‘Stop moaning’ – Greenwich Council welcomes Bike Week

You probably won’t notice, but it’s Bike Week this week, the UK’s “largest mass participation cycling event”. There’s some events run by Eltham-based Limited Edition Cycling, and if that whets your appetite, then you could always look in on Greenwich Cyclists and Lewisham Cyclists for more.

Indeed, it’s a great opportunity to encourage you to “become more active, reduce emissions, and explore our local cycling routes”. Don’t just take my word for it, those are the words from Harry Singh, cabinet member for “Greener Greenwich”, in a plug buried away on page 10 of this week’s Greenwich Time. No word on what the good councillor is doing to actually make it easier to do this, though.

I wonder, however, if the far more prominent star letter on page two of the propaganda weekly really reflects the council’s attitude to cyclists? After all, there’s been a fair few complaints about the decidedly cycle-unfriendly new Cutty Sark Gardens lately.

“Stop moaning” – is it too late to change the royal borough’s new motto?

PS. If you’re a cyclist, the London Assembly wants your views on riding in the capital.

PPS. Here’s two other London boroughs actively promoting cycling – the new Cycle Camden Facebook page, and Lambeth’s fantastic Bike (and Hike) The Borough, which I did last year.

25 comments

  1. Mary

    Darry – I know I go on too much – like a nasty itchy rash – BUT we do have the Council’s Best Value Cycling Review which is a bit of a rolling programme and so on – AND I see on the list of meetings that its due to come up in September at a Scrutiny Panel meeting – so we can scrutinise it – and see how its doing – and YOU can come along too.
    See you there.

  2. Nelson's Left Eye

    We really need someone with an ounce of common sense in the department which draws up bike lanes. The ridiculous 10ft long ‘lane’ between The Arches and the Maritime Museum would be a sackable offence in the real world.

  3. Clare

    “Stop moaning” is very on trend – fits nicely with Ed M’s “mustn’t grumble” motto.

  4. Steve

    Can anyone direct me to a map showing how you are now supposed to approach the foot tunnel on a bike from Greewich Church Street?

  5. Hayley Fletcher

    If anyone has any comments or suggestions for issues to look into for the sustainable communities and transport panel please feel free to contact me on hayley.fletcher@greenwich.gov.uk. I can’t guarantee any outcomes, but it’s a good opportunity to see what’s working and what still needs to be improved and I would be very grateful for any input on the progress of the BVR.

  6. Wolfe

    Steve, you could always get off and walk. It’s only fifty or so metres. It’s nice walking. Bikes don’t have an absolute free pass to go anywhere they like, even if their riders sometimes believe they should do.

  7. Steve

    Wolfe, I was asking if anyone could direct me to a map. If you don’t know, fine, but why the rudeness? You seem to be implying that:
    1. I don’t like walking
    2. I think bikes should be able to go anywhere where their owners want.
    Neither of those assumptions is true. I just want to look at a map to see how bikes are supposed to approach the tunnel. OK with you?

  8. Hayley Fletcher

    Sorry, I should have made clear that the committee meets in September but it’s really useful to be aware of issues in advance so we can make enquiries and make sure the meeting itself is as useful as possible and looks at the isuses that really matter to cyclists at the moment.

    If anyone is interested, the best value review last year made some recommendations which can be found in the final report here: http://committees.greenwich.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=399&MId=2009&Ver=4. The role of the sustainable communities and transport panel is to monitor the implementation of those recommendations on an on-going basis so please keep talking about issues that arise and raise them with your councillors.

  9. Kate

    Promoting cycling in Greenwich?! It’s getting tricky to cycle at all in Greenwich. The Avenue in the Park is now shut to cyclists between 8.30am and 5.30pm. I got an official warning from Plod about cycling (at below walking pace, as Plod admitted – I’m an old sheep on a slooow bike, not a lycra boy) on a non cycle lane in a deserted, rainy Park, despite the cycle lane being unavailable. Central Greenwich’s increasing traffic makes for scary cycling too. A pox on the Limpix.

  10. John

    It’s a never-ending debate about cyclists. Yes, some don’t stop at red lights and some others will cycle on pavements. There was a discussion about this on the Guardian recently http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/bike-blog/2012/may/18/iam-red-light-survey-cyclist but the fact is that the majority do obey the highway code and the person most at risk when the cyclist breaks the law is the rider themself.

    Anything that encourages people to get on their bikes (not in a Tebbit style) gets my support.

  11. Wolfe

    Steve, apologies, I didn’t mean to sound rude, I was making a reasonable suggestion. Daryl, of course we don’t tell car drivers to get out and push because it would be silly. Breaking a cycle journey to walk for a little way is a bit different and perfectly rational. I’ve done it lots of times. You’ve got to walk through the tunnel, after all…

  12. Jon

    There’s no rhyme or reason for this new prohibition – while Cutty Sark Gardens now appears verboten to cyclists it is freely used by delivery lorries driving right up to the junk food outlets on the pier. So according to the council you can happily drive a lorry over it but not a push bike. I’m pretty sure that CSG is also recognised as part of the official National Cycle Route 1 by Sustrans.

