This video shows off the very best of cycling in London. It’s no surprise that the film features a several shots of people enjoying cycling along the Thames Path, on the south bank of the River Thames between Lambeth Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge.
But if you’ve cycled those lovely stretches recently you’ll have seen around twenty “No Cycling” signs have been put up along the stretch in front of St Thomas’s Hospital. The signs are of questionable legality as there is no by-law in place, just a proposal for a ban. This does not appear to have stopped the police patrolling the area from cautioning cyclists.
The London Cycling Campaign has put together their own video on why the ban is a bad ideal (and there’s more at the Kennington People on Bikes blog).
As things stand Lambeth Council does seem to oppose the ban, as does Mayor Boris Johnson and Green Party’s London Assembly Member Jenny Jones. Proposing the ban are local MPs Kate Hoey and Simon Hughes, St Thomas’s Hospital and the South Bank Employers Group. I encourage everyone to write to your elected officials and to Lambeth Council (via firstname.lastname@example.org) to express your opposition to the ban.
Update 1 (Friday 28 January):
A freedom of information request by Ian McPherson to Lambeth Council has revealed the following fascinating facts:
- The recently installed “No Cycling” signs have no legal force, they are merely ‘advisory’.
- Lambeth Council put them up as a six month experiment following, in the Council’s words “complaints about a small number of aggressive cyclists who were spoiling it for the majority of sensible cyclists and pedestrians who use this section of the South Bank.”
- Police officers and Police community support officers “can request any member of the public to dismount their bicycle and advise them/ask them to dismount. However they are unable to force them to do so.” Should a cyclist refuse to dismount, they would not be committing any offense.
- The signs cost £2,600 to install. This does not include the additional costs to the Police of monitoring and enforcement.
Update 2 (Tuesday 2 February):
According to Nick Halpin of Lambeth Council:
“The “No Cycling” signs that have been erected on the Southbank were advisory and part of an ongoing experiment to tackle aggressive cycling along this stretch of the Southbank; however we recognise that a large number of considerate cyclists have been affected by this decision. As a result of feedback from residents and users of the river walk, we have decided to replace the “No Cycling” signs with the following: “Pedestrian Priority. Considerate Cycling Welcomed”. The erection of the new signs will take place within the next few weeks.