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TOPIC: Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle

Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 17 Oct 2017 16:07 #3253

I’ll agree with David re Quieter Neighbourhoods and believe more generally that car-things are coming to a head so progress toward better lives for the majority is indeed likely. We’ve had several decades of growth in car numbers (and their ever enhanced speed / acceleration capabilities) and you don’t have to look hard to realise that space constraints are such that London (and numerous other cities) are now simply full up. Congestion is appalling, with the earlier central London position now evident in inner London and increasingly being seen and felt in the outer ring: nowhere to leave them once you get “there” and the possible speed of travel not warranting the financial investment required . There’s little or no chance of new roads; outside of budgets, London needs all its space for housing, schools, employment, leisure and more. Add to the mix 1.3 million deaths worldwide due to vehicles and the burgeoning realisation that their externalities are killing us all (surprised? I can’t think why given that exhaust gases are a widely known suicide technique) and so we now see top-down change. (The threat of financially-crushing legal cases always does it in the end.) Now it’s absolutely clear that the large car manufacturers, joined by the big technology players, are gearing up their next capex cycle into the non-fossil fuel and non-driver vehicle spheres. I would think of this as the second half 2020’s next stage of the motor vehicle; quieter, less (locally) polluting and slower - automatically. In the interim we’ll see our Quieter Neighbourhoods and the Mayor’s overall Healthy Streets agenda taking some of the strain. And the message that 10 minutes of brisk walking or 20 minutes of normal walking daily is a life enhancer may finally get through; that or cycling of course. Now there’s an opportunity, if only suitable infrastructure was in place....
The following user(s) said Thank You: Adrian Day

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 17 Oct 2017 22:49 #3254

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Online
Time for change, time to summarize.

In a sense Karl and I can see the end of an era. Not the end of cars, vans and lorries, but the end of their dominance of urban space in the current manner - and slower as Karl says. Cycling is bound to come into its own, notably for getting to school and work. In time many streets in Quieter Neighbourhoods or their successors will become space where kids can play without supervision. I suspect the pace of change will accelerate once the die is cast.

One point we should not forget as electricity becomes a dominant force in transport; vehicle tyres and brakes are big cause of poor air quality. Another reason to look forward to fewer road vehicles.

I had another ride on my bike along Green Lanes this morning. Quite a bit more could be done on completed cycle lane. Jay walkers where again in evidence where the cycle lane took to the pavement. This was so even where there was plenty of pavement space on either side of the cycle lane.

Tomorrow I'll make the same journey again. But this time by car because I have heavy items to collect. Wish me well with the parking.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 19 Oct 2017 09:50 #3260

The mayor has already completely undermined his clean air strategy, if he ever really had one, buy banning clean Uber (80% Prius) whilst exempting London's biggest polluters - diesel black cabs - from emmissions legislation. Petty politics is more important to Soundbite Khan than clean air.

I work in central London, cycling from PG most days, and it is ridiculous how much motor traffic clogs the centre. I truly can't believe it is all genuinely needed, i.e. neccessary journeys that can only be made by car. Speaking to Karl's earlier point - paerticles from tires and break bads are actually some of the biggest pollutant issues in London.

How about increase the C charge to £50 a day and apply the T charge unanimously, see how important all those vehicle journeys are then. Receipts can fund better cycling infra projects.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle - Episode 1 19 Oct 2017 22:35 #3261

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Online
I was a bit surprised by David Eden's criticism of London's mayor - contribution to this topic 19 October 2017 - because the mayor has shown every sign of understanding London's streets issues, being keen to effect change, having some good ideas with the energy to carry them out. However the fault may still be mine because I haven't followed every detail of the Uber/Black Cabs choice which has several layers needing teasing out. That is likely to take time, and I'd personally like an analysis; surely the suggested risk to female passengers needs clarity and direction. Or have I missed something?

On the other hand I too would like to see an extension of the Congestion Charge whilst the forthcoming introduction of an Omission Charge is key to applying pressure for change. Politically and socially though there's a lot of ground to cover against a population which has come to believe that cars are essential to the good life, indeed to life. And indeed cars and vans really are still essential for some types of trip; it's a small proportion though.

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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 Online
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 Online
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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