    Does anyone have any stats on the number and severity of reported collisions between cyclists and pedestrians at CSG which the council might have used as a basis for this decision? Or would that be too logical?

  13. Steve

    Apology accepted Wolfe. What I am trying to understand is how, for example, one could cycle through Greenwich Pk (post Olympics of course) then join up with the East-West cycle network at the tunnel entrance. For as long as I can remember, I have cycled down through the park then to the tunnel via Nelson Rd and Greenwich Church Street and across the river. If that route is now blocked at Cutty Sark Gardens it looks crazy to me. Mind you, there’s still the craziness in Greenwich Pk where you are supposed to dismount and walk the four paces across the end of Bower Ave if you are doing the Great Cross Ave and Vanbrugh Pk route. What’s the rationale for banning cycling in Cutty Sark Gardens anyway? Surely there is room for a little strip down the middle for cyclists?

  14. Mary

    I understand that the issue with cycling in Cutty Sark Gardens is ongoing. I also understand that anyone who wants to put a view forward on it should write or email in with it. I am still waiting to hear who the best officer is to send it to – but if you send anything to me mary.mills@greenwich.gov.uk I will see that it gets there and that it gets to the proper person who is dealing with it

  15. Chris 2

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees the irony in a council promoting cycling on one hand, whilst cutting off cycling routes and banning it in parks and public spaces in the other.

    I agree with Darryl’s sentiment. Why cycle, when you’re constantly told to get off and walk. I’ll just walk. Better yet, I’ll take the car. (Promotion = FAIL!)

  16. Gabriella Hudson

    I do hate to point out the obvious, but many cyclists are quite happy to use the law when they are victims of aggressive car and lorry driver’s but don’t give a hoot for disobeying red lights or cycling on the path way and nearly knocking someone down and when they are reminded that they should not be using the footpath shout all the foul language going and try to spit in your face. It’s not everyone but a fair proportion of cyclists are like that. They want everything their way. The police need to crack down on bad cyclists because they are every bit as dangerous as a lorry is to a cyclist.

  17. John

    “The police need to crack down on bad cyclists because they are every bit as dangerous as a lorry is to a cyclist.”

    Gabriella, I’m sorry, but that is utter, utter nonsense. I don’t mind a bit of hyperbole, but that goes too far.

    Folk on bikes riding on pavements or jumping red lights are an annoyance most of the time – I don’t condone it, and I wouldn’t minimise the dangers they can pose, but that danger is almost always minimal. Folk in cars speeding on a motorway or a clear road are, similarly, an annoyance most of the time, but they can be really dangerous.

    Just under 2000 people were killed on UK roads in 2010 (and that was the best year ever) – and they weren’t all killed by cyclists. Off the top of my head (and I can’t find the figures immediately), something like one pedestrian is killed by a cyclist every three years.

  18. Chris 2

    I have to agree with John. And Greenwich Times timing of the article (during “Bike Week”) was misguided. As both a car driver and a cyclist I can tell you I see far more idiots behind the wheel of a car than on a pushbike. Albeit, both exist but I think it very unfair to say a “fair proportion” are bad. More memorable, perhaps, but they are a minority.

    The problem cyclists have is we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Motorists don’t want us on the road (and boy do they let us know!) and Pedestrians don’t want us on the pavement (but you’ll walk in the cycle lanes and tut at us if we ring our bell at you to get past).

    So is it any wonder we get a bit arsey, moan and roll our eyes when what lanes we do have are closed off by the Council, whilst at the same time it’s trying to encourage new people to take cycling up, whilst at the same time attacking cyclists in their own press.

  19. Joe Dunckley

    I have no sympathy at all for the elderly like Anthony Adams. We’re always hearing in the newspapers about the problems faced by the elderly. But until the elderly stop running corrupt multinational media corporations I’ll have no sympathy. The elderly should stop moaning and start obeying the law.

    Every day I go out and see the Elderly all over the place. Most of them aren’t even wearing a helmet.

  20. Kevin

    I am surprised no one has mentioned Mobility scooters which are often badly riden at speed on footpaths!

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  22. Teresa Griffith

    Can I just say it was an “elderly” person who got me out riding with Greenwich Cyclists? Jim was 72 years old when I met him and it took him 8 months to persuade me to come out with them. I used to go to the meetings, shop and commute by cycle but was convinced I’d be left behind/get a puncture if I went on a group ride. Now he is no longer with us I don’t enjoy my rides as much.. Not all “elderly” people are grumps… I think he’d be shocked to see no cycling allowed around Cutty Sark Gardens though.

    I recently saw a “lycra lad” walking down the tunnel stairs in his socks. (His cleated cycling shoes weren’t made for walking). To expect him to walk up to the tunnel would be ridiculous (he cycled up to the tunnel entrance and walked from there).

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