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Outbreak of sanity
5.06.08 by Buffalo Bill

According to the Times (and the Telegraph, and the Mail), Kensington and Chelsea is going to trial a scheme that will allow cyclists to ride both ways up a few designated one-way streets. This is different to existing ‘contra-flow’ lanes, where cyclists are ‘protected’ from on-coming traffic by paint or a kerb. I wrote a piece for the Guardian a couple of months ago where I pointed out that the weight of evidence suggests that cyclists are not safer in separate lanes or paths. In the K & C scheme, there will simply be signs showing that cyclists are permitted to ride both ways.

I can’t find a press or news release on the K & C web-site but according to the Times

the council believes that it will be safer to allow them to negotiate their own path past each other.

Daniel Moylan, deputy leader of the Conservative-controlled council, was persuaded of the need to make the change after noticing that hundreds of cyclists a day were ignoring no-entry signs on a street near his home.

He told The Times: “If this is what bicyclists want to do and they can do it safely, then we see it as our responsibility to adapt the legal position to allow them to do it legally.

“We are recognising the reality that cyclists prefer to take the shortest route through quieter streets. The alternative of having a policeman standing on the road to catch cyclists would be foolish and unworkable.”

Mr Moylan said he hoped that the changes would persuade more motorists of the benefits of cycling. “Bicyclists feel they are offered very little in terms of safety and convenience – I hope that our trial will encourage other boroughs and as a result bicyclists will be much freer to travel around.”

This is an extraordinarily sensible bit of thinking from K & C. The contra-flows, whether paint or kerb, cost money, and do not appear to benefit cyclists. This will cost virtually nothing. Of course, various motor-heads think it’s a bad idea, including the AA. Which means that it is probably an excellent idea.

The scheme is particularly welcome because it recognises that existing road traffic regulations are really only for motor vehicles, and should not be applied to pedal vehicles, something that London’s couriers and messengers already knew.

  1. Is this just so Boris and Dave can get to work more easily?

    westcoastmess    5 June 2008, 07:26    #
  2. This is good!

    Most of the one-way streets in Brussels work like this. A big sign saying ‘one way – except bicycles’, and a very carefully and accurately drawn picture of a bicycle. That’s those Belgians and their bikes for you…

    Jack    5 June 2008, 10:06    #
  3. what westcoastmess said. ;)

    but seriously, this is good news. :)

    — lurkette    5 June 2008, 10:12    #
  4. WHAT??? OMG! haahaa, did everyone read captain wackso’s comments in the times article???!!!

    “I would like to see cyclists pay a £10 registration fee to the DVLA and be forced to wear a bib bearing a unique number whenever they use the public highway. Then they could be caught on CCTV cameras, just as motorists are, when they ignore no-entry signs and jump red lights. If a police officer saw a cyclist without a bib, he could pull the cyclist over automatically as he would a car without number plates.”

    — lurkette again    5 June 2008, 13:16    #
  5. There are mostly negative opinions about that decision in the press with some cyclists citing the hatred motorists have against cyclists to not add any other reason to aggravate them… I think it’s an excelent idea, not that most of us waited until it was legal. What disturbs me is what happens to Londoners as soon as it has to do with the road. common sense vanishes… it’s just fecking weird! Does getting in a car transforms one into a massive wanker?

    — claire    5 June 2008, 13:17    #
  6. “Does getting in a car transforms one into a massive wanker?”

    Sadly, in many cases the answer is yes.

    Or perhaps wankers are more likely to own cars.

    There should be a scientific study into this to establish whether there is a causal link

    — messengerofdoom    5 June 2008, 16:07    #
  7. can we have turning left against the lights as well please?

    — zero    5 June 2008, 19:50    #
  8. If you really want to make a difference..


    — eggpie    6 June 2008, 11:15    #
  9. How the feck does one vote on that poll?

    — overdrive    6 June 2008, 11:31    #
  10. ““Does getting in a car transforms one into a massive wanker?”

    Sadly, in many cases the answer is yes.

    Or perhaps wankers are more likely to own cars.

    There should be a scientific study into this to establish whether there is a causal link”

    I think we first need a study of how many people in general are wankers. I feel this % will be high. Car users just follow the overall population trend of lots of wankers. Most people are wankers (including me).

    — Tommy    6 June 2008, 12:06    #
  11. Sorry mr OD.

    Evening Standard voting is here:

    — eggpie    6 June 2008, 13:35    #
  12. Cool egg i voted.

    — overdrive    6 June 2008, 13:46    #
  13. oh dear, I own a car.

    Just another wanker.    6 June 2008, 18:20    #
  14. Bill what’s your take on the motorcycles in bus lanes controversy.I think it will be dangerous.

    — breaking away    7 June 2008, 15:53    #
  15. Motor bikes in bus lanes? What next; motor bikes in forward boxes? oh yeh…

    — will    7 June 2008, 17:40    #
  16. The LCC have organised a campaign and petition against this.

    — breaking away    7 June 2008, 17:46    #
  17. I love the fact that Haringey, full of poor people, implemented the same rule (at least in West Green) at least a week before the posh boroughs and nobody even noticed!

    — Fedster    11 June 2008, 20:11    #
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