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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 Online
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 Online
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

David

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 Online
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 Online
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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Cycling in Enfield - the view from the saddle 24 Mar 2018 16:22 #3739

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Online
Below is a copy of an e-mail I addressed and sent to the Southgate Green Liberal Democrat candidates for seats on Enfield Council following receipt of their local election flyer. Mind you I'm unhappy about the Conservatives approach also; the jury is out on Labour because so a far I've had no flyers. In due course I'll be saying something to the Conservatives about their plans.

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"I write as a former and locally active Liberal Democrat supporter – and still great admirer of Vince Cable – who defected to the Green Party. A defection which arose when I discovered that the party, though not Charles Kennedy (then leader), had no appetite for environmental issues. All of which was prompted by the arrival of your Southgate Green Focus local election flyer which dropped through our letterbox today.

Strangely the flyer doesn’t even mention the big, very local, environmental, social and planning issue: the cycle lanes on the A105 Green Lanes. A development which matters hugely in terms of exercise, health, air quality (even the local Conservatives are worrying about that), traffic dominance of urban space, kids independence and quality of life generally. You may be preoccupied by Brexit, indeed I care about it enormously (after all I have been a Lib-dem), but a vote based on it in a local election will have no effect on Brexit decisions. Perhaps you don’t actually care about the local election where you don’t stand a chance, and are hoping to strengthen your position ready for the next national election. Perhaps you haven’t even noticed the issue?

In fact I’m not a big fan of cycle lanes, though some cities like Strasbourg have got it right, because they do tend to engender a ‘sense of entitlement’ much like the attitudes many, many drivers acquire. Could you give it a bit of thought and let voters know what you think? Creating a cycling culture is vital for future cities.

Local voters may also be interested in your approach to the Council’s Quieter Neighbourhood (QN) policy which, as well seeking to improve residential areas, is vital to the working of the Cycle Lanes, i.e. the control/limitation of rat-running.



David Hughes
Conway Road.

As a postscript I should tell you that I shall be publishing 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 25 Mar 2018 22:53 #3740

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author Online
Below is a copy of an e-mail I addressed and sent to the Southgate Green Conservative candidates for seats on Enfield Council following receipt of their local election flyer.


"Greetings all three,

A few days ago your Southgate Green Ward election leaflet arrived in our hallway highlighting some important and pressing issues. Excellent, but putting the repair of potholes at the centre of the front page lowered the tone considerably: now is a time to reduce car use and promote walking, cycling and public transport; not pandering to drivers’ ‘sense of entitlement’. Our streets are already above car-capacity, and the Conservative Party must know that cars are the main cause of the poor air quality you promise to improve ………………… without saying how. Which may be because any solution other than walking, cycling or public transport is likely to be difficult.

And then you go on to compound Enfield’s streets problems by being at odds with the A105 (Green Lanes) Cycle Enfield scheme, which aims to persuade people out of their cars for short, especially driver only, journeys. All of which begins to suggest that you have no practical plans for some key promises.

Clearly you don’t like cycle lanes, but I’ve cycled along them on Green Lanes quite a bit, and think that they will be ideal for easing kids into the habit of cycling. And I’m puzzled by your antipathy to those ‘…dangerous bus stop ramps….’. It’s true that at first some people weren’t sure how the priority between mounting/dismounting bus passengers and cyclists should work, but in recent times that has evaporated. It would surely be daft to remove them, especially as various other countries have installed similar arrangements and used them for years without problems. The so-called armadillos/orcas are a different problem: they have been complicit locally in pedestrian falls. Yet to a 80 year old like me they seem little different as a hazard to pavement curbs, so I’m wondering if people will become accustomed to navigating them. Personally I’ll keep an open mind until it’s clear that they are a greater hazard than pavement curbs

So, what would you do to reduce traffic given that you are against policies which encourage cycling? Sometimes quiet cycle routes through residential areas have been mentioned, but you’d better avoid that. Commuting cyclists wouldn’t/couldn’t accept it, and in any case fast cyclist through residential streets would be as antisocial as cars travelling too fast already are. Perhaps you are contemplating/in favour of various car-charging options, but if so you should state it openly.

Finally I should say that my key interest as a local resident is in my street as part of home; very important to a good quality of life. Yet you disappointed by not mentioning the Council’s Quieter Neighbourhoods policies which address that issue as well limiting rat-running. Why? Is it that you approve of them?

Footnote: I’m aware cyclists need potholes repaired even more than drivers, but you thought to ignore that so I decided to join you.

David Hughes
Conway Road. "

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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