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TOPIC: Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1

Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 20 Oct 2017 09:45 #3262

The risk to female passensgers is miniscule, over-blown and lacking in statistical support when compared to the number of crimes committed by black taxis. It's just a very easy attention grabbing topic that's easy to win support for and where Uber have made some genuine failings.

Having followed the London Cycling Campaign AGM last night, it reinforced how much Khan likes a soundbite but won't tackle the real issues. His own cycle commissioner said promoting cycling wasn't a priority, limited to trying to get a mini holland in every borough, but he was trying to reduce car usage - scratching the surface when thousands of black taxis are idling every minute of the day pumping diesal into the air.

Transport has always been his weakness though, he'll always bow to Unions.

Like what he's doing on housing delivery though, particulalry cutting down on NIMBYism.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 20 Oct 2017 22:05 #3263

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Thanks David E. It seems I haven't been paying enough attention. Of course the black cabs should be replaced; that's been evident for a very long time.

Cycled to Enfield Town and back this morning (20 October 2017) from bottom to top using the cycle lanes wherever possible. In summary: no problems at bus stops, several groups/individuals jay-walking on completed pavement sections, but I sensed a divide among drivers. On the main carriageway some almost touched my right arm at speed where there was no need to be so close, whilst others went out of their way to be courteous. One or two vehicles were parked on the cycle lane in armadillo protected areas, though this was at places where building supplies were being delivered. Not sure how that could be avoided. Does anyone know how this is dealt with on existing cycle lanes?

Deep inside I feel that this is a moment in history. Of course our cycle lanes represent a minuscule change to a towards a new urban settlement, but still................ I think drivers' sense of entitlement is being tested.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 21 Oct 2017 15:12 #3266

I read this in the press from a rally speech held earlier in the week and thought for a moment that Barack Obama had entered our Cycle Lanes (and too often cyclists and cycling) hullabaloo

“Instead of looking for ways to work together to get things done in a practical way, we’ve got folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonise people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.”

Most commentators however seem to think he had President Trump in mind. Trump has previously said he plans to test North Korea rather than drivers' sense of entitlement.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 19 Nov 2017 21:59 #3349

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
This is a piece written especially for lusty car drivers

As summer/autumn holidays fade into memory, and the gardening year begins to enter its winter somnolence, I’ve been cycling a little more. And looking back at recent trips north along Green Lanes, and forward to Quieter Neighbourhoods, it seems that the majority of car drivers are not taking the hint: slow down and leave your car at home whenever you can. Which of course is what you’d expect of communities which have built their lives around a car, have come to expect priority, and have little experience of cycling or public transport, walking even – possibly throughout their lives. This is not such a big problem on Green Lanes because quite a lot of the cycle lanes are complete which is some sort of refuge, but translated to side streets – Fox Lane is the one I know best – it’s a worry: lots of drivers determined not to be held up where parked cars limit carriageway space to one vehicle’s width, and therefore passing bikers at speed whilst almost touching their right elbow. Have they never heard of the fact that cyclists can wobble, or hit a pothole, unexpectedly at any time?

And then there’s the practice of parking in the cycle lanes where they are delineated only by so-called Armadillos (generally situated in areas where there are few or no walkers). I suppose this behaviour is to be expected until the whole project is complete, but I think there’s a mindset at work which will carry forward to the completed project, namely: I’ve always parked in places like this, there’s nobody walking/biking in this space now, therefore no harm in parking. And you can understand that train of thought given that the nearest parking place could be quite a distance away. But of course the solution is leave your car at home whenever possible, and ride a bike or a catch a bus. Hard for the growing parcel delivery fraternity though.

Now a story! Not uncommon for bikers and a very real worry, but it’s the first time it’s happened to me. On Saturday morning last I cycled down Alderman’s way to Green Lanes intending to view the newly opened junction. There was a red light as I approached, and, as usual, there is a designated space for cyclists to the left of traffic such that bikers can reach the front of the queue. But, just as I passed the car at the front, the passenger door opened smartly. Fortunately I was barely moving and could stop immediately. The passenger was profuse in apology, and in the event didn’t get out of the car. But this story matters, because, aside from traffic lights, many a cyclist has been knocked off their bike, sometimes fatally, when passing cars parked at the kerbside. Which is especially dangerous when there are also cars on the move behind the cyclist.

