East Dulwich (Mobile) Forum

Good news for cycle commuters

...and as powerful a reason as any to keep building cycling infrastucture!

[www.bbc.co.uk]
No S... Sherlock!

Cardiovascular benefits also outweigh health impacts of air pollution for a number of hours. Not so clever if you are cycling all day cycle couriers....

It's great being smug.
Exercise is good for you? get away!
Malumbu - wasn't trying to be smug, I don't even cycle commute, I work from home, just thought it would be nice to point out some benefits as a counterpoint to those who want cycle infrastructure curtailed or even removed in favour of more sedentary transport. Yes pollution's dreadful, now what can be done to counter that - encourage zero pollution transport perhaps like...

Titch - the point is, as made in the article, that cycling to work is exercise which has a practical benefit and fits into the day rather than having to force oneself to the gym.

I just thought it would be of interest to some people to see a study showing cycle commuters halve their risk of heart disease and cancer, sorry it seems to have irked you chaps.
Thanks for posting.

I found it interesting, so I expect other people will too.
But are they DIRECT links, or is it that, say, cyclists are less likely to smoke and more likely to do other things that prevent cancers? I think "cycling beats cancer" is just too unlikely to be true in its most face-value sense? (I still think the easiest and cheapest thing is to walk more.)
NB - The research also looked at people who walked and didn't cycle: "Walking cut the odds of developing heart disease but the benefit was mostly for people walking more than six miles per week."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 20, 09:45am by Nigello.

Nigello Wrote:

But are they DIRECT links, or is it that, say,
cyclists are less likely to smoke and more likely
to do other things that prevent cancers? I think
"cycling beats cancer" is just too unlikely to be
true in its most face-value sense? (I still think
the easiest and cheapest thing is to walk more.)
NB - The research also looked at people who walked
and didn't cycle: "Walking cut the odds of
developing heart disease but the benefit was
mostly for people walking more than six miles per
week."

"However, the effect was still there even after adjusting the statistics to remove the effects of other potential explanations like smoking, diet or how heavy people are."

Absolutely agree that walking is a fine exercise and one to which I'm greatly partial, but for anyone living more than three miles or so from their workplace it's not really practical as a means of commuting.
Walking's fine for my commute – four miles and an hour and ten minutes door-to-door (ED to London Bridge) with a pleasant enough walk through the back streets of Cmaberwell and Walworth via three parks. I jump on the train if it's wet or too cold or too hot. I wish the pedestrian lobby was as vociferous as the cycling lobby, but I guess there's not so much cash in it – perhaps shoe leather manufacturers could take up the cause.*

* Unnecessary cynicism
Agreed - but cycles are costly, as is the infrastructure. A much smaller amount of money could be spent ensuring pavements are safe, pedestrian areas are well-lit with a bit of greenery added and signs are useful (amongst other efforts) but the pedestrian lobby is very unhip and disregarded, even if it exists at all. A two mile walk is not that effortful but I doubt any politician is likely to try to persuade people to walk "such a long distance" because people, alas, just don't want to hear that, on the whole.
BrandNewGuy Wrote:

Walking's fine for my commute – four miles and an
hour and ten minutes door-to-door (ED to London
Bridge) with a pleasant enough walk through the
back streets of Cmaberwell and Walworth via three
parks. I jump on the train if it's wet or too cold
or too hot. I wish the pedestrian lobby was as
vociferous as the cycling lobby, but I guess
there's not so much cash in it – perhaps shoe
leather manufacturers could take up the cause.*

* Unnecessary cynicism

Serious question - what extra do you need for walking? Cyclists lobby for segregated provision etc, generally as long as pedestrians have pavements...
You could say to cyclists - you already have roads, so just get on them and ride! That would be the same as saying to pedestrians - there are loads of pavements, so just walk (or push your wheelchair, etc). I would argue that the latter example rings true, mostly.
My meaning is that there is always a way to encourage anything. In this case, as I suggested, a modest amount of ££ spent on ensuring even pavements, safe crossings, clear signage and pleasant environments (inlcuding trees and plants) would help pedestrians know that their interests are being taken care of in a specific way, not just letting them think that once there is a pavement, then that's all they get.
Rendel - I was being smug not you - another failed attempt at being self deprecating I am afraid! (and doing a sense check on my posting).

Nothing wrong with reminding the world how good cycling is. At the end of the day car sadly is still king but that discussion should be for a separate thread.

