Brockley Station: Chaos looms?

BC is sure many readers have noted the recent changes at Brockley Station - including the installation of ticket barriers in the ticket office, and a mysterious Tardis-like box appearing by the gate to platform 2. The ticket machine has moved to the ramp outside the station, and it looks as though power cables are being installed on the patch of grass outside platform 2 for another machine.
Workmen have been spotted loitering suspiciously on several occasions, and yesterday morning trees were being cut down at the southern end of platform 2.
All in all, it looks rather exciting.

However, a cautionary tale emerges from the experiences of some of our neighbouring districts. Residents of Sydenham have been suffering greatly in recent weeks after Southern Trains decided to permanently close the gate to platform 1, funnelling massive crowds through the small ticket hall and greatly diminishing disabled access. Lewisham Mayor Steve Bullock stepped in last week, demanding a meeting with Southern managers at the station during the rush hour in order to show them the chaos that has ensued. (A video of the event is viewable on the Sydenham Town Forum website).
Mr Bullock said: 'The installation of barriers is causing delays and inconvenience of a large scale as well as putting individuals who have mobility problems of any kind in a very difficult position.'

We understand the same steps are being taken at Forest Hill.

An obvious question arises - is this what's planned for Brockley? There's been very little information available at the station about the changes that are being made. Given the number of commuters who use the station at peak hours, BC hopes Southern sees sense as a result of the Sydenham debacle and doesn't try to impose any such measures on the train users of Brockley.


Edit: Here's some more info on what's happening at Forest Hill.
'The southbound platform no longer has a direct entrance or exit before 3pm, forcing all passengers to cross over the footbridge. For customers with limited mobility living on the east side of the station they are now forced to use 4 sets of stairs (under the underpass and then over the footbridge) rather than the single set of stairs which they needed to negotiate until June 2008.'
And here's some debate on the Forest Hill situation.

101 comments:

do dah said...

I have to say I'm filled with dread about this. But 'think positive', perhaps the station managers will listen to any feedback.

Though I doubt it, this is about revenue and passenger through put control, just as it was at London Bridge...

The slow trundling mass of humanity, reminiscent of scenes from Fritz Lang's Metropolis that I
'm pretty much forced to be a part of a daily basis was greatly exacerbated by the introduction of barriers at London Bridge however many years back it added approx 2-3 minutes to my journey.

Anonymous said...

Start cycling people! It's cheap, environmentally friendly and you get fit too!

Sack the train, pick up some pedal power, save your travelcard cash for more coffees at Broca and wine and cheese from Degustation & Blue Dandelion!

lb said...

I go through London Bridge every day as well, and can't say that negotiating the barriers adds a huge amount of time to my journey unless they actually close the gates - which is done because of overcrowding on the platforms, not because of the gates themselves. One has to put up with a few seconds of shuffling (fnarr) but it's not really any worse than any of the other indignities of the average commute, or office job come to think of it.

Touching in/out with Oyster is usually very quick, I can't imagine it'll cause an especially serious problem.

lb said...

I go through London Bridge every day as well, and can't say that negotiating the barriers adds a huge amount of time to my journey unless they actually close the gates - which is done because of overcrowding on the platforms, not because of the gates themselves. One has to put up with a few seconds of shuffling (fnarr) but it's not really any worse than any of the other indignities of the average commute, or office job come to think of it.

Touching in/out with Oyster is usually very quick, I can't imagine it'll cause an especially serious problem.

Headhunter said...

An anonymous after my own heart....

Andy said...

I suspect that this is ahead of the East London Line coming to Brockley and a general desire to put ticket barriers into stations. I have no problem with that. However, I am concerned that access for diasbled people and people with pushchairs will be made much harder.

lb said...

Anon@11:02: Coffee, wine and cheese followed by cycling - sounds like a recipe for heartburn if ever I heard one.

Still, the cycling would clear out the arteries after all the cheese, I guess.

Brockley Nick said...

Can I add to anon's post that, should you, for example, happen to cycle in to the back of a lorry at 8am at the foot of Telegraph Hill and damage your bike chain, the Cycle Team at Brockley Cross are amazingly useful - open from 8am and able to repair the results of your own stupidity in five minutes, for a fiver, ensuring that you aren't late for work.

