diamond geezer

 Sunday, November 13, 2011

[CS2] Friday's tragic death at the Bow Flyover roundabout has been marked by a small row of bouquets. They're spread along the wall by the Calor Gas depot, with a single glass candleholder on the pavement to complete the temporary roadside shrine. Michelle left some flowers, and so did Cheryl, neither knowing the name of the cyclist they're commemorating but wanting to express their condolences all the same. This latest accident took place on precisely the opposite side of the roundabout to last month's fatal bike/lorry encounter. Brian's Dorling's floral tributes to are still tied to the traffic lights by McDonalds, with all bar one now hanging limp and withered after a fortnight of remembrance. The occasional cyclist stops by to take a photo. And the traffic rolls on. [photo] [photo]

[CS2] There's been many a moan that Cycle Superhighway 2 stops at the Bow Flyover roundabout. How awful, they say, that the mayor of Newham hasn't given permission for Boris's Cycle Superhighway to proceed onward towards Ilford. And yet Stratford High Street does have its own cycle lanes, at least at the start, it's just that they're not painted blue. They're not excessively wide either, not as wide as CS2 would be, but they are at least separated from other vehicles (most of CS2 through Bow is nothing more than a shared carriageway - half an ordinary lane of traffic). Further up Stratford High Street the cycle lanes fade away and then you're on your own, which is bloody stupid planning given that the roads have just been remodelled prior to the Olympics. But equally stupid is the lack of forethought at the roundabout itself, where no proper interface has been designed to aid transfer between Newham's cycle lane and Barclays' blue stripe. Riding east CS2 ends by vaguely dumping you on the pavement, whereas the continuation cycle lane is in the road. Meanwhile going west (where the latest fatality occurred) CS2 assumes you've ridden in from a non-existent lane on the pavement, so starts in mid-flow, rather than connecting back to the traffic lights. This end of CS2 has been optimised to merge with a continuation that doesn't yet exist, not the reality of today. No wonder it's not especially safe.

[CS2] Some better news. TfL have launched a special cycling map for the "Olympic Park and surrounding area", which you might find very useful. They launched it with a mild fanfare a few weeks ago. You may have seen it... although you probably haven't, because the map's very deliberately not been put online. You can only get a copy by ordering one from the TfL website (and, unlike all the other cycle maps of London, you can only order one). Someone in a trading unit in Woolwich then shoves one in an envelope, and you should receive it through the post in a week or so. The map shows recommended cycling routes for getting to the Olympics... but, given that this is the Autumn 2011 - Spring 2012 edition, these routes are of minimal current significance. Also marked are Cycle Superhighways and other "safe" routes recommended for cyclists, except there's one very obvious gap. Stratford High Street isn't officially designated as safe, you'll remember, so there's no direct cycle route between the Bow Roundabout and Stratford town centre. Rather than five minutes direct, TfL's risk-averse map recommends a meandering quarter-hour diversion via Three Mills, the Greenway and Abbey Mills DLR. Impractical, non-credible, and sure to be wholly ignored. Can this E15 blockade can be broken by the time the Summer 2012 map launches?
(Next Saturday, to officially launch the Olympic walking and cycling routes, Sustrans are organising two walks (from Gants Hill and Angel) and three rides (from Roding Valley, Tottenham Hale and Cutty Sark). Meet around 11, travel together, and end up at the View Tube. I hope the cafe can cope)

[CS2] There's only one good bit of Cycle Superhighway 2 in Bow, and that's the proper segregated lane on the pavement opposite Campbell Road. It was only opened back in the summer, but earlier this week it was suddenly closed again. The current worksite is for the construction of a new Cycle Hire docking station - the closest to the Olympic Park, so it's going to be enormous. And to build it requires digging up the pavement again, hence temporarily fencing off the Superhighway. Typical, eh? You build something better for cyclists, then something else better for cyclists, and the second gets in the way of the first. But what idiot placed these signs on the approach to the roadworks, in that order. First dismount (even though the remaining strip of pavement is very narrow and not in any way ideal for bike-wheeling). And second a blue arrow directing cyclists to the right (and pedestrians to the left). That's to the right into the main road, which is a bloody stupid place to walk a bike. It's just as well that cyclists are extremely good at ignoring instructions to dismount, because none of them are dismounting, they're riding through. But whoever placed this combination of signs on CS2 wasn't thinking, wasn't thinking at all.

[CS2] Walking to work midweek, I halted at the traffic lights at the top of Campbell Road to allow a car to pull out into Bow Road. I saw the car, but the cyclist riding parallel to me on CS2 didn't. He jumped a red light because he thought it looked safe, then suddenly discovered he was in mortal danger from a lateral collision. Braking hard he skidded to a halt, then toppled from his bike and fell sideways onto the main road. Had the usual stream of traffic been flowing past he'd have been a goner, and he knew it. He shivered and shuddered, then rose to his feet and clambered meekly back onto his bike. The driver in a nearby car wound down his window and hurled some (entirely appropriate) abuse, and the cyclist made a conciliatory gesture of acknowledgement before riding on. He was idiotic to have jumped a red light in the first place, obviously (even though it's often perfectly safe to do so). But I swear I've seen more cyclists jumping red lights since CS2 was built, because the blue stripe across road junctions seems to subconsciously tempt them forward. Priority for you ahead, it seems to say - ignore the red, follow the blue. Best not, because a Cycle Superhighway isn't a shield, it's just a bit of paint on a road.


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