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

Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 27 Mar 2018 18:06 #3742

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Below is a copy of an e-mail I addressed and sent to the Labour Party Office after receiving an election leaflet for seats on Enfield Council. It should be noted that their leaflet covered five southern wards, not an individual ward.


I’m “Getting in Touch” as requested. Though I suspect not in the way you would prefer.

I live in Southgate Green Ward, and a few days ago received Labour’s election leaflets. Clearly it’s been a tough time for local councils, but insofar as I’m able to judge things seems to be pottering on well enough in Enfield, though I’m too old to be worrying about schools, and fit enough not to be worrying about services for older/vulnerable people.

Bidding for Mini-Holland funds was a very good move, vital for the regeneration of a cycling culture (Well done!), though for strong and experienced cyclists the cycle lanes don’t have much to recommend them. I use them at the moment to help get pedestrians used to them, and to play my part in preventing constant carping: “What are they for? Nobody uses them.”, but I’ll probably defect to the carriageways eventually. Which I suppose will help with the perpetual problem of getting drivers to drift along rather than keeping their foot on the accelerator.

I don’t ride with a helmet, though I accept that they are a good safeguard. Partly I do that because the key need is to persuade people to bike rather than drive on short journeys – for example to get a newspaper or a loaf of bread – and donning a carapace is likely to result in slipping easily into the driving seat. And I suppose I think the big danger for cyclists is cars, especially on secondary roads where at the moment cyclists are as rare as hen’s teeth. Sometimes I ride from Enfield to Palmers Green via what amounts to the W9 bus service route (there’s some hills to help with fitness) and parts of that can be a nightmare. And please note that if kids are to cycle to school or for pleasure quite a bit of the journeys is likely to be on such routes, and that the terrane is mostly housing: that is living space .

David Hughes
Palmers Green

PS. I should say that I’ll publish this e-mail on the Palmers Green Community website under the subject heading “The view from the saddle”.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 28 Mar 2018 14:38 #3743

Linking David Hughes’ “View from the saddle” responses to party political leaflets dropped through his letterbox and Basil Clarke’s summary highlighting “what our top doctor’s ordered” comes a letter in today’s local press from resident and active travel campaigner, Clare Rogers.

She asks all political parties to give their support in delivering better streets for Enfield’s residents – as long recommended in the 120 plus page detailed health-supporting report by NICE, the body responsible for guiding UK health policy.

Maybe we can hear from candidates on this site, not least those who lobbied so hard to reject the hard won investment in our borough to deliver cycle infrastructure and quieter residential streets, as recommended by NICE and supported by Enfield’s main NHS bodies, whether their minds remain in the same place.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 28 Mar 2018 14:50 #3744

Here in Winchmore Hill ward it’s a different picture: there has been no Lib Dem pamphlet (so far) but we do have one from the group who are “caring (& campaigning) for our community” aka the three candidates from the Conservative Party. Their campaigning up until now has of course been vehemently anti-Cycle Enfield.

Winchmore Hill doesn’t lead on potholes (indeed they get no mention at all), instead it leads on the Fernleigh Road Quieter Neighbourhoods scheme. Apparently pretty much everyone is against it. Times have certainly changed since fulfilling a request to present to the Winchmore Hill Residents’ Association some years since on traffic issues. At that time there were clearly very many traffic-angry people from that area.

Issues of speeding traffic and (vehicle borne) pollution have been heard under the “listening campaign”. But are the candidates in favour, or not, of any remedial actions?

On cycling, the existing lanes will be “modified” and no more developed.

This is all going to be tricky versus the reiteration of the government’s vision earlier this month, “to make cycling and walking the natural choice for shorter journeys or as part of a longer journey”. Perhaps Winchmore Hill ward has negotiated an opt out?

And then of course, transport related funding in Enfield comes via the Mayor through his statutory LIP plan and its associated budget; to which the LIP plan and associated budget for Enfield must align. Given the Mayors very clear intent to downplay motorised traffic while promoting active travel and public transport, that may cause an issue or two – unless there’s an opt out there too.

Quieter Neighbourhood work in this Palmers Green section of Winchmore Hill ward started this week. The effective modal filtering of the street to facilitate the work, allowing residents, deliveries and workpeople in but rat runners out, has already transformed the environment. That’s why 19 out of 20 households in this particular street want that position to continue. One view to listen to perhaps?
The following user(s) said Thank You: Adrian Day

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 30 Mar 2018 22:42 #3747

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
This message is to say that I've received responses to the comments I made on the 24 March to the Liberal Democrats, and on 25 March to the Conservative Party about their most recent Southgate Green election leaflets. So far I've heard nothing from the Labour Party, but I did write to them last. Copies of what I said are above in this series.

Perhaps I should say that very late on I decided to stand for the Green Party which caused a bit a flutter among Conservatives who thought I hadn't been straightforward. I believe that's resolved now: mostly a matter of timing, and the fact that I made an error in their e-mail address so they didn't know I'd written until after my registration to stand went into the public domain.

