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Protests, Polls and Internet Trolls: This Week in London Cycling (Feb. 5-11)

Never a dull moment in the tempestuous world of London cycling. Here’s everything bike-related that happened in the Capital last week:

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- Cycling trolls know no limits. According to the Hackney Gazette, only four IP addresses have been found responsible for 118 responses - all bashing cyclists - to a council survey about a Shoreditch road closure.

The council is looking to shut down a section of Garden Walk to all vehicles, in an effort to reduce air pollution and make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Apparently, four people really did not like the sound of that.

One of the messages simply read: “I don’t like cyclists or cars so I’d prefer it if they were all banned from the street.” Good to see some high-level analysis dominating the discourse for a change.

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-The city of London is developing a new Transport Strategy, which it says “will define the City Corporation's vision and priorities for transport over the next 25 years”.

You can help them out by filling out this survey, dealing with how you travel, how you think the different road users (and the space next to the kerb) should be prioritized etc. You’ve got ‘till April the 3rd to make your voices heard.

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The Chiswick Herald is running a one-question poll on the CS9 on its homepage, asking: ‘Should the Cycle Super Highway be built?’

As of now, 246 people said ‘Yes’, 198 voted ‘No’, and 135 voted ‘Yes, but not as per the current plan’.

“I don’t like cyclists so I’d prefer it if they were all banned from the streets” is currently not a supported answer.

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After several high-profile incidents - most notably including this charming fella, Wandsworth Borough Council is now consulting on proposals to improve Priory Lane in Roehampton, to make it safer for cyclists. The proposed changes include:

  • Removing the cycle track from the footway and providing a constant footway width of 2.0m.

  • Introduction of a northbound advisory cycle lane along the entire length of Priory Lane and associated changes to the highway layout

  • Installation of cycle friendly speed tables/junctions to accentuate the 20mph speed limit in Priory Lane.

  • Southbound cycles will be integrated with motor traffic.

  • Road markings with the cycle symbol will be installed to raise awareness of the presence and legitimacy of cyclists on the carriageway

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CS11 is back in the news, as I talked about recently.

On February 14th, Stop Killing Cyclists will organize a peaceful protest at Regent’s Park, calling for the closure of park gates as per the original scheme. You can find out more about the event here.

Cyclist and pedestrians alike will lie down across the gates, blocking the traffic, then go hand-deliver a letter to the offices of the CEPC “with our request that they lift their veto on the Mayor’s cycling proposals immediately.“

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Dear Lords.

The outrage over the comments recently made by some members of the House of Lords - including Prof Robert Winston - that ‘cycle lanes cause congestion and worsen pollution’ continues, as cycling groups voice their opposition to the evidence-free claims.

I wrote recently about the Sunstrans’ analysis of the first 5 months of the East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighways. Funny story - it turns out that the corridors are moving 5% more people each hour than they could without bike lanes.

What say ye, Winston?

“When the Guardian contacted the peers to ask if they had evidence for the claim, none provided it.” Pressed again for evidence, Winston thanked the Guardian reporter for her “entertaining comments” and said the “law-breaking, aggression and dishonesty” of cyclists had turned him against them.

Ah. Ok then.

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It just so happens that, also this week, a worldwide traffic study was published, further rebutting Dr Winston’s…’argument’? Sure, let’s go with that.

Turns out that - according to actual data - the most congested streets in London do not have major cycle routes on them.

The study did, however, find that the UK is the 3rd most congested country in Europe. Quite a monumental feat for a few dozen kilometers of protected cycleway, if I may say so myself.

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A cyclist wearing full hi-vis got hit by a car at Hanringey this week, in the middle of the day, riding in painted cycle lane (warning - the photo may be slightly nsfw). He suffered a shattered patella and a broken toe, and foresees about 3 months of rehab.

He says that the driver pulled out of a side road without looking - so far, at least according to the man’s Twitter, the Metro has refused to press charges.

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And now for some lighter news - on Tuesday, a Londoner got their bike stripped on Waterloo Bridge. The thief poached the brakes, gear cables, handlebars and more in broad daylight, and bundled it all in his rucksack.

Apparently, some people on the bus noticed the thief and began banging on the window, forcing the masked man to bolt prematurely.

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That’s no way to end the list, though, so here are Espressgo’s top 10 best cycling cafes in London, featuring Rapha Clubhouse Cafe, London Velo, Look Mum No Hands and others.

Any of your favorites that didn’t make the list? I’m always on the market for a new cafe shop.

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That’s it!

Did I miss anything else that happened this week? Do let me know in the comments.

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