My attention has been drawn, via Crap Waltham Forest and Karl McCracken, to the recent comments of Alison Dines, the leader of Islington Cyclists’ Action Group, about the possibility of safer, separated cycle lanes in London. In an interview with the local paper, principally about the dangers posed to cyclists by speeding motorists and dangerous road layouts, she argues that
People who don’t cycle say they would like to see segregated bike lanes like they do in some European cities. Unfortunately, it is never going to happen in London because we don’t have the space.
I am not sure I agree. There are undoubtedly reasons why segregated bike lanes may not happen in London – lack of political will being the most notable – but ‘space’ is certainly not one of them. Let’s take a look, for instance, at the three locations where Ms Dines identifies particular dangers to cyclists –
Speeding traffic is not the only problem. On top of that, there are the big gyratory systems at Archway, Highbury Corner and Old Street which pose big dangers.
Highbury Corner –
Old Street –
‘We don’t have the space’?
I don’t mean to criticize Ms Dines – she has correctly diagnosed that these gyratories are dangerous and unpleasant, regardless of the speed of traffic on them. But I think we should be clear about what, if anything, is preventing the construction of properly-designed, safe, segregated lanes in these areas.
It isn’t lack of space.
Interestingly, I notice that no comments have peen posted. I say that because my comment has not been posted.
This was my comment:
Ms Dines claims:
“People who don’t cycle say they would like to see segregated bike lanes like they do in some European cities. Unfortunately, it is never going to happen in London because we don’t have the space.”
This is completely untrue, and is arrant nonsense.
The other excuses won’t wash either:
When people say “we don’t have the space” for segregated bike lanes, what they really mean is “we don’t have the political will to do anything about it”. I suspect that a large part of the problem is our electoral system which allows our “elected” leaders to be put in place with with the support of a small section of the electorate. This makes it very difficult to apply local bottom solutions to problems in this country, sadly I don’t see this changing any time soon.
We all know that the current transport systems are working, see can see solutions working in counties just the other side of the North Sea. However, our political classes don’t regard it as right for them and their corporate sponsors aren’t interested (it takes a lot of money to get elected).
There is, sadly, a lot of inertia in the current system, that has to be overcome.