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Some random thoughts about cycling in Chiswick (and beyond)

Simon Hayes had a good post on the bike theft thread, and since continuing on that one felt a bit like derailing the topic I thought of opening up a new one. After all, it's Chiswick's most popular past time, isn't it?Here are some random thoughts from myself about how to make the coexistence between human-powered and engine-powered vehicles a bit easier in town. I should point out that my point of view is of an adult man who cycles for pleasure and to/from work, averaging 200km/week. So my needs and requirements aren't the same as, say, a young teenager who cycles to and from school, or a person just nipping to the shops. Cyclists, much like motorists, come in different shapes and sizes.I think life is a matter of giving and taking; there are rights and duties, so I'll split my thoughts on cyclists' 'duties' and 'rights', taking some of Simon's ideas along the way if that's OK.DUTIESLike Simon, I think registration plates for bikes is a solution in search of a problem. Say you implement them... then what? You put in speed cameras for bikes? Well, how does the speed camera tells a bike from a car... or where do you fit the registration? Insurance is a good one. I get why the occasional user might not need it, but if one uses a bike to commute, or for work, then insurance is definitely a must. Not only bikes can be expensive (especially those for deliveries or to stuff kids into on the way to school), but it's also in the rider's interest. I'm fully covered in case of accidents, because it's all but guaranteed that if I'm hit by anything I'll have the worst. A test on how to ride wouldn't be bad; sometimes I see some behaviours that are just puzzling. Simon also talks about a licence, but as far as I'm aware drivers aren't required to carry theirs (I might be wrong?) so why the double standard. I'm not sure an MOT-like activity is required. A bike, in its simplest form, has very few moving parts and in the event of a malfunction what happens is that you become stationary. Lights and helmet, though, are a must in London, and I think they should be on at all times. It's just too bloody dangerous here. It just is. I think there must be a need for some more enforcing of the rules too.  I'd be inclined to say that little Polly, aged 5 and a half, should be able to ride on the pavement, and that in some cases an argument can be made about red lights - how many pedestrians jump the red, or jaywalk, when no one's around?. And, obviously, filtering through a queue of cars is totally legal. If you're stuck in a jam in your car and you see a cyclist pass by on your right then you shouldn't throw a cigarette butt at him (as one lovely gentleman did) but perhaps you could copy said cyclist. But there must be better enforcement and fines against a lot of the most egregious scenes I often see - like crossing through busy junctions with a red, overtaking from the left, mounting on the pavement at speed, and more. RIGHTSHere's a loose list observations of behaviours I constantly see in Chiswick and upper parts of Brentford. I cycle to the Heathrow area and it'll be surprising to many that a lot of the problems I encounter in Chiswick do not, with a few exceptions, get replicated in Hounslow or Isleworth.Overtaking: please give some space. It's rather terrifying to be almost-clipped, it really is, especially when a driver attempts the maneuver before a traffic island and then realises there's no space. Over time I found that lorry drivers, bus drivers, van drivers and Uber/Bolt drivers are amongst the most considerate road users. Black cab drivers, instead, almost clip me with incredible regularity, even when there's no need, and I've had to have a word with some more than once. I'm not an angry cyclist, I tend to live and let live, but it feels as if they're doing it on purpose. In Chiswick, I find that big SUV or Audi drivers tend to almost scrape me.Giving right of way: be it at a roundabout, or when turning into a road, it feels as if I'm either invisible or irrelevant. I've had cars pull in front of me, missing me by a metre, and yesterday on CHR at the corner with the Clayton Hotel I was almost hit by a man with a black Mercedes who said "I have the right of way" as he cut me to join the queue of cars trying to reach Chiswick Roundabout. Bottom line: I know you don't want to have to overtake the cyclist, but by cutting through in front of him/her you risk killing that person. This applies to turning into a street, or a roundabout, or at a junction... I might have less wheels than you and a 0.5hp engine, but I'm still a vehicle!Not checking when crossing the road/stepping into the bike lane. This is a normal occurrence on C9 on the A205. There's a school nearby, I think, plus the footfall from the train station; it's normal for people not to cross on the zebra crossing, or to casually saunter into the bike lane without checking. Please watch. Or, if not, listen. I know some have complained, on this forum, about cyclists shouting at them: I do it too, and it's for a simple reason. No one, literally NO ONE, reacts to a bell and, secondly, if I'm using the bell I don't have both hands on the breaks. I'd rather shout 'watch out', break and stop than ring a stupid bell like it's Liberation Day and hit you.That's it, hopefully this triggers some positive conversation.

Francis Sheehan ● 19d57 Comments ● 14d

Plans for Chiswick High Road, not Old Market Place

Plans for Chiswick High Road, not Old Market Place.Monday 10 October, Robbie Williams 2nd night at the O2, but according to local media there was an event held to discuss proposals for Old Market Place at George IV pub, Chiswick High Road.  Robbie was brilliant.From reading the write up, more like minutes, in the Chiswick Calendar, it seems as though some initial decent thought had gone into modernising the area, which is to be welcomed.  It is quite clear that the Chiswick Flower Market has largely been positively embraced. It is less clear, that this is the case for the Cheese market and in particular the Antiques market. In looking back to the 1920s when a street market moved indoors before closing, getting the balance right between street markets and shops needs to be carefully thought through.  From the Chiswick Calendar minutes there does seem to be two points of clear frustration from the write up that stood out.  Firstly, proper inclusive Chiswick wide consultation is required, alternative points of view and ideas need to be heard and acted on.  There is a clear sense from the note that this has not been done yet, but the Resident Associations are willing to help.  A fair question for example is should there be weekends off, or a market every weekend? Second, is that Old Market Place does not exist but for some reason street signs have been put up.  From anyone who attended the event, it would be useful to know where and why these signs were put up?  From the write up it says Cllr Gerald McGregor pointed out that it was illegal to have done so.  At least there is recognition that they need to come down, but evident frustration expressed in the phrase” The trouble with public consultation is that you do get some ludicrous results” and reference to “Boaty McBoatface”.  The same is true if no proper consultation happens ask Liz Truss.  It appears quite clear that proper process needs to be followed.  Why anyone would potentially ignore, not know or want to get round these processes seems very odd.  From reading the report the lesson from the evening is clear: a good start but going forward consultation is important and needs to be done properly and in deference to Robbie’s former bandmates a little “Patience” will be required.

Jonathan Mabbutt ● 52d182 Comments ● 16d