All posts by Alex Ingram

Space For Cycling – The Final Push

Our space for cycling campaign has now been contacting candidates for the local election for some weeks. Using feedback from over a hundred involved local campaigners we have devised a particular proposal for every ward in Hammersmith and Fulham. These ideas each use a theme which relates them to the Space For Cycling campaign throughout London.

You can check the proposal for your local ward, see which candidates support it and contact your candidates to urge further support.

Search for your ward by postcode
or

Browse the borough

You can also ride with us on Saturday 17th May. We are meeting at 10AM on Brook Green at foot of Dunsany Rd. Experienced cyclists will lead cyclists of all ages including accompanied children to a ride on closed roads starting on Park Lane. Join us on the ride to show your support.

At the time of writing we appear to have support from the Green Party, Liberal Democrats and Labour across the borough. We remain optimistic that there is further support to be had, as there are some very important issues on road safety and enabling cycling as a choice for transport locally. For both candidates and those seeking to better influence them we have produced a detailed guide to the entire campaign and the issues we feel it can address.

MINUTES of hfcyclists meeting Thursday 8th May 2014

MINUTES of hfcyclists meeting Thursday 8th May 2014, at the home of Ken McCosh
Attending – Janusz Carmello, Alex Ingram, Ken McCosh, John Griffiths, Paul Saunderson, Richard Radmore, Suzie Gretz, Patrina, Sima John
Apologies – John Gilbert, Alan Rowden, Elizabeth Hopkirk, Milan Desai, Ruth Mayorcas, Roger De Freitas

– Hammersmith Bridge –
NOTE – survey now live here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HBconcepts
Already good response – but do share widely if you can.
John took group through his survey on Hammersmith Bridge, developed with
some assistance from Alex. Aim was to gather how people interpreting
newly painted lines, and test some concepts as well. Seeking feedback
from pedestrians and less confident cyclists in particular.
Paul queried about how some of the setups might work in rush hour, John
acknowledged workings showed some pressure there. John also cited
particular issues shown in working out concepts with oncoming traffic
versus lane widths. Visibility of cyclists to others vs. subjective
safety they experience a problem. Suzie expressed doubts change was
likely, Ken noted that as a lesser bridge traffic is more local even if
through.
Survey is using surveymonkey – cost is £24/month. Likely could run for 3
months so £72 total cost. No objections cited, Alex noted that though he
disagreed with technical argument, for using it he felt no issue in cost
given size of reserves.

– Space For Cycling Update –
Alex said support mostly happening at party level rather than wards.
Greens, Lib Dems and Labour all signed up in full to the ward asks.
Being nagged for a firmer detailed commitment on manifesto, but this
essentially there with Greens and Lib Dems. Conservatives now (14th May)
finally responding to queries – await responses but expect it may well
be at least partly negative. John said he had an email saying his ask
hadn’t been submitted fully, Alex asked him to forward on to him to see.
Alex checked with John on date for council being active. Not until July
– can discuss response/welcome to elected council post-election at next
meeting

– Big Ride Update –
http://hfcyclists.org.uk/2014/05/ride-us-support-space-cycling/
Confirmed date of Saturday 17th May, Alex coordinating and John to lead
ride (at least outbound). Alex, Ken, John, Paul S and Richard R signed
up currently with Janusz to confirm if able. More still welcome to help,
Alex noted that not just help with ride leading, but also helping
organize riders. Alex detailed leaflets, placards and other plans for
the start, all since out in public. Also demoed chalkboard to enable
people to take photos with a message of their choosing. As this was
cheap (£1) group reckoned worth getting a couple spare (now done). Alex
noted banner was now due back from printers (now arrived). Alex also
sought later clarification that we supported inviting politicians and
police to do bike marking. Both agreed. Bikeworks also invited to run Dr
Bike. No notable response on those so far, alas.

