2011-09-20 - Rider Down, Aldwych/Drury Lane

Posted on
Page
of 3
Prev
/ 3
Next
  • Problematic is not really the word for that part of London. Once you get to know the city well, having been cycling round it for many years, you get an intuitive feel for which stretches of road are particularly dangerous.
    It's not always something you can put your finger on, but it usually involves multiple lanes merging and crossing coming from and going to more than one direction.

    Mike, I can usually put my finger on what the problem is. :) You'll find that it's not rocket science, it tends to be the same things over and over again. There are fairly systematic problems inherent in street design in London. ('Problematic' to me just means that there's a problem somewhere that needs solving. I didn't mean to be more specific than that.)

    Examples for me include outside Kings Cross/St Pancras Station, the top of Blackfriars Bridge, The E&C roundabout (obvioulsy). The whole New Oxford Street, Holborn one way mess and Vauxhall Cross as we unfortunately saw yesterday. There are local ones specific to your part of the city that not everyone will know about.

    Its been said countless times that these areas need a big redesign. They could certainly start by getting rid of the bollards in the middle of Aldwych and that fucking ridiculous taxi rank and put a big wide cycle lane there. How difficult can that be? The area is also not helped by it being slightly up hill which brings further problems

    Well, a cycle lane wouldn't do anything to help with the problem. If anything, it would make it worse. The only solution that works in such cases is to make the area two-way, and most major problems disappear instantly. (There are still the usual problems of driver behaviour and stress, of course. Changing infrastructure is only a first step.)

    You're absolutely right that big redesigns are needed. The gyratories are the main problem. As luck would have it, Skully's just started a thread on it:

    http://www.lfgss.com/thread72710.html

    Let's discuss it there.

  • two way would certainly help... and, true, a painted cycle lane wouldn't do much.

    but also, there's plenty of space here to separate cycles and other traffic entirely. which would eliminate the kind of interaction between cycles and stopping buses that seems to have caused this accident...

  • Well, that was bound to come up. :) It wouldn't bring any advantages, chameleon, and would only generate a set of problems which in Central London is insurmountable. People often think that all that is required for segregated cycle tracks is space. However, the main things that are required for them to 'work' (i.e., for them not to cause so many problems) is low levels of frontage activity and low levels of side street interaction. There is no chance of either of these things ever happening in this area, not that segregated tracks would be desirable here even then.

    The issue here isn't bus-cycle interaction; that is often demonised way out of proportion. The issue is the interaction between all four lanes (or five at the Kingsway junction, I think) that causes cyclists to be timid about getting in the right lane. Once the street is made two-way, this issue will disappear in an instant.

    One shouldn't try to apply segregated tracks as a blunt, non-specific remedy. There is a place for them in certain environments, where they can have specific purposes, but Central London, by and large, isn't one of them. You could have such tracks in unusual streets like Lambeth Palace Road, for instance, but not in a lot of places. There are a lot of myths surrounding their benefits, and for many people they are a kind of ideal that fills them with hope. However, the reality of street design in London is hard work without any panaceas.

    (By the way, we've been through this sort of thing many times in various guises. Back in 1997, LB Hackney came up with a design for contraflow segregated cycle tracks all around the Shoreditch gyratory. The local group then made a principled decision not to go for these but to hold out for full two-way working. Strategically, this has always been the right move. Compare this to the decision by the Camden local group in the 1990s to support segregated tracks. In the time since then, they've managed to get two tracks in, both of which will probably not last that much longer, and have achieved virtually no change in the traffic environment of central Camden, in marked contrast to what's been happening in Hackney. The Camden group are now campaigning much more strongly for permeability, following Hackney's example.)

  • oliver, what's your evidence base here?

    cycle-bus interaction is a big problem - maybe not for you, but for many other less experienced or confident cyclists, certainly. it has resulted, as you know, in several recent deaths and injuries in central london.

    protected space for cycling isn't a blunt, non-specific remedy. it's a very specific remedy where cyclists interact with heavy bus and hgv traffic (which is many places in central london). car/cycle accidents at 20mph or less tend to be less serious - and cars have better visibility. cycle/hgv/bus accidents, even at low speeds, often kill and maim. it's just true that safety here, where traffic is mixed, depends mostly on the competence and alertness of the driver of the large vehicle, and to some degree on the competence of the cyclist, and neither of those can be guaranteed. it's better to rely on safety by design.

    the majority of cyclists (and those who would like to cycle) feel safer (and, in most cases, it appears, are safer) when not mixing with buses/hgvs

    http://injuryprevention.bmj.com/content/­early/2011/02/02/ip.2010.028696.full.pdf­?sid=a2ed422a-9dbe-409a-b762-40e0ffbcedc­6

    have you been to manhattan recently? many miles of new protected space for cyclists - often on avenues with plenty of frontage activity and side streets - appear to have resulted in a significant increase in cycling.

    http://transportationnation.org/2011/07/­28/breaking-new-york-city-biking-is-up-1­4-percent-from-2010/

    what is needed, certainly, is a degree of imagination in terms of the re-thinking of roads and junctions, and a political willingness to take space away from private cars.

    (and, obviously, you're right - it's way better to remove a gyratory entirely than try to fit it out with cycle lanes.... but that doesn't mean that protected space shouldn't be part of the redesign..)

