Lambeth Council erects "no cycling" signs despite having no powers to do so as battle heats up...

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said that he is against imposing a ban on cyclists on the capital’s South Bank, but admits that the decision on whether or not to allow cyclists to use the route along the Thames is out of his hands.

As reported here on road.cc back in August, local employers along the South Bank, which includes some of London’s best known landmarks such as County Hall, the London Eye, the Royal Festival Hall, the National Theatre and the Oxo Tower, published a report calling on Lambeth Borough Council to enforce a ban on cycling along the path running alongside the river.

Now, according to a report on local news website London SE1, responding to a question tabled by Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones who asked whether he was in favour of a ban on cyclists on the South Bank, Johnson said: “TfL does not believe that cycling should be banned along the South Bank.

“However,” he continued, “the decision on whether to ban cycling along stretches of the South Bank rests with the London Borough of Lambeth and private land owners within this area.

"TfL provided a response to the South Bank Employers' Group's cycling strategy for the area in September 2010,” Johnson added.

"TfL's response referenced my target to increase cycling by 400 per cent by 2026, to improve cycle safety, and the importance of improving the permeability for cyclists in central London, including in the Waterloo area."

The London SE1 website asked Lambeth Council for clarification of what stage its draft cycling strategy had currently reached, and received a statement from the council that said: "The deadline for any consultation submission was the end of September and is as yet incomplete."

However, the website also reports that the council has recently installed “no cycling” signs between Westminster Bridge and Lambeth Bridge, despite the fact that it has no powers to impose a ban.

According to the council, it is currently “monitoring the effectiveness" of the signs which it says were put up following allegations that “a small number of aggressive cyclists were spoiling it for the majority of sensible cyclists and pedestrians who use this section of the South Bank".

The website added that a council spokesperson had stated: "The signs are currently advisable [sic] but they allow the PCSOs that patrol the South Bank to ask cyclists to dismount in order to talk to them about considerate cycling."

The council itself has admitted that the signs are currently unenforceable since they a traffic regulation order (TRO) is needed to bring the ban into effect, ahead of which a full consultation would need to be conducted.

Local MP Kate Hoey has recommended cyclists to use busy routes away from the river instead of the Thames Path, describing Lambeth Palace Road as an "excellent cycling route".

However, local cycling campaigner Charlie Holland of Labeth Cyclists has urged local transport planners to look at the bigger picture, saying: "There seems to be a shortfall of ambition from many politicians and planners to see London have a child-friendly cycle route, free of motor traffic, linking the tourist attractions springing up all along the river."

"Some of the proposed replacement routes around the South Bank are totally unsuitable for novice cyclists. We'll be opposing this ban every inch," he adds.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


PaulVWatts [111 posts] 7 years ago

Why no legal action against the council for the illegal signs? Why no press campaign about the council exceeding their powers? Another example of how useless the CTC and the rest of the 'polite' cycling groups are. Someone in London should organise a mass cycle protest on the West Bank. Read a bit of history about the ramblers and how they opened access to the English countryside if you want to know how to get change. You only get justice if your willing to fight.

BigDummy [314 posts] 7 years ago

“a small number of aggressive cyclists were spoiling it"

This is exactly correct. Cycled at a gentle 5-8 mph the whole stretch, but particularly the Lambeth Bridge/Westminster Bridge stretch is perfectly safe and pleasant for everyone. There is simply no need for a ban.

It is also, typically, crawling with flabby clueless PCSO's wandering about rubbing their manboobs under their stab vests, who have presumably been watching this small number of people spoiling it without comment before weighing in behind a total ban. Great work all round.  1

jova54 [679 posts] 7 years ago

Just checked my calendar to make sure I hadn't hibernated for 3 months and woken on 1st April.

What a waste of tax-payers money, putting up signs that prohibit something which is not illegal.

What happens if one of these 'flabby clueless PCSO's(TM)' attempts to stop a cyclist and they refuse to. Cue armed response vehicles and helicopters in pursuit of a person guilty of 'aggresive cycling'?

LondonCalling [151 posts] 7 years ago

It never ceases to amuse me how fast "the powers that be" react when there is a complaint about cycling. Cue Clapham Common, where there are also 8mph signs for cyclists - as if all of us carried a computer on our handlebars - as a result of a bunch of complaints about cyclists speeding... on the provided cycle lane, funny enough.

We have been complaining about the use of ASL's by cars, motorbikes, buses, vans, etc, etc, to no avail, when it's that kind of actions that actually cost lives (cue cyclist in Holborn who died because a left turning lorry was occupying the ASL. Driver was not even fined). We also complained about cycle lanes being used as parking spaces. Nothing happens.

I had a conversation with a copper at the cycle show in October about the user of ASL's and that they should be enforced, otherwise, they are a waste of paint. His response was "we can't enforce them because cyclists need to obey the highway code". My conclusion was that the people who are there to protect our lives (as people, not as cyclists) are more interested in "calming down" narrow minded Daily Mail reading biggots than actually doing the job they are being paid for, by our taxes! The opinion of those biggots is more important than my life, or yours.

This country hates its cyclists.

hairyairey [304 posts] 6 years ago

LondonCalling - that's a disappointing attitude from a police officer. I regularly go over the line at stop lights to avoid being driven into by left turning traffic and to get away from the sensors that are only triggered by cars. There are several red lights I will go through because they are only triggered by the presence of cars and my life is too short to wait for a car to turn up.

Left turns on red and straight ahead where there is no left turn would be an excellent legal change.

There is another good reason for ASLs and that's because many large vehicles cannot get round corners because councils have badly painted the stop lines for cars (there are several round here even on bus routes). So even if you weren't enforcing them for bikes you are at least doing so to ease the flow of traffic. A stuck bus or lorry holds up the traffic very substantially.

Back to the point of the post, I would hope that Boris can bring in what they do in Paris which is to bar traffic by the riverside on Sundays. This is to allow roller blading, running and cycling along the Seine. I still haven't had a reply to my suggestion of doing this will send the email again.