Tag Archives: CS7

Insults, injuries and incompetence

Boris shouldn’t just apologise for blaming cyclists for getting injured. He should correct the policies that are based on this mistake.

It will come as news to nobody that making a journey by bicycle on Britain’s roads means exposing yourself to a considerable number of people who are operating potentially lethal machinery despite having neither the skills nor the temperament for the task. The fact that a significant proportion of the people society has allowed to drive on the public highway are simply not competent behind the wheel is far from a new phenomenon. Indeed, it was one of the inspirations for starting this blog two and half years ago.

Over those years the blog has strayed off into all sorts of other areas, like designing out the need to deal with incompetent drivers entirely, but the original issue has been back at the top of my mind — partly due to the other thing I’ve been working on. Mostly, though, I think it’s because of the forceful reminder of the fact that comes from moving to SW17, just off Cycle Superhighway 7. Perhaps I’m just imagining it, or perhaps it’s simply the psychological bias towards to the recent, but after a New Cross-Bloomsbury commute, the roads between Tooting and South Kensington seem to have more than their fair share of the sort of motor vehicle operators who demonstrate a screaming lack of the aptitude and/or attitude that the activity requires.

It’s particularly highlighted in south west London by the near zero speed limit compliance around CS7 between Kennington and Clapham outside of the rush hour congestion, and the folk using the bus and cycle lanes to pass already speeding traffic as they try to get their high-powered cars — which I’ve always presumed must be stolen from the West End — back to Stockwell and Streatham. Or the few folk who still insist on commuting to the City by car, desperately seeking a ratrun back to the Surrey suburbs and not allowing any of LB Wandsworth’s traffic calming to slow them down as they slalom in and out of cycle lanes on residential streets like Burntwood Lane…

Burntwood Lane, LB Wandsworth

Morons in South West London just see traffic calmed residential streets with schools on them as the next level up in the game. Few of the bollards shown remain in situ.

And yet there is one person to whom this blindingly obvious problem might have come as news, at least until recently: Boris Johnson. During his successful campaign for re-election in the spring, the famously carefree with facts Mayor made the absurd claim that two thirds of cyclists who had been injured and killed on the city’s roads were breaking the law when they were injured. After months of pretending that he was trying to remember what the evidence for the obviously fictional factoid was, he finally retracted it — once the election had long passed.

Last month, Jenny Jones MLA asked the mayor to apologise:

In your response to question 2450/2012, you admit that Transport for London’s statistics and research completely disprove your previous claim that two thirds of cyclists who have suffered serious injuries were breaching the rules of the road at the time. Will you now apologise for wrongly blaming cyclists who have been killed or injured on London’s roads through no fault of their own?

The mayor instead decided to send a great big “fuck you” to victims:

Please refer to my response to MQ 2450 /2012.

But it seems to me that Boris has much more to make amends for than merely insulting the victims of bad driving and the way we operate our streets, and he needs to take far more substantial action than making an apology.

Because Boris is responsible for the problem, and if he really has been labouring under the delusion that it is cyclists who are responsible for the carnage on the capital’s streets then his mistake would at least explain why his policies have so far failed to do anything to address the problem.

The office of Mayor of London has always incorporated the role that in the rest of England and Wales is now played by the recently introduced Police and Crime Commissioners. Policing priorities are therefore ultimately Boris’s responsibility. And there is no remotely realistic policy in place for tackling the problems of life-threatening incompetence, aggressive anti-social behaviour, and barefaced criminality amongst operators of motor vehicles that is on near constant display every evening along Cycle Superhighway 7 and the residential streets of south west London. Boris has allowed deadly dangerous driving to carry on as the norm, apparently because he was oblivious to it, preferring to pursue policies targeted at changing cycling behaviour.

He has added insult to injury and he needs to apologise for both.



Boris Johnson recently addressed People’s Question Time at Battersea Arts Centre, by talking of his delightful cycle, carried on a river of blue from City Hall to Battersea Arts Centre on the CS7. As a local resident who cycles regularly down that route, I thought I’d share a snapshot of the glorious journey myself and Boris are accustomed to. This section of the CS7 is split level and comes with a fetching red fence.

What a smooth surface. Sublime.

The CS7 can also
be used to park any signs you may have.

traffic flow. By letting cars park on it.

This is the ghost of the CS7. not even one year old. Joking aside, the CS7
shows several faults in Boris’s transport “legacy”. What was trumpeted as a transport revolution was clearly a very expensive PR stunt, now that they can’t be bothered with the upkeep. Yet again, Boris uses the fact that he cycles to detract from the fact that he
can’t provide for cyclists. Within two days of the CS7 being laid it was being dug up by a water company. If the CS7’s dilapidated now (and these photos are taken over a quarter mile distance) what will it look like in May 2012, election time?

Cycle superhighways: are they a joke?

That’s the most common question asked in the responses to the London Assembly transport committee survey

Thanks to Jim who pointed out in the comments to the Cycle Superhighways Report post that the raw data from the survey is actually publicly available for us to play with.  (I <3 data, so Jim’s London geo data visualisation blog is the latest addition to my googlereader.)

The GLA have kindly published the raw data from the survey online: http://data.london.gov.uk/datastore/package/london-assembly-cycle-survey-responses

I’ve done some quick sums, which indicate that you’re right about the difference between the two routes. Of the 135 respondents who said they used SH3, 53% said they felt safer, compared to 36% of the 303 who used SH7.

You can do a variety of other breakdowns from the raw data if you’re interested. And the ‘other comments’ parts are fascinating.

So users of the more off-road CS3 have a more favourable view of the relative safety of their route than the main-road CS7 users, though even on CS3 TfL can hardly claim an overwhelmingly positive response.

The other thing that interested me was the group of 11 respondents who said that they had taken up cycling because of the Superhighways — which superhighway had converted them.  Well it’s 4 of the 135 CS3 users and 6 of the 303 CS7 users.  One person who said that they had taken up cycling because of the cycle superhighways stated that they had not used either (“none in the area I want to ride”).  Of the 4 CS3 users, however, two said that they had been cycling in London for longer than 6 months, and one of those had only used CS3 once, so perhaps they had clicked the wrong options.  Of the 11 individuals who stated that the cycle superhighways converted them to cycling only 5 use them more than once a week.  Note that a number of people stated that both the bike hire and superhighways together converted them to cycling — 14 CS7 users and one “occasional” CS3 user.

I don’t know what these numbers mean.  CS7 is better at converting people to cycling than CS3?  People in the CS3 catchment area were already cycling on its precursor segregated bike paths so there was nobody to convert?  They might mean nothing at all, the numbers are really too small for any serious scholarly analysis.

Below the fold are a few quotes from the responses… Continue reading