits and the reports on Hammersmith Bridge and London Road roundabout.

Why do we think that?  Because as a local cyclist you know the routes, what works and what doesn’t.  You know the problems and because you know the problems you’re likely to know how to solve them.  So you’ll know whether the works proposed by the Council, and TfL, will actually make your cycle journey better, or worse, or make no difference at all. Living locally means you can use your democratic right to ask your local  councillor what’s going on.  And because the Council’s highway officers have a geographic responsiblity we can develop a working relationship at a practical level.

We think there may be 9 patches in the Borough and if you live in one of them we’re asking you to get involved (and that involvement can be as simple as the occasional email or more involved if you want, the level of commitment is up to you):

1. Barnes, Beverley Brook, Barnes Bridge, Vine Road, Upper Richmond Road

2. Mortlake and East Sheen, Barnes Bridge, Chiswick Bridge, Manor Road, Richmond Park

3. Kew, North A316, Chiswick Bridge, Kew Bridge,

4. Richmond, South A316, Manor Road, Richmond Bridge, Petersham Road, St Margaret’s including north A316

5. Ham and Petersham

6. Whitton, North A316 from Marlow Crescent

7. Twickenham, Twickenham Bridge, Richmond Bridge, Fulwell and Strawberry Hill golf courses, St. Mary’s

8. Teddington, Bushy Park, Kingston Bridge, Hampton Court Bridge

9. Hampton

We also think the A316 Cycle Route should be have its own veloteers because it runs through so many of the patches and is such an important route.

E-mail: campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk to make a difference to cycling in Richmond Borough, we know many of you already do.

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike…

If you cycle in, or through, Twickenham, then please click here to go to the Twickenham Area Action Plan consultation page on the Council website.

If you cycle then some of the words on the page are encouraging, like “improvements to the environment, traffic management, public transport and pedestrian and cycle links will be required”

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

In the document you’re either traffic or pedestrian and if you’re pedestrian then you’ll be pleased to know the impact of traffic is being reduced, mainly by widening pavements. 

Now I’m sure when the word pedestrian is used the author had cyclists in their mind’s eye, after all there’s a bike in the drawing on page 6, parked in the middle of an imagined King Street, just like they do in Kensington High Street.  But it doesn’t say that and cyclists aren’t pedestrians, except when we’re required to dismount and push our bikes. 

There again maybe I’m wrong because our aspirations for the Crane Valley Route providing a traffic free journey through Twickenham and Moor Meads Park is undermined by repeated reference to the “River Crane walkway”.

Please take the opportunity to comment by completing the questionnaire here pointing out the lack of any explicit reference to the needs of cyclists, including secure cycle parking spaces. 

The closing date is 22nd July 

Talking of which you may want to keep an eye here on the planning application for re-development of Twickenham Railway Station that includes

250 covered cycle spaces for commuters, 208 covered cycle spaces for residents and provision of a river walkway

Click here for what we’ve said before about cycle parking at railway stations, including Twickenham.

Some interesting numbers from yesterday’s meeting included:

2000 vehicles an hour through Twickenham during the peak, dropping to 80% of that, still 1600 vehicles, off-peak. 

For the imagined King Street to work the off-peak figure needs to drop to 65%, 1300 vehicles.  So 300 drivers need to get out of their vehicles and use another way to get around: maybe cycle? 

If King Street is pedestrianised off-peak traffic will be diverted to London Road via Arragon Road.

Note it says on page 5 “Transport proposals will be subject to further detailed testing to ensure they do not have an unacceptable impact on the highway network.”

The most dangerous cycle lane in Richmond?

The A316 is the busiest road passing through the Borough of Richmond upon Thames and comes under the responsibility of TfL. Running along side it for most of it’s length are cycle lanes but, as often is the case, there are significant gaps and problem areas along the way that don’t make cycling in our borough as inviting as it could be. These need to be overcome if we’re to see a much greater uptake of cycling as a means of getting about the borough instead of driving, particularly for families with children. We’ve previously highlighted our struggles to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists on the London Road roundabout, but there are other key concerns along it’s length, for example the notorious Chalkers Corner.