PS funnily enough I noted that the embankment cycle lane is also being used by lunch time joggers.
Nigello Wrote:

You could say to cyclists - you already have
roads, so just get on them and ride! That would be
the same as saying to pedestrians - there are
loads of pavements, so just walk (or push your
wheelchair, etc). I would argue that the latter
example rings true, mostly.
My meaning is that there is always a way to
encourage anything. In this case, as I suggested,
a modest amount of ££ spent on ensuring even
pavements, safe crossings, clear signage and
pleasant environments (inlcuding trees and plants)
would help pedestrians know that their interests
are being taken care of in a specific way, not
just letting them think that once there is a
pavement, then that's all they get.

Exactly. For the record, I am all for promoting cycling at the expense of the motor car, but the Townley Rd / E Dulwich Grove junction episode showed how much a lobby that brings in cash can skew completely the best use of resources – in that case, £200,000 was p*ssed away just because there was a pot of Boris's money to be spent. For every well-meaning activist, there's someone else eager to get their hands on Other People's Money.
@rendelharris, as I said here: [www.eastdulwichforum.co.uk]

I would simply like a cost-benefit analysis to be carried out before loads and loads of public money is spent on a major initiative. What's so wrong with this? This should be a basic common-sense principle for any initiative, regardless of bicycles.

Now that cycle lanes have been built, there is little to estimate and loads to measure objectively: it shouldn't be too hard to count the number of pushbikes using the cycle lanes during and outside rush hours, the reduction (or not) in bus or tube passenger numbers, the increase (or not) in bus journey times now that some bus lanes have been removed, the change (or not) in the rest of the traffic.

Like I said, my impressions of segregated cycle lanes are negative, but they are impressions because I do not have hard data, because it is not my job to collect it (I'd love to, but I can't).

My impressions may be wrong. If the benefits of the cycle lanes are so obvious, and my experience of longer bus journey times, and empty bus lanes outside rush hour, is unrepresentative, it will be super easy for TFL to show it. I am not saying I am 100% confident I am right. I am saying we should have a discussion informed by data and facts, not by ideology, and that it is crazy that these data are not being collected, and that more and more money is being spent without a proper assessment of the cycle lanes already built.

Do you disagree? If so, why?
@malumbu: thought that wasn't your style! winking smiley

@Nigello: completely agree, all the better if improvements for cyclists and pedestrians come at the same time - on Blackfriars Bridge Road, for example, hand in hand with the new cycle lanes came new broad pavements, planters and traffic control measures to improve things for pedestrians.

@DulwichLondoner: well until someone does a study we're left with I think/you think, which isn't getting us anywhere. However, as noted before, segregated cycle lanes are not intended to be a zero sum game; they're intended to act not just as a better way of getting people to work/leisure activities but to get people out of cars and off public transport and exercising, with the obvious public health benefits as per link above and reducing our desperate pollution problems (and this applies not just to the congestion charge zone, where for once we agree few commuters drive). Signs are, from the massive explosion in cycling, this is starting to work.
@rendelharris, so you think it's fine to spend loads and loads of public money without a proper cost-benefit analysis, even in a situation like this one, in which some of the impact of the cycle lanes can be measured very reliably and cheaply (counting cyclists and road users)?
BrandNewGuy Wrote:

I wish the pedestrian lobby was as
vociferous as the cycling lobby, but I guess
there's not so much cash in it – perhaps shoe
leather manufacturers could take up the cause.*

* Unnecessary cynicism

Pedestrians and cyclists should lobby together for better conditions. We would be stronger together when campaigning for improved junctions, traffic light phasing and for each group to have appropriate space. In cities, both groups should take priority, alongside public transport users, over private vehicles.
Applespider Wrote:

Pedestrians and cyclists should lobby together for
better conditions. We would be stronger together
when campaigning for improved junctions, traffic
light phasing and for each group to have
appropriate space. In cities, both groups should
take priority, alongside public transport users,
over private vehicles.

I agree. Which is precisely why one of my main gripes with segregated cycle lanes is that a number of bus lanes have been removed to make way for them. Even the most fervent pro-cycling lobby should acknowledge that everyone can take a bus, while not everyone can cycle.
DulwichLondoner Wrote:

> Applespider Wrote:

> Pedestrians and cyclists should lobby together
for
> better conditions. We would be stronger
together
> when campaigning for improved junctions,
traffic
> light phasing and for each group to have
> appropriate space. In cities, both groups
should
> take priority, alongside public transport
users,
> over private vehicles.

I agree. Which is precisely why one of my main
gripes with segregated cycle lanes is that a
number of bus lanes have been removed to make way
for them. Even the most fervent pro-cycling lobby
should acknowledge that everyone can take a bus,
while not everyone can cycle.

