Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cycle Superhighway 7 Collision

Over the next few posts I plan on taking a look at the CSH7 junctions that are first up for review by TfL. You can see the priority list for all CSH junctions here; the junctions I'll be looking at are:

Balham Station
Clapham South
Clapham Common/The Pavement
Stockwell Gyratory
Oval Triangle

Because I actually ride through them, I know all these junctions pretty well . Unless I miss my guess, TfL don't, except through a car windscreen. They will either do a paper-based exercise, or they'll turn up in the middle of the day when traffic is quiet and there's few cyclists around. Their analysis will therefore be impoverished and compromised. But hey, some good may come of it, and some public money will get spent.

What they won't be looking at yet, and probably not ever, are the minor junctions, like, let's pick one at random, College Road. I was riding past this morning and what did I see? The aftermath of a minor crash, in which the cyclist was fortunately not seriously hurt as far as I could make out.

The problem with these minor road junctions is there are a lot of them, and at each one there is a chance that a vehicle will encroach over the give-way line into the cycle lane. This can cause you to T-bone into the side of the vehicle, or in trying to avoid doing so to swerve or brake, either of which could cause a crash. Alternatively, you may get left-hooked by a vehicle trying to turn left across the cycle lane from the major road into the side-road. A third possibility is a vehicle turning right across your path, either not knowing that the cycle lane is there, or not seeing a cyclist in it. There are a lot of large vehicles on the A24, so there is a good chance a vehicle on the other side of the road won't see cyclists until it's too late. Typically, a right-turning vehicle will have to wait a long time for a gap in oncoming traffic. They see a narrow gap and accelerate hard to make the turn. By the time they see there's a cyclist in the gap, it's too late to avoid a crash.

The solution is quite simple of course: ban turns into and out of these side-roads, and where that's not possible, minimise the traffic and eliminate the hazards of turning traffic: ensure that sightlines are good and there are safeguards to avoid the types of crash I've described. They've actually done this on most of the side-roads between South Wimbledon and Colliers Wood although this is not yet part of CSH#7.


  1. Are they taking any public suggestions for other junctions to look at? I'd have hoped they look at Rookery Road as well on CS7! The gentle entry angle on there means cars can easily do it at 25-30mph. I know I've had a few near left hooks there, as have a few other helmet cam riders and I can pretty much guarantee I'll see at least one a week. Only managed to avoid an attempted LH this morning by riding in primary and refusing to budge as a car pulled up alongside me with their indicator on....

    The other ones all seem like fair game IMHO but as you say they really need to try riding them during the rush hour to fully understand the problems.

  2. I used to live in Colliers Wood (before CS7 was painted) and know the area well. It's very interesting the difference the blocked in roads towards South Wimbledon make. The whole area forces you to drive a round about way to get out to the main road, we used to walk or cycle to the Savacentre even though there's massives of free parking as we could cut through to the highstreet while by car we had to do 3 sides of a square and queue in lots of traffic. Cutting off rat runs not only makes the main roads safer and reduces the traffic on residential roads, but it also reduces peoples car usage.

  3. @MarkS - good suggestion. At Rookery Road I saw a fatal crash where a motorcyclist was killed last month. Rookery Road is basically a rat-run enabling motorists to cut the corner and avoid going down to the Clapham Common junction. This end of the common is carved up by a number of such roads, making the common fragmented, noisy and less pleasant. I think they should close all the roads that cross the common. Windmill Road isn't used that much except as a car park, but there is enough fast-moving traffic along it to make it dangerous. In fact as part of the common area makeover the council talked about closing Windmill Road but didn't follow it through - probably a lot of people drive their dogs half a mile to the common and park there.