Wednesday 25 August 2010

Pavement cycling: the danger & the solution

The danger of pavement cycling and why cyclists should never cycle on the pavement was vividly brought home to me yesterday.

Why no one should never ever cycle on the pavement can be summed up in one word: lorries. The danger that lorries pose to cyclists is well known, yet many cyclists seem to forget this when cycling on the pavement. Lorry drivers often drive on pavements and it is all too easy for a pavement cyclist irresponsibly to enter the lorry driver’s ‘blind spot’.

Yesterday afternoon the driver of this Mercedes HGV lorry reg. YK04 FRN drove on to the pavement on Cleveland Park Avenue E17, at the junction with High Street (below). He parked there and went off down the High Street. A careless cyclist could so easily have collided with the lorry, which would have raised that all important question: was the cyclist wearing a helmet?

Half an hour later, on Leyton Green Road, I was admiring the magnificent cycling infrastructure when suddenly the driver of this SS Builders Merchants lorry (no, not an old established Third Reich construction company but a local firm with premises in both Leyton and Walthamstow) swerved onto the pavement and roared along it rather than wait for oncoming traffic. In the third snap (below) you can see the driver re-entering the carriageway, forced there by a pavement cyclist, a ‘hoodie’, who for some reason is wilfully ignoring the splendid cycle lane, presumably on the selfish grounds that the said cycle lane is full of legally parked cars. Do take time to pause and admire the nearest stretch of pink, cycling-friendly London Cycle Network infrastructure in the third photo.

The other day I was in London’s most successful cycling borough, Hackney, and I am pleased to be able to report that progressive Hackney has finally cracked the enduring problem of how to stop pavement cycling. The solution is easy when you think about it. Yes, simply allow cars to park entirely on the pavement and the menace of pavement cycling is extinguished forever. Cadogan Terrace E9.