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Concern among London cyclists as anti-terrorism barriers on bridges take space from cycle lanes

Cycling UK says Met response to Saturday's terror attack "understandable and right" but raises concern about taking space from cycle lanes...

Cyclists in London have taken to social media this morning to express their concern after anti-terrorism barriers were installed overnight on several bridges across the Thames in response to Saturday evening’s terrorist attack, taking away space from cycle lanes.

Several photos posted to platforms including Twitter show that the barriers, placed next to the kerb on Lambeth, Waterloo, and Westminster bridges, have reduced the width of cycle lanes in places, leaving little or no safe space for cyclists.

Campaigners say that while the installation of the barriers is “understandable and right,” there is a risk that they will increase the danger to the thousands of cyclists who ride across London’s bridges each day.

Three terrorists used a rented van to mount a pavement on London Bridge on Saturday evening, crashing into people walking across the bridge, then abandoned the vehicle and began stabbing people enjoying an evening out in the popular Borough Market area.

Seven people were killed and dozens injured, some critically, although as yet no separate figures have been released relating to casualties sustained as a result of the van being driven into people on the bridge.

The attack comes less than three months after Khalid Masood drove a car onto the pavement at Westminster Bridge in March, killing four people and injuring around 50 more.

Here are some posts from Twitter regarding the emergency barriers that have appeared this morning.

Sam Jones, campaigns co-ordinator at the charity Cycling UK, told road.cc: "Given the number, scale and type of attacks in the last nine weeks, it is understandable and right that the police and Transport for London are putting in measures to protect key points of infrastructure from likely threats.”

He said that the charity had already been approached by one member this morning who was concerned about the impact of the barriers on cycle lanes at the locations in question.

"Having been contacted by the membership about what this means for the current cycling infrastructure, there is concern what this might mean for protecting our must vulnerable road users on their daily and regular journeys as well,” he said.

“We are speaking with the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) and will work with LCC and the relevant local bodies to see what provisions they are planning to make for those who cycle across these bridges.”

Matt Winfield, London deputydirector at the charity Sustrans, said: “We are grateful that the Metropolitan Police and Transport for London are working to find ways to protect and reassure Londoners after the terrible attack last weekend. The safety of all Londoners is paramount.

“Being able to walk and cycle safely is crucial to London’s vitality. A small change to the barriers so that they protect people on bikes as well as pedestrians would ensure the brides are safer for cycling too. A long-term solution would also have to meet the needs of the growing number of Londoners who travel by bike.

“Cycling is part of the solution to many of the challenges we face in cities – from air pollution, road safety, obesity and inactivity. It is essential we keep encouraging more people to cycle and support those who already do so.”

A spokesman for TfL told the London Evening Standard that the additional security measures had been implemented by the Metropolitan Police Service.

“We are aware of the hostile vehicle mitigation measures being installed by the Met on some of London’s bridges and are supporting them with this work,” he said.

Recent years have seen kerbed cycle lanes installed on a number of bridges across the Thames in Central London including Vauxhall, Westminster and Blackfriars, as part of TfL’s Cycle Superhighways programme.

Installation of the separated infrastructure followed years of campaigning by groups including LCC.

In a statement posted to Twitter, it expressed its full support for the security measures put in place last night but also urged that the safety of cyclists be taken into account.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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30 comments

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srchar | 6 years ago
0 likes

...and if any cycling body raises this issue, several national newspapers will brand them terrorist sympathisers.

If only government acted this quickly when innocent people were killed by being knocked off their bikes at dangerous junctions.

What a time to be alive.

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thehairs1970 | 6 years ago
0 likes

One comment to all the complainers. Timing people. It's very important if you want to have your point taken sympathetically. This will only damage how cyclists are perceived.

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DaveE128 | 6 years ago
1 like
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Benryan381 | 6 years ago
0 likes

This is a very quick fix to make people feel secure. Works for me. Whilst I don't live and cycle in London I totally get what they have done. Cyclists are still Road users and not pedestrians, how would one overtake another if it were on the roadside. Think the point is missed here, the attack is on pedestrians not cyclists. Get off your self righteous commuter bikes and back our countries police force for attempting to protect against the unknown

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Dnnnnnn | 6 years ago
4 likes

Just for context, there were 13,000 KSIs on London roads, 2010-2014.

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jigr69 | 6 years ago
3 likes

This is a knee jerk reaction to a single type of attack, this is pure theatre in order to make people feel safer whilst not doing anything to increase their safety.