One key area that we’ve been aware of and trying to have resolved since TfL carried out works in 2010 is where the cycle lane crosses the exit from London Scottish Rugby Club car park, located on the A316 between Richmond Circus and Pools on the Park. As we took the photograph below, a lady was nearly knocked off her bike by a car exiting the car park, clearly illustrating how dangerous a section it is.

Sadly, earlier this month, a mother and her young son were knocked off their bicycle at this exact point by a car exiting at speed. 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.

As the photo below taken from the car park shows, cars exiting are supposed to Stop – or is it Give Way – or perhaps its both, as the sign says Stop, but the road markings are for Give Way! Either way, the priority is for pedestrians and cyclists passing by, but as this incident and our photo above show, this is not happening.

The problem is further compounded by cars exiting the Pools in the Park car park using the rugby ground car park as a rat run to skip past the traffic lights. This route is shown in the photo below and cars are frequently observed turning left into the London Scottish car park to then immediately exit onto the A316. The sort of person impatient enough to execute this manoeuvre certainly isn’t going to take the time to check for cyclists or pedestrians.

The simplest and safest solution is for the exit from the London Scottish Rugby Club car park onto the A316 to be closed and for cars to exit the car park via the Pools on the Park slips road (where the entrance is already located). In the short term, the signage needs to be corrected and the addition of a speed bump at the exit (something that could be ordered and installed immediately at little cost) would stop cars making a dash for it without giving way (or is that stopping). What is not a solution is to put up cyclist dismount signage. These are not in compliance with the TfL London Cycle design standard and when was the last time you saw Motorist Dismount signs? Doing this states providing safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists is not a priority.

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. It is also adjacent to Deer Park where Richmond Council are holding the Strictly Cycling Bike Fest on 19th June. Hundreds of cyclists will be cycling past this point on Saturday for the event, if it’s you, take care.

Boris Johnson was in Richmond last week, promoting the council’s efforts to boost cycling. Perhaps next time, he’d like to take the opportunity to look at this dangerous situation and have TfL resolve it. As with Blackfriar’s Bridge, TfL needs to recognise the needs of more vunerable road users.  Otherwise, next time we may be reporting a more serious incident.

Round and round and round we go…

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, crossing the London Road at the junction with Chertsey Road is difficult and dangerous.  So we were pleased to hear in March that Transport for London was consulting on a plan to make it easier.  We weren’t pleased when we saw it. Why? Because it doesn’t do anything to make crossing less difficult or less dangerous.  Here’s an example of what TfL say:

“In terms of the width of the traffic islands, the Department for Transport has issued guidance which suggests that a cycle with a trailer is 2.75m long, and that the recommended minimum depth of a traffic island (in order to accommodate a cycle with a trailer) should be 3m.  The proposed pedestrian refuge on the southern arm of London Road is 3.5m wide at its widest point, and at the northern arm is 3.7m wide at the widest point.  We are confident therefore that parents using cycles with trailers can be accommodated.”

Forget, for a moment, the relevance of the widest point on an island that’s a tear drop shape and is not designed to be crossed at its widest point anyway: much, much, more important is how do you get on it when traffic is nose to tail and moving at different speeds?

And how do you get off it when vehicles are accelerating into the exit lanes like it’s a race track?

We say people need protected space to cross in and narrowing entrance and exit lanes creates that space.  TfL says:

“Increasing the size of the islands any further would prevent the owners of [properties in] London Road from entering/exiting…  The same issue prevents us from installing zebra crossings – there are a number of dropped kerbs on the north and south sections of London Road and these would prevent the installation of a crossing.  The only available space is approximately 30m from the roundabout (on each arm), which would be too distant from the natural pedestrian desire line to make their provision worthwhile.”

Why can’t TfL install toucan crossings, like the all junctions before and after London Road and like the one that is so well-used on the Richmond side of the roundabout ?