I relate these issues because many a motorist will be thinking, and probably saying to a friend in the context of my stories: “Traffic and bikes don’t mix. Cyclists shouldn’t be among traffic.”, whilst at the same time campaigning against segregated cycle lanes. That seems to be a ‘ fair enough’ argument on motorways and what I call ‘railway equivalents’ (major ‘A’ roads like the North Circular), but in urban areas, including villages, traffic really should not be dominating the lives of residents, walkers and cyclists; 30kph is quite enough. If you need to cross London fast – as most of us do sometimes and many of us do daily – catch a train or a tube. And of course in future ‘Crossrails’ will proliferate, whilst buses, even at 30kph, can manage local journeys perfectly well.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 12 Dec 2017 00:10 #3420

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
This is a story about driver behaviour, but not, in all honesty, viewed from the saddle of a bicycle. On the other hand the story is very relevant to the life of a cyclists, as well being relevant to walkers; even other drivers.

The setting was Albert Road, Haringey just where the road passes the Albert Road Recreation Ground and Alexander Park School (think Sunshine Garden Centre to get a fix on the area). Lots of young targets there for selfish drivers so the Council has installed a whole series of calming tables, central pedestrian islands, a traffic-light controlled zebra crossing, and a 20mph speed limit.

As I drove down the hill from Muswell Hill I had noticed a four-by-four driver tight behind me, almost in the boot, but oncoming traffic prevented passing. I was able to keep a steady 20mph throughout, and somewhere among the calming-tables he zoomed past having several times moved to the oncoming carriageway, but been thwarted by approaching traffic.

He was rapidly out of sight on Haringey's 20mph roads, but I drew up behind him at the traffic lights at the junction with Bounds Green Road, a couple of hundred metres north.

I, we all, see behaviour like that all the time. On the other hand I very much doubt that the driver was a danger to anyone that evening; traffic was light and there were few pedestrians. But the issues are about health and quality of life for pedestrians and cyclists, the extent to which kids are put at risk or prevented by parents from being out unescorted; whereas after the first morning I walked to school at the age of five and played out every evening on my residential street.

So now I stress again the issue ofdrivers sense of entitlement. Not that any child should play on through roads like Durnsford Road, but we ought to be able to rely on drivers to stick to the rules, and on residential streets to drive slowly enough to allow children to play.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 31 Dec 2017 00:30 #3456

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
I cycled to Enfield Town today along Green Lanes, and I must say that on the whole the cycle lanes were well respected (I even saw a commuting cyclist using them); no one was parked on a cycle lane, and I had few brushes with with people jay-walking along them on the pavement sections. However the stretch through Palmers Green going north was a very significant exception. There were so many there - perhaps fifty or so on the stretch between Aldermans Hill and Fox Lane - that I was compelled to dismount, and to move to the carriageway, which is much narrower than before.

I will drop a line to Cycle Enfield, but whether they will take any steps to prevent it is probably unlikely.

On the whole people behaved sensibly at bus stops so maybe people are getting used to the new arrangements.

Since I was barely involved in the planning stage I was surprised to find that on the approach to Enfield the cycle lane fades away, apparently into a sidestreet though since I was taken by surprise I didn't take that route. Next time I will.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 01 Jan 2018 01:44 #3457

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Made another shorter but similar journey today along the cycle lanes. And for the first time found myself cycling behind two, non-commuting, cyclists going north. Nice to see people using this new facility, but I've not yet spotted a child having a go with or without a parent.

There were long queues of traffic at traffic lights along Green Lanes so by and large speeds were not excessive. How different it was on the side roads; far too fast, often passing me far too closely. Biking will never be taken up as a usual means of transport whist drivers exercise their sense of entitlement in this way. Of course most drivers these days have never ridden a bike among uncontrolled traffic, so generally they can't assess the effect on cyclists. 30kph speed limits suitably controlled more or less everywhere are essential.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 02 Jan 2018 12:26 #3460

Have seen a good few kids using it (youngest with parents).

Have altered my winter commute to come back via the brief stretch from A406 (almost) to PG triangle. Turning onto Alderman's Hill is frightful in comparison, really nails home the benefit of the EMH network.

Have had a couple of idiots at bus stops. One behemouth just passed Wetherspoons southbound determined to stand his ground, chest puffed out, so I just laughed at home as I pootled past. Driver education still to improve joining from sideroads, too many are ignoring the new give way locations and straddling the cycle lane, but that'll change over time hopefully.

Main parking issue I've seen so far is always Triangle Car Sales which seems to leave cars overnight and the kebab shops/restaurants opposite.

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