What will they do when someone decides to mow down pedestrians walking along Oxford Street in a van? Will they hem in all pedestrians by metal barriers again?

 

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brooksby replied to jigr69 | 6 years ago
2 likes

jigr69 wrote:

This is a knee jerk reaction to a single type of attack, this is pure theatre in order to make people feel safer whilst not doing anything to increase their safety.

What will they do when someone decides to mow down pedestrians walking along Oxford Street in a van? Will they hem in all pedestrians by metal barriers again?

 

No: they'll probably ban walking!

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spen | 6 years ago
0 likes

I'm obviously looking at this wrong because, as I see it, if the barrier was put on the outside of the cycle lane that would allow enough room for a vehicle to mount the pavement, rendering the barriers in effective.

 

I don't live in London, thank the gods, but aren't the pavements in areas such as this jammed with pedestrians at peak times and any loss of width would be detrimental to ped movements?

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Metaphor | 6 years ago
4 likes

When will we start addressing the real cause of these attacks: radicalised drivers.

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gmrza | 6 years ago
4 likes

Aside from the issues relating to safety of cyclists, if barriers are put in place on bridges, individuals who want to ram vehicles into pedestrians will just do it somewhere else - i.e. somewhere else along a street.  For instance, this solution would not have worked against the lunatic who went mad ramming pedestrians on Bourke street in Melbourne.  The tram line makes it all but impossible to make the Bourke street mall inaccessible to motor vehicles.

While bridges do concentrate vehicles and pedestrians, there are plenty of other places that would invite an attacker.

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WillRod | 6 years ago
1 like

As a temporary fix it is excusable.

Hopefully the authorities will install metal bollards on the pavement every 1.5m or so including some at the ends of the pavements. This would keep the cycle lane, protect pedestrians and should ideally be rolled out across all major pavements (over time of course). It would also be less of an eyesore in future (London needs tourism)

 

If cyclists genuinely feel unsafe cycling there, you can always walk across the bridge on the pavement before rejoining the road later on.

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ChrisB200SX replied to WillRod | 6 years ago
4 likes

WillRod wrote:

If cyclists genuinely feel unsafe cycling there, you can always walk across the bridge on the pavement before rejoining the road later on.

And if you're scared of terrorism, just stay at home. Great solution!

I like how the Tories are now trying to use the ideological idiots' actions as a way to force through their internet regulation and snooping on everyone's data.

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Bikebikebike replied to WillRod | 6 years ago
1 like

WillRod wrote:

If cyclists genuinely feel unsafe cycling there, you can always walk across the bridge on the pavement before rejoining the road later on.

Well, they can cycle considerately across on the pavement, according to government advice.

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ChrisB200SX | 6 years ago
2 likes

Knee-jerk reaction and just shows the lack of consideration and protection for cyclists.

Really looking forward to people getting more abuse because their not using the cycle lane that's full of barriers. The problem is ideots (ideological idiots), not cars/vans going on the pavement. Massive face-palm moment.

Not sure we'd get the same protection if the ideots had run over cyclists rather than peds?

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burtthebike replied to ChrisB200SX | 6 years ago
9 likes

ChrisB200SX wrote:

Knee-jerk reaction and just shows the lack of consideration and protection for cyclists.

But something must be done!  It doesn't matter what, just as long as the public are fooled into thinking we're actually tackling the problem.  They'll find out exactly how useless these barriers are when the next attack occurs at a place without barriers.

Pointless, futile, useless and just increase danger to one group of road users.  Like all knee-jerk reactions, this is just wrong and will be ripped out soon.

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kil0ran | 6 years ago
1 like

Just stick the barrier on the pavement? Pedestrians will find their own level.

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alansmurphy | 6 years ago
3 likes

The other glaring thing rom the photo, it has taken none of the 'road space designated for cars' so why are they all in the cycling lane?

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Awavey replied to alansmurphy | 6 years ago
1 like
alansmurphy wrote:

The other glaring thing rom the photo, it has taken none of the 'road space designated for cars' so why are they all in the cycling lane?

I wondered that, it looked bad enough if you assumed you only were going to get the width upto the line, but all 3 of the vans in Daniel Sandfords photo, though its difficult to tell if theyve just stopped and "pulled over" or what they are doing, but if their wheels are on the line, their wing mirror sticks out another 10cms, Id struggle to feel confident about cycling through that as a gap.

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brooksby replied to Awavey | 6 years ago
2 likes

Awavey wrote:
alansmurphy wrote:

The other glaring thing rom the photo, it has taken none of the 'road space designated for cars' so why are they all in the cycling lane?