We think it’s disgraceful that people, cyclists and pedestrians, are brought to the edge of a busy road and given no help to cross by TfL: why not?

What do you think?  E-mail campaign@richmondlcc.co.uk Remember TfL have been invited to the next meeting of the Cycling Liaison Group on 11th July.

And thanks to Caroline Pidgeon, Chair of the Transport Committee at the Greater London Assembly, for her continuing support, including repeatedly asking the Mayor of London when and what TfL is planning at the junction.

UPDATE: Getting TfL to prioritise the safety of pedestrians and cyclists is not just an issue here in Richmond, over in the City of London, Transport for London won’t release information about whether or not it included cyclists or pedestrians in the models for Blackfriars junction.

TfL Consultation to Improve Safety on the A316 London Road Roundabout

After a lot of hard campaigning by a local cyclist, TfL have opened a consultation to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists crossing the southern and northern exits of the London Road Roundabout on the A316. Read the details below and pass your feedback to the email at the end. The deadline is Friday 1st April. A big word of thanks to Tim for pursuing this – check him out on Twitter at https://twitter.com/treesandweeds

Transport for London (TfL), is currently developing a proposal to improve crossing facilities on the roundabout at the junction of the A316 Chertsey Road and A310 London Road.

The scheme will provide safer crossing points on the northern and southern arms of the A316 Chertsey Road / A310 London Road roundabout junction in the London Borough of Richmond and in addition will remove the current gap in the London Cycling Network route 169 which runs east / west across the roundabout.

Shared footway use will be extended for both pedestrians and cyclists at the proposed crossing points which will provide continuation of route for cyclists. In summary, the proposed measures include the following:

  • Provision of crossing points on the northern & southern London Road for pedestrians/cyclists
  • Provision of new tactile paving at crossing points
  • Shared use footway areas for pedestrians and cyclists extended to the proposed crossing points
  • Provision of re-aligned & widened footpath on the north-eastern footway section of the roundabout junction
  • Chertsey Road eastern approach reduced from three lanes to two lanes

If you have any comments with regard to this proposal please contact us at STEngagement@tfl.gov.uk by Friday 1 April 2011

Another ‘Veloteer’ Review – Hammersmith Bridge

UPDATE – 6 December 2011

There is still no movement in improving this crossing to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike – with cyclists still expected to hop onto a very narrow shared use footpath, which itself is often strewn with road works. The barriers themselves are often broken, with a number of bus drivers having been caught on CCTV removing them when they haven’t opened.
Local cyclist, Mathieu Davy, has shot an excellent video which illustrates the problem very well. We continue to raise this issue with the local authorities and will keep you updated of any progress.

Hammersmith bridge cycle lane from Mathieu Davy on Vimeo.

Original Post – 8 November 2010

In addition to the review of the London Road Roundabout on the A316, we’ve also had a local cyclist carry out an audit of Hammersmith Bridge, in particular the new bus lane barriers and the diversion of cyclists onto a shared footpath, installed earlier this year. The audit also incorporates feedback from other cyclists who’ve told us about intimidation on the bridge.

Hammersmith Bridge is a key transport route, being part of the London Cycle Network. A survey in 2008 showed that in the morning peak hour,  a third of the total northbound traffic were cyclists.

Cycle Audit of Hammersmith Bridge

Two key issues highlighted in the audit:

  • The new layout routes cyclists onto a busy narrow shared footpath on both sides of bridge causing conflict with pedestrians
  • Cyclists being intimidated on crossing the bridge by motorists passing in an unsafe manner

Hammersmith and Fulham council were responsible for the recent works and the council believe the current layout is ok and no further improvement is justified. Hammersmith and Fulham Cyclists have launched a survey to obtain feedback from cyclists as to whether this is actually the case. You can fill it out by clicking on the link below, the deadline is Friday 12 November. We shall also be providing a copy of our audit as input.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LRP7N2Y

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