In fact Emma Bishop-Laggett , the candidate who answered my message for the Conservatives, proved to be a cyclist who uses the Green Lanes cycle lanes, and writes very pleasantly . Nevertheless the party-policy and the election flyer are hostile to the cycle lanes which I think is very mistaken..........but of course I expect some snags will become apparent as with all significant road schemes. All in all I wasn't comforted except perhaps in knowing that there is a Conservative candidate who seems to get the value of cycling.

The LibDem response was a very different kettle of fish, though the writer, Dave Mitchell, professed to be in support of cycling, was also friendly, and hoping to meet with me after the election. The Iatter I declined because I would prefer an open debate on this site and elsewhere. What startled me was that his idea of support is creating cycling routes along residential streets, canals and the like, and not on direct routes. Further he wouldn't move without total community support; so no intention to encourage people to leave their their cars at home in favour of walking, cycling and using public transport for short journeys. Actually the dissidence between us was even more striking so I was quite straightforward in response. Whether anything more will come of it I don't know, but if push comes to shove I might be prepared to attend a Libdem meeting when the election dust has settled.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 27 Apr 2018 19:43 #3809

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
There was a significant car crash on Fox Lane this morning : Friday 27 April.

I had ridden up what I think was Lakeside road (I navigate by a map in my head, not street names) from Aldermans Hill, and as I paused to enter Fox Lane at the top a woman driving down Fox Lane paused, opened her window, and said: "Take care there has been a nasty accident up there.". And so it proved; two cars very badly damaged probably (those road names again) just below Derwent Road. There was just enough space on the carriageway for a car drive around the debris so I joined that stream, noting that details were being exchanged. No police or ambulances were present.

A few minutes later, having entered Conway Road, I bumped into a pedestrian friend walking toward me. He said that he had passed the accident on foot quite a bit earlier, and thought that one of the cars had entered Fox Lane from one of the side roads in that vicinity, and hit a passing car.

Two things entered my head: it's sometimes hard to see cars coming down Fox Lane if you enter from a side road because parked cars restrict the view, and, given the damage to the vehicles, an experience on the previous day . At that time I was cycling up Fox Lane and had reached somewhere around Grovelands Road when a Mini came hurtling down the hill on full throttle; hard to judge speed from the outside of a car, but I'd say at least twice the speed limit. No harm done as it happened, but a car coming from a side road, a dog, a child, a person with low mobility stepping out from behind a parked vehicle, would have had no chance. All of which chimes with my cycling experience in general: car drivers - perhaps frustrated by weight of traffic, or even the the narrowing of the A105 Green Lanes, are pressing harder on the accelerator when opportunity occurs . On the other hand some drivers are extraordinarily patient and considerate, and I often wonder whether they are people who have lived at a time when there were lots of cyclists on the road.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 28 Apr 2018 10:17 #3810

I assume we each have little real grasp of the actual number of accidents going on around us. Here’s a photo my son took on the same day on his walk to school. The inappropriate speed and driving methods of a sizeable minority of drivers is clear for all to see and its impacts on community life, its bonds and development all too real.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 22 Jun 2018 23:37 #3936

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
A few days ago I received a request from the 'London Cycling Campaign (LCC)' - of which I'm a member - to comment or describe the amount of space drivers leave between themselves and cyclists as they pass from behind. What I didn't know, though I've cycled since about the age of 12 and I'm now 80, is that the Highway Code specifies that the distance should be about the same space as a driver would give a car, i.e. a car's width. There's a picture showing it: probably nearly three meters. Take a look it's on page 55.

How many drivers do that? I've had wing mirrors brush my body.

There's a dilemma here, and it strikes me that there's going to be a big debate because the LCC is an organisation to be taken seriously and it has the ear of London's mayor (and the previous one).

It's worth thinking about this issue and other areas of tension between driver and biker, not least because there's an avowed intention in many cities at home and abroad, to move towards a cycling and walking culture rather than a car-dominated environment. Drivers will be under scrutiny as never before so good - and safe - use of the carriageways will tend to count more in decision-making than previously.

Which brings me to what I feel is the main point: that drivers in their potential killing machine, and people new to cycling, no longer have the experience of using the carriageway together. That relationship of my early adulthood has to be re-made, and it would be better if we thought about it rather than ignore the pace of change.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 24 Jun 2018 13:15 #3937

David - I replied to that recently too. Funnily enough a taxi almost hit me with a close pass earlier this year and I've just found out his NIP has been converted into a potential prosecution unless he takes the next available driver awareness cause (skipped the first).

Pity TfL continue to protect cabbies so much, unlike Met Police they are refusing to say what, if any, action was taken following my complaint (which included video evidence).

PS: DAVID - pretty sure I voted for you in May :-) don't think you got near a seat but thanks for standing.

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