Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Criminally negligent cost cutting making cycling more dangerous

Turning left here is banned. Turn left and you'll find yourself going the wrong way down a one-way street. But would any road user know it?

Am I really the only person who has noticed this? The Council has a wonderful new cost-cutting wheeze, namely cutting down on expenditure when it comes to signing NO ENTRY streets. Wherever it thinks it can get away with it, it doesn't bother to paint NO ENTRY on the carriageway. Sometimes it doesn't even paint any kind of white line. And it reduces the conventional pair of signs on posts, one on either side of the carriageway, to just one side - the left side, irrespective of the circumstances of the site.

The consequence of this cheapskate approach to signing is that drivers turn into 'No Entry' one way streets and drive down them without realising their mistake. And since there are circumstances where the driver literally can't see the solitary NO ENTRY sign (because it is obscured by vegetation or a parked vehicle and because there are no markings on the carriageway) the scene is set for, at worst, a head-on collision.

In the photo above you can just glimpse the only NO ENTRY sign on a pole, ridiculously situated a long way from the junction. It's visible to drivers in high vehicles but not to those in sports cars or smaller vehicles.

The location shown is Beulah Road E17, at the junction with Grosvenor Rise East. Some drivers make a banned left turn here and go down Maynard Road. Others continue all the way along to Grove Road. I've three times recently been cycling from the other direction and met drivers coming the wrong way. Most recently I met a van driver head-on, just beyond the bush. I pointed out to him he was heading the wrong way down a one-way street and he was genuinely surprised and apologetic. Ironically, as I sat on my saddle and took these snaps a cyclist came by and made the banned left-turn. Perhaps he didn't see the sign either.

I shan't be surprised if there's a serious head-on crash here one day. And the London Borough of Waltham Forest will bear a heavy responsibility.