– Training – for Ride leaders –
Paul S suggested that we should look at funding training for rider
leaders. Alex notes for the minutes (after checking) that LCC has been
devising ride leader training and is developing a course with a
certificate. This is £250 for 10 ride leaders to be trained for 5 hours,
training by 2 experienced trainers and LCC can award certificate if
course roughly mid-June or later. Riders for that need to be experienced
and likely commit to lead at least one ride. This will go onto agenda at
next meeting – Can we get 10 riders? If not who could/should we invite?

– Training – for ordinary riders –
Patrina asked about this, most boroughs provide training at a low cost
for residents and workers. In Hammersmith & Fulham, this if £5 (can be
waived if unwaged) details on council page here:
http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/Transport_and_Streets/Walking_and_Cycling/Road_safety_-_cycling_and_walking_to_school/92182_Cycle_training.asp
Elsewhere in London, training is mentioned on TfL site, but they need to
fill in form. Probably still worth it though.
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/cycling/start-cycling/cycle-training?cid=fs033
Note, LBHF also offer free training on bike maintenance:
http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/Community_and_Living/Safety/Personal_injury/156360_Cycle_Maintenance_Courses.asp

– John Gilbert –
had emailed on various issues supplementary to agenda – possible pontoon
routes, but outside borough. Still, would be interesting to hear more.
John also noted his company Bikeitup, stall at Acton market sometimes.
Had been in greenfest when we ran it, no clear opportunity from us for
similar opportunities at present.

– LCC Grant –
Ken – we can apply year by year, it’s about £2-300/yr, paid based on
members in borough. LCC anxious about large reserves. Asking branches to
waive grants and use reserves better. Reserve is 7200, grant this yr
would be 283. Seems sensible to waive from LCCs POV. John said he was
previously against waiving, but now not against that. Paul S asked if we
had waived before. Ken confirmed we hadn’t. Alex supportive. Context of
tight resources in LCC especially as supporting smaller/newer/busier
borough groups. LCC expressed thanks for waiver and said due to ours and
others now several additional £k funding in their campaigning.
AGM/ Next Meeting – Alex noted AGM last year was in June. Management
team felt ready but Ken noted we can put it off a month, then AGM in
July. Meeting agreed to knock back a month. Instead next meeting agreed
to be June at Suzie’s. July meeting may be delayed as Ken away, August
usually no meeting? September as AGM.

– Rides –
Sunset ride. Date confirmed by David Lomas as 18th June (bike week),
ride from Hammersmith to plan. Alex noted opportunity still there to do
rides on reworked Wandle trail (though Janusz noted not much reworked!)
and perhaps to an Ealing festival (but not the beer festival, by comment
agreement).

Other actions noted briefly at end
Potholes – Suzie said part of issue at Wood Lane, is that green surface
applied on top. Green surface flakes off. Alex said baked in colour
would help, but then protected space would be better still.
Summer canal meeting! Need to get in touch with Canal/River Trust.
School fairs – can we contact the schools, check dates of school fairs?
Alex noted he’d got schools directory as part of Space For Cycling,
would get in touch.

Costs – £30 for refreshments at the meeting. Alex notes he has some
further Space For Cycling expenses, but hard to know exact until
placards made. Roughly looking like about £15-20 extra. Receipts to be
totalled later.

Ride with us to call for Space For Cycling

As part of Space for Cycling there is a Big Ride in the centre of London on Saturday 17th May. We will be leading a ride from our usual spot on Brook Green by the tennis courts (foot of Dunsany Road) with experienced cyclists providing a safe route to and from the ride itself which will be on closed roads, free of motor traffic and at a sedate, campaigning and enjoyable pace.

[osm_map lat=”51.496″ lon=”-0.222″ zoom=”15″ width=”400″ height=”400″ marker=”51.49681,-0.22139″ marker_name=”wpttemp-red.png”]

We will aim to gather by 10AM then set off shortly thereafter. The main ride gathers at Park Lane around 11AM then from Mid-day will depart for a ride along motor traffic free roads towards the Embankment where there will be a rally from 1PM to 2PM. We will aim to provide a ride back to Brook Green upon completion of these events, due back by around 3PM latest. People are free to leave earlier should they wish, or to join us there, though given that last time saw 10,000 riders brave rain and we’re hoping for sun, it’s vital to be distinctive…

LCC Big Ride Route 2014

Please tell your friends, bring your family and help us make the biggest possible push for Space for Cycling. You can sign up to this ride on FaceBook or send an email to your friends about it linking them to this page. The more the merrier.