  • chameleon best to take this discussion to the gyratory thread, or another more suitable one, Rider Down's are best for everyone if they are for that incident specifically, rather than an ongoing discussion of the practicalities of cyclist/traffic interactions..

  • sure. oliver, if you post a reply in another thread, let me know...

  • Hello I stumbled on this, after someone had told me that this accident hadbeen in the standard, I was on the bus, and provided first aid to the guy with2 other people, had to pull the back doors open to get to him, a doctor turnedup as well which was helpful. It seemed to take forever for the ambulance toarrive, but I guess that is just your perception of the situation? I have tosay, that it’s something that is going to stick with me for a long while. Ihave been deeply worried about the chap since. Didn’t sleep Tuesday night, couldnot stop thinking about it. My thoughts go out to him and his wife. I would addthat it’s nice to see you all thinking about him and wishing him well. I hopehe makes a good recovery. I have my first aid refresher coming up soon, and Iwill now be much more focused on this. I have to go to A+E tomorrow on my dayoff, as I got covered in blood, it’s just routine apparently, – you just neverthink you will need the training, be safe guys and do watch out for each otherand those buses

  • Scooby, I do not know the downed rider but thank you, as a cyclist, for helping him in what could only have been a difficult and traumatic situation.

    Consider getting some counselling to make things easier on your self.

  • Yeah scooby thanks for posting. Well done for doing what you could for him. I hope we'd all act to help people but I think it might not be that easy. Go easy on yourself, take some time off, do what's necessary. You maybe are at risk from PTSD.

  • Above sentiments echoed scooby. Well done!

  • get well soon rider.

    yes those roads where one has a number of lanes to cross are very difficult for us riders.

    two way flows please and no more 'multiple lane' public thoroughfares in built up areas.

  • The Camden group are now campaigning much more strongly for permeability, following Hackney's example.)
    And so's the Southwark group!

  • Problematic is not really the word for that part of London. Once you get to know the city well, having been cycling round it for many years, you get an intuitive feel for which stretches of road are particularly dangerous.
    It's not always something you can put your finger on, but it usually involves multiple lanes merging and crossing coming from and going to more than one direction.

    Examples for me include outside Kings Cross/St Pancras Station, the top of Blackfriars Bridge, The E&C roundabout (obvioulsy). The whole New Oxford Street, Holborn one way mess and Vauxhall Cross as we unfortunately saw yesterday. There are local ones specific to your part of the city that not everyone will know about.

    Its been said countless times that these areas need a big redesign. They could certainly start by getting rid of the bollards in the middle of Aldwych and that fucking ridiculous taxi rank and put a big wide cycle lane there. How difficult can that be? The area is also not helped by it being slightly up hill which brings further problems
    This.

  • My spamming the email news list today wasn't such a bad thing:

    Hi David

    Are you the administrator for the forum? I was the cyclist under the bus at Aldwych on 20 September. I saw there was a thread about me on the forum.

    I'm still in the Royal London after quite a bit of surgery but I'm going to be ok. There was a witness (Scooby) who was quite distressed and I thank all the well wishers from the bottom of my heart.

    Kind regards

    Jim Taylor

  • I was thinking about him the other day. I ride past there every morning and passed not long after it happened. It's great to hear he'll be OK.

  • Go Jim. Brilliant news.

  • So glad to hear you're ok Jim! You've put a big smile on my face.

  • Here's to much further progress, Jim! It's great to hear from you.

  • Ah good to hear you're on the mend jim, I've been thinking about you on my commute ever since. Hope you make it home soon.

  • Hi it's me. I'd also like to clear up one thing. I can't say too much as the police investigation is active. However, I was absolutely cycling correctly and and in the correct road position. I'm younger than the report suggested (probably not looking my best I admit). What happened to me was completely beyond my control and it makes me furious that in cases like this the assumption is that the cyclist is in some way at fault. I've lived in London all my life. I've commuted by bike for the last twelve years and ive also held a clean driving licence for 25 years. I know what I'm doing on the road. More so than some professional drivers. I also don't take risks. Thanks to brilliant surgeons, modern medicine and a lot of luck I should make a good recovery. It could have been so much worse. My wife still has a husband and my four year old boy still has a father. Once again, thanks everyone for all your kind comments. And to the members of the public who kept me going until the ambulance arrived I could never thank you enough. All my love. Jim

  • Good to hear you're on the mend, Jim.

  • Thanks for letting us know how you are doing and best of luck with your recovery.

  • Your post makes great reading! I'm glad you're on the road to recovery andre sorry if my incorrect assumption (based on what I read) added to any distress you were going through. I wish you the ultimate best result in the investigation.

  • great to hear you are ok.

    and superb to hear that you are confident of your right to ride.

  • Jim, thank you for finding the time to contact us and great to hear you are on the mend.

    Every best wish for a full recovery, and I for one, am full of admiration for your determination and resolve, despite what you have gone through.

  • Post a reply
    • Bold
    • Italics
    • Link
    • Image
    • List
    • Quote
    • code
    • Preview
About

2011-09-20 - Rider Down, Aldwych/Drury Lane

Posted by Avatar for marie @marie

Actions