Sunday 14 November 2010

The Bloomsbury Problem

Another issue we had with the Russel Square area is that this marked a clear attempt to bring cycle-friendly infrastructure into the inner city, rather than, as in Bristol, leave it places where we hope it doesn't get in the way of anyone important.

First, signs, encouraging cyclists to find their way round

Full green bike paths, with raised kerbs to make it slightly harder to accidentally park in them.
Junctions for the bicycles themselves, with no cyclists dismount signs
And here, worst of all, an "except cycles" get-out clause on a one way street. Not "except cycles, taxis and van drivers", but cycles only.
What is really depressing here is that the Camden council staff behind such schemese visited the proposed GBBN Whiteladies Road development, the one that will help motorists driving in to town by removing the zebra crossings in our way and making cycling more dangerous. We know this as we infiltrated the event, keeping track of what people were saying, and whether complaints were being dismissed -as expected- or actually listened to, and tried to slip our own ideas in to distract them.

On the topic of that camden council cycle team visit, can we extend our apologies to the woman driving the green nissan micra down WL road who was held up for fifteen seconds by the funny bicycle people. Yes, you were right to beep your horn at us for not being in the bike lane, even though cyclists don't have to cycle in them, they can cycle two abreast legally, and the traffic jam ahead meant you weren't losing any time. Yes, you were right to complain that eight people on bicycles at 08:50 on a weekday were causing utter chaos, which is why the local council had arranged the cyclist visit to during the quiet period mid-morning.  Sadly, some of the cycle troublemakers had spotted the flaw there and pressured for a rush hour visit, which is why you were held up by three people cycling two-abreast down whiteladies road.

Because we were trying to blend in with these subversives we did have to come up and argue with you while you were stopped at the traffic lights, as anything else would have aroused the suspicions of the rest of the group.


We didn't really mean to call you a selfish idiot who would clearly benefit from getting out of their car and trying to do some exercise! It's your right to get fat and stay unfit by driving to work and back, stopping only in the supermarket to buy ready-to-fry fast foods.

We didn't really want to dispute the niceties of the highway code and the fact that nowhere in it does it say "bicycles should be banned from our roads"  -because like you, we think it ought to! It was just something we had to do to blend in!

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