When Westfield opened in September 2011 a walk around the centre soon revealed that you could buy a car but not a bike. I talked with one of the centre's managers and he said that there was plenty of space if I wanted to open a bike retailer. Not the answer I was looking for from a location claiming green credentials. Just before the Olympics a bike shop opened called The Bike Rooms. It only sells the Italian Pinarello range of bikes which are quality but come with a hefty price tag and the Assos range of clothing. These were the bikes supplied to Team GB. If you've been fortunate enough to win the National Lottery then their time trials bike with a price tag of £14,000 shouldn't faze you. At the other end of the price spectrum, £8.99 for a tub of Assos chamios cream could be the start of an aspirational purchase. A good looking modern shop with good looking staff. The Bike Rooms, 108 The Street, Westfield Stratford City. http://www.thebikerooms.com/
Tower Hamlets Cycling News
Our bicycle maintenance workshop on Saturday, 20 October will be held at:
Lighthouse Baptist Church Hall
135 Devons Road
Entrance in Brock Place - map
Start and end times remain unchanged, 11.00am until 3.00pm. Further details at wheelers.org.uk/workshop.
We will return to our usual location of Limehouse Town Hall from November onwards.
A planning permission application has been submitted by LBTH to provide much needed cycle parking at Bethnal Green tube station. The scheme involves demolishing the disused toilet block in Bethnal Green Gardens and providing parking for 78 bicycles.
Planning application details: PA/12/02233.
A decision is expected to be made by the planning committee during November 2012.
The Canal & River Trust is recruiting for a new post of Strategic Cycle Routes Coordinator.
"This challenge is all about creating new east-west cycle routes that both benefit commuter cyclists and preserve the historic Regent's Canal towpath. Aiming to connect Camden, Islington, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, you will take every opportunity to make sustainable highway improvements for an ever-growing cyclist community."
Closing date for applications is 12th October 2012.
If you've ever cycled to Westfield you will know the design chaos that awaits as you approach the multi million pound shopping mall. No expense spared for cars but bikes get treated to random planning events that switch on and off like psycho disco lights. So you might have thought the Olympics was a chance to build a proper cycling legacy for the DMZ that is Westfield? Not a bit of it.
It was a moment of crazy anticipation as I approached one of the most ludicrous cycle lanes in the country, when Westfield reopened its parking in September after the Olympics. Would this nutty cycle lane still be there?....oh yes! It's all of 5 bike lengths long. It's nestled under a bridge, by a fence, on a roundabout. It starts on the roundabout. And stops. On the roundabout. A few yards later.
Thank you planners. We are grateful.
Things to bear in mind when cycling in London during the Olympics...
[This page will serve as a placeholder for all Olympic cycling restrictions and changes as we hear about them...]
Disclaimer: I have found that staff at various stations and facilities also seem confused about policy, so it may well be worth checking their site and taking a printout of the policy if you are relying on taking your bike on a train, for example. We will try to keep this as up-to-date as possible but please check also with the websites concerned... If you know of any changes please let us know.
See also: [LCC: Getting around during the Olympics]
- The towpath on the eastern bank of the River Lea navigation was fenced off just past Hackney Marshes, at the point where the A12 flies over it, all the way to Bow to the south. [Guardian Article re: Closure and demo]
- Greenway Closure: The Greenway is scheduled to reopen in December 2012 once temporary London 2012 facilities have been removed.
- Canal Towpath Closures include: From the Eastway ramp to the Bow Flyover. These will affect not just those cycling to the Olympic games but also those who regularly use the routes. This restriction is being put in place as it is seen as a security risk. [London Cyclist: Cycling to the Olympics]
- Olympic and Paralympic Route Network (ORN and PRN) Cyclists risk £130 fine for being in the Olympic lanes during operation
See: The "Cycling" section at http://www.getaheadofthegames.com/things-you-should-know/changes-roads.html
Claims that "Disruptions to cyclists should be minimum as 95% of closures will be on the far side as opposed to the bus lane."
- Total ban on non-folding carriage by train companies: [Original Article: CTC] :
Both First Great Western and Southern, serve Dorking, which is the town closest to Box Hill, the focal point of the race. A special timetable, with 6 trains per hour, will run from Waterloo and Victoria in central London to Dorking, calling at Box Hill & Westhumble station.
The ban on bikes throughout the summer was proposed by both Southern and South Eastern. However, in the last few weeks, they have both quietly backed down from that position and bikes will be allowed on in the period between the Olympics and Paralympics
- First Great Western trains from Reading to Redhill, passing through several stops close to where the race will go has a ban on cycle carriage throughout the weekend of the 28/29 July.
