Strategic Cycle Routes

I have been banging on about deficiencies in the borough’s plans for some time. To push some more I have written a brief paper that I hope to get onto the agenda for the next CLG.

Richmond Cycle Routes

What I have tried to produce is the draft for a system that would provide safe , reasonably direct, routes for all bike users  8-80+ across the borough and into adjacent boroughs at least during daylight hours and that is realistically achievable.

Any constructive comments gratefully received


Ride that Olympic Legacy! (Or “Don’t, actually.”)

We’ve been asking members what to talk to the council about at the Cycling Liaison Group. And since it’s an Olympic year, one member has asked us to investigate just what the legacy has been.

He wrote:

“We should remind the councilors that we are now in an Olympic year, and four years after cycling went through our borough there has been NO OLYMPIC LEGACY.

Don’t let them fob us off with blah-blah about educating children etc. My children won’t dare cycle in central Richmond. There are NO new cycling lanes in the centre of the town.

They will talk about Twickenham – as they have in emails to me – but Richmond has had nothing, except a dead cyclist on the A316.

It’s an utter disgrace, as Central London forges ahead with cycling lanes and designated, protected routes.

We should make them understand that Richmond’s children are not safe on Richmond’s roads, and the failure to protect kids (rather than protect bus routes and cars through the town centre) will bring multiple consequences, not least on our health budget, as our kids choose NOT to cycle.

But really, we must nail them on the lack of an Olympic legacy. On some of the very streets the cyclists rode on there are no cycle lanes.

And when there are? Look at the road going over the railway lines at the back of Richmond station –a road with a cycle lane that is 18 inches wide at one point.

Shame. And I’m a car driver, as well as a cyclist.”


You can see this post from our Rides coordinator, written just after the Olympics, hoping for a legacy. And with a bit of digging you can find the lacklustre ambition to make 7.5% of journeys in Richmond by bike when we get to 2026 (see p92 of the ‘second Local Implementation Plan’, hosted on this page). Based on current progress, we probably won’t even reach that poor target.

Does your quiet street seem busier!

Does it seem like your street is getting more and more traffic on it!  It probably is and is likely because of technology.  Waze is a new sat nav style app that encourages drivers to avoid traffic and junctions using back streets. It got us thinking!

Local shortcuts are no longer local secrets! That means previously quiet roads are getting busier.

Waze - Encouraging Rat Runs

What can be done about? We think that as the way people drive is changing so road designs will have to change.   If we wish to protect our quiet neighbourhoods and create safer space for cycling gentle street changes will be required to keep folks on the main roads.  A proven method of reducing rat runs and maintaining quiet streets is to restrict through traffic.  Access is maintained but motor vehicles cannot pass directly through, the techies call this filtered permeability.

Filtered perm

We have written to Cllr Speak (Highways and street scene) to let him know that road designs will have to adapt to new technology. If you are worried about quiet roads becoming busy roads please do the same and ask for a ‘filtered permeability’ trial on your street.

The Cycling Liaison Group has come a long way in two years.

As well as 158 (count ‘em!) roads which are now identified as candidates to be made two way for cycling (while remaining one way for motor traffic,) we have a list of bridges which should get cycle gullies, a full map of cycling parking in the borough in the works. (You can see the meeting details on the council website, here: Minutes will likely be published in a couple of weeks.)

And hopefully very soon, we’ll see a planning application for one of these:

The Lambeth Bikehangar

With a new cycling officer, and a cycling champion who really understands what it takes to make ‘normal cycling’ a normal thing in the borough, we’re hoping that Richmond council is finally thinking about catching up with places like Camden, Waltham Forest, and Ealing (to name a few!).

So what happened?

Two-way cycling on one way streets

The council is going to share their list of all 158 candidates for this, and we’ll be asking for your help to prioritise these.  Initially “quick wins are sought where signing will be sufficient – our initial list is here. (And this weekend, London Cycling Campaign, our parent organisation, adopted an assertive new policy on this, to our delight!)

Bike Gullies

More of these are due to be installed, and we’re hopeful that by the end of next year over a dozen bridges in the borough may have been upgraded with these. (See our earlier post here.) 

Bike gully

Residential Parking

We’re hoping to see a planning application for a cycle hanger in the next few weeks. Please keep your eyes open and support it! (We’re catching up, Paul noted Lambeth doing this in 2011!)


A contract for consultation on the Wandsworth-Teddington Quietway will be signed soon, and the council has promised that cycling groups will be involved in the planning. We emphasised that keeping motorised traffic levels low is important, but it doesn’t sound like the council is ready to provide much real detail on these. Which, frankly, is a bit worrying, because a quietway will be of no use if it doesn’t provide reasonable directness, and is safe and inviting.