This is about sending a message, so whilst we will have flags, leaflets and other materials to distribute we’d like you to bring a message. It may be a slogan of your own, or one we can help provide, but the important thing is to represent why you’re on the ride in the clearest possible way. Your message can be fun, especially if you’re young or young at heart. We will doubtless be ringing bells and making noise along the way.

We’ll be printing out and laminating a range of slogans on A4 for distribution at the start of the ride, and we’re taking suggestions for slogans.

A flag from a rider on recent rides - photo by iBikeLondon
A flag from a rider on recent rides – photo by iBikeLondon (as is photo at top of cyclists with banner)

Potholes – getting the basics wrong

Potholes. A nuisance to drivers and occasional cause of damage to their vehicles. A hazard to people on bikes and often a cause of injury, discomfort and excessive danger. We’re campaigning as part of our Space For Cycling mini-manifesto for the council to take them more seriously, here’s just one simple example of council negligence to explain why we’re concerned about this.

A recent Freedom of Information request by Cycling Weekly looking at potholes and their danger for cyclists (full report published in their April 10th issue) found that no fewer than 8 people had successfully claimed compensation from the council caused by a pothole. The council refused to disclose how much compensation it had paid but across London in five years it is known at least £1m has been paid out. Putney Bridge came out particularly badly with £22k paid out due to its surface alone. Basic pothole repairs are thought to cost £50-60. It would be better to get the basics right, as the councillors claim should be happening but isn’t and fill in the holes or resurface streets.

The sign telling drivers about the cycle lane...
The sign telling drivers about the cycle lane…
... which is obscured by a bush shelter and other signs.
… which is obscured by a bus shelter and other signs.

Our member Susie Gretz who lives near the north of the borough has repeatedly raised the quality of the road surface on Wood Lane north of the Westway. In the southbound direction there is an advisory cycle lane between two fast moving lanes which has long had a series of deep, long and dangerous potholes.

Susie had been somewhat encouraged to read in an article in the (sadly now effectively defunct) local paper in February, the Hammersmith and Fulham Chronicle quoting Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, Conservative ‘champion’ of cyclists and holder of transport saying:

“These road works are essential improvements that will help everyone in the borough in the long-term. This is about getting the basics right, making sure our road surfaces are easy to drive and cycle over, and banishing pot holes, which everyone hates. We know how important our roads are and these improvements will be carried out as quickly as possible, and with as little disruption as possible.”

Traffic rushes past either side of the cycle lane on Wood Lane
Traffic rushes past either side of the cycle lane on Wood Lane

It’s now May. We’ve been down to have a look at the road surface after these repairs. We think it would be fair to say the council hasn’t got the basics right. The potholes remain in the cycle lane, and as becomes rapidly apparent the already narrow cycle lane remains compromised severely by the sunken manhole sat right in the middle of it.

P1000507

Susie Gretz, our local member comments as follows:

The stretches of Wood Lane just north and south of the Westway – in particular, between Shinfield Street and the Westway  – have been in for several years in an appalling condition for cyclists.  Complaints by telephone and writing to the relevant authorities at LBHF have had absolutely no effect.  It is only a matter of time before one of the many potholes on these stretches, especially those on the green cycle path, cause a cyclist to swerve toward either of the two lanes of fast-moving traffic on either side, causing a fatal accident.

A cyclist 'negotiating' their position towards the cycle lane whilst a car driver overtakes to turn left onto the Westway.
A cyclist ‘negotiating’ their position towards the cycle lane whilst a car driver overtakes to turn left onto the Westway.

Looking at collision statistics we can see that 2 of the 67 serious collisions in the borough in the three years from 2010-2012 (2013 stats not yet available)  occurred along this stretch of road. It is notable to anyone who observes how people cycle in this stretch that many people seek refuge by cycling on the pavement. The road has enough width that this would not be necessary were it providing safer facilities.