- Southern operates between London and Brighton and also operates trains to the stations closest to Box Hill. Restrictions will apply from 27 July to 12 August and 29 August - 9 September.
- Southeastern operate trains between London and Kent, they are proposing a total ban on non-folding bikes from 27 July - 12 August and again, for the Paralympics, from 29 August - 9 September
- South West Trains serves parts of the race route, the cycling time trial and Wimbledon. Non-folding bikes are not permitted on trains serving Dorking during the cycle race events on 28/29 July
- C2C services to Southend and Shoeburyness during Mountain Bike events, 11-12 August
- London Overground: "During the 2012 Games additional restrictions are on trains timed to depart in either direction Monday to Sunday all day between Clapham Junction / Willesden Junction and Stratford and between Highbury & Islington and New Cross/Forest Hill." (A rather long-winded way of saying bikes are banned at all times, in almost all of zones 1-3!)
- ATOC Cycle Rail Policy - including Olympics updates [pdf]
- Cycle Hire / Docking Station Suspensions: A number of Cycle Hire docking stations will be suspended at various times.
The nearest docking stations are around 15-20 minutes walk away from the Olympic Park.
- Emirates Air-Line Cable Car: Unknown
- Thames Clippers River Service: Unknown
- Bicycle Parking: Expect bike parking facilities to be more limited as more Londoners are expected to commute by bike. At London Bridge station, some of the cycle parking has been removed "to make more space" - Some additional temporary cycle parking...
[LCC: Paid attendants required for cycle parking facilities in the Royal Parks]
We attended the annual Arnold Circus Picnic on Sunday, 8th July, this year renamed the "Olympicnic" for obvious reasons.
Organised by the Friends of Arnold Circus, it's a fun community event we always look forward to. As well as a Dr Bike service, we provided marshalling for the traditional "100 laps of the Circus" bike ride.
Read more in the Friends' Day of Discovery and Delight blog post.
Svitlana’s family have expressed their shock that the driver of the vehicle that hit her last November at Bow roundabout will not face criminal prosecution and as members of the local cycling community we share that response.
Having sat through her inquest on 2nd May at Poplar Coroner’s Court we feel that there was sufficient evidence to go to a jury on a charge of causing death by careless driving.
Mr Shergill's own evidence is that during his journey he was on the phone to his father, making travel plans, and that he failed to see Svitlana cycling along the road as he passed her. All the other vehicles’ witnesses saw her. He then saw what he thought was a pedestrian on the pavement but when they ‘disappear’ does not take measures to check their whereabouts in relation to his vehicle before moving off, still talking on his hand-free phone.
The police evidence is that this was Svitlana moving her cycle past the stationary traffic to the lights. She placed her bike in the space of about 8 feet between the front of his lorry and the kerb. Neither Mr Shergill nor other witnesses could say that he was indicating the left turn and it could be that she assumed from his position that he was continuing his journey westward. Tragically this led to the collision that killed her and coroner’s narrative verdict of a traumatic road death.
We are sad that Mr Shergill did not apologise at the inquest to her mother and sister for her death. We hope that he spends the £150 on fitting the ‘blind-spot’ safety mirror that may have saved her life.
The Big Ride, promoting the LCC's Love London, Go Dutch campaign for safe streets for cycling, will meet in Hyde Park at 11.00am and aims to be a fabulous springtime day out in central London, suitable for all the family. The ride will end on Victoria Embankment around 2pm.
We are providing a feeder ride from Tower Hamlets to the ride start and then an escort back to the borough, to allow everyone to join in even if you aren't confident enough to cycle into central London on your own.
Meet at 09.45 on Mile End Road opposite Stepney Green tube station/Co-op shop, ready for a 10.00 departure.
Download this flyer showing you a map for the meeting point for the ride back. We should be back at Mile End about 15.00. The District Line is running normally on the day so if you prefer you can take your bike back to the East End by train after the ride.
Full distance (feeder ride there, Big Ride and ride back to Mile End) about 17 miles.
And if you haven't already, please sign the Love London, Go Dutch petition!
A few days ago, I was made aware via several people, of a Blog Post by Palletline Logistics' chief Bob Russett, calling for Cyclists to be banned from the roads in city centres for their own safety.
I did submit a response, (which never appeared) but today the blog post has been mysteriously pulled, without further comment from the firm.
The original posting was cached at Google, and can be still be seen here. Mr Russett stated:
"Bicycles should be banned from the roads in city centres for their own safety ! About 18 cyclists die in road traffic accidents in London alone each year and the number is rising. Cyclists appear to think that they are exempt from the rules of the road and they pay for this misapprehension with their lives.
