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TOPIC: Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle

Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 02 Mar 2018 00:22 #3664

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Offline

Like many people who contribute to the Palmers Green Community (PGC) website I keep an eye on the local press, and as you'd expect people who contribute to the 'Opinion' page(s) at the moment are expressing their views about the soon-to-be-completed cycle lanes on the A105 Green Lanes. Some contributors are against, I'd say a substantial majority, a few like me are strongly in favour, and a very few seem to be biding their time to see how the project works out. But in my opinion the most amazing, and by far the most common, response is to say or imply that, if the cycle lanes were needed, why is no one using them?

Forgetting the 'no one is using them' for a moment because a very few like me are, I would have thought the reason for the slow initial take-up is obvious: car culture killed the cycling culture just as it has destroyed the walking culture and it will take quite a while to bring it/them back. But bring it back we must, partly to cut down the number of short, driver only journeys which mop up so much carriageway space, but also to give kids some of their freedoms back, and to play a part in improving the nations health and fitness. (I expect that details of Cycle Enfield's first event to encourage use of the cycle lanes can be found on this website and/or on a recent Newsletter, but whether of not that is true I can tell you that it will start at 792 Green Lanes on the corner of Ford's Grove at 2.00pm on Sunday 11 March. Bikes and support will be available.)

Harking back to the comments on 'Opinion' pages it's obvious that the sniping about the uptake to the cycle lanes is coming from drivers who resent loosing space and priority to cyclists. To that I'd say that drivers must abandon their huge ‘sense of entitlement’, everything designed for them. There are other road-users, wider needs, issues of equity and health. And further to that cycling's ability to replace cars over short journeys is a significant help to improving that dreadful killer poor air quality.

Finally I feel the need to mention again the resentment that some drivers feel because many of the people who do cycle - often commuters to work - don't use the cycle lanes. I wouldn't either over some of their length if I was cycling to get somewhere rather than just getting a little exercise. The reason for that is that there too many things to slow you down: people wandering on to the cycle lanes, deviations which slow you down or bring you to a halt. And it is the law which makes that possible; if sometimes drivers have to slow down because of it I'd say that's a good thing because cars at speed are an anathema in urban areas. Presumably that's why the law is the way it is.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 09 Mar 2018 16:39 #3700

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Offline

As is my wont I went for a short bike ride today, choosing as I often do, to cycle on the cycle lane from The Triangle to Station Road, Winchmore Hill, returning home via Broadwalk.

As is mostly the case the high street stretches in Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill were thronged with pedestrians, chatting, walking, waiting for a bus. Many were on the cycle lane, often with their backs to oncoming bikers. Others were walking towards me, sometimes chatting and not, as far as I could tell, noticing I was there. At a W6 bus stop people were piling on and off across the cycle lane so, of course, I stopped. The last off was a pram and mother who stopped in front of me and began rearranging her baby's blankets.

Some people walking/stopping on the cycle lanes may be making a point about their objection in principle to the cycle lanes, but probably the lanes are so little used people forget what their function is. Of course the habit will resolve itself, either by either by experienced cyclists taking to the carriageway and cycle lanes becoming just a nursery for beginners. Or perhaps after a nasty accident: I read recently that a few people are killed by cyclists every year.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 09 Mar 2018 19:22 #3701

David’s view from the saddle sounds better than yesterdays view from the pavement: happily striding north passing St Monica’s hall I had to stop very fast as a car simply continued its momentum to turn left into the car park suddenly appearing round my right shoulder. Missed me by less than a metre and then only because I immediately rooted myself to the spot. By the time I went into the car park to remonstrate the lady driver was well on her phone conversation. Sorry, as if? Evidently not a clue what was occurring outside her small bubble - a running kid rather than me? I dread to think.

And coming back I start to cross the nearby new zebra given ample traffic space. Well onto the facility but very traffic aware, again I put the footbrakes on as LT12 EWS sped by, right where my non-stationary person would have been were I not marooned some third of the way across the zebra. I gave up reporting similar occurrences, mainly outside Broomfield, to the police some considerable time since.

The risk is so unequal such absence of consideration is all too frequent. Conversely it's all too common to see a driver yield to a skip wagon.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 15 Mar 2018 12:20 #3711


Love your series, but need to correct your final statement.
0.7 ppl per annum are killed by cyclists, so not a few a year at all. There were only 2 pedestrians killed by cyclists in London last year and that was a record high. It's just one case got obscene levels of media coverage.

In the first 2 weeks of 2018 more pedestrians stood at bus stops were killed by car drivers.

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 16 Mar 2018 00:00 #3717

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Offline

David E. I'm afraid I can't withdraw the details of deaths caused by cyclists because I read it in what I thought is an authoritative document, but now can't remember what document. That's the penalty of ageing.

However, if you say it is 0.7 people per annum in London then I'm happy to accept that, and to quote it in future should it be needed.

Several years ago someone wrote an article (in a newspaper I think) to the effect that a figure is quoted in a document, book or article, then someone else picks that figure up and also quotes it in a document, and then someone picks it up from that document and so on until it becomes received wisdom. Could be that happened here. Although it may be that details were national not London figures.

Must be more careful in future!
The following user(s) said Thank You: David Eden

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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 18 Mar 2018 21:31 #3724

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Offline

This a short story of modern times.
Despite the dodgy weather this morning Myrna, my wife, wanted a newspaper to read the reports of the Spurs away match yesterday, 17 March. That was despite having watched the match live on TV, listening to News reports afterwards, and viewing a summary of the match on TV in the evening. The football supporters that I know are like that, so I offered to make the trip for a paper on my bike, partly because I was in any case wanting some exercise.
There is a small, beautifully managed general store on Southgate Green which also sells newspapers, and I headed there, promising myself that I would extend my trip afterwards to meet the exercise requirement. I bought the paper, and afterwards stood by my bike for a while watching customers come and go, and was surprised that people came by car, big cars, to buy just a newspaper. After all it's not likely that they lived beyond walking distance.
Of course this was a very small sample so you couldn’t base a policy on it, but I’m tempted to believe it’s not uncommon because I know people who never leave their home unless it is by car.

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