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David Eden posted a reply #3541 15 Jan 2018 15:33

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

Felt bad for WH police. Honest and innocent posting for a genuine and fair intended purpose. However totally failed to guage anti-cycle propaganda hate campaigning and the inevitable backlash from drivers.
Karl Brown posted a reply #3542 15 Jan 2018 16:30

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

David - for non Twitter types (like me) could you fill the gaps to explain what you mean please. Seems reasonable Police guidance; eg I wouldn't expect my nephew, who has cycled Edinburgh to London in 48 hrs, to be other than outpacing cars on the main carriageway.
David Eden posted a reply #3543 15 Jan 2018 16:43

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

No problem. I agree it's sensible advice from WHP. I think what they were trying to get ahead of was angry sentiment from cars users who sometimes see cyclists not using cycle lanes and often complain about it (especially controversial high-cost projects like EMH). WHP were making it clear that cyclists do not HAVE to use cycle lanes. Projects like EMH are for the convenience of all cyclists but most specifically designed for less confident cyclists, those who wouldn't otherwise get out on a bike, such as the elderly or children etc, it gives them a safe zone to pootle along in.

More confident cyclists (which they refer to as fast and on expensive bikes, perhaps accurate but not the most helpful descriptors) are sometimes called 'vehicular cyclists' and don't mind the more fast paced aggressive cycling required to filter in with vehicular traffic. For them, slowing down for designated junction crossings, bus stop by passes and the occassional wistful pedestrian, is an inconvenience they are happy to avoid.


However, fuelled by tabloid press (Times as well as Daily Mail type rags) and things like the Briggs Campaign, 2017 demonstrated a massive backlash against cycling and cyclists in particular. Any post mentioning it on social media is inevitably met by a barrage of cyclist-abusing posters, normally complaining about road tax, red light jumping and what a danger cyclists are and that they need mandatory licencing registration and taxation to curb this (isn't exactly working well for cars!).

And that's what happened here. Well-meaning post met with a barrage of anti-cyclist abuse.

Personally I love EMH, it's the only proper cycle infrastructure I get in 10 miles of commuting, so I enjoy using it irrespective of being a confident moderately fast vehicular cyclist.
Karl Brown posted a reply #3544 15 Jan 2018 17:30

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

I’m shocked. You say the police give out general advice and information on personal safety, somewhat focused on the safety of children and the less able, often older, community members and they get a tsunami of abuse?
David Eden posted a reply #3545 16 Jan 2018 09:17

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

I wouldn't say they get the abuse specifically. The focus/subject of it is cycling, however its delivered in response to a sensible and well meaning tweet from the police force.
Tristan Lockheart posted a reply #3558 20 Jan 2018 20:08

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

I understand where they are coming from. An immense amount of funds was spent on the project, and I suppose it is rather galling to see very few cyclists along Green Lanes, and fewer still actually using the cycle lanes which have caused (and still cause) disruption to our journeys (along with costing rate-payers indirectly). I suppose it is a feeling that the investment we have put into the scheme (both financial and temporal) is being wasted due to low use and a refusal to use the expensive infrastructure installed.
David Eden posted a reply #3562 22 Jan 2018 09:53

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

Tristan - who and what do you mean by 'rate payers'? Funds came from TfL, ring-fenced for active travel infra, therefore have not cost Enfield and have not opportunity costs vis a vis other spending in the borough. Equally business rates for commercial premises along EMH have been unchanged (one of SOGL complaints) therefore there has been no impact on Council revenues.

I see cyclists using EMH every time I'm on it, though I appreciate the name may seem a misnomer as uptake is not on Dutch levels.

I've suffered no disruptions personally. Partly because I guess I've been lucky when in the car, and partly because for short local journies I leave the car at home and use EMH - pootling along past all the traffic caused by people in cars who choose not to do the same.
David Hughes posted a reply #3570 22 Jan 2018 22:50

A message from Winchmore Hill Police

It's politely and softly said, but there is an underlying criticism in Tristan Lockheart's most recent contribution to this thread which I think ignores far too much.