London Road / Heath Road Consultation

It sounds like various objections have sent this consultation one back to the drawing board. On a positive note, this is because it seems TfL thought it could be more ambitious. We’d love to see an improved proposal here, and the guts of the initial proposal did suggest real thought about what will make a difference for everyone to ride a bike.

Parking Audit

It sounds like we’ll be able to see a full audit of the borough’s cycle parking very soon. We all know places where more parking is needed, so this should drive some serious improvements.

Cycle Theft

It sounds like the borough is becoming something of a hotspot for bike crime, with a number being stolen from sheds, back gardens, etc. Local police officers are very happy to offer advice on how secure your place is, so please contact them if you need some advice. ( like making sure that the shed lock can’t simply be unscrewed and locking bikes to each other.)

Parking in new developments

With the document about supplementary planning guidance (yes, it’s really as dull as it sounds) being revised, we’ve taken the opportunity to ask the council to confirm that they are following the London Plan. In addition, we’ll be trying to find out that the council is making sure that any new planning application includes high quality, accessible cycle parking.

And finally …

Cycling Strategy

There’s going to be s cycling strategy soon, but it’s still in consultation within the council, so we’ll get excited when we can actually see it …

New broom. New faces. New wheels. New feel … new Cycling Liaison Group?

What a breath of fresh air was the recent Cycling Liaison Group! The change at the top – with a new Cycling Champion (Councillor Jean Loveland), and a new Cabinet Member for Transport (Cllr Stephen Speak) gave the whole meeting a very different feeling indeed.

You may remember from earlier reports that going to the Cycling Liaison Group has been less than a pleasant experience, these last four years. Rather than weeping into our coffee hearing how nothing has been done, nothing is going to be done, and the council has only been prepared to spend money on a few pots of paint, we appear to have a sea-change (step-change? maybe ‘gear change’) at the top of transport.

We heard about the new cycling strategy – a refreshingly simple set of principles and statements, including:

  • Make cycling an option for everyone
  • Making it an every day option
  • Creating a connected cycling network
  • Recognising the economic benefit to our high streets and businesses that cycling can bring

There’ll be more details soon, and there was extensive discussion around some of the recent schemes which have been done in the borough and which are being considered. Of greatest interest is that the engineers are planning to try an ‘all ways green’ junction, which would have a green light phase at all arms when cycling and walking get priority while motor traffic waits. These junctions are very popular in the Netherlands, and have been talked about over here for some time. (Another borough may also be looking to trial these, too.)

Also, Richmond has received £100,000 from TfL to investigate ‘various aspects’ of our Mini Holland bid. Sadly this will apparently be spent on looking at the railside cycle routes, which we think were the weakest part of the final bid. Not only would they require extensive linking up with routes down which people actually want to travel, but they ignore the fact that we already know where people want to go – it seems less than desirable to build an entirely new parallel set of routes which could require costly and lengthy negotiations with dozens of land owners, when the roads and cycle routes we already have provide clear links between key destinations.

There was good news from local police, with a significant fall in cycle theft – down 27% on last year apparently. But there was also clear input from officers that they felt they were getting a hard time at local Police Liaison Groups about cycling on the pavement, red light jumping, etc., etc.

To be clear, Richmond Cycling Campaign does not endorse anyone breaking the law when using a cycle. However, it’s clear that Richmond has a lot of cycling on the pavement either because routes aren’t clear, or because they’re unsafe. Here’s the view of one group dedicated to improving cycling, and we’ll be trying to write something soon, too.

The key thing for readers to note is that there’s going to be a marked increase in enforcement activity with, apparently, a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to running red lights. We’re told that this will apply both to cycles and motor vehicles, and that they will also be policing cycling on the pavement ‘on a case by case basis’.

We think cycling needs to be better represented at Police Liaison Groups, and we urge all members to do this – we’ll try to do a post in the next few weeks on how best to approach this, but do email us ( or if you’d like some advice.

So what next? We’ll be keeping up the pressure: the recent incidents in our area, along with yet another fatality in central London, show that cycling needs somewhere safe, and needs to be part of a wider strategy.

If you’d like to come along to the Cycling Liaison Group, or indeed to our monthly meeting, here are the details:

CLG homepage   RCC Monthly Meeting


Cycling Liaison Group – When Will We See A Cycling Strategy?

The new administration at LBRUT holds its first Cycling Liaison Group on Tuesday 14th October.  The meeting agenda and details are here.  This will be the first meeting chaired by the borough’s new cycling champion, Cllr Jean Loveland.

