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Bonkers Blog January 2019

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17 January (Part 1) - A spoke in the Harrow Manorway works

It has always struck me as a trifle Politically Correct to have cyclists represented on Bexley’s Transport Users’ Sub-Committee but I think it can just about be justified. Means of transport in Bexley is dominated by buses, cars, trains, bicycles and if you live in the North of the borough, ponies and traps.

Bus users are reasonably well represented by Chairman Val Clark (Conservative, Falconwood & Welling) who nearly always has some little anecdote to tell about how she has been let down by a bus driver or some item of bus equipment. Stefano Borella (Labour, Slade Green & Northend) is able to input some erudition about the railways and their numerous failures to deliver a reliable service and presumably all Committee members consider themselves to be experts behind the wheel of a car and able to represent the man in the street. Unfortunately not one of them lives in the north which has been so disrupted in recent years and none of them looks like a cyclist so maybe it is reasonable to appoint Robert Heywood to the Committee to look after their interests.

Cyclists generally are given a bad name by those who jump lights and speed by on the footpath without prior warning but Mr. Heywood is not like them; last night he made some good points.

I particularly liked his criticism of the revamped but not yet complete Harrow Manorway flyover. The southern exit on to Knee Hill is a little worrying for motorists who wish to turn right at the roundabout, it must be near terrifying for cyclists who are required to vacate the cycle track and occupy the middle lane to get around the roundabout. It is anyone’s guess whether it is the inside or the outside of that lane which is least likely to get you killed.

Andrew Bashford, the designer of that road, said the lane markings were temporary and the final arrangement awaited the agreement of Greenwich Council on signs, yellow lines etc. He admitted that the present situation is “unsuitable”. Why did Bexley Council authorise the present arrangement if it knows it to be unsafe or do Councils prioritise lives behind bureaucracy?

To Mr. Heywood’s complaint I would add that motorists approaching that roundabout from the northern section of Knee Hill (as if from Abbey Wood Village) and intending to go over the flyover find the natural curvature of the road takes them straight into the cycle lane and it requires a significant deviation to avoid it. Fortunately, as far as I can judge, few cyclists are mad enough to use Harrow Manorway flyover and all of them that do cycle on the western footpath, the only one to have been opened so far.

Mr. Heywood, as is to be expected, advocated a widespread reduction in speed limits and is presumably happy to see the economy take a dive as a result of the loss of productivity.

The two cyclists present were allowed to give a Power Point presentation about how they indulge their passion for cycling by organising leisurely joy rides at the weekend. All very laudable of course and maybe it will tackle loneliness and obesity. No one would deny them their pleasure but how is that Transport?

Do joggers attempting to avoid protruding slabs on the footpath constitute transport and deserve a voice on the Transport Committee?

Do horse riders on bridleways constitute transport and what about hikers along designated footpaths and parks? Are they transport too?

The presentation consisted of 13 slides and illustrated where the cycle rides generally go and who participates. Mainly older people it would seem. If you would like to join them, all the information you need may be found here.


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