The short cycle lane on Wellesley Road in Croydon is possibly one of the worst, and most dangerous, facilities I have encountered. It’s extraordinarily negligent and thoughtless, even by the standards of the mindless crap that gets put on our streets.
The road itself is a rather unpleasant dual carriageway, with bus lanes that appear and disappear, apparently at random. As I trundled southbound on my Brompton, I eventually spotted the safe refuge of a cycle lane, that appeared to be protected by a kerb, just as the road started to disappear into the Croydon Underpass.
It comes to a stop after a few yards. Where do you go at the end of it?
You can’t cross the road. It’s walled off to you along it’s entire length (about which more below). You can’t turn left – that’s TRAMS ONLY. So your only option is to wobble across and rejoin the main carriageway, around an impossibly tight left turn, just at the point that vehicles are starting to scream down into the underpass.
You can then exit from the road again, into the bus lane, only ten yards further along down the road.
The lack of thought here is simply incredible. It’s almost as if the ‘designers’ have actually gone out of their way to put cyclists into danger; staggeringly, they have managed to install something that is worse than the absurdly dangerous u-bend ‘facility’ that was here before -
According to that site, 12 cyclists have been injured by catching their wheels in the tramlines – presumably because they didn’t fancy going anywhere near the main carriageway, and were cutting the corner, across the tramlines at too shallow an angle.
The choice is now even more stark.
Here, youtuber SkrzypczykBass makes an illegal turn onto the tram lines.
I don’t blame him for not taking the ‘legal’ route into the bus lane, and risking the tram lines. Of course, the safest approach, by far, is to avoid the entire thing altogether, and just stay on the unpleasant road, before joining the bus lane. I think that speaks volumes about the quality of this facility.
Incidentally, Wellesley Road itself is an appallingly hostile environment, both for bicycles, and pedestrians. You find charming signs like this on the railings in the centre of the carriageway -
People are dying in their attempts to cross the road. Instead of making it easier for them to do so, by actually putting in surface crossings and slowing vehicles, this is the response.
There are no surface crossings along this road, as far as the eye can see. Only a couple of miserable subways.
And just beyond those buildings in the far distance – after only one or two side roads – this enormous urban motorway suddenly becomes… an ordinary looking road.
Walk a few hundred yards south from this point, though, and it expands into a horrible behemoth, that is impossible to cross on foot. For no apparent reason; except, perhaps, that in the 1960s, this is what roads were supposed to look like.