Cyclists say redesign of Lambeth Bridge roundabout must follow Go Dutch principles

We’re calling for a Dutch-style roundabout (pictured above) to be installed where Lambeth Bridge meets Embankment in preference to the inadequate solution proposed by Transport for London as part of its Junctions Review.

The current layout at this roundabout (two wide lanes and small centre island) encourages high-speed motor traffic and contributes to the large number of collisions at this high-cycle-traffic location, which features in many routes taking cyclists from south London to the West End, including Cycle Superhighway 8.

We’ve argued strongly against retaining the current two-lane arrangement on the roundabout, which is difficult and dangerous to negotiate on a bicycle.

We’ve also protested against TfL’s “two-tier” solution, which means shared-use pavements are portrayed as cycle facilities for the ‘timid’ while the ‘brave’ put up with exposure to carriageway danger. It feels like an excuse for neither improving the carriageway nor providing cycle-specific measures.

Local cyclist protest

Local cyclist George Johnston complained about the TfL plans: "Providing blue Superhighway logos on the roundabout carriageway in order to ‘raise motorist awareness of cyclists’ and converting the footway around the roundabout to shared space for pedestrians and cyclists is laughable. 

“There needs to be a segregated system of cycle-only lanes so cyclists can safely cross the roundabout, so they don’t come into conflict with pedestrians or get killed by cars.”

In the Netherlands, this roundabout would have single-lane entry and exit points, tighter corners to slow motor traffic dramatically, and a segregated cycle track around the outside with cyclist priority.

We think Lambeth Bridge would be an excellent location for TfL and the Department for Transport to trial a design of this type, which offers safety and convenience for all road users.

All the roads leading to this roundabout are currently single lane already, so the entry/exit points could be made single-lane without causing significant congestion.

There are also existing zebra crossings at all the entry/exit points, so motor traffic is already used to giving priority to vulnerable road users.

A compromise solution

A compromise solution would be to put in place a more simple continental-style roundabout, with narrow lanes and sharper corners to control speed, but without the segregated track.

This could be done easily within UK guidelines and rules, and a continental roundabout would cost about the same as the current proposal. 

Saying that, given Mayor Boris Johnson’s commitment to our Love London, Go Dutch campaign, we’d like him to choose the more ambitious option.

Replies

But UK regulations do allow situations where traffic has to give way to a cycle track, so long as the track is on a hump. It is on p202 of TfL's design standard http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/businessandpartners/lcds_appendixc.pdf

In this case, the track would be closest to the carriageway, segregated and as it approches the crossing of the roundabout arm, it would separate from the zebra, so the zebra stripes and the track would end up separated by 2 zig-zags of the shortest permitted length. The whole lot would be on a speed table and Give Ways installed so that drivers have to give way to the track, not as elegant as the Dutch Way, but entirely lawful on UK roads.

No half-measures, Vauxhall is supposed to be the go-dutch trial town, we need real dutch solutions here or go-dutch could fail for its lack of ambition. 

  • By twiglet at 2:10pm 8 October 2012

I regulary travel east on Horseferry road and up onto the Bridge, I have more trouble with cyclists pulling out from Millbank in front of me whilst i'm already on the roundabout.

 

I think a set of lights and a X roads instead of a roundabout would be better.

A roundabout design without tracks but with cycle-priority lanes on the approaches (petering out to merge-in turns and single lane entries and exits) ought to be sufficient at this location together with place-making interventions, since a well designed roundabout with a much tighter geometry and single-lane operation will reduce motor traffic speeds and civilise the junction sufficiently to render cycle tracks unnecessary.

But if an annular track is used, the inclusion of zebra crossings is a useful intervention: it is legal (or, according to TfL research it is not illegal) for cyclists to ride across zebra crossings. However the measure should only be used where there is poor motorist compliance (and thus danger) with give-way lines which give cycle tracks priority across the roundabout arms--because with a zebra, cyclists have to wait for a driver to give way, whereas with give way lines, the cyclist does not have to stop. Cycle tracks should be preferred to shared-use at this location, to provide a clear visual cue to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists alike that cyclists are present and are permitted.

At the risk of creating a lot of clutter, give-way triangles and give way signs should be applied, at least in the medium term, whilst drivers 'get used' to having to give way to cyclists on the cycle track.

