Tuesday, 20 September 2011

London's Cycle Super Highway - dismount and use the pavement

CS7 at Southwark Bridge Road. Dismount and use the pavement
Pictured left, the Cycle Super Highway route into the City of London this morning. The picture is taken at the junction of Southwark Bridge Road and Marshalsea Road.

The Super Highways are supposed to "improve cycling conditions for people who already commute by bike, and to encourage new cyclists".

So, once you've cycled over the grit and stones left all over the cycle lane by the contractors just before this picture, once you've dodged the several cars parked in the cycle lane this morning, you round the corner and see this. A sign telling you not only to dismount but to get off your bike and push it along the footpath. Cyclist number one pictured above clearly doesn't think much of that idea.

So, let's see what happens if you do obey the sign, get off your cycle and push it along the footpath.

But the pavement is using the road. Fabulous.
Well, then you come to this. No footpath! Cyclist number two ignores the signs.

You see cycling conditions like this all over the country every day. It's absolutely pathetic. We're incredibly capable of designing safe, well-thought through roads for motor vehicles. I simply don't understand how we fail at almost every turn when it comes to cycling. Even here, which is supposed to be the Mayor's flagship cycle route, taking people in to the Square Mile, we can't get it right.

If you're interested, have a look at how Transport for London (which is directly controlled by the Mayor) justifies its Cyclist Dismount sign on Blackfriars Bridge, the busiest cycling bridge in the city.

We might have a Mayor who talks a lot about cycling. But his message sure as hell doesn't seem to be getting through to his own transport people.


  1. I think the cyclists dismount sign needs to be banned from use in the UK since it is very rarely being used appropriately.

  2. Work is being undertaken on the pavement, so it needs to be temporarily rerouted into the road. This means part of the cycle lane is unavailable. To avoid pushing cyclists into traffic the advice to is dismount and walk through the temporary section of pavement.

    What's the problem? Would it be more sensible to have pedestrians darting into traffic? Would you prefer the whole section of road to be shifted to the right while work takes place?

    Get over yourselves.

  3. Even when the installation hasn't been messed with it shows crass ignorance in the design - a bit further back - just by the rail bridge (Blackfriars-Elephant) the Northbound 'lane' generously wide and painted blue becomes a 1057/ CS logo in the main traffic lane - to accommodate parking bays (hence the generous width of the cycle lane. Now if this was a general traffic lane being blocked off by a bus lane, the markings would include a tapering line (per TSRGD Chapter 5 - road markings) but not for cyclists - the blue strip takes you straight into the back of the taxi (which is normally the type of vehicle parked there, as adjacent to the road here is a taxi workshop)

    At least there is a tapered line of cones to guide the moving cyclist out, but it might be interesting to check the full signage used here - either from the full version of TSRGD Chapter 8 (Temporary signs and Road Works) or the handy guidance booklet for supervisors (a condensed version) Does it have a "man with an umbrella" triangle, does it have the required sign giving details of the contact responsible for the works? IME the worst offenders for poor execution of statutory signage and operation of road works often appear to be the local councils, or contractors under their control!

    I did like a picture I saw recently of the blue lane mentioned parked solidly with cars - obviously painting the 'parking lane' blue as Barclays Superparking and the handy blue colour makes it easy to spot an empty space.

    Good to see that most cyclists are ignoring the stupid and dangerous arrangements.

  4. NB that is not a proper cyclists dismount sign Diag 966 Chapter 3 - a sign with very clear prescription on where it is used (NOT on the carriageway and primarily where sightlines are inadequate)

    There is also no road narrows warning, and technically (although I don't think its officially been thought through) there should be some sort of sign like "End of Motorway" or "Traffic Signals out of use" to display if the CS is blocked off. Here we've had a diversion that sent all traffic along the bus lane and again the use of a bus lane sign with a diagonal red bar would presumeably been the 'correct' detail to use rather than a long-winded block of text.

  5. So work is being done which means normal arrangements for cyclists aren't available and you're unhappy because they have at least done something to appease your incessant whinging about safe road-space?

    Using busy roads in London is intimidating to those without the courage to deal with them, think how many people say they won't drive in the city for that reason? Clearly that will be magnified if you're a cyclist. If you are a nervous rider get off and walk at the frightening bits (here, Hyde Park Corner, Vauxhall etc). If you are comfortable with a normal variety of situations then just continue cycling on the road in a positive and assertive manner which serves the majority of us in London and everywhere else in the country just fine.

