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Barriers on bridges

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Wednesday 14 June 2017 11.25am
From this TfL report, pedestrian deaths in London were 64 in 2014, 65 in 2015 (down from an average of 96 between 2005 and 2009). In terms of the numbers of pedestrian deaths in road accidents annually, the people killed in the attacks on Westminster and London Bridge, are statistical noise (most of the deaths were caused by knives and bullets, not the vehicles).

The number is tiny compared with the estimated deaths from air pollution, about which the government famously (and illegally) plans to do virtually nothing.

As others have pointed out, if you want to kill people in large numbers with a motor vehicle, there are plenty of other choices (eg the crowds crossing the top of Kingsway or any arm of the Oxford Circus junction when the green man shows).

These barriers are just 'security theatre' intended to make the authorities look like they are doing something.

Worse still, they are badly designed for intensively used paths. They need to be much more permeable to foot and cycle traffic. There's no need for a continuous wall the length of a bridge. Gaps of 1.5m every ten or twenty metres would be fine. Or bollards, as in much of Whitehall.

I hope that if these measures are to become a permanent part of our environment, the current ugly, impractical barriers will be replaced, over time, by better designed ones.
Wednesday 14 June 2017 11.42am
I think authorities should start building safe and pleasant bridges for the exclusive use of cycles and pedestrians, free from pollution and risks from cars... With the money spent on the Garden bridge, I am sure we could have had a nice second millennium bridge.
Wednesday 14 June 2017 1.14pm
The barriers could be seen as politically necessary, rather than particularly rational. I think if nothing were done, people and the press would probably not be very interested in the statistics. And woe betide the authorities if another nutjob did exactly the same thing on another bridge.

I'm resigned to accepting the inconvenience, a bit like the lack of bins at railway stations. Although I don't often cycle over Blackfriars Bridge these days
Thursday 15 June 2017 10.06am
I think PeteStaples is spot on.
Thursday 15 June 2017 10.40am
Zoe wrote:
Guy's street wrote:
I cycled South-bound over Blackfriars last week using the cycle lane. Yes, the barrier at the north side did slow me down a little and police were directing us around it however I don't see this as a bad thing necessarily.
There's no harm in forcing any road user to take a speed check from time to time is there?

As for putting the barriers o the other side of the cycle lane, well then what happens when a nutter in a van decides to mow down a load of cyclists? I'd rather be protected from that kind of thing when on my bike if possible.

I am confused, surely having the barriers on the outside of the bike lane, as it being requested, would protect cyclists and stop parking. Am I misunderstanding you?

Maybe I'm mis-remembering the set-up on Blackfriars bridge - aren't the barriers between the cars and the cycle lane? Or are they between cyclist and pedestrian as they are on London Bridge?
Thursday 15 June 2017 2.31pm
The temporary barriers on Blackfriars Bridge are between the pavement and road on the eastern side (southbound), and between the dedicated cycle way and road on the western side (northbound). In both cases there are restricted width entrances to the bridge at either end. The issue during the morning rush (8am - 9am) is that the volume of cyclists using the cycle way northbound is too great to pass through the available space leading to significant queues to build-up and be overseen by uniformed (TfL?) officers. This has added to the existing congestion that already existed at this point as cyclists wait (or not as the case may be) for the lights to change to allow them to proceed. Many cyclists have now take to walking their bikes along the pedestrian part of the path thereby creating congestion and queuing for pedestrians on this side of the bridge also. Some are simply cycling in the road on the motor vehicle side of the barriers to avoid the mess completely. Basically if everyone does what they are supposed to (obey the traffic lights, stick to the designated part of the pathway) there simply is insufficient room for everyone to pass through the end of the barriers, causing cyclists to be significantly delayed as they face having to wait a number of rotations of the traffic lights before being able to proceed. At 08:45 each day there are regularly now queues of 50-100 annoyed-looking cyclists.
Thursday 15 June 2017 3.06pm
Gulliver wrote:
there simply is insufficient room for everyone to pass through the end of the barriers, causing cyclists to be significantly delayed as they face having to wait a number of rotations of the traffic lights before being able to proceed. At 08:45 each day there are regularly now queues of 50-100 annoyed-looking cyclists.

Just sounds like the situation on the majority of London's roads to be honest (except replace your cyclists with road users in general)!
Thursday 15 June 2017 3.27pm
Yes, agreed.

Understandably the frustrations are tending to get vented at the uniformed staff overseeing this pinch point on what is supposed to be one of the new flagship cycle superhighways. I also noted this morning (as I walked past) that police officers on bikes were out issuing tickets / warnings for various transgressions.
Thursday 15 June 2017 9.54pm
I suggested on twitter that it would be nice for new metal planters to replace the barriers. A bit of greenery, sucking in air pollution and improving the general look and feel. BetterBankside liked it.

Maybe it will go somewhere. Infinitely cheaper than the Garden Bridge anyway.
Friday 16 June 2017 5.35am
Agreed about the comments about security theatre. Authorities have to be seen to be doing something, even if it won't stop an attack. That two attacks happened on or near bridges didn't really have anything to do with a bridge - it's just a place where lots of people tend to be.

You could continue the argument to its logical conclusion, and say that because terrorists used Motor vehicles as the weapon, then surely it makes sense just to ban all private motor vehicles from the centre of London. After all that's the way they kill people. If they can't get in, no large groups of people are in danger.

Unlikely to happen of course.

I would actually support that argument for clean air reasons...

The barriers on the cycle superhighway are a mess. This needs to be ironed out ASAP.
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