If you are free tomorrow evening you should pedal your way to Russell Square for a London Cycling Campaign protest commencing at 6:30PM. The aim is to highlight the need for designated cycle space following the third cyclist fatality in just three weeks.
…Stay safe in the door zone.
The easy answer to this ‘How To’ is that you cannot be safe in the door zone. I have previously written about this subject [here], and it important to reiterate that being ‘doored’ is one of the great unmentioned cycle risks as this rather graphic video shows:
I came across the image above today, and after getting my head around the differences in road layout (driving on the right!) and trying to imaging the traffic chugging along to my left instead of my right, was reminded of the two images below. These should be relatively familiar to you: on the left is the poster publicised by TFL to discourage cyclists from ‘undertaking’ HGVs, and the image on the right is the same poster but with the addition of the very recognisable Cycle Superhighway blue road markings.
Generally people assume that the cycle lane is the safest place, but as you can see, between blind spots, the door zone and the simple fact that not all motorists indicate their intentions when they plan to turn left, it is sometimes far safer to take prime position in the centre of the lane. What happens if there is a pothole in the cycle lane and you lose control? You should always allow yourself enough space to manouevre, and although curb hugging may feel comforting, it’s an illusion of safety. Unless there is enough space to allow for a vehicle to safely overtake you, you should discourage them from doing so for your own welfare. This is particularly true at traffic lights, where motorists will often creep into the Advanced Stop Zone, forcing you aside as they zoom off ahead of you.
Remember, it’s better to take abuse for blocking the lane than a wheel across your skull if something goes wrong.
With the London Mayoral elections coming up, conversations at the office seem to constantly touch on voting. Londoners, remember that the election is on May 3rd, please make sure that you get yourself down to a polling station or remember to send in your postal vote before the deadline. Click here for more information.
Unfortunately the general outlook from those that I have spoken to is that it’s a two-man race between Boris and Ken. There are other options, and if you complain that things never change, then use your vote and instead of voting tactically (i.e. LibDem will never win so I might as well vote Labour), vote for who you want to win and do your research first. If we all stop making do then perhaps we can start improving….
* Here is the article I posted previously which compares the Green/LibDem/Labour/Conservative stances with regards to bicycles, cycle safety and sustainable city planning to make things safer and greener for us all. Needless to say Jenny Jones (Green Party) comes out on top, closely followed by Ken Livingstone, whereas it doesn’t look like good news for Boris Johnson (The Guardian: Boris accused of hiding air pollution test results, and lodoncyclist: How Boris failed London cyclists).
* For those who need a little more help to find a preference, this link is helpful. It’s a bit like those Kudos quizzes you do in school to see what career you’re best suited to (mine was baker or truck driver!):
* Try to remember that there are other options: the full list is here, including the sorely neglected Siobhan Benita who lack of Party affiliation promises to provide London with a City Hall that doesn’t have to worry about adhering to party politics and pleasing the bigwigs. And have you even heard of Lawrence Webb? No, I hadn’t either, but he’s running for UKIP.
Images: Top right, Boris Johnson in 2008 by Jeremy Selwyn. Above left, Siobhan Benita pays a visit to the Brompton Bikes warehouse as pictured on @Siobhan4Mayor.
With the election for Mayor of London coming up, it’s time to have a think about voting, and LCC have released an analysis of mayoral candidates’ cycle policies and rated them out of ten. Unfortunately they only consider Jenny Jones (Green), Boris Johnson (Conservative), Ken Livingstone (Labour) and Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrats), meaning that once again the independent candidate Siobhan Benita is ignored/forgotten.
Have a look at the article here on the London Cycle Campaign website.
And don’t forget that election day is May 3rd.