Southwark Council giving fixed penalties to bikers in Union Street

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Monday 20 October 2014 2.32pm
This morning I was cycling on the pavement of Union St, between Southwark Bridge Road and Great Guildford St. There is a cycle lane on the pavement, which ends about 10 meters before the junction with Great Guildford St.

Cyclists are supposed to dismount midway through the street, cross the junction and hop again on their bikes on the other side of the street.

I did not do this and was stopped by two Southwark Council wardens who gave me a 30 fixed penalty notice. I believe the Council is dead wrong on the approach is taking towards this issue and is offloading responsibility on road users instead of tackling the problem.

The issue of the cycle lane on the pavement in that small section of Union St has existed for many years. have found a comment to a BBC article from 2009 which highlighted how the corner between Union St and Great Guildford St was dangerous given how narrow the pavement is. However, the council has not provided any solutions whatsoever, beyond punishing cyclists with fixed penalties for not dismounting and walking 10 METERS. This kind of measures are hardly a deterrent (while I was talking to the wardens I saw at least 10 cyclists cycling by without dismounting).

Why does the council not find a real solution, once and for all? The cycle lane runs along the pavement of Union St between Borough High St and Great Guildford St, and there are two other junctions along the way (Redcross Way and Ayres St). So the "cyclists dismount" sign midway through the section between Southwark Bridge Road and Great Guildford St is puzzling at best.

Should the council eliminate the cycle lane in that section of the road and suggest alternative routes? Should that section of the road be closed to traffic, except for bikes and pedestrians?

I think Southwark Council needs to get its act together and stop penalizing road users (both cyclists and pedestrians) as a result of its inaction.
Monday 20 October 2014 3.27pm
That bit of contraflow cycle lane with the dismount sign is of very poor design and annoys me every time I cycle that way.

I suspect that the problem will be dealt with by the Mayor's Quietways programme - Union Street is part of the first set of routes which are due to be upgraded/introduced in the next couple of years.

Here's the most recent map of the planned routes:

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Monday 20 October 2014 3.39pm
They'd have been far better heading a few hundred metres east to the Borough High Street junction with Union Street and dishing out penalties to the many cyclists and motorists who skip the lights in all directions. Or a similar distance west towards the junction with Blackfriars Bridge Road where the same happens.

They'd have made a fortune and actually punished people for irresponsible behaviour rather than people falling foul of a very bad bit of street design.
Monday 20 October 2014 4.03pm
Not sure where you mean. Isn't Union St between Sthwk Bridge Rd and Gt Guildford St only about 10m in total?

I'm picturing the bit by Universal Tyres. Is that where you mean?

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 20 October 2014 4.07pm
Yes that's the spot Ivanhoe.

Heading west there is a dismount sign on a post in the middle of the contraflow cycle lane, a couple of metres before the Great Guildford Street junction.

It's a needlessly clumsy bit of highway design.

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Monday 20 October 2014 4.52pm
Ah. Thanks, James.

I walk down that short stretch of road regularly, with a small child. I'd never even noticed that cyclists were supposed to dismount (and had never noticed any actually dismounting).

From the POV of a pedestrian, that pavement is quite narrow. Many cyclists slow down, which seems sensible to me. Others decide that the post gets in their way (which it definitely does - stupid place to put a post!) and so they decide to cycle on the pedestrian side of the pavement, glowering at us as they pass worryingly close at unnecessary speed.

Last week, a cyclist heading West looked straight at me (heading East, walking), steered their bike into my path (i.e. onto the pedestrian side of the pavement) when we were 5 yards apart at the most, and thought playing chicken was preferable to giving way. They did ring their bell, though, which I think they thought made it all OK. Thankfully I was on my own, and could dodge out of the way.

To my mind, if the council removed the post and allowed the cycle lane to continue all the way, it would be safer for pedestrians than the present arrangement.

Of course, it would also be safer if all cyclists showed a bit of common sense. Some do, of course, but enough of them don't (which is presumably the reason why there's a sign asking them to dismount).

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 20 October 2014 10.02pm
Next time don't stop...
Monday 20 October 2014 10.05pm
Have recently started cycling myself again after many long years and find the vagaries of the alleged cycle lanes a great trial.
Shared use pavements often really badly signposted for all concerned.

Also, could cyclists PLEASE signal, I nearly got squashed again tonight by yet another lycra lout turning left from Jamaica Road into Mill Street at high speed WITHOUT signaling.

What are we, mind readers?

Stick your arm out mate.
Monday 20 October 2014 10.42pm
Jules62 wrote:
Next time don't stop...
I'm assuming you're concerned for my safety, Jules.

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 20 October 2014 11.13pm
Ivanhoe wrote:
Jules62 wrote:
Next time don't stop...
I'm assuming you're concerned for my safety, Jules.

I am concerned with everyone's safety and do not take sides in this whole cars/bikes/pedestrians debate.

In this instance, we have a cyclist who did not dismount over a very short distance and as a result was fined 30.00.

I consider the 'offence' to be negligible, so the advice I offered still stands.
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