Monday, 8 November 2010

A busy South Bank for banning people using bicycles

South Bank 8am on 8th November
The South Bank at eight o'clock this morning.

Apologies for straying outside the City of London again today but I wanted to refresh  my memory about why I cycle to work along the South Bank some mornings, especially on a day like today on a cycle hire bike. It's far preferable to being soaked by and squeezed by lorries on the slippery and broken brickwork of Belvedere Road.

Apparently, Lambeth councillors, the people who run the South Bank and Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey think there's not sufficient room for people to use bicycles here and want to ban it. As you can see, at 8am, it's terribly busy and there's no room for people to use their bicycles.

See the correspondence with Kate Hoey here. If you have any connection to Lambeth and feel this is important, perhaps you might consider writing to Kate Hoey about this as well.


  1. I hadn't realised that cycling was permitted on the embankment but now that I know it is, and if it isn't curtailed, I think I would use it. My normal route between Blackfriars and Waterloo takes me along Stamford St - I prefer this to Upper Ground/Belvedere Rd because the surface is better and the extra width largely eliminates conflicts with motors. At the moment that is not an option as Stamford St is closed Eastbound and the available width westbound has been significantly reduced by the construction barriers.

    Upper Ground is just horrible, especially on small wheels (Brompton) - several front light brackets and one front tyre have in effect been pulverised by fatigue, banging over the rough & uneven surface. It is too narrow, the motors overtake aggressively and then brake right in front of you at the speed tables, which are all broken and slippery when wet.

    The embankment is pretty wide so I would have thought that conflict could be managed with a little inexpensive design - a well marked two-way lane would show bike users where to go and alert pedestrians to be vigilant.

    Wouldn't it? There is a similar arrangement on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, which gets every bit as congested with promenaders on foot, and that works pretty well.

  2. It is indeed. Although there is technically a no cycling rule on the bit outside County Hall that isn't enforced (by agreement with the authorities there). I find it's empty and good to use in the mornings (although I tend to come off the riverside bit at the IBM building on to Upper Ground to get to Blackfriars Bridge there) but tend not to use it in the evenings when it's much busier with people. I cycle slowly, carefully and just enjoy having the space to cycle without feeling I'm going to get mown down...

    Agree completely re Upper Ground. No harm making your views felt to Kate Hoey or to Lambeth councillors.