So, as I've suggested to you before, take the lanes away from private transport and not buses or cyclists. I believe I pointed out to you the other day that on Vauxhall Bridge, one of your pet peeves, there are six lanes available, currently distributed one bus lane (northbound), four open vehicle lanes and one two-way cycle lane. If you want another bus lane coming south, why shouldn't that be taken away from the vehicle lanes instead of, as you wish, from the one cycle lane?
@rendelharris, what you propose is not always feasible. Part of the road from Oval to Vauxhall has a single lane of traffic, now that bus lane has been removed. If you make that lane a bus lane, where would the rest of the traffic go?

If you do what you propose on Vauxhall Bridge, what would the impact on traffic and congestion be? Wouldn't more congestion cause even more pollution?
So yet again, you want capacity taken away from completely non-polluting vehicles and given to polluting vehicles because if that doesn't happen the polluting vehicles will keep causing congestion. You approach the whole issue from a "right to drive" point of view which is literally choking London.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 20, 09:38pm by rendelharris.

You seem unwilling to accept that a big city like London needs a certain level of vehicular traffic to function.
You seem to think (or at least this is what I infer, correct me if I am wrong) that with the right incentives traffic could be cut to an acceptable level, so that happy pedestrians and cyclists can all hug each other while singing kumbaya in a finally pollution-free city. I beg to differ. That's not going to happen.

Sure, polluting vehicles should be disincentived as much as possible. Private cars already are (between the congestion charge and the cost of parking, getting to zone 1 by helicopter might be cheaper than driving smiling smiley ). I talked about looking into whether London has too many minicabs, and into higher congestion charge fees for large vehicles at rush hour. Apart from this, there will still be goods that need to be carried back and forth. The larger supermarkets and stores get their deliveries at night, but not every shop can feasibly restock at night.

There will always be some vehicular traffic which cannot be reduced. I don't like it but that's the way it is. Causing even greater misery to this traffic, by closing roads etc, does nothing to punish these nasty motorists, while paradoxically causing greater pollution. Not exactly a win-win.

It's nothing to do with a right to drive and all to do with the physiological level of vehicular traffic a big city like London needs in order to function properly.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 20, 11:11pm by DulwichLondoner.

There's so many of these studies appearing recently but you have to take them with a pinch of salt I think.

My dear Dad walked for miles every week up until his 70s (sometimes walking to the Elephant and Castle from Denmark Hill and swam three times a week and grew his own fruit/veg but still developed Alzheimers which goes against all the studies that are out there i.e. walking, exercise, good diet.
DulwichLondoner Wrote:

You seem to think (or at least this is what I
infer, correct me if I am wrong) that with the
right incentives traffic could be cut to an
acceptable level, so that happy pedestrians and
cyclists can all hug each other while singing
kumbaya in a finally pollution-free city. I beg to
differ. That's not going to happen.

Leaving aside the childish comments (wanting clean air does not necessarily make one a happy clappy hippy, you know), so your solution is just to give up: traffic in London will never be cut to an acceptable level. Thank goodness not everyone shares that attitude. Massive traffic free areas are spreading across Europe, they'll come to London one day. The alternative is to carry on having 10,000+ premature deaths per year from pollution, 2000+ KSIs from accidents and numberless children with breathing problems, developmental difficulties and lifelong illness caused by exposure to toxicity. The poor little buggers will be lucky if they have the breath to sing Kumbaya.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 21, 07:03am by rendelharris.

We all want clean air. No one wants pollution. That's not the point. The point is that, without a proper assessment of what makes up current traffic, your approach risks worsening it. Your approach of punishing drivers by making driving even more miserable than it already is may discourage the handful (and statistically irrelevant, I'd guess) of people who still commute to central London by car, but does little to discourage all the lorries, vans etc that must get somewhere to work and to deliver goods; it does little to discourage the Uber driver who sees it as part of his routine, and who will still want to reach central London because that's where most of his business his. It does little to discourage the HGV that must reach a construction site in zone 1, and will reach it regardless of how many roads you close to make him miserable.

My solution is not to give up (again, putting words in my mouth...). As i said countless times, my solution is:
1) understand what on Earth makes up current traffic
2) try to incentivise large vehicles to enter the congestion charge zone after 9am and before 4pm
3) assess how many minicabs are in London, determine if we have too many, and if some kind of specific congestion charge for them makes sense

Without an approach like this, your approach of simply closing down roads to make way for cyclists worsens the problem, because, guess what, goods still need to be delivered to central London, construction works will still take place, etc, and all the related traffic will simply cause more congestion and more pollution.