Bea said...

I dread it only because I catch the train with usually only 30 seconds spare. I'll have to remind myself to leave earlier (or on time) in the mornings so that I'm not at the back of a huge queue at the barrier as the train pulls in.

Don't care about the return journey too much. The three extra minutes are not of huge significance.

Brockley Kate said...

At Sydenham the wait to enter/leave the platform was around 8 minutes at peak times, I think I recall reading on the Sydenham website.

Headhunter said...

Personally and perhaps selfishly, I welcome the Oyster gates if it will allow me to use my pay as you go Oyster card - as I cycle in and out of work I don't need an anual/monthly pass and Oyster shoudl make the trip in and out of Brockers to central London at the weekend a bit cheaper.

Nick, that sounds like a recent experience for you! Hopefully you weren't going at high speed down Pepys rd at the time. From experience there are a few things to watch for when descending that hill:

1. Cars suddenly slowing to crawl or actually stopping to get through the barriers
2. Cars swerving round the road humps in front of you
3. Pedestrians wandering slowly across the road and getting under your wheels

Anyway, my new mobile has just arrived so I need to play around with it...

Ciao...

Brockley Nick said...

@HH - yesterday morning. And no, I wasn't going fast, thank god. It was just after I turned right from Pepys Road, towards New Cross. I pootled into it at about 2mph, while turning around to see why there were people honking and shouting at eachother behind me. The lorry came to a sudden stop while I was looking behind me and I clonked in to it. I thought my shoulder took the blow, but somehow my chain got ruined. The guys at Cycle Team are brilliant.

lb said...

[BK] I dunno, they've got videos of the 'chaos' on the same website, taken during the peak period, and they certainly don't show an eight-minute wait, or even anything particularly chaotic, by London's standards anyway. Looking at it objectively everyone appears to be moving forward and doesn't seem to have to wait that long.

The person with the camera tries their hardest (largely by filming peoples' backs from a low level) but I can't help feeling the problem isn't as catastrophic as all that.

do dah said...

You can have Oyster without barriers, as was the case at NXGate until recently.

For me this is about fluidity of movement. I want to be able to run and catch the train and have some options.
I don't want to spend anymore time, anymore of my life at the station than I need to.

But now we'll have to be processed through a queue, both parts of an 8 minute journey.

The train could and should be a pleasant way into work, but alas perhaps this is a way to thin people out and get others onto bikes.

lb said...

Well, we all "want to be able to run and catch the train and have some options", but unfortunately none of us run a major train operating company, so have very little say in the matter.

As for the people who do run the companies, well, what they clearly want is to make sure we all pay. And fair enough, train transport is a privilege, not a right. After all, I could have some options by getting the bus, but frankly I'm too much of a snob.

Brockley Kate said...

Re: London Bridge, arriving there between 8 and 9am, it often takes a few minutes to get through the barriers when several trains have arrived quite close together. They often have to open the barriers simply to let the vast massed ranks of humanity through and prevent the queues reaching halfway up the platforms.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

is there any way to find out what changes they have got planned for Brockley Station? I think the new ticket machine by the ramps is a real shame - it looks terrible just stuck there. I thought they might be ripping down the existing layout and starting again, but it seems they're just modifying what we've already got. A less satisfactory (but probably cheaper) solution in IMO.

patrick1971 said...

Interesting that they are restricting access at Sydenham and Forest Hill, but actually opening it up at Crofton Park (step-free access now easily available in both directions).

I don't really understand the complaints about London Bridge. What they've done wrong there, IMHO, is to get rid of the one-way system. Now, if you're coming down the ramps in peak hour, there are always one or two lost souls battling their way against the crowd. Naturally they cling to the edges, and this creates a narrow funnel, severely restricting movement. After all their efforts to implement a one-way system, it seemed to work well, so why they've got rid of it at LB remains a mystery.

The other thing that really annoys me about the ticket barriers is that when they were first put in at New Cross, we were told that they would discourage crime, etc. but of course they were always left open after 7pm in the evenings, just when people feel most vulnerable on the railway! Madness.

Brockley Nick said...

re: the plans for the station

I am told there are big discussions about redeveloping the station, including completely moving / changing the ticket office, improving access and, of course, incorporating plans for Brockley Common.

