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TOPIC: Cycling on Enfield's streets and roads

Cycling on Enfield's streets and roads
28 Nov 2013 21:10 #149

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Cycling in Enfield is on the move. Conservative councillors have combined with the Labour administration in a bi-partisan decision to go far beyond the existing Greenway cycle paths which meander through parks and quiet streets.

Major projects are planned for Enfield Town/around Enfield Town station, in Edmonton, and elsewhere. But for Palmers Green the key project seems to be a cycle lane extending from north of Enfield Town along the length of Green Lanes to south of the North Circular Road. The hope is that overall the policy will achieve a 10% reduction in traffic, an improvement in air quality, and encourage people to make healthier travel choices.

The projects on the streets will be supported by even more comprehensive promotional support than now: cycle training, safety advice, bike repair, that sort of thing, and, crucially, more and better cycle storage. Around key rail stations there will be secure bike storage; in socially important places like town centres, high streets, other ‘social areas’, there will be defined space and physical support for bikes; in residential streets an idea that I’d not come across before: covered, locked, storage erected on the carriageway (by request and subject to local residents’ agreement). The storage the council has in mind for this innovation is the ‘Lambeth Bikehanger’ which can be viewed at: www.cyclehoop.com/product/bike-lockers/bike-hangar/ . It takes up about the same space as half a car, and the idea is that the council would fund and erect the storage, residents would rent space within it. For people like me this would be a godsend because I don’t have anywhere to store a bike.

To speed up the process of implementing the new policy from years to months a bid has been made to obtain finance from Boris Johnson’s £100M ‘Mini-Holland’ fund, which is aimed at increasing cycling in the outer-London boroughs. The bid has already passed the first hurdle, and the hope is that the council will be successful in obtaining funds in the order of £25M.

After 100+ years of driving cyclists off the road with rules and organisational principles which favour cars, I sense a breakthrough. But persuading people to make a leap of faith and mount a bike is likely to be hard work, in particular persuading women who currently bike much less than men. However the council is keen to redress this imbalance, not least because women are influential in whether children cycle or not.

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Cycling on Enfield's streets and roads
05 Dec 2013 15:05 #151

This weeks Times newspaper (3rd December) floats a related idea from the Founder of Road Share, the campaign for stricter liability. In it, in answering an earlier Opinion piece from David Aaronovitch, he supports the viewpoint that there is an effective hierarchy of road users; I guess this is simplest to think of as skip wagons being King's of the Road while pedestrians are the surfs. Other users fit in the hierarchy broadly depending on the weight of metal travelling along with the user.
The idea is to protect the more vulnerable by putting the (legal) responsibility of care onto the more powerful. As the author points out, it works in the workplace, so why not on our roads?
I seem to recall Mr Hughes once raising something not too dissimilar in his local press weekly slot.

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Cycling on Enfield's streets and roads
06 Dec 2013 14:42 #152

As I understand it, exactly the opposite principle applies at sea - "sail before steam". This is how it should be on the roads - precedence to the most vulnerable and the least polluting - pedestrians, then cyclists - and the least privileges for the most dangerous juggernauts. Which raises another question, why are the supermarkets allowed to use such huge lorries to deliver to their small "convenience stores", which are often located in narrow streets?

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Cycling on Enfield's streets and roads
10 Dec 2013 16:04 #156

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Karl Brown and Basil Clarke raise a key issue when they discuss where the responsibility should lie for taking care on urban streets and roads. In fact it’s a dilemma which many countries have faced up to by specifying that if a vehicle injures or kills a pedestrian the ‘default’ legal position will be that the driver is blameworthy. For example, in these administrations it is not good enough for a driver who hits a child to say: “S/he ran out in front of me” because the counter question will usually be: “Why were you driving so fast that you couldn’t stop?”

Of course there may be occasions where the default is overridden by the situation, perhaps by this sort of answer: “It was on a motorway, the parents’ car had broken down, they didn’t supervise the child and I was entitled to drive fast.”

But on an urban residential street lined with vehicles no-one should be driving so fast and close to the parked cars that they can’t stop if a child pops out from between them. Arguments such as it was a dark winter’s morning and the child wasn’t wearing bright clothing just wouldn’t wash because, as Karl Brown points out: the driver has the power – and is the danger. No child behaving as children do ever wins a battle with a car.

To bring this issue into the thread of this topic: “Cycling on Enfield’s streets and roads”, no cyclist ever kills a driver by riding three abreast with his/her mates.

Among a plethora of things which need improving on British streets the attribution of default responsibility to the person who has the power to kill or maim ranks high.

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Cycling on Enfield's streets and roads
15 Dec 2013 01:02 #158

Slightly off-topic, but there's a video on YouTube and associated webpage about a successful campaign in the 1970s to give precedence to children over cars in an inner city area of Amsterdam ("the Pipe"). The campaign was started by quite small kids and succeeded against some strong opposition from people who just took it as a given that streets were built primarily for cars.

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Cycling on Enfield's streets and roads
15 Dec 2013 14:15 #159

David Hughes David Hughes's Avatar Topic Author
Basil Clarke's contribution about the children's struggles in The Pipe, Amsterdam are illustrative of the fact that changes towards a more people-centred urban space, where pedestrians and cyclists can fully and democratically share the streets with traffic, have taken a very long time to come about. We should therefore not be discouraged about slow progress in the UK, especially as it's likely that the shear weight of urban traffic will speed things up here.

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