I wondered that, it looked bad enough if you assumed you only were going to get the width upto the line, but all 3 of the vans in Daniel Sandfords photo, though its difficult to tell if theyve just stopped and "pulled over" or what they are doing, but if their wheels are on the line, their wing mirror sticks out another 10cms, Id struggle to feel confident about cycling through that as a gap.

If the barriers have been put like that, I wouldn't be riding any closer to the barrier than the white line marking the edge of the cycle lane (room for manoeuvre, and all that).

Here in Bristol, builders working on Colston Street put barriers looking almost the same up, when they land grabbed the uphill cycle lane as a footpath so that pedestrians didn't have to walk under their scaffolding. I just moved further out into the road.

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Yorkshie Whippet | 6 years ago
3 likes

Please tell me the following from Sustrans is a typo;

"A small change to the barriers so that they protect people on bikes as well as pedestrians would ensure the brides are safer for cycling too." 

I can not stop chuckling at the images this conjures up. 

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Barraob1 | 6 years ago
8 likes

Would have made more sense to protect the cycle lane instead of taking space from it.

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cyclisto | 6 years ago
7 likes

While cycling I would be more afraid of these bars, rather than any kind of terrorist attack, at least if they are so rare as they are now. Don't forget that cyclists and pedestrian are still less annually killed than the ones killed by such lunatics, yet no such extreme measures are taken in order to protect them. Should a guy gets driven over by a maniac in London, the whole world will know it, but if he gets driven over by a speeding and distracted driver there is no problem.

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Pub bike | 6 years ago
11 likes

Cyclists are just as vulnerable as pedestrians to crazy people in vehicles (as we know).  Barriers should be on the main carriageway not the cycle lane.

Even more reason to just take primary.

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jh27 replied to Pub bike | 6 years ago
1 like
Pub bike wrote:

Cyclists are just as vulnerable as pedestrians to crazy people in vehicles (as we know).  Barriers should be on the main carriageway not the cycle lane.

Even more reason to just take primary.

Yes but, pedestrians are a great danger to cyclists to, if you include the cycle lane in the barrier you increase the chance of a pedestrian blindly stepping into the path of a cyclist, sending the cyclist head first into the barrier or into the traffic. Also what about when you need to move out of the cycle lane, say, to make a right turn?

Definitely agree with the last but though. There isn't enough room to use the cycle lane now - which is probably at the minimum width without the barriers. Primary position would be highly recommended.

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brooksby | 6 years ago
3 likes

"Understabnable"?

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nniff | 6 years ago
15 likes

I know that London cyclists are used to people driving cars, vans, lorries etc at them just because they object to cyclists' presence on the road, but positioning those barriers in the cycle lane is a grim example of blinkered thinking and taking advantage of urban cyclists' general stoicism.  Given the relative width of the two areas, surely the pavement rather than the path would have been the place to put them.

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thereverent | 6 years ago
10 likes

A better design would be to copy Southwark bridge where the barrier protects both cycle lane and pavement.

<iframe src="https://www.google.com/maps/embed?pb=!1m0!3m2!1sen!2suk!4v1496666867091!..." width="600" height="450" frameborder="0" style="border:0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

They would have to make the ends of the bridge better than Southwalk bridge (where the barrier just ends and there is parking and a bus stop) but it would be a start.

I know the barriers were orginally put in to stop parking on the bridge, but used the cycling budget.

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StuInNorway replied to thereverent | 6 years ago
9 likes

Something more permanent will no doubt follow, but this was able to be don every quickly.
I'd prefer to see it either the other side of the cycle lane so it protects all vulerable users, or even on the edge of the footpath. Having a gap where access to manholes wouldn't be an issue as they'd be unlikely to get a van through that anyway. 

Generally I feel more footpath areas in ALL mojor built up areas (not just London) should utilise a higher kerbstone to reduce the risks of accidental or deliberate driving on the footpaths, and stop illegal parking. 

thereverent wrote:

A better design would be to copy Southwark bridge where the barrier protects both cycle lane and pavement.

 

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alansmurphy | 6 years ago
27 likes

Surely it would make more sense to close the roads to cars, none of these attacks have seen people mowed down by bikes...

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jh27 replied to alansmurphy | 6 years ago
1 like
alansmurphy wrote:

Surely it would make more sense to close the roads to cars, none of these attacks have seen people mowed down by bikes...

I cycled around Parliament Square, when the road we closed following the incident on Westminster Bridge
The roads were full of pedestrians taking selfies, it was more dangerous than when the roads were full of mortised traffic.

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