Sunday, 1 December 2013

Article: The Australian: "Queensland ponders relaxing cycle helmet laws"

Queensland ponders relaxing cycle helmet laws

An interesting article from a country that has compulsive helmet wearing for cyclists.

A committee has told the state government there's insufficient evidence about safety benefits to justify the current law requiring riders to always wear helmets.

The committee was formed to advise on the competing interests of cyclists and motorists.

Its report, tabled in parliament today, says helmet use should be encouraged.

But it says evidence from around the world about safety outcomes doesn't justify all riders of all ages having to wear helmets “regardless of the situational risk”.

I'm sure most cyclists would agree with points in this report. The suggestion is those over 16 should be allowed to make their own choice but only on safe roads (under 60km/hr) or off-road.
When I was in Queensland myself, back in 2007, I was lucky enough the place I was staying could provide bike helmets as well as bicycles. Apparently hire schemes (such as the one in Brisbane) require you to have your own helmet, and this is given as a reason why the scheme may not have taken off.

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Due to injury, I haven't been cycling in the last month. A real shame as I have all my nice warm winter clothing and enjoy cycling! I enjoy cycling and it saves me money.

Anyway I walked past the post where Brain Holt lost his life almost three weeks ago. I was in that exact area not 20mins before his fatal accident and if I couldn't use the canals, I'd have to use CS2 from Stratford; a thought that will no doubt fill my family with fear.

                                                   From my cycling Flickr

The above photo shows the lovely "blue paint in bus lanes" that constitutes CS2 through much of it's length. Ironically, further along the road, above and to the left of the Police sign, is this sign.

                                                         From my cycling Flickr

No, I don't think it is safer, thank you. That particularly stretch along Stratford High Street (CS2X) may well be safer with it's segregated lanes but overall, the cycle superhighways are not.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Today I'd like to share with you a video a friend shared with me.

This guy got a ticket for not riding in the bike lane (in the USA somewhere) and so filmed himself riding into things in the bike lane.

How often does this happen to us here in the UK? Nearly everyday I have to swerve around something parked in the bike lane. Most lanes here in UK aren't enforcable and traffic can use them so really are not a great deal of help sometimes! In theory, they are just suggestions of where to cycle rather than where the traffic prefer us right up against the pavement.

Having to join traffic to get past a row of cars causes problems and is quite dangerous on busy roads. Not to mention that vehicle drivers don't like cyclsts getting in their way and slowing them down. I was beeped at by a driver, at the weekend, who though I shouldn't be in front of him on a single lane road.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

CS2 Update

Segregated lanes work for everyone.

1. Cyclists are safer, enticed to cycle
2. Pedestrians don't complain about rogue cyclist on pavement
3. Drivers stop beeping and moaning about cyclists on "their" roads

Here's a photo of the bus-lane-avoiding-cycle-lane near Bow roundabout that shall be part of CS2. Not too impressed by CS2 so far as it's mostly just blue paint that car drivers use and it's busy roads.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

CS2 Stratford Extension

Big surprise when I went in to Stratford; CS2 extension!
                   Segregated lanes!

All well and good but they are wide enough to park in (as shown by police car below) so I have some doubts how this will work.

Car sized lanes? Hmmmm...

Meanwhile you have to regularly join with heavy traffic including buses, coaches and lorries. *sigh*

Friday, 4 October 2013

The "Fun" I'd Forgotten

First day back cycling into uni. Wasn't the best journey.

1. Twat of a bus driver outside Leyton Orient stadium. First he had hazard lights on and just pulled into traffic. Then as I came down the hill, he made gestures and comments because I wasn't travelling fast enough for him.

2. After nipping down the alleyway to avoid the junction at Oliver/Ruckholt Road, I found the lights weren't changing and crossing to the cycle path was nigh on impossible.

3. It started raining in Victoria Park.

I'm pretty tired today so not enjoying my pottering-about-on-campus time between lecture end and work start of 6hrs. Might have headed home for a while, if only the journey here hadn't put me off!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

A Small Grumble

My start at uni should have heralded my start of cycling again, but no, I get the Ick. Though imagine my surprise today on the Central line at Mile End, when I saw a cyclist get on the tube. I'm guessing he was wimping out of the rain.

Anyway TFL does allow you to take non-folding bikes outside of peak hours on certain sections (as shown in green on this map on the TfL website) but he was using the Central line and not the allowed Hammersmith or District. Didn't help he was cramming into a carriage with a school party. No sense whatsoever.

Yet another cyclist breaking the rules and giving bad PR for the rest of us. It's my main gripe about some of my fellow cyclists

Anyway I plan to cycle tomorrow and avoid another day of rush-hour cram!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Never Trust a Weather Forecast

Simple really. Says it'll rain all day so I put on some waterproofs and mudguards this morning and went to the shops in the rain. Of course, it's been dry and sunny since about 4pm.

A short post but I'm sure fellow cyclists know this feeling!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Article: Evening Standard: Floating bike lanes make shortlist for £100m funding

Two of the boroughs reported in the article are ones I use frequently; Newham and Waltham Forest. Newham wants to redesign Stratford centre, a move I can only hope for. It's full of traffic and, although it has some shared use pavements, they aren't signposted and the pavements are crowded. Waltham Forest wants to improve Lea Bridge Road, with a cycle superhighway and a Dutch-style roundabout at Whipps Cross.

The roundabout needs serious attention, as it's heavy with traffic and not pleasant to cycle around. The proposed CS may be a little redundant as quite alot of the length of Lea Bridge Road has bus lanes already.

The press release by the GLA states only 3 or four boroughs will be awarded though the others "will still receive substantial funding to achieve many of the objectives they set out in their submissions." Most boroughs shortlisted submitted similar ideas of redesigning roundabouts and segregating cyclists.


I've decided I need somewhere to talk about my life as a cyclist in London. Mainly to to vent but occasionally cycling is a pleasure in London. And thus this blog. I may well take the opportunity to add some photos.

My usual journey, to university, involves using the canals with a fun bit along the A106. Until recently this meant I could use the shared use pavements alongside the A106, but recently, this isn't possible and you have the fun of being on a busy road with HGVs. Eastway to the canal is pleasant whilst it's shut for three months though...

Last week, I cycled into Central London for the first time. Not as scary as the A106 can be and I'm quite used to people being useless drivers and overtaking me on narrow/bends/too close. It was just a pain to get lost and I haven't got the hang of my new phone mount yet.

So my thoughts on my first time in Central London as pros (+) and cons (-):

+ CS3 along The Highway: how the Cycle SuperHighways should be. Off road, segregated, thought out

- CS2 on Whitechapel Road: near the station, it's just square blobs of blue paint. Most of CS2 disappoints me. I have used it to get to Stratford from Mile End and it's just a length of blue paint that terminates (currently) at the Bow Roundabout. And let's not talk about the Bow Roundabout...

- Tower Bridge: terribly laid tarmac. It ripples and you find it tricky to find to find a straight path. The 20mph limit is fairly redundant with it being chock-a-block anyway.

Blackfriars Bridge is a mixture; good as it was wide and fairly traffic free. Bad as southbound has a bus stop in the middle.

Finally just so you're clear on some of my cycling peeves:

1. Very strong wind blowing against me, usually when going uphill!
2. Some stupid driver trying passing me where the road narrows for bollards. Even more so, when happens more than once
3. Vehicles overtaking me to close and sharply pulling in, resulting in me braking hard

Don't get me wrong. I cycle in most weathers and enjoy finding interesting things (like the drained canal below).
                                  From my new Flickr