Oh, and it would also help if cyclists were encouraged to use secondary and narrower residential roads. For example, for cyclcists going from East Dulwich to, say, Oval, it would make more sense to ride along Camberwell Grove than Dog Kennel Hill, along Calais street and Foxley road than along Camberwell new road, etc. Yet I have never seen this encouraged: the official policy seems to be that cycle lanes should be on the main road, where they breath a more polluted air, share the road with dangerous vehicles, and cause congestion by removing other lanes (especially bus lanes) to make way for them.
The new quietways are encouraging the use of backstreets (as usual with opposition from car drivers who don't want cyclists anywhere). Obviously it's not possible to build segregated cycle provision on most residential streets. For cycle safety it's clearly better to have segregated lanes on main roads than winding routes through often poorly surfaced backstreets where the majority of drivers don't observe the 20MPH limit. Again you reveal your attitude that cyclists don't have the same rights as motorised traffic to be on the road (before you say I'm putting words in your mouth again, this from you in the past: "A city the size of London is not and cannot ever be cycle-friendly like Cambridge or Amsterdam. Road space is a very scarce resource. It should not be allocated to a minority of users"). I wish you'd just admit this.

I said to you what feels like many moons ago that obviously action against heavy vehicle traffic would have to be taken, including bans at certain times, encouraging nighttime deliveries, offloading heavy loads onto smaller, greener vehicles outside London, greater use of the river etc. There are solutions, none of them perfect, none of them complete solutions, but it's no good just throwing your hands up and saying "Oh this is always going to happen, you won't discourage them" (which is not putting words in your mouth, that's an exact paraphrase of what you said above).

Focus needs to be on all car use in all of London, not just in the CCZ - the person who commutes by car from Wimbledon to Streatham causes just as much pollution as someone commuting from Peckham to Westminster.
rendelharris Wrote:

For
cycle safety it's clearly better to have
segregated lanes on main roads than winding routes
through often poorly surfaced backstreets where
the majority of drivers don't observe the 20MPH
limit.

Dog Kennel Hill and Camberwell New Road do not have segregated cycle lanes. The alternatives I mentioned of Camberwell Grove and Calais street, in my humble opinion, make more sense for cyclists because they are less congested, have fewer traffic lights, and much less vehicular traffic. It's nothing to do with cyclists not having the right to be on Camberwell new road, and all to do with the fact that it would make a lot of sense for everyone, including them. They would breath less polluted air and be exposed to less traffic. Just like with the advice of staying back from large vehicles, I speak from direct personal experience, because these are the routes I prefer(ed) (before the bridge on the grove was closed) when riding my motorcycle, for this very reason. It doesn't mean I don't think I have the right to ride on the main road, it means I find it more convenient not to in light of the alternatives.

Have you ever driven or ridden along Calais street? I ride there often and, let me tell you, regardless of the speed limits, going above 20 mph is hard: the road is narrow and twisty. I admit I never see cars speeding there; on the main roads yes, but not there.

Again you reveal your attitude that
> cyclists don't have the same rights as motorised
> traffic to be on the road (before you say I'm
> putting words in your mouth again, this from you
> in the past: "A city the size of London is not and
> cannot ever be cycle-friendly like Cambridge or
> Amsterdam. Road space is a very scarce resource.
> It should not be allocated to a minority of
> users"). I wish you'd just admit this.

Of course I admit it. If a majority of bus users is inconvenienced for the sake of a minority of cycle lane users who only use it at rush hour, according to my experience), that's not right.

> I said to you what feels like many moons ago that
> obviously action against heavy vehicle traffic
> would have to be taken, including bans at certain
> times, encouraging nighttime deliveries,
> offloading heavy loads onto smaller, greener
> vehicles outside London, greater use of the river
> etc.

On this we seem to agree! But closing down lanes and roads without doing any of the above simply worsens congestion and pollution, for the reasons mentioned previously.

>There are solutions, none of them perfect,
> none of them complete solutions, but it's no good
> just throwing your hands up and saying "Oh this is
> always going to happen, you won't discourage them"
> (which is not putting words in your mouth, that's
> an exact paraphrase of what you said above).

I never said nothing should be done. My bullet points in the previous post show exactly what I think should be done (which is not nothing).

> Focus needs to be on all car use in all of London,
> not just in the CCZ - the person who commutes by
> car from Wimbledon to Streatham causes just as
> much pollution as someone commuting from Peckham
> to Westminster.

