Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A Tale of Two Bridges

Blackfriar's Bridge crossing north to south shown in Google Street View

Blackfriars Bridge is notorious.  In the  morning the bridge is busy with cars, buses, lorries, motorcycles and bicycles, mostly moving fast and sharing the same space.  Motorcycles are sometimes to be found in the cycle lane, particularly northbound, and are allowed in the bus lanes so beware of them.  I question the room afforded to pedestrians on both sides of this road, especially as the exit from Blackfriars station now enables rail travellers to emerge at the southern or northern end of the bridge.   There is also adequate provision for pedestrians to cross, by underpass or pedestrian crossing, at either end of the bridge. Cyclists need to yield graciously to peds crossing on the green man on the southern approach to the bridge.

If you cycle across this bridge you need to be aware of what is behind you before moving out to overtake anything.  All vehicles, including bicycles, are moving fast; motorcycles frequently dangerously so, or invading cycle lane.

 Southwark Bridge crossing south to north shown in Google Street View

This is more like it.  Cycles are securely shielded from traffic by raised kerb stones sufficient to prevent anything smaller than a tank from crossing into the cycle space.  Care is still needed as aged cyclists like me are likely to be travelling much slower than the lycra mob.  Be patient and ensure that there are no fast moving cyclists behind before moving out to overtake slower moving pedallers; there is only room on the blue tarmac for two cyclists abreast if lane discipline is observed.

Friday, 9 August 2013


It is very sad to hear of the death of another cyclist on Monday 5th of August on Archway Road near Langdon Park Road.  This is a north facing view of part of that road near where the accident happened.

Google Street View facing north shows single line traffic southward bound toward Archway.

I think the picture from Google Street View demonstrates clearly the dangers that cyclists face on this stretch of road. The inside lane southbound is for parked cars, there is one traffic lane southbound, one northbound and a bus lane northbound. 
  • There is little room for a lorry travelling south to pass parked cars.  There would be no room for a lorry plus cyclist where there were also parked cars.  Passing a cyclist in this situation demands care and patience.  The Google Street View shows this very clearly. 
  • The bus lane on the opposite side of the road clearly affords cyclists much safer passage but southbound there are the two major hazards of parked cars and a busy main road confined to a single lane southbound.  Cyclists are extremely exposed in these situations and other road users often do not appreciate the risks or are too impatient to get past.
  • There is no knowing what the traffic conditions where like at the time of the accident.  I avoid major roads like the plague but in this case there are no obvious alternative routes in the area with a tangle of many small roads serving residential areas.
Dr Clive Richards, retired GP and cyclist of many years experience will be very sadly missed and was clearly not just another lycra clad hothead.  I am very sorry to hear this very sad news.