Following on from my previous post about 'De-Cluttering', you're probably wondering where all those railings that Merton Council have removed from the Town Centre and Morden Road have gone, right?
Well I've found them. There is a little known clause in the Merton Cycle Design Standards that states:
'if not otherwise obstructed by parked cars, 'Dismount' signs, bollards, bus shelters etc., every cycle path shall have a metal barrier every 100 metres'.
You think I'm joking?
Take a right turn from Dorset Road onto the cycle path leading towards Old Merton Park:
Carry on 20 metres to the tram track.
You can't just cross the tram track; the Council have arranged railings forcing you around a tight, blind corner into the path of whatever foot or cycle traffic is coming your way. You're then badly placed to look both ways to check if there are any trams coming...so far so good, then another couple of tight turns to negotiate...and another 50 metres before you have another metal barrier...
A quick shimmy through some bollards and you're out onto Melbourne Road. Another 100 metres or so and...
...you've guessed it, another barrier, this time a 'triple'. There's yet another one 25 metres further down the path.
Now obviously, these barriers have an extremely important purpose. They force cyclists and pedestrians into a narrow corridor, so they get in each others' way.
No, I'm being cynical. You can't have people cycling at speed approaching a junction, because they might kill a pedestrian. But wait. By that logic, all road junctions would have similar obstacles to restrict car speed. But don't worry, cars aren't anywhere near as dangerous as cycles. Cars only kill 2500 people a year, whereas cycles kill at least 2 people a year. Merton Council needs to get people off their bikes and into cars, so they need to make cycling slow and unpleasant, by putting in as many barriers on cycle paths as they can.