As usual, there is an agenda item on the Borough’s Cycling Strategy.  Throughout the last administration, the ‘cycling strategy’ was a regular feature of the CLG meetings, and the strategy itself was always ‘in development’.

So, for all the new faces at CLG tomorrow, we thought we would dig up our previous input to LBRUT’s Cycling Strategy – in the hope that this time some of it might get incorporated into LBRUT’s thinking.   We captured most of the thinking here, almost a year ago:  What the Cycling Strategy Should Say

Let’s hope that there is now an appetite to take some of these ideas on board.

The Cycling Liaison Group – YOU HAVE BEEN CONSULTED!

(What’s the Cycling Liaison Group? It’s a consultative council committee, with sadly no power and no burning urge to meet too often, or actually publicise itself. See the council’s summary, here. )

Tuesday night was the last Cycling Liaison Group in its current form. Our Cycling Champion is moving to Oxford, and there are local elections in May. Since one in three CLG meetings has been cancelled, there probably wouldn’t be one between now and May even if it had been scheduled.

Frankly, it’s been a shameful talking shop for its entire existence. The most consistent themes of the CLG have been hearing about theft of bikes, and the minimal ‘cost-effective’ schemes that have been whizzed up by harassed council officials.

But what did happen? On the positive side, it sounds like substantial funding is finally going to make it to cycling in Richmond. Not the £30m that successful Mini-Holland bids will get, but still there’s going to be millions of pounds over the next few years to try to make the borough a place where we can cycle safely to schools, the shops or to work.

An officer from the local Safer Transport Command discussed the Operation Safeway figures. This saw officers stalking a number of junctions in the area, and handing out an awful lot of tickets, both to drivers and cyclists. We’ve asked for a full copy of the figures, but inspection on the night suggested that proper enforcement had a significant impact on behaviour, with tickets issued falling significantly as the weeks went on. We’re delighted that enforcement activity does seem to be taken more seriously now, but since this operation is now over, we’ll be watching carefully to see how long this change lasts.

Everyone involved in the Mini Holland bid seemed genuinely surprised and disappointed by the borough’s failure to secure the funding. We think that parts of the bid were very strong, and we’d really like to see them implement the proposed changes in Twickenham. Officials think we’ll hear about the next round of funding in around four weeks’ time, so we’ll see what comes out then.

There’s also confirmation of £60,000 a year for cycle parking, and officials indicated they’re prepared to consider paying for residential parking for bikes as well. We’d love to see bike hangars popping up all over the borough, to make it easy and simple to store and access your bike, so please let us know if this is something you’d like!

Will things change after May? That’s up to you. We’re preparing to ask all the candidates to tell us what they’ll be offering to make the borough a great place for everyone by improving it for cycling, so watch this space!



LBRUT Cycling Strategy & Mini Holland Update

So Richmond and Twickenham might get some substantial mini-Holland cash, but we still don’t actually have a cycling strategy to really support spending it properly … 

Last week RCC members attended 2 key council meetings relating to cycling developments.  Monday saw the LBRUT Head of Integrated Transport make a presentation to the Environment, Sustainability and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee on (a) Mini Holland status and (b) the Borough Cycling Strategy; and Tuesday saw the quarterly Cycling Liaison Group take place covering the same topics.  A summary of both is given here.

Mini Holland status – Richmond has been selected to go through to the next stage; but with various modifications to the bid.  Three or four boroughs will get about £20m each; 4 others could get around £3m. Other boroughs who failed in their bids may get funds for certain aspects in their bids which TfL considers “worthy”. So there seems to be a good chance that LBRUT may get some funding whether or not they win.  LBRUT will be preparing the next bid with help from their consultants; and have 10 weeks (now 9) to do so.   Richmond Cycling has requested input into the bid as soon as possible, so we can make sure the proposal has some real substance around safer places for people to cycle in the borough.  Our review of the original bid is here.

