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Letter: Leave London Road As It Is

Published on: 5 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 5 Aug, 2023

London Road, Burpham

From: Dave Middleton

In response to: Action Group Unhappy With SCC Meeting on London Road Proposals

As a bicycle rider (I refuse to be considered a ‘cyclist’ for fear of being lumped in with the lycra-clad brigade), I’ve ridden along the existing London Road bicycle route any number of times and have obviously survived to tell the tale.

Yes, one has to ride with care and proper attention to other road users and indeed pedestrians, plus one may even have to give way at junctions (as indeed do drivers of motor vehicles), but the route is perfectly adequate as it is, unless of course one expects to be able to ride at maximum speed and not have to stop or give way for the entire journey!

I say leave it as is, as whatever new scheme may come to fruition is still going to be a compromise, given the fact that many parts of the existing road and pavement space are far to narrow to accommodate the gold standard of entirely separate cycle lanes.

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Responses to Letter: Leave London Road As It Is

  1. Valerie Thompson Reply

    August 6, 2023 at 8:00 am

    At last someone with some common sense. The whole project would be severely disruptive, a waste of money and ultimately a compromise, with drivers being inconvenienced by reduced traffic lanes.

  2. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 6, 2023 at 2:29 pm

    I do not ride a bike but I have driven up and down this road over many years. I agree the scheme is not necessary and in fact I believe the design should not have passed road safety audits. The road is too narrow in several places.

    There is an issue of safety of cyclists especially younger ones if they use bikes for travelling to and from school. Recent changes in Highway regulations require motorists to give 1.5m clearance when passing cyclists. As designed,this it would not be possible to maintain this when passing cyclists during peak times since such a maneuver would require crossing the centre line and facing oncoming traffic.

    Increasing safety during peak hours could be achieved by introducing 20 mph speed limit. 20mph signs could be LED signs, as many as are necessary, within the stretch of the permanent 30 mph signs. Perhaps SCC would consider this cheaper alternative.

    • Jim Allen Reply

      August 6, 2023 at 8:18 pm

      This suggested reduction to 20mph would lead to road charging, and increasing and severe congestion in Burpham. There is no severe accident problem in Burpham. Congestion is the problem. SCC commented we as the Burpham community Association supported by the Burpham Neighbourhood Forum the statutory planning body for Burpham, requested 20mph on Burpham Lane a very reasonable and rational request past a primary school access road. We were categorically told no, as it could not be realisticly enforced by the police! They provided road tables instead

      It is a great shame SCC didn’t consult with the Burpham Community Association and Forum despite the request to do so in early 2022 or was it 20121? on any future transport and travel links within and through Burpham. We could explain to the full spectrum of community requirements, the reality, the solutions, and the problems. Sadly SCC don’t want to talk.
      While we have the respect of National Highways, UK Power Net, Thames Water plc new stw , 3 political parties and our mp All on speed dial!
      Surrey Active travel project manager and infrasture Councillor refuses to discuss such aspects. As can be seen by LRAGs commentary!
      It’s good to talk but better to listen to locals on site!

    • Mark Bray-Parry Reply

      August 7, 2023 at 8:50 am

      Making London Road (and other key cycling routes) 20mph and marking the road to indicate cyclists should cycle in the centre of the lane to avoid close passes would be an alternative I’d personally support.

      But would drivers be happy with a 20mph limit and to be held up by children using the centre of the lane?

      The worst option is to leave it as it is, with an inadequate partial cycle lane that encourages close passes and therefore increases the risk to cyclists.

      • Bibhas Neogi Reply

        August 8, 2023 at 4:40 pm

        What I have suggested is 20mph speed limit for the peak periods only and controlled by LED signs.

        It is my observation that motorists generally tend not to observe speed limits if the road conditions are deemed to be OK for higher speeds. It is also the practice of Highway Authorities not to impose slower speeds unnecessarily.

        • Mark Bray-Parry Reply

          August 9, 2023 at 10:14 am

          But that’s pointless since the traffic conditions in peak times won’t allow cars to go at 20mph anyway.

          Fundamentally, this is about providing safe active travel routes. The point about London Road being too tight to allow for a safe (1.5m gap) pass is valid. I wouldn’t cycle on the edge of the road to allow unsafe passing of cars, let alone encourage my children to do so. Instead, I’d encourage them to follow the Highway Code (Rule 72) and take the primary position on the road (ie the centre of the lane) and, frankly, let the drivers behind have to wait.

          SCC/Highways authorities can support the implementation of the Highway Code in this matter by effective signage and reduced speed limits along all key travel routes which are too narrow for a segregated cycle lane.

  3. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    August 9, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    The point is to attain greater safety for cyclists during peak periods.

    If a permanent 20mph limit is implemented, it is unlikely to be observed by motorists out of hours. The Highway Authority would not consider a speed limit that is not necessary.

    A 20mph limit operated using LED signs (like the VMS signs on the M25) during peak periods would be a sensible solution and competent cyclists could ride in the middle of the road if they so wish but Rule 72 advises them to do so in a quiet road or street and London Road is far from that during peak periods.

    Rule 72 also states -“When riding on busy roads, with vehicles moving faster than you, allow them to overtake where it is safe to do so whilst keeping at least 0.5 metres away, and further where it is safer, from the kerb edge.”

    • Mark Bray-Parry Reply

      August 12, 2023 at 6:36 pm

      The relevance of Rule 72 of the Highways Code is that if a cyclist is 0.5m from the curb, and 0.5m wide, and cars need to keep a 1.5m gap, then cars must be able to move 2.5m from the curb in order to safely be allowed to pass a cyclist. If that requires moving into the opposite lane then a cyclist cycling in the centre of the lane would make no difference.

      If you have a road where that is the case, a partial cycle lane would only encourage a close pass and therefore it would be better to use signage and speed limit reductions to encourage cyclists to take the primary position in the centre of the lane.

  4. Bethan Moore Reply

    August 10, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    I’m glad Dave Middleton is a confident enough cyclist to manage London Road. I can’t say the same for myself.

    I take much longer routes to avoid it, especially if my young son is riding on the back. Many other parents call me brave for cycling anywhere, although I certainly don’t feel brave.

    After experiencing a very purposeful and aggressive close pass recently, I feel even less so.

    The cycle lane is not aimed at confident cyclists but the people who are too scared to get on a bike to make a short journey to town or local shops.

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