Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lorry Safety

After a successful trial, Ealing will become the first council in the country to fit the Cycle Safety Shield warning system to its entire fleet of large goods vehicles. The system recognises pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and warns the driver if a collision is about to occur. In particular, it should help prevent injuries from lorries turning left. In the trial 15 potentially serious collisions were avoided. The system can also save money. By monitoring the way the vehicle is driven it provides feedback that encourages the driver to accelerate and brake in a way that reduces fuel consumption. The trial showed it could save £1,000 per vehicle per year. The system will be fitted to 39 Murrill construction vehicles and 63 Amey refuse and recycling lorries.  ECC is very pleased to see the council leading the way on this. If other councils and contractors follow it could dramatically reduce cycle casualties. 

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

McDonald's Drive-thru Update

Ealing Council planning committee approved the McDonald's Drive through at tonight's meeting. But it seems the project should never have got to this stage in its present form. Ealing Council's planning department said that TfL had approved the plans, but Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor's Commissioner for Cycling tonight called them "well below cycling superhighway standards and potentially unsuitable for both pedestrians and cyclists." The good news is that Pat Hayes, Director for Regeneration and Housing at Ealing Council, and responsible for planning and transport, has acknowledged the current scheme would have considerable negative impacts on cyclists. He has promised to make sure that the design is changed and that the superhighway is not compromised.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

McDonalds danger on Boris superhighway

Fast-food chain McDonald's planned drive-through restaurant on the A40 at Gypsy Corner will create an unnecessary and dangerous crossing for cyclists. The proposal includes a turning from the A40 across the Mayor's planned East-West Cycling Superhighway despite Highways Agency standards stating that turnings to and from trunk roads must be limited as they can give rise to accidents. The proposed turning also fails to meet the requirements of the London Cycling Design Standards published in draft form last year. These state that "Cycle Tracks should enjoy priority over turning traffic. This is essential not just for directness and continuity, but also safety." The current layout fails to make it clear whether vehicles travelling on the cycle track or on the highway have priority. To avoid doubt, the cycling standards recommend bending the cycle path 5 metres in from the highway and installing a stop line for vehicles turning off the main road. A third problem with the design, as it stands, is that it only proposes a 3.5m wide shared-use path. This is inadequate for a Cycling Superhighway which will be carrying cyclists travelling in both directions. A better option would be to install a two-way cycle path with a recommended width of 4 metres, and a separate footpath alongside. Luckily there is a simpler solution to all three problems. Ealing Cycling Campaign have written to the council suggesting that the access road to the site be relocated so it runs from Leamington Park. We should hear their response before the planning meeting next week. The plans are on the council website here.  
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Monday, January 5, 2015

First solar-powered cycle path lights in London

Falcopathfinder cycle lights

In December Ealing Council installed seven solar-powered LED cycle path lights along Ridding Lane in Greenford. The lights are already used elsewhere in Europe, particularly the Netherlands, where some towns use them to mark the edge of cycle paths. According to Falco, the manufacturer, they are programmed to come on at night, can run through a three month long Nordic winter, and can be powered for up to 10 years on a single rechargeable battery. They can withstand a load of 20 tonnes and are resistant to roadsweepers and gritting lorries.  It's not known if Ealing have installed the version that flashes when the temperature drops below 2 Celsius to warn of icy roads.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boston Manor Road Cycle Lane

This is just over the border but Hounslow are finally making plans to improve Boston Manor Road. There are two options - one is a segregated two-way cycle lane on the West side of the road, the other is for improved cycle lanes on the road itself. It's well worth giving the council your support for this scheme, as the removal of a handful of car spaces is likely to cause some local opposition. You can see details and respond here. If you want to go along and meet the planners, there is a consultation meeting on Thursday 13th November from 4pm to 8pm. It's at Boston Manor House. Directions here.

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