Thursday, 14 July 2011

"Improving safety for cycling" results in treacherous road. Why is the City designing roads like this?

Cheapside new design. Look how the van passes the chap on a cycle
Late last year, the City of London agreed a project to "[improve the] safety and convenience of the travelling public, especially those in buses and those on pedal cycles". 

Pictured left, the results of that project. If you look carefully, you can see that the pavements have been widened, resulting in a much narrower road. The intention was to Reduce motor vehicles dominance and traffic speeds and to make it safer and easier to cycle and walk here. 

So, let's take a look at what happens when the City of London designs a street that 'reduces motor vehicle dominance':

Look at the picture above. You can see a van literally brushing past the chap on his cycle, giving him a few centimetres of space. 

Why might he do that? Because instead of creating a space for cycling, the City has narrowed the road, encouraging motor traffic to scrape past people on cycles. Which is exactly the same as happening in St. Paul's Churchyard, just south of here, effectively turning the two main east-west routes through the centre of the City in to streets where there is simply no space for cycling. 

It's all rather depressing. And happening all over London. And even more depressing that this is happening in the name of improving conditions for cycling.