A word of caution though: even with the best Dutch-style measures, the risk of crashes due to conflicts at junctions is four times that when cyclists use the carriageway. With two-way cycle tracks alongside the carriageway, the risk increases to 11 times that occurring when the cyclist remains on the carriageway. The Dutch and Danish authorities believe that this increased risk is worthwhile if it means that cycling numbers don't decline (and preferably increase) and thus the health benefits of cycling outweigh the increased risks associated with separated infrastructure.

I am surprised that TfL's proposals for making the junction safer are simply interpreted as an excuse to increase the capacity of the junction. Given the reduction in motor traffic it ought to be possible to claim back some street space for people rather than give yet more to drivers.

Richard.

This post was edited by recumbentcyclist at 8:56pm 8 October 2012.

Why the compromise? We know what we want, so thats what we should be asking for.

@recumbentcyclist Are you sure about those safety statistics John, sorry I mean Richard? They sound very iffy to me. Have you even been to Holland?

The 'compromise' is a bad idea - it would just push together cyclists and heavy motor traffic. Segregated lanes with priority are the only good option here. 

"A word of caution though: even with the best Dutch-style measures, the risk of crashes due to conflicts at junctions is four times that when cyclists use the carriageway. With two-way cycle tracks alongside the carriageway, the risk increases to 11 times that occurring when the cyclist remains on the carriageway."

Those aren't Dutch statistics. If my memory serves me correctly, they are figures from decades-old comparisons in some Scandinavian cities. 

For the record, there were just four right-hook deaths in the Netherlands in 2011. I suspect the UK figure for the equivalent left-hook deaths (where, let's remember, off-carriageway provision is practically non-existent) compares extremely poorly. 

Fewer recycled and irrelevant statistics, please. 

  • By Dave H at 6:54pm 2 March 2014

Several studies have revealed the greater level of hazards delivered by use of footways and other segregated routes for cycling.

Lisa Aultman-Hall did several papers for US TRB annual meetings, some used comparable groups commuting in Canadian Cities and arrived as a 4 to 8 times greater crash rate for the off carriageway riders.

I think there were also some Japanese studies presented that showed similar figures.

Amusingly the footway riders tended not to collide with pedestrians but other footway cyclists who 'never thought' that someone else might be riding on the footway.

An internally collated review of A&E presentations in Southampton about 20 years ago, found that a third of cyclist injuries arose when the cyclist was moving between the carriageway and an off-carriageway path, making the places where there transitions take place a highly hazardous location, which should either be eliminated or have the risk managed.

Sadly one of the things NOT being done is a proper investigation of every significant road crash or incident which is then published, and contains clear recommendations for the removal of hazards, or provision of risk management measures to control the risks posed by hazards which are difficult to eliminate.

In particular we need to have a much clearer record of left hook crashes, as this generic report in periodic TfL reviews on cyclist crashes completely fails to disaggregate those crashes arising from starting off at traffic signals, from those where the (large) vehicle driver deliberately makes a dangerous move to force their passage through the path of a cyclist (and even a car driver) travelling with a legitimate priority in the nearside lane(s) using the threat of collision with the larger vehicle to force priority.

The law should be applied to this as dangerous (ie a deliberate move) driving which causes other road users to dramatically alter course and speed to avoid collision. Sadly in the case of Francis Golding, Richard Muzira, Ellie Carey, Wan Chen McGuinness (identical crash in same location as Francis Golding - 5 years earlier - yet no action taken), plus several others. the deliberate move resulted in killing a cyclist.

I'm still collating data on this but note that only in one case has action been taken to ban left turns by large vehicles which cannot be made from the nearside lane of the road.      

Retruning to focus on the Horseferry Road/Millbank/Lambeth Bridge roundabout I not that the motor traffic crossing the bridge is predominantly turning left, whilst substantial cycle traffic goes through to Horseferry Road. Perhaps a careful look at how this roundabout is being used might suggest some detailing such as a straight-across cyclist approach from the bridge to make sure that the left turning motor traffic is set up to pass on the nearside, or not able to attempt overtaking and turning.  Certainly the behaviour of cyclists with the current arrangement has to be studied, and taken in to account.  

At Bow the complete failure of the scheme to take account of the fact the over 60% of cyclists opted for the inherntly safer route over the flyover has seen an inherently unsafe scheme (100% of motor traffic WILL drive through the path taken by any cyclist using CS2) and 3 deaths in 2 years is the result (for barely 40% of the cyclists travelling between Stratford and Bow)  Whoever pressed for this crass and dangerous scheme against the clear indications for the safer solution, should be considering their position very carefully - your decision has cost 3 lives - so far.

This post was edited by Dave H at 7:08pm 2 March 2014.

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