Chocolate Socialist (braisedbywolves) wrote,
Chocolate Socialist


What stretch of road will you die on? Less morbidly, where on your commute are you most aware of the gulf between the perception and the reality of how cyclists interact with traffic?

In increasing order of terror:

  • Cable Street is most of my (quite short) trip to work, and it has a pair of cycle lanes beside it, both on the same side, up on the pavement. I get onto it from Sutton Street (picture) and as you can see, there's "right of way" lines to remind cars not to run us over. Cars in general don't pay much mind to this - why would they give way when it's only bikes? This isn't very dangerous because they are going to be turning off a road, and most drivers have at least some sense of "slow down and look". The peril is more that of a cyclist hitting the side of a car than the other way around - in fact, I'm concerned that I am becoming a proper Londoner in that I have once or twice considered plowing through on the grounds that I would be In The Right.
  • On the way back, I come up Stepney High Street onto Ben Jonson Road. There's another picture here (have I mentioned by the way that I love casual technology like this?), and you can barely see, if you know it's there, that there's a mini-roundabout painted in the middle of the junction, which in theory if not practice gives me the priority over the cars coming from the west. Always assumign they even see the quite faded road marking. I'm a lot less bolshy about My Rights at this junction, as impinging cars might be going at full speed and would certainly be heading straight into me.
  • And the winner is transitioning from heading south on Tower Bridge Road to west on Tooley Street, which is one of those one-way roads with a lane the other direction for buses and bicycles. Tower Bridge Road is usually fairly busy and as you can possibly see has a low concrete divider between the flows, so I have to remember to switch over to the right-hand land in time. Also there is obviously no right-hand turn lane, as it's just buses and cyclists, so either the traffic is stopped at the junction, and I make my way up between them to get the jump on the lights, or I have to be in the right-side of the right lane, and brake hard to just tuck myself into the three-foot wide shadow of the divider as traffic thunders past on both sides. The only real "I am going to die here" moment so far this year was when I was attempting to make my way over from the left hand lane, and the lights turned green when I was really really hoping for them not to, leading to me with a car on one side and a lorry on the other, heading south on a road that I was completely unfamiliar with.

Bonus Content! Signs that I should get more sleep: touch oystercard to reader, see that I have £17.20 left, think "Blimey, £5.20's not much, I should top that up"
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