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Upper Ground cycling

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Tuesday 20 August 2019 6.26pm
Can any cyclists who use upper ground on this site tell me whether the contra flow section at the top that leads to blackfriars bridge is two way or one way towards Blackfriars? Reason i ask is that the roadworks at the top completely block the road and i had some idiot shouting abuse at me for cycling down the cycle path away from the bridge....the lane itself seems to indicate contraflow as there are give way markings on both sides and it does seem to be split into two separate areas. Having said this there is a blue sign indicating a bike and a one way arrow up towards the bridge - but i thought this only applied to the road...? Any clarity would be good...?
Thursday 22 August 2019 10.22pm
Thick skin mate. Lots of people out there nowadays who donít think before unzipping their lips.

I had two incidents last week. One guy on a bike yelled at me for not yielding so he could ride across a zebra crossing. Another, pedestrian yelled after me for creeping into a traffic less intersection while red and he was about to walk across on a red man himself.

Upper Road to Blackfriars bridge usually allows contra flow. Google says you can. TfL journey planner says you canít but to make a left, ride on the pedestrian river walk till you get to the bridge stairs, dismount and carry it up. In construction zones, there usually is no consideration for the cyclist.
Friday 23 August 2019 8.28am
Turns out the sign in question is a blue circle with a cycle in it and an arrow. This DOES NOT indicate direction of cycle path travel. It indicates that cyclists only are allowed to travel in the opposing direction to the one way traffic. Thanks for the suggestion but no way im carrying a boris bike anywhere ;-) plus people seem to get equally aerated about cycling in thames path as well so...?!

So heís essentially factually wrong. I will continue to cycle up and down it as i always have done based on the signage on the road currently. Trouble is i dont have time to stop and correct people generally, as i have a train to catch!!!
Friday 23 August 2019 9.12am
Cycling on the Thames Path is illegal. Alas this does not stop some cyclists even when it is exceptionally busy.
Friday 23 August 2019 1.11pm
I think generally every road using group has its idiots and people who dont give a ****. Just with cars the consequences of that attitude can be fatal, and more rarely the true is same for bikes. But i cycle defensively and always assume people will do stupid things. An attitude that has helped me avoid some potentially nasty spills. I also dont generally shout abuse at people. Good way to get yourself a twat in the face i find....?!! I do bloody resent being shouted at tho when im doing something perfectly ok.
Monday 26 August 2019 10.55am
boroughbloke wrote:
Cycling on the Thames Path is illegal. Alas this does not stop some cyclists even when it is exceptionally busy.

Hi, boroughbloke - can you be more specific? There are long stretches of the 'Thames Path' in the broadest sense, where cycling is legal, and encouraged (parts of west London for example). Clearly anyone who rides a bicycle at the busiest times on the most crowded sections of the riverside between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge (not strictly the Thames Path, although it follows the same route) is an idiot, but are they breaking the law?

I've not been able to find any general statement online - not surprisingly, since the route passes through several jurisdictions and ownerships. Cycling is certainly prohibited around More London and City Hall (where I believe Boris was photographed on a hire bike) - but you have to look very carefully to find the discreet little signs erected by the owners to list all the different activities that are banned there.

There may indeed be a general ban on cycling elsewhere - but how are cyclists supposed to know?

In a walk yesterday I kept a special look out for 'no cycling' signs. I saw a couple of rather worn notices attached to flagpoles on the overcrowded narrow stretch in front of County Hall - where cycling would be pretty well impossible anyway. And cycling is prohibited in Jubilee Gardens - according to the information panels around it. Yet an absence of other signs may lead to the conclusion that cycling is permitted except where there are explicit 'no cycling' signs. Otherwise why put up signs just in front of County Hall, where you couldn't get to except by cycling along the riverside?

I looked at some of the several obvious routes leading from Upper Ground to the riverside - no 'no cycling' signs - no 'cyclists please dismount' - nothing to indicate 'thus far and no further'. They do have barriers to stop cars - very easy to attach 'no cycling' signs, if that's what they mean. The private path to Park Street at the side of Tate Modern has a 'cyclists please dismount' sign - it's at the riverside end of the path, addressed to cyclists approaching from that direction, not from the road.