Yes. Having a decent public transport system that doesn't cost a kidney would help. In my case, it was the Southern Fail/London Bridge fiasco that prompted me to use my motorcycle to commute to work.
rendelharris Wrote:

Focus needs to be on all car use in all of London,
not just in the CCZ - the person who commutes by
car from Wimbledon to Streatham causes just as
much pollution as someone commuting from Peckham
to Westminster.

That's not true. Not true at all. The person who commutes from Peckham to Westminster is driving into a highly congested part of town with the result that they will spend more time idling in traffic. Their journey time will be longer and they're causing pollution whilst not going anywhere. The person commuting from Wimbledon to Streatham will be spending more time in moving traffic, meaning the journey time will be quicker and they're polluting less. Assuming both commuters are driving an identical vehicle, obviously.

Surely the focus needs to be on reducing pollution? If that means reducing the number of cars then fine, but lets at least see some proof that cars are the main cause of London's pollution problem before we set out to restrict them. Evidence-based policy please, not ideological dogma.
Cardelia Wrote:

> rendelharris Wrote:
--------------------------------------------------
-----
> Focus needs to be on all car use in all of
London,
> not just in the CCZ - the person who commutes
by
> car from Wimbledon to Streatham causes just as
> much pollution as someone commuting from
Peckham
> to Westminster.

That's not true. Not true at all. The person who
commutes from Peckham to Westminster is driving
into a highly congested part of town with the
result that they will spend more time idling in
traffic. Their journey time will be longer and
they're causing pollution whilst not going
anywhere. The person commuting from Wimbledon to
Streatham will be spending more time in moving
traffic, meaning the journey time will be quicker
and they're polluting less. Assuming both
commuters are driving an identical vehicle,
obviously.

Surely the focus needs to be on reducing
pollution? If that means reducing the number of
cars then fine, but lets at least see some proof
that cars are the main cause of London's pollution
problem before we set out to restrict them.
Evidence-based policy please, not ideological
dogma.

You've clearly not tried driving from Wimbledon to Streatham in the rush hour. It's a distance of 4.2 miles, Peckham to Westminster Bridge northside is 3.7. The roads from Wimbledon to Streatham are just as congested, if not more so, than Peckham to Westminster - I know this from personal experience and saying "that's just not true" doesn't actually change that.

Cars are responsible for between 20%-30% of London's pollution (depending on type of pollution measured), diesel buses about 16%. These are things we (i.e. the GLA) can control, unlike sources such as aircraft pollution, factory pollutants blown from elsewhere.

I know you and other car lovers squeal with indignation at the thought of curbs on their use - you might like to consider that pollutant levels inside your car are around 2.5 times those outside, so, with piquant irony, while you're poisoning the city you're actually poisoning yourself even more.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit was april 21, 12:39pm by rendelharris.

rendelharris Wrote:

You've clearly not tried driving from Wimbledon to
Streatham in the rush hour. It's a distance of
4.2 miles, Peckham to Westminster Bridge northside
is 3.7. The roads from Wimbledon to Streatham are
just as congested, if not more so, than Peckham to
Westminster - I know this from personal experience
and saying "that's just not true" doesn't actually
change that.

One of my favourite ever sayings is "the plural of anecdote is not data". I've no reason to doubt your experience, what I would question is how representative your experience actually is. For example, Peckham Rye Station to Westminster Bridge northside is actually 4.2 miles. And it's interesting that because your experiences are different to mine, you've automatically assumed that I've never driven from Wimbledon to Streatham in rush hour.

> Cars are responsible for between 20%-30% of
> London's pollution (depending on type of pollution
> measured), diesel buses about 16%. These are
> things we (i.e. the GLA) can control, unlike
> sources such as aircraft pollution, factory
> pollutants blown from elsewhere.

Any reference for this data?

> I know you and other car lovers squeal with
> indignation at the thought of curbs on their use -
> you might like to consider that pollutant levels
> inside your car are around 2.5 times those
> outside, so, with piquant irony, while you're
> poisoning the city you're actually poisoning
> yourself even more.

Thanks, that's useful to know, next time I get in the car I'll open the windows.

On a more serious note, if you can point to anywhere I've "squealed with indignation" at the thought of restricting car usage then go right ahead. I don't mind restricting cars if you can prove that there will be a net positive effect which will outweigh the negatives. But asking for evidence before I support a policy doesn't make me some kind of rabid pro-car nutjob, it just makes me a rational person.

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