August 3, 2021
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Pop up Harrow Road Cycle Lane | Brent Cycling Campaign

Following up on our recommendations detailed in this post, this is the response from Brent Cycling Campaign, the local group of London Cycling Campaign. We represent around 300 supporters (with around 200 paid-up members) and attempt to represent the interests of all who cycle or would like to cycle in NW London.

We support this scheme. We also have the following comments.

Squeeze by bus

Eastbound, on the approach to the Neeld Crescent junction traffic lights, as the protective wands end, cycles and main motor traffic merge into a pinch point. This has become potentially very dangerous. This is demonstrated only too well in this video from 0:41 to 0:56.

It shows the cycle getting squeezed by the bus, where the consequence could potentially be fatal.

Possible urgent workaround options:

Option 1: Cycles can be directed on to use the pavement as shared use, cross Neeld Crescent with pedestrians as a toucan crossing and finally rejoin the carriageway after passing the pinch point. Include appropriate comfortable dropped kerbs.

Option 2: Give way line forcing motorists to give way to cycles merging on the approach to the pinch point. Plus a warning sign for motorists, warning of cycles merging from the left.

In the medium term, the staggered pedestrian crossing by the junction with Neeld Crescent should be removed. And replaced with a crossing for pedestrians to cross the whole width of Harrow Road in one go.

Such a crossing would then avoid wasting the centre hatching space too, allowing the road width to be designed better.

It would also be inclusive of wheelchair users, whereas the current crossing is very difficult for some.

It would also be much quicker for all to cross.

And it would become safer to cross.

Guardrail should be avoided by default. They’re a danger for people cycling. They make it feel congested and uncomfortable for wheelchair users and pedestrians. They add unnecessary clutter. They waste space.

Parking in lane

Motorists are parking in the cycle lane. The same video at 1:18 shows a van parked. Not only a frustrating inconvenience, but an added potential danger for those cycling needing to check for a gap in following motor traffic, with some cycling likely to not give themselves sufficient space to overtake safely, potentially getting dangerously squeezed by overtaking motorists or colliding with a wand when re-entering the cycle lane.

Bus stops

Anyone cycling regularly in bus lanes, especially those unable to cycle fast, will frequently experience to-and-fro of buses:

  1. Cycle is overtaken by a bus, which sometimes squeezes past dangerously close.
  2. Bus stops at bus stop, creating a blockade for the cycle.
  3. Cycle overtakes stationary bus, merging with unpleasant fast-moving potentially dangerous close-passing motor traffic.
  4. Repeat 1-3.

Some people cycling may ride closer to the kerb, tempting buses to squeeze dangerously close.
There is plenty of evidence that reallocating road space from cars to cycles and pedestrians can result in traffic “disappearing”, as per a new report from the International Transport Forum (ITF).
But the route needs to be safe and continuous for people new to cycling to achieve such a transformation.

Charlie Fernandes

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1 COMMENTS

  1. Ed Round Posted on May 25, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    I’m generally in favour and any cycle infrastructure is better than no cycle infrastructure, and I agree with your points – lots of near misses with buses as you describe. But, the main issue I have is with the quality of the surface. Generally, the surface of the carriageway has badly degraded, and most noticeably where water run-off is heaviest, i.e. in the cycle lane. Your video really shows this quite clearly. The start of the bus/cycle lane is heavily trenched, and it’s easy to catch a tyre in the gap that’s been formed.

    While the wands have been a good step forward, greater focus now needs to be placed on using cycle friendly surfaces for the dedicated cycle lane. Also, to an effective junction patch where two different road surfaces meet.

    Finally, there has to be a better solution to the question of cleaning than taking all the wands up. A narrow gauge roadsweeper would clearly be needed so that the track can be adequately maintained. The cycle lane becomes badly cluttered with debris, increasing the risk of punctures.

    Reply
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