I may have missed something, of course.

They say that ignorance of the law is no excuse - in this case, it's not at all clear to me that there is a 'law' - but if there is, the authorities seem to be doing their best to keep people in ignorance of it.
Tuesday 27 August 2019 2.52pm
I mean the path through central london on the south side of the river. On cue yesterday lunchtime there was an ignorant cyclist whizzing under blackfriars bridge dinging his bell as if he had every right to be there. He did not. He was not alone. There were several. He was just the most ignorant and agressive of this species.
Tuesday 27 August 2019 5.22pm
boroughbloke wrote:
I mean the path through central london on the south side of the river. On cue yesterday lunchtime there was an ignorant cyclist whizzing under blackfriars bridge dinging his bell as if he had every right to be there. He did not. He was not alone. There were several. He was just the most ignorant and agressive of this species.

Thanks, boroughbloke, that's what I thought you meant - my later comments were all about that stretch. But I still hoped you would provide a link to the relevant by-laws or the rulings by the individual landowners that ban cycling there. Or at least guidance where I can see the signs that say cycling is prohibited. Do that, and I, as one of those bloody-minded individuals who ('as a cyclist myself') habitually yell at cyclists riding on the pavement, will feel encouraged to tackle the next cyclist I see on the riverside.

Clearly it's not all the same - for example Clink Street is a road (although pedestrians treat it as a footpath) as is Bankside by the Globe.

My question is: you say cycling is not permitted - how do you know that? You comment on an 'ignorant' cyclist at Blackfriars Bridge. That surely is the point - he didn't actually know he shouldn't be riding there. (But expecting pedestrians to get out of his way was wrong in any case, of course!)

And why don't the authorities just put up a few 'no cycling' signs?

There's a good old British tradition, you can do what you like as long as there isn't a sign saying you mustn't. Faced with a stretch of grass we assume we can walk on it unless there's a sign that says 'Please keep off the grass'. Then if we walk on it we know we're in the wrong, and won't be surprised if a park-keeper shouts at us.

Cyclists aren't mindreaders. I want to know, if I cycle up one of those access routes between Upper Ground and the river, that there's a point at which I have to get off my bike and wheel it.
Wednesday 28 August 2019 12.10pm
John C wrote:
...
There's a good old British tradition, you can do what you like as long as there isn't a sign saying you mustn't.

That "tradition" isn't reflected in either law or practice. There's a hierarchy of highways that includes footpaths, bridle paths and (non-motorway) roads.

Anybody can use all three of these.

Horse riders and cyclists can use bridal paths; automotive vehicles can't. Pedestrians can use footpaths, but horse riders, cyclists and automotive vehicles can't. Very few bridle paths have 'no car' signs (although some do), and few footpaths have 'no cycling' signs (again, although some do).

For a particular case in point, there are no "no cycling" signs on the footpaths across Waterloo Bridge, but it's neither permitted, nor legal, to cycle on them. I'm sure you wouldn't argue that it is permissible under your 'tradition'.

I don't know the exact rules for the access routes you asked about but as a rule of thumb, if a path looks like a footpath (ie is separated from a larger highway by kerbs or being raised), and there's no explicit permission to cycle on it, either by signs or designation as a bridle way in the highways authorities maps, you probably have no right to cycle on it.
Wednesday 28 August 2019 5.21pm
Rambling Phil wrote:
John C wrote:
...
There's a good old British tradition, you can do what you like as long as there isn't a sign saying you mustn't.

That "tradition" isn't reflected in either law or practice. There's a hierarchy of highways that includes footpaths, bridle paths and (non-motorway) roads.

Anybody can use all three of these.

Horse riders and cyclists can use bridal paths; automotive vehicles can't. Pedestrians can use footpaths, but horse riders, cyclists and automotive vehicles can't. Very few bridle paths have 'no car' signs (although some do), and few footpaths have 'no cycling' signs (again, although some do).

