Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Well not quite because this morning an impatient driver insisted on passing me within one foot of one of the traffic islands – I skidded to a halt and her wing mirror clipped my handbars. A truly terrifying experience further enhanced by the mouthful of abuse I received for my inconvenience. Unfortunately I tried to get the registration plate but couldn't remember it by the time I got to work but it was a brown Nissan Micra (or something similar) so cyclists be aware.

Haringey Council know that Wightman is a lethal road for cyclists. They have just spent £200,000 on a traffic review to tell them what residents have been telling them for the last 10 years.  Wightman Road is too fast, has too much traffic, is too polluted and the traffic islands are so unbelievably lethal that it is only a matter of time before we have a cyclist fatality.

What is Haringey Council going to do to address this?  Pretty much nothing. This council takes its electorate for granted – however badly it fails its residents it banks on being returned to power. This is bad for democracy, bad for local residents and bad for Harringay ward. The utter contempt they have shown residents over this traffic survey is proof of this.

I don't want to wait another year, two years for something to be done to make Wightman Road safe. It needs to be made safe now – before we have a real tragedy.

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I ride up and down Wightman Road daily and have lost count of the near misses I’ve experienced. I’m a confident cyclist and now take the position of riding mid-lane for the full stretch of the road. Though I’ve had the occasional idiot banging their horn I feel most of the drivers are completely accepting that it’s the safest approach. I realise some cyclists may not feel confident enough to do the same, but it really does help. Avoiding car doors swinging open is another benefit.

Neil, I totally agree and I try for the most part to hold the primary position on Wightman - even though it is pretty scary and drivers are very hostile.

This is taken from an article in the Telegraph:

"Primary position, or ‘taking the lane’, is an entirely correct and safe position for cyclists to inhabit. This applies regardless of how busy roads are or how much of a rush motorists are in.

The common positioning of cycle lanes to the left of a carriageway has led many to incorrectly believe that cyclists should position themselves directly next to, or as close as possible to, the kerb. This is seen to cause the least amount of inconvenience to motorists and harks back to a now out-of-date era, before three million individuals chose to travel by bike every week, in which roads were felt to be the rightful domain of the car.

British Cycling’s own safety training, Bikeability, makes it explicitly clear that cyclists must always position themselves at least 0.5 metres from the kerb.

Unfortunately, many cycle lanes in the UK are less than 0.5m in width, which leads to the popular misconception that cyclists belong in the gutter.

Furthermore, Bikeability safety training states that primary position – the position adopted by the cyclist in the Cycle Scotland advert – is "safer, as it is where they can most easily see and be seen".

One of the purposes of primary position is to prevent motorists from attempting to overtake. This is often essential for the safety of both the cyclist and the motorist. The minor inconvenience suffered by a motorist ‘held up’ by a cyclist in primary position is more than compensated for by the safety of both parties.

Cyclists hugging the kerb are vulnerable for a range of reasons. Positioned to the left of traffic, rather than straight in front of it, they are arguably harder for motorists to spot. This applies whether or not the cyclist is wearing a helmet and hi-vis clothing. Keeping close to the kerb can also lead to motorists making the false assumption it is acceptable to pass extremely close to a cyclist, as the majority of the carriageway is left invitingly free.

The road surface next to the kerb is often more uneven, which means that cyclists may have to frequently pull out into oncoming traffic to avoid hazards such as broken glass, potholes, and cars parked next to the kerb. It is safer to remain in primary position, particularly on a busy road, than it is to consistently pull in and out of the gutter into oncoming traffic."

I do take my lane - and generally do not get overtaken on the pinch points. I think what happened is that this guy thought he could overtake and nip in front of me before the pinch but misjudged it  - so although he in the driver's seat did get there before me -  the rest of his van (behind him) was swinging into the pinch at the same as I was arriving. This left no space at all.  It was dangerous driving - but I would not want to let Haringey off the hook here. This road is too dangerous.

Yes, this has happened to me loads of times too. That's why its often a tricky decision to make to ride in the middle of the lane because drivers will still try and "beat" you as you approach the islands.

By the way, there was a campaign earlier in the summer (remember?) that the traders told me was done by the churches and mosque at the top of Wightman Rd. Now it turns out that the traders have no money to contribute to the lantern parade this year because they blew it all on that leaflet!

They used to always make a financial contribution towards materials to make the lanterns. I don't care but I do think it was pretty cheeky of them denying that they had anything to do with that leaflet!

Didn't the traders hire a transport consultant to try to rubbish the LCSP/LW Fresh Start document? If they've blown their CSR budget it was probably that rather than the leaflets.

Oh! Where did you see that? I just have a msg from one of them saying not us guv, could be the Greek Church.

Good reference Karen, hard to argue with that.

Karen, 

I totally agree with you. I have recently moved to the area - having lived all over London - and Wightman is one of the most dangerous roads I've come across.

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