  6. I don't disagree with the Anonymous user who talks about people who are nervous to drive in London and how it's magnified as a cyclist. Difference, though, is that the nervous driver isn't told to stop driving at the point where there's any sort of diversion/obstruction. Equally, signs like this are instructions and by implication could change your liability if you ignore them. So, they are significant and it's not whinging. It's about asking our road authorities to treat us with the same respect when we are on a bike as when we're driving. No need to come on here anonymously and talk about whingeing by the way, especially if you have some intelligent points to make (as you do).

    For some reason, can't register as myself @cyclistsinthecity

  7. This is shocking but I'm the fool for thinking things might have changed. Wibautstraat in Amsterdam is currently being geneukd by roadworks - the resurfacing of the cycleways among changes to crossings and junction layouts - and the southbound cycleway is closed for long stretches. The northbound cycleway has therefore been made two-way temporarily. While one can't cycle two abreast on these stretches - oh what a to-do(!) - it's not a huge barrier to convenience; just requires waiting at a few extra lights so one can cross to and from the contraflow.

  8. Another example that tfl prioritizes motor vehicles over cyclists. On Thursday it's the world car free day, and it's time to show that cyclists should be taken seriously by tfl.

  9. The sign should be re-written to "Motorists give way to cyclists".

  10. The sign should be, I'd suggest, 'Road Narrows', 'Slow' and 'Cycle Lane Closed'.

    What I object to is the idea that I should dismount, we're not the third class road users, we have just as much right to use the carriageway as any other vehicle.

    This is distinct to the larger debate about providing off street routes, this is about dealing with the infrastructure we have. Dismount is never an acceptable option where other vehicles are permitted.

  11. did anyone ever see a cyclist dismount at a 'cyclists dismount' sign?

    no-one wants to be jumping on and off their bike all the time.

    they should all be replaced by 'slow' or 'give way'. if there's walking involved, it shouldn't be a cycle route in the first place.

  12. I cycle this route every day, and I can assure you this is not a busy road for cars. There is absolutely no issue with cars and cyclists sharing the car lane for this 5m stretch. We have to do this for occupied bus stops (perhaps 5 times each way every day on average), parked cars (the entire section of CS7 in Tooting) etc all the time. Were this a danger-spot, I could understand cyclists being asked to dismount, but it's not. No one helps when the bus pulls over in front of us, so we don't really need any help here either.

  13. To Anomymous (or one of them) - is your name Uncle Tom?

  14. Anonymous (1) - taken in isolation, ie out of context, your comments would be reasonable. Pavements do indeed need to be repaired from time to time, and when that happens, pedestrians do indeed need to be accomodated. The deviation is indeed quite short, and experienced, brave vehicular cyclists will indeed have no diffiulty with it.

    Placed in context (if you have ever read any of the prevous posts on this blog) the Cycle Superhighways, like almost all other cycle infrastructure in this great city, are a pile of crap in so many ways and this is just adding to that pile. It is not going to help much either if, as another blogger (cycleoffutility) suspects, the Superhighway budget is being cut by almost a third.

    With respect, your views smack of tory libertarianism: you have the freedom - if you have the power or the nerve to exercise it. Cyclists who have already decided that they can deal with the traffic conditions in London are entirely within their democratic rights but they are never going to deliver the cycling revolution which Boris claims that he wants to see. I suspect that the population of vehicular cyclists has already reached saturation point. To move forward now, we need to make the roads more appleaing to novices, the old the young and the nervous, and the slow. Comments which can be summarised as "Man up!" don't merely not help, they damage the cause of cycling in London.

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. When a normal carriageway is closed for works, diversions are put in place. When a pavement is closed for works, diversions are put in place. When a cycle lane is closed... no-one gives a toss and it's just closed.
    I'm sure the first 2 examples are covered by traffic law - why aren't cycle lanes covered in this way?

  17. @ndru. really sorry. Deleted your comment by complete accident and now can't return it to the page. @cyclistsinthecity (login still not working for my comment posting)

  18. Totally inappropriate use of the sign. It's things like this that make me suspicious of segregated infrastructure for cycling.

    I've complained to TfL on their report a road fault site about this.
    Unless we kick up a fuss they will keep doing things like this.

  19. @thereverent

    someone uses a sign badly and that makes you suspicious of infrastructure? how does that follow.

    protected space for cycling on busy roads is a very good thing. it just has to be competently designed.

  20. In case not already spotted, tfl is running a survey on the cycle "superhighways" (they were handing out cards on the Wandsworth to Westminster route yesterday).
    www.cycleroutesurvey.co.uk if anyone wants to flood it with responses.

  21. Cross over the road and the junction with southwark bridge road and Marshalsea Rd is an accident waiting to happen. The Blue cycle lane at the traafic light seems to suggest that you have right of way going straight ahead. Unfortunatly lots of cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles and vans are turning left. Causing lots of near misses and screeching of brakes by cycles and motor vehice