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Blackbird hill looking towards Forty Lane
Blackbird Hill looking towards Forty Lane – Tudor Gardens on right

Brent Council recently consulted on “Forty Lane/Blackbird Hill Proposed Road Safety Improvements“. Brent Cycling Campaign agreed a response at our recent meeting and decided to oppose this scheme. We responded as follows.

This is the response on behalf of Brent Cycling Campaign. We are the local group of the London Cycling Campaign in Brent, representing approximately 250 supporters in the London Borough of Brent, and anyone else who wishes to improve facilities for cycling within and without the Borough.

Although there are some things in this proposal that would be an improvement to the existing situation, there are also measures which we think would potentially be more dangerous for people cycling, so on balance we oppose this scheme.

On the positive side:

We are in favour of the removal of barriers and guard rails, which at present make this junction particularly difficult for pedestrians, and also present a hazard for those on bikes.

We support the general intention to make more and easier crossing points for pedestrians.

However, from the point of view of those cycling, we anticipate other problems. We note that the introduction to the proposals explains that this is a place with a high number of collisions recorded over the past three years. Of the 22 collisions and 26 injuries recorded, four of those injuries were to cyclists. Though we do not have the detailed descriptions of those incidents, it seems likely that most, if not all of the injuries to cyclists were sustained in collisions with motor vehicles. The number of injuries to people cycling here is much greater than could be expected when the proportion of cyclists on London’s roads (currently less than 3%) is taken into account. Given this fact, we think that the danger to people cycling should be particularly ameliorated here. However, the following factors will, we believe, make people on bikes more, not less, vulnerable:

The proposed new splitter island will create a “pinch point” for those cycling up Blackbird Hill/Forty Lane. This is a stretch of road where they will be cycling uphill. People cycling will be pressurised by motor traffic behind them to move faster or move towards the kerb. Inexperienced cyclists who do move towards the kerb may find cars trying to overtake them in this narrow space, making the chance of a collision more likely.

The proposal to enlarge the existing splitter island approaching the roundabout will also create problems for cyclists turning right into Tudor Gardens/Salmon Street, who will also be in competition with motor vehicles for a small width of road.

These problems will not be so acute for people cycling in the opposite direction on Forty Lane or from Tudor Gardens/Salmon Street, but the proposals will not be any sort of improvement on the existing layout for cyclists.

For the benefit and convenience of pedestrians, we would much prefer a simple zebra or pelican crossing on Forty Lane, going straight across, rather than staggered. 

It would also make sense to put zebra crossings on Tudor Gardens and Salmon Street between the widened splitter island. It is not clear from the plans whether this is already proposed.

Brent Cycling Campaign

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