A few months ago Labour’s London Assembly member John Biggs warned Boris Johnson and Transport for London that there was “an accident waiting to happen” on his “cycle superhighway” at the Bow flyover roundabout where the A11 meets the A12.
Three weeks ago on October 24, he was sadly proved right when Brian Dorling, a 58 year old cost consultant at the Olympics site was killed as he cycled to work going east. Flowers left in tribute are still there.
At about the time I was talking to John about that and other matters last Friday, which I’ll come on to in another post, a 34 year old Ukrainian woman was killed cycling across the same roundabout but on the other side going west.
The brilliant blogger Diamond Geezer is the authority on this, but let me outline here John’s concerns. They were that there was and is a design fault, not only with the roundabout but also with the cycle lane itself.
Anyone who has driven around that roundabout in a car can testify how dangerous it is. It’s very busy and vehicles jostle, often without any road etiquette, for position in two lanes for their particular exits. You are looking in your mirrors the whole time; there are buses and trucks to deal with; and for trucks, there are sometimes idiotic cars. Yes, there are some idiotic cyclists as well.
As someone who loves cycling but who hates cycling on London’s roads, I would avoid that roundabout.
Yet some idiot in Transport for London, probably aided and abetted by some fools in Tower Hamlets council and the Olympics organising team, have routed their Cycle Superhighway 2 (CS2) right across it. It means that the cycle lane, travelling westbound, is one big thick blue line that comes down from Bow Road in a continuous paint-job without any breaks for traffic lights or Give Way signs.
If you’re a pedestrian walking back from Tesco, or for any other reason, trying to cross the slip roads which cross that roundabout really is dicing with death. I watched several mothers with prams try it today. There are traffic lights which stop the traffic on the slip roads leaving the A12 but no pedestrian crossings. Trying to cross those slip roads which enter the A12 is like a game of chicken.
As you can see from the first photograph above, there were officials monitoring something on the roundabout today. I thought they must have been TfL people, a sign that they realised the seriousness of the situation. Sadly, no: they were from Crossrail; they were reviewing the plans for that project.
As John Biggs has been saying for months and as others are now saying, that roundabout and the cycle superhighway needs an immediate redesign: it is madness to direct cyclists across such a dangerous junction – just for political expediency.
There are two other issues on the A12 in that area, which I’ll deal with in another post.