Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Another lethal cycle lane

Where the cycle lane emerges on to the A112

If you are cycling from Chingford to the Crooked Billet along the A112 (Chingford Road) you will come to an off-road cycle lane outside the greyhound stadium. When the lights are at red at the junction with Walthamstow Avenue, cyclists have the option of cycling off-road outside the stadium, bypassing the lights and re-joining the A112 beyond the stadium.

Excellent! Except for one fatal flaw. As cyclists rejoin the traffic flow the cycle lane has no physical protection from oncoming traffic. And that traffic approaches either from Walthamstow Avenue, which accesses a hotel and a large branch of Sainsbury’s, or from the A112, because the lights may change as you bypass the stationary traffic at red.

Every other local authority that I know provides some form of physical protection and warning for drivers at sites where off-road cycle lanes emerge into busy traffic lanes. Not crap Waltham Forest. In daylight you rely on a driver noticing the emerging cycle lane and the possibility of a cyclist suddenly appearing there. As I’m sure most cyclists have noticed, paying attention is not the strong point of many drivers, particularly since the invention of the mobile phone.

As for emerging at this point at night… Well, you can understand why some cyclists might prefer to ride on an empty pavement rather than sacrifice their lives to a criminally inattentive driver who, if they kill you, will only be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention and receive a small fine.

The two photographs below show how wider vehicles enter this unprotected cycle lane.