I’ve sent a brief response to TfL’s consultation on ‘Safety Improvements at Lambeth Bridge Northern Roundabout‘. Here’s what I said:
I am a confident and experienced cyclist who uses this junction daily. Nonetheless, I do not find it an enjoyable junction to negotiate, and this influences my route through the surrounding streets. I believe the proposed changes would make the junction *less* pleasant to use, contrary to the aim of this project.
I usually approach this junction from the north along Millbank and turn left to cross Lambeth Bridge. There is frequently heavy traffic using the roundabout ahead of me, so I usually take—admittedly slightly illicit—advantage of the cross-hatched area to make my left turn. There is usually someone crossing the zebra on the approach to Lambeth Bridge, and as I pause to let them cross, I can re-enter negotiate my way back onto the carriageway to cross the bridge.
After the proposed changes, I will no longer be able to do this manoeuvre, as the cross-hatched area will have been removed. Instead I will be faced with a choice: either cycle on the pavement, or wait for a gap in the traffic to turn left in the carriageway section of the roundabout.
I am unlikely to make use of the pavement, as this looks like it would involve an awkward manoeuvre to get onto the pavement, and another to re-enter the carriageway on Lambeth Bridge. Furthermore, doing this would bring me into conflict with pedestrians, who, quite understandably, are rarely enthusiastic to share their space with faster-moving cyclists.
Hence, my journey through this roundabout will be made somewhat more stressful and less convenient by the removal of the cross-hatched area: the opposite of the desired effect.
On some occasions, I approach this roundabout from Horseferry Road, and continue across it onto Lambeth Bridge. On these occasions, I wait in the outside lane so I can join the roundabout in the appropriate lane. Because of the heavy traffic on this roundabout, this can take a while, and I often find myself amongst buses and coaches waiting to join the roundabout. Once a suitable gap has appeared, I have to cycle out swiftly and confidently to get round the roundabout. This manoeuvre is perfectly possible, but not very pleasant, so I usually plan my journey so I approach from the north, rather than the west.
The proposed improvements would do nothing to improve my journey across the roundabout from Horseferry Road: for the reasons given above I would not use the shared-use pavements, so I would continue to have to use the main carriageway as I do now.
I believe these proposed changes would make the roundabout less pleasant for cyclists to use, and I cannot see how they would constitute a safety improvement. I suggest you revise your plans and provide a proper Dutch-style roundabout with segregated cycle lanes separate from both the pavement and the carriageway; such a layout would be a joy to use, and would greatly improve this junction. The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain, Rachel Aldred, and the Dutch Cycling Embassy have all given details of how this could be done, and it would be a significant day if you could be true to the Mayor’s promise to Go Dutch by heeding their advice.
27 October 2012: Updated with links; removed link to consultation, as the deadline has now passed.