Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lambeth Bridge HGV Danger

(this morning):

Above: Plenty of room to get up the inside of this HGV at the south end of Lambeth Bridge, right? Discretion being the better part of valour I'll just wait here and see what happens:

Above: Oh dear. He'll never make it.
Above: And onto the kerb...
And all over the (mandatory) cycle lane.

This is not the first time I've seen this kind of thing at this location. It's a good job I was first in the long line of cyclists waiting, because this was literally an accident waiting to happen . Why are large vehicles like this allowed over Lambeth Bridge, when there's simply not enough room? Why is there no physical protection for the cycle lane, which has a huge volume of cycle traffic along it? The cycle lane is about as wide as your handlebars, which means there's no margin for error when larger vehicles stray into it (which they regularly do). Why isn't it wider? Why is this like all the other bridges in London: dangerously, negligently, crap?


  1. I can't believe you're not familiar with the magical powers that white painted lines possess! Especially when they're accompanied by a strip of red-coloured rubbish that's all ridged and bumpy, which only magnifies the power of the line!

  2. seriously? why are all the bridges in london, built before any of this was an issue, not so negligently crap? have you taken leave of all logic? the bridges are old, existing and what they are. from your final comment you seem to think that we should demolish and rebuild them all rather than accept their historically-induced limitations.

    it is a fact of life that larger vehicles by their nature will sometimes not be able to make a turn using a single standard traffic lane. every other kind of road vehicle has to be aware of this when for example buses take sharp turns, despite two standard lanes existing. it is just the same with cycles whose cycle lanes may sometimes be obstructed temporarily by large vehicles.

    I happen to agree with you that cycle lanes which are not physically separate from the rest of traffic are largely valueless as there is no disincentive for other road users to stay out of them under most circumstances. lane indiscipline through carelessness rather than this example of necessity in this country is appalling in general even when people are safely driving cars.

    but that aside, the rest of your sentiment here about the lorry and bridge inadequacy is absolute, self-entitled drivel.

  3. Self-entitled drivel until a cyclist is crushed under the wheels of a HGV, and as you say the bridges are old and historical so it would therefore make sense to stop HGV 's driving on them to preserve them longer and avoid having to rebuild them.

  4. My take on this is here:

    TfL are resurfacing the bridge this summer and initial plans show they intend to widen the upstream cycle lane to 1.5m and remove the dodgy downstream one, making the bus lane shared use. The bad news is that the initial plans show the cycle lane as advisory rather, as present, mandatory. Lambeth Cyclists have objected to this and also asked for some segregation at the bridge entrance from the south. No reply yet.

  5. Seriously - as a daily cyclist myself (Bethnal Green to Cavendish Square and then to meetings all over town) anyone even thinking that going "under" or "inside" an HGV in that situation quite frankly deserves to get squished. You only need half a brain to know that the tracking of a 44 ton 18 wheeler is going to take out anything going inside it.

    Seriously... engage brain, and enact your right to self-preservation.

    I am a huge fan of overtaking, not undertaking for this very reason.

  6. @dukest - You don't need to rebuild any bridges. The problem is the configuration of traffic lanes. Unfortunately TfL don't seem to have much idea of how traffic actually uses Lambeth Bridge, because it is normally backed up northbound, while having very light traffic southbound. Yet there are more southbound lanes than northbound lanes. I am convinced it would be possible to reconfigure this bridge in a way that makes it safer for cyclists without losing traffic capacity.

  7. there have been times as a minibus driver - i have cylclists and motorbikes that will go either side of me undertake and overtake at the same time meaning i cannot move either way making driving safely very difficult..

    I agree cycling is a good idea, but if people want to use the road, they should abide by the highway code in the same way that all other road users are required to do.

    Part of this as previously described means that i know what to expect you to do as cyclists and for cyclist to know what i do as a minibus driver!! Therefore you wouldnt go on the inside of a HGV vehicle.

  8. @Sj - agree with what you say. Undertaking an HGV is very ill-advised. However, not all cyclists understand this, and the layout of Lambeth Bridge and the approach to it invite cyclists to approach on the left and generally brings road users into conflict.
    In this case, it's the HGV that's broken the highway code by entering a mandatory cycle lane, but to be fair there's not enough room for it to avoid doing so. Filtering on the inside or outside is legal. Personally I try to overtake rather than undertake for the reasons mentioned by @Rob D, but quite often that's not possible.
    The root cause, in my view, is that many London roads are not configured to handle the amount of cycle traffic we're now seeing at peak times, so road users tend to come into conflict at junctions.