First a bit of history. The UK lost its cycling culture during my lifetime of 80 years, mainly in the first 30/40 years. Before then boys learned the cycling skills from older boys in the street outside their homes; few girls/women cycled. Most male manual workers cycled to work - in my town anyway - some boys cycled to school. No child turned up at the schools I went to in a car. Some came and went by train or bus.

At just over five years old I walked to school supervised by the ‘big girls’, who were around eight or nine years old. From about 10years old I cycled alone.

But of course there were virtually no cars due to the war and the legacy of war.

I told that story partly because it highlights the freedoms children have lost, but could be brought back in purely residential streets if drivers behaved. Why do does anyone other than the fire service have to drive above 15kph in a street designed for living and access? These are ideal places to learn/develop cycling skills.

Whether that sort of freedom can return or not, bringing a cycling culture back is going to take much time. There will be no surge on the Green Lanes cycle lanes for a long time. Why? Because changing a mindset is a slow business: decisions will have to be made to buy bikes, and it’s hard to find time to help kids learn. Fitting seats on parents’ bikes for kids below cycling age will not come easily to the modern mind, nor the willingness to put a youngster in a trolley behind your bike in Netherlands and Denmark style (probably Sweden, Norway & others as well though I haven’t been there for some years). Plus the fact that ours will be rather difficult cycle lanes to cope with until walkers get the hang of staying on the pavement (not as difficult as some of Strasbourg’s though, and it has an excellent cycling culture) .

Meanwhile there is still the 'pull' of that comfy car; especially when it's snowing as yesterday, or raining hard, or windy, or hot. Fair enough if weather is really bad, but when I lived in a village and cycled 12 kilometres each way to work I several times made it to the office when cars couldn't get through the drifts. Which is not to suggest that people go that far, but is to say that there seems to be mindset now which sees biking as impossible. Not so except when there’s much traffic, and drivers are in ‘entitlement’ mode. Which most usually are, because until now government at every level has fostered cars over common sense.

Now that vexed issue of experienced, often commuting, cyclists who are continuing to cycle on the carriageway. Of course they will! Some of our cycle lanes are on the pavement, are not as direct or smooth as the carriageway (which if you got an expensive bike is a nuisance), and there will probably be jay-walking pedestrians on cycle lanes along the social centres such as high streets. Further there seem to be more delaying traffic lights though I haven’t counted.

For the moment I'm mostly sticking to the cycle lanes, partly to assess their qualities and partly to be part of the pedestrian reminder system; some pedestrians seem genuinely amazed at my presence. However, it's likely that I'll ultimately revert to the carriageway. It's quicker, and I can play my part in undermining the 'sense of entitlement' so many drivers have: everything should be organised to suit my needs. Here’s a few examples:

• pedestrians required to walk out of their way to cross the road on a zebra crossing;
• giving children's independence on residential streets is not my problem;
• rat-running is OK even if it does limit children’s’ freedoms;
• parking selfishly, and
• travelling alone in large cars over short distances..

Tristan started with this sentence: "I understand where they are coming from. An immense amount of funds was spent on the project...............". Not an immense amount by comparison with the money spent over the years on systems for traffic; often making traffic safer for pedestrians. And had London remained mainly a walking, cycling, public transport culture it’s probable that only a smidgen of that money would have been needed.

If a walking culture been retained public transport could have carried the extra customers relatively comfortably; cars need an awful lot of room per person, especially when driver-only.

Finally there is the question of health. By now just about everyone knows about the dire effects of poor air quality (though drivers go on driving), but lack of fitness is also a serious problem accompanied by its soul mate: Type 2 diabetes.

Meanwhile cycling is wonderful for old geezers like me because it is excellent exercise, and it’s so easy on creaking hips and knees.

Just for the record I have a car. I/we, my wife and me, use for journeys were the big three can’t help.

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