For a particular case in point, there are no "no cycling" signs on the footpaths across Waterloo Bridge, but it's neither permitted, nor legal, to cycle on them. I'm sure you wouldn't argue that it is permissible under your 'tradition'.

I don't know the exact rules for the access routes you asked about but as a rule of thumb, if a path looks like a footpath (ie is separated from a larger highway by kerbs or being raised), and there's no explicit permission to cycle on it, either by signs or designation as a bridle way in the highways authorities maps, you probably have no right to cycle on it.

I'm sure you're right, Rambling Phil - but having just yelled at a cyclist who cycled through a red light I feel I've earned the right to speak out in the cause of the merely 'ignorant' cyclist (ie one who doesn't know that they are breaking the law).

Yes, I know about the various legal types of 'footpath', 'bridleway' etc - but the 'Thames Path' is not a traditional 'right-of-way' across farmland - it's been cobbled together over many years of negotiation with the owners of riverside property, and presumably the individual agreements make clear what access is allowed. I seem to recall the outrage expressed on SE1 a few years ago, at time of the Queen's Jubilee Thames pageant, when various landowners closed off access and permitted only their guests access to the riverside to view the procession. [And Broadwall, if you're watching this string - if they want to turn off the lights at night, I'm sure they have a perfect right to do so - if you walk there at night it's at your own risk.]

Quote:
...as a rule of thumb, if a path looks like a footpath (ie is separated from a larger highway by kerbs or being raised), and there's no explicit permission to cycle on it, either by signs or designation as a bridle way in the highways authorities maps, you probably have no right to cycle on it.

Not quite as obvious as you suggest, Rambling Phil. Particularly given the modern practice of town planners of deliberately mixing pedestrians and traffic (have you been up Exhibition Road recently?) and their disastrous assumption that cyclists and pedestrians can happily share the same space. Try any of the access routes from Upper Ground to the riverside - all nicely sloping - at no point do you bump over the kerb or see anything to suggest you're leaving the 'road'.

A specific case. Ride up the street leading from Park Street towards the Globe Theatre - it's clearly a 'road' as you define it (in spite of being called 'New Globe Walk!). Turn right - looks like a road, with the riverside 'walk' raised high on the left. Swing right past Zizzi's, through the broad archway under Southwark Bridge - still looks like a road, or possibly one of those modern 'shared' pedestrian/cyclist zones - then you hit a sudden right-angle left turn and a narrowing pathway. This is where I, as an 'ignorant' but not foolish cyclist, would get off my bike and wheel it. I'd probably get on again when I got to the Anchor.

Rambling Phil - the keyword in your contribution is 'probably'. I quite agree, 'probably' there is no right to cycle along (most of?) the riverside in the South Bank/Bankside area. But boroughbloke tells us this as a matter, apparently, of fact. I am simply asking for the documentary/visible evidence to support that fact. More London do at least put up small, discreet and almost invisible notices banning cycling (and just about anything else enjoyable) on their land. As far as I can see, neither other riverside landowners nor the 'authorities' that have overall responsibility for the riverside 'walk' do so. The sort of civic noticeboard one finds at the entrance to most public parks, with all the rules and regulations, has a lot to be said in its favour!

This discussion started with a question about the apparent ambiguity of the cycling contraflow during building works between Upper Ground and Blackfriars Bridge. As an occasional cyclist, I get the impression that planners, in spite of all the new cycle superhighways, quietways and cycle facilities, have still not quite grasped what it's like on the ground. The clearly-marked cycle way that suddenly peters out - or vanishes behind some building site hoarding. The left turn out of the southbound Blackfriars Road cycle path that places you, as you wait for the green light, in the direct path of some maniac motorist heading north in the wrong lane. The sign indicating a shared pedestrian/cyclist use of a stretch of 'pavement' - but no sign to show how far that zone extends. And the surely simple question - as here - where is it legal for me to cycle - where do I get off my bike?
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