  • Apparently Andrew Gilligan (Boris’ Cycling Commissioner) is enthusiastic about the rail-side routes. Network Rail and SW Trains have been contacted and they are “very excited”.  LBRUT is seen as a test bed for other boroughs. There is clearly a lot of more detailed work to be done to establish feasibility.
  • TfL also wants the council to work with them on the A316 route.  Hounslow and Hammersmith will be involved too.  TfL requires that the cycle route will be continuous, which is great news: cycling routes which stop and start for no obvious reason, and which dump you into unsafe locations, are one of London’s biggest cycling issues.
  • The proposal for the Ham-Twickenham bridge over the Thames will be dropped (on grounds of not enough benefit for the cost) and is seen as a more long-term possibility.
  • The current design for Twickenham town centre design will be improved. There is a possibility of mandatory cycle lane or lanes in King Street.
  • More cycle parking is needed. The existing 250 spaces at Twickenham Station should be doubled. (And we think Richmond station still needs more, let alone the other locations crying out for parking in the borough …)

Borough Cycling Strategy – the report presented by the officers at the O & S meeting appeared to be aiming to get the O & S committee to provide input into the cycling strategy; rather than claiming to be a strategy itself.  In fact the “strategy” seems to depend on whether or not LBRUT win any mini-holland money; so is unlikely to be completed until the outcome of that is known.  Two Richmond Cycling committee members made formal statements to the committee to comment upon the document and made a number of key points – in particular that the targets for modal share growth are unambitious; that LBRUT need to be making infrastructure changes to support more vulnerable cyclists; they need to focus on converting parents from driving their kids everywhere – by making the roads safer for cycling; they need to use the information from School Travel Plans to really address these problems; and that the level of funding committed is inadequate.

Our attendance at the meeting enabled RCC to raise awareness of a number of important points to a wider set of councillors than are usually engaged in cycling matters – and a number of questions were put to us.  It was apparent that many of the councillors are not very cycling-aware; and the general level of questioning reflected many of the usual anti-cycling prejudices (red light jumping, pavement cycling etc.) without any obvious awareness of why this behaviour might happen.

Cycle Parking – Each year there is a work programme (for parking).  Cycle hubs will be installed at stations over the “next year or so”.  Suggestions for parking are invited – if anyone has suggestions for places where more parking is needed please get in touch or log these on Cyclescape and we will then pass onto LBRUT.


Delivering great cycling with fine words – Richmond leads the way. (And an Elephant)

If fine words delivered a seismic shift in the number of people cycling, Richmond Council would be almost as effective as Boris Johnson.

Once again, we sat through a meeting which was heavy on rhetoric, promises and fine ideas, and pretty thin on actual action that will make cycling an enticing thing to do in the borough. The thing is, the council is very, very good at talking about cycling, and we’re fairly sure they understand our concerns about how to make cycling a real option for everyone in the borough, but when it comes to actually doing something, their failure to follow through is frankly distressing.

But for the record, here’s what Richmond Cycling members observed from the meeting: (there is some good news at the end!)

  1. Local police have been running some ‘education’ on local Advanced Stop Lines. This has run for two weeks, and now they’re planning some actual enforcement activity.
  2. Bike thefts in Richmond are up, but they’re down in Kingston. To be honest, I’m sick of hearing about bike theft at the Cycling Liaison Group. Everywhere that people use bikes to get around, someone finds a way to steal some of them – it’s great that the police are looking into this, but I don’t see why it has to come to the CLG every single time.
  3. We heard from TfL that 19 of 20 eligible boroughs submitted bids for the Mini Holland money. The TfL rep was very impressed with Richmond’s bid, but also masterful at dodging any questions of substance. What we did find out was that up to 8 bids would be called forward to the second round, with seed cash to improve their bids, and then up to 4 boroughs will actually share the money.
  4. And we discussed the mini Holland bid – both Councillor Harrison, the cabinet member for transport, and Chris Smith, the head of planning, waxed lyrical about how convincing Andrew Gilligan was, and how committed he is. Which is great – we just feel it’s a pity that they’re not reflecting this enthusiasm in the designs that we see.
  5. The borough’s cycling strategy, which has been in gestation for longer than the Trident upgrade plan, is now apparently going to have to be re-visited again, because the current version apparently describes a strategy that doesn’t really reflect the mini Holland bid. We’re choosing to interpret it as a good thing that the council is trying to align these things, but we’ll wait until it comes out before we comment any more. 
  6. The one point we found very interesting: the council told us that they’re planning to get more on-street parking rolled out. Specifically they observed that you don’t need planning permission to do this, so if you’d like some parking for your bike, please get in touch (or email us:, and we’ll start asking the council.

The Elephant

What’s that? Was there an elephant in the room? Well, yes. Sat on the table, in plain view but not on the agenda, was the Twickenham Plan. We managed to ask some questions about it, but basically we know that bits and pieces are going to consultation. This does represent a chance to at least seize the small improvements for cycling on offer, like the introduction of 20mph, and the Holly Road contraflow.

So if there’s one thing you do this month, please do reply to the consultation – we’ll provide some more details this week, and we’re also going to try to meet the council again, to see if we can get any improvements to the current appalling plans.