Monday 8 November 2010

a very British segregated cycle path

What’s the finest segregated cycling infrastructure to be found in residential areas of the London Borough of Waltham Forest? That to be found on Queen Elizabeth Road E17 is surely the answer. Here you can find two short sections of cycle path which are physically separated from the road and which are unlikely ever to have pedestrians wandering in them. In themselves these sections are about as good as it gets in the dark world of British cycling infrastructure. They are contraflow lanes, helping the cyclist to pass in a westerly direction directly through a grid of streets between Higham Hill Road in the east and Blackhorse Lane (B179) in the west.

One fundamental problem is that this cycle route is not given priority over motor traffic once you are in the grid system. My photograph above shows the junction with Chatham Road. Traffic approaching from the rear has to turn left and the cyclist has to go straight on. Traffic also approaches from Chatham Road on the left. The markings give priority to drivers, not cyclists. This is an absurdity but all too typical of the way in which cycling infrastructure is always required to defer to the interests of motorists.

There is also a physical design flaw. You may be able to work out for yourself what it is. Pics taken on November 5.