We have all seen them weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring red traffic lights , going up one way streets the wrong way and terrorising pedestrians on the pavement. They have little or no appreciation of how much room a truck needs to manoeuvre or the fact that when they are in close proximity there are areas where the driver can not see them in his mirrors.
If a car or tuck flouted the law as cyclists do they would be prosecuted and possibly banned from the roads. Why doesn’t this happen to cyclists? If there is an accident invariably the cyclist comes off the worst but the driver can suffer from severe trauma for a long time. This is unfair on someone that is paying a lot of money in fuel and road taxes to use the road while the cyclist pays nothing and has large areas of road space specifically for their use and then refuses to abide by the rules of the road."
As you can imagine, the responses (from both Cyclists and LGV drivers!) might not have been what Bob had expected.
In my response, I had pointed out that:
- He is quick to tar all cyclists with the "Jumping red lights/disobaying rules of the road" brush. Not all cyclists behave this way. (In the same way as not all LGV drivers behave the same.) In fact, I am of the opinion that if a cyclist behaves in a way that motorists can reasonably anticpiate their actions, this considerably reduces chances for conflict .
- It's a bit of give and take on both sides. We have been campaigning for: Cycle Training, LGV awareness events, exchanging places, and support Cycle Training for Lorry drivers by many local authorities and firms, as well as supporting simple safety equipment that can be added to vehicles such as safety lenses, enhanced mirrors and monitoring systems to alert the driver to the presence of something in a blind spot prior to turning. LGV drivers have a hard job, with a lot to concentrate on, so there is no doubt that these systems can save lives. *
- Sitting in the cab of a lorry is an eye-opening experience for cyclists when they realise the massive blindspots these vehicles can have and just how little can be seen.
- "Road Tax" - This old chestnut... Since 1937 there has been no direct relationship between the tax and government expenditure on public roads. Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is based on vehicle emissions. We all pay for the roads through our council tax.
I would like to invite Palletline Logistics to respond in a postive and informed way, and Wheelers and LCC will be only too pleased to help.
- Perhaps Palletline Logistics would like to be involved in, and sponsor, training and awareness events?
- Maybe join the discussions on Safer Vehichle and Safer Junction Design?
- Maybe make the case for their LGV members and drivers
- Create a driver training and accreditation scheme?
* Indeed, many will recall how Cemex now supports these measures after a mother, Cynthia Barlow, whose daughter Alex was tragically killed, purchased a share in the company, turned up at the firm's AGM, and campaigned for safety measures.
An example of how it's possible to turn a tradgedy into something positive.
If Cemex and other firms can do this why not Palletline Logistics?
Seems Palletline Logistics just closed the discussion down when it started to look like a PR disaster. They could still recover...
Letters will be written...
UPDATE: Response 30 MARCH
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 10:41:02 +0000
From: Robert Russett
Thank you for your response to my blog. Boring blogs don't get read or commented on which is
why I was deliberately contentious.
I am very serious about road safety for all road users including cyclists and think that the
initiative you speak of is excellent and should be promoted and spread throughout the country.
Truck drivers do need to learn more about the needs of cyclists as cyclists need to know how much
room a truck needs to manoeuvre and how little vision the driver has exactly as you said of your
own experience. We all share the roads and must learn how to use them safely together.
Nice reply, but I'm more interested in what it doesn't say...
- Why still nothing on the Palletline Logisitics web site stating their commitment to safety, what they are doing to support inititives and 'promote and spread throughout the country' or the training they are giving their drivers...?
- Bob should practice what he preaches, and maybe blog positive messages about what palletline logisitcs are doing. They should be leading the way and setting an industry example, instead of ranting negatively about cyclists.
- Bob should put his money where his mouth is, and promote safety measures, and sponsor awareness events and training...
UPDATE: 15 MAY 2012
I have been asked to clarify that Palletline plc is not the same company and is unrelated to Palletline Logistics:
"Robert Russett is involved in Palletline Logistics (Birmingham) which IS NOT Palletline plc. Though sharing a similar name, Palletline Logistics is a separate legal entity under separate ownership and not a division of Palletline plc."
There were some references to just "Palletline" in this article, which may have been ambiguous, although we were referring to, and dealing with, Palletline Logistics. (Which was always in the original article title and web links.)
For the avoidance of doubt, I have changed all instances of "Palletline" to read "Palletline Logistics", and removed the reference to Palletline London / FORS.
Apologies for any conufsion.