Just a quick early morning rant. Cycling down to Trafalgar Square yesterday, I encountered no fewer than two sets of ‘Cyclists dismount’ signs, on the cycle paths in Tavistock Place in Bloomsbury and Royal College Street in Camden. If anything characterises the lack of understanding about cycling it is these signs. What on earth makes highway engineers think that these signs make any sense or will be obeyed?
This might seem like a minor matter, but actually goes to the heart of attitudes towards various users of the roads. Why on earth should cyclists get out and push when there is an obstacle in their way – why can’t the signs just say, please rejoin the main highway or something like that? I see the whiff of backside covering here, and perhaps it is an insurance issue.
The creation of cycle superhighways, the bike hire scheme, the various cycle paths are all good initiatives, but until the attitude towards cyclists changes fundamentally, they – we – will always be treated as second class citizens. It is noticeable, actually that the cycle lane in Tavistock Place is now so heavily used that it is becoming dangerous for cyclists as they are likely to bump into each other. It shows just how wrong the man from No 10 I spoke to around a decade ago, when the lane was first introduced, who said no one is using it. Provide the infrastructure and the cyclists will follow.
These signs always make me want to suggest that motorists should be asked to get out of their cars and push when there is some type of obstacle in their way. Now that would be worth watching