“Get out of my way” #Space4Cycling
This is Rochester Road, Carshalton, London Borough of Sutton – part of a regular cycle route for me and many others. It is a typical suburban road which ought to be 100% OK for cycling. But it isn’t.
It is a two-way street. However, with all the parked vehicles (most residents have no driveways and quite a few have more than one car), it is a single-track road with passing places. It is used in both directions as a short cut by motorists avoiding the traffic queues on the main road. They are usually in a hurry.
It is a T-shaped road – straight ahead is a dead-end (so the camera is looking along the crossbar at the top of the “T”), with the “upright” of the “T” emerging on the left just by the telephone wire pole: so vehicles come out and turn right towards the camera and drive on into another road.
As I cycle ahead in the direction the camera is pointing, vehicles often come round that corner. It is a blind corner. The drivers can’t see other cars or cyclists or families coming from the park entrance behind the camera. Often the vehicles come round quite fast. When it is a large car or van, there is little room here to cycle in the opposite direction and you are forced into the gutter. And don’t tell me to be “assertive” or “Take the lane”. You just have to get out of the way.
The other day as I cycled along here, a sizeable vehicle appeared up ahead from the left. The driver slowed at the corner, I suppose he would have stayed there if a car was coming towards him, but he saw someone on a bike… and came straight at me. As I swerved into the gutter, he leaned out of the window and snarled “Get out of my way”.
We must remove through motor traffic from so many side roads like this one. That’s why #Space4Cycling is important to me and everyone who cycles – or who wants to cycle – in outer London.