Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today's serious collisions

Two crashes involving cyclists and large vehicles today, a bus and a refuse truck, at two of the most dangerous locations in London.

Reports say the first was at Vauxhall Bridge, and involved a cycle courier being rear-ended by an HGV. Police closed roads for investigation purposes (causing widespread chaos) which indicates it was serious, and the victim was initially described as in a critical condition.

The second was at Aldwych, where reportedly a cyclist undertook a bus that was pulling into a stop. The injuries were described as 'life-changing'.

What these locations have in common is  large, multi-lane road system with relatively high traffic speeds and vehicles jostling for position - and poor provision for cycles. At Vauxhall, there is some off-carriageway provision but it's fairly unsatisfactory - you can end up in conflict with pedestrians as there really isn't enough space allocated to pedestrians and cyclists, and there are many crossings which make your transit a frustratingly slow experience.

Aldwych has a toxic mix of a one-way set-up, between three and five lanes, a bizarre taxi rank right in the middle, and four roads on the left. With all the roads leading onto it, the many lanes and the bus stops, vehicles are always changing lanes. Speeds can be high, and there really is no safe line for a cyclist, and no cycling provision whatsoever.

You might choose to draw your own parallels between these locations and the new, redesigned Blackfriars Bridge.

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