Space for five lanes. Surely there's more Space For Cycling here?
Space for five lanes. Surely there’s more Space For Cycling here?

Whilst a uniform road surface without troubling and dangerous potholes will improve safety somewhat we are naturally seeking protected space for cycling at this junction. Current design asks people cycling south into Hammersmith and Fulham under the Westway to pull right in front of vehicles reaching close to 30mph readying themselves to enter a faster dual carriageway. Through this junction people on cycles also mix with other vehicles entering and exiting the A40. There is ample space to provide high quality protected space into this junction from wormwood scrubs and beyond, and to utilise low level signals, separate phases and clear protected space for cycling to enable ages 8-80 at any level of fitness to pass a key barrier to cycling. Support our mini-manifesto and ask for protected space in College Park and Old Oak.

It's going to need resurfaced, let's lay it out properly as well.
It’s going to need resurfaced, let’s lay it out properly as well.

Help Us Help You Win Space For Cycling

hfcyclists is the Hammersmith and Fulham Branch of the London Cycling Campaign. Our three key aims are to encourage more people to cycle, improve conditions for cyclists and raise the profile of cycling.

Our Space for Cycling campaign is only one borough’s part of the whole London Space for Cycling Campaign, please refer to the wider campaign’s Space for Cycling site to see the whole campaign and search for wards by postcode.

We are seeking commitment from candidates in the council elections to a detailed demand in every ward, all of which would improve the local area and provide for increased levels of cycling. We have also made a mini-manifesto to help provide a set of more general borough wide goals that we feel need to be met to enable cycling to be a genuine option for many more in the borough. This campaign is not just about making things better for existing cyclists but rather to enable a better street environment as seen elsewhere in the world in urban centres. We strongly believe that this will provide for many more possible journeys by bike and build on changes already seen here in recent years.

Alongside our pages on each of the wards we have provided some statistics that we feel provide some support for our aims. It is notable that car ownership and car use are declining in our borough even though the population as a whole has risen. In some wards as many as 65% of households have no access to a car or van, and in most wards a third or residents who used to commute by car no longer do so. We will continue to add to our pages on each ward with more detailed imagery and explanation of each demand in the next few weeks.

The key thing is that we ask you to take the following three actions:

  1. Look at our mini-manifesto and details on the demands in each ward.
  2. Support your local ward’s demand. Either search by postcode on the main site, or find your ward on the map of the borough.
  3. Tell your friends and family to take part as well!

If you live outside London, CTC are helping run a wider campaign in the rest of the UK targeting local councils.

If you are interested in helping with the campaign in the run up to the election we have a list of ways you can help. Alternately, if you’d like to get in touch as a local resident, worker or even (prospective) candidate drop us a line.

Serious collision on the Uxbridge Road

There has been a serious collision on the Uxbridge Road between a 46 year old on a bike and a skip lorry. They collided at around 4:45PM on Wednesday 9th April whilst the skip lorry was turning left from Uxbridge Road into the Askew Road. According to the Evening Standard the cyclist was trapped under the lorry for an hour and has received life changing injuries to their chest and legs. Other eyewitness accounts stress a high risk this collision could have been fatal, and we hope the cyclist is able to recover as fully as possible from their injuries. There have been three other serious collisions involving cyclists receiving similar injuries since 1999, and in the past five years we have seen serious injuries at one location or another along the Uxbridge Road. The junction currently has no cycling facilities that prevent such a left hook from having such disastrous consequences.

This section of the Uxbridge Road sees around 3000 cycle journeys per day passing along it, and around 500 movements per day of the kind of vehicle like the skip lorry or larger that present a major danger to vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists). There are many cyclists who avoid this road because it is considered too dangerous. It presents a barrier to increasing the numbers who cycle.

Our thoughts are with the rider of the bike and their family. We remain concerned that there are too many junctions without safe space for cycling in the borough and beyond, and encourage everyone to look at our Space for Cycling campaign to push for change.