The current placement of the ticket machine and issues over gate access are therefore only temporary. However, there are no finalised plans and who knows what impact Boris will have on TfL's plans?

There are others who know a lot more about this stuff than I do, so I will try and find out the latest...

Do dah said...

Thank you LB, you've highlighted the problem, the paying customer " has very little say in the matter" why? because to a large extent, commuters are a captured market.


I, along with everyone else who has an annual card or travels regularly is a stakeholder in that station. I have given them THOUSANDS of pounds over the years, and I pay in ADVANCE, for a largely very poor service; not getting a seat (that's one of those 'privileges' I suppose), sometimes having to let trains go because they're so overcrowded and so arriving late. As for the timetable it's more a rough guideline, than something to rely upon.

And whilst you may have some socio-psychological aversion to using the bus

"I could have some options by getting the bus, but frankly I'm too much of a snob".

I don't, the bus is not a viable option because of the journey duration.

Headhunter said...

Well I'm sure during the summer months while people are away on holidays and those who aren't are more willing to cycle whilst the weather is warm, the crush at Brockley may not be so bad, however come the winter months and everyone is back at work and the summer cyclists go back to the trains, there could be problems.

The cynical side of me sees this and thinks that Southern have planned it this way, just as the government brought in the indoor smoking ban during the summer months so there wouldn't be so much immediate whingeing from smokers forced into the street in winter.

However the fact that they have installed that "tardis" by the gate on platform 2 suggests that they may plan to man that gate with someone checking tickets during peak times perhaps?

Monkeyboy said...

I actually quiet like the bus, seems a much more civilised way of traveling. If you're quick enough you can see the ocasional cycle courier swearing at the bus drivers - always amusing.

depends on the route of course, the 171/172 is like a trip through beruit in the '80s

Headhunter said...

I agree, when I was unable to cycle following an operation on my leg earlier in the year I used the 172 to get to work. Brockley is relatively close to the start of the route so I always got a seat (although not always on teh way home). It took me 45 mins ish I think to get to Fleet St

Hugh said...

Brox to London Bridge takes me 15 minutes by bike if I take the 'direct' route through Rotherhithe.

Watch me blur.

Brockley Nick said...

I now have to travel to Victoria - it takes me 25 minutes, door-to-door by bike. When I am not crashing in to things.

Do dah said...

Do you require a shower on arrival at your destination? As this adds more time.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes, we have showers at work, I wouldn't be able to do it otherwise. But it doesn't add much time to the exercise, because obviously I don't have to shower before I set off. The main time added is throwing on my cycling gear and carefully folding a shirt. The rest of the routine is the same.

It's actually quicker to cycle (additional hassles included) than it is to catch a train and tube (45 mins)

do dah said...

Ok. It would be interesting to hear a female perspective on this.

My friend uses a moped to get into work and it's fairly hassle free...

Brockley Nick said...

We have a lot of women at work who cycle, though none from Brockley, sadly. The main issue seems to be that the hairdryer is in the shower cubicle, which causes people to have to queue for a shower while people spend 10 mins drying their hair.

That's probably not the insight you were hoping for.

tyrwhitt ali said...

As a female, I'd happily cycle to work to avoid the current DLR issues but it seems a bit much to buy a bike especially...

We do at least have hairdryers :-)

Anonymous said...

Doh Dah,

I cycle to and from town from Brockley every day, St Paul's area. It takes me around 30-35 mins and I shower at work, which is fab as then I have worked out already for the day and feel super fresh and alert when I get to my desk.

Including my walk to and from the station, the travel time is about the same as on the train.

But, it's much nicer than the train and you get to see some lovely areas that you don't normally see by taking public transport. Plus, I am feeling great about getting fitter and losing weight, it's win win for me really.

Give it a try!

lb said...

I'd rather cycle into work, but we don't have any shower facilities.

This doesn't seem to stop some of my colleagues, but on the other hand I usually have to try and stand upwind of them.

Brockley Kate said...

I don't cycle to/from work, partly because we don't have shower facilities (and my office is a total shit-hole in general) but also because, quite frankly, I'm scared of cycling in London.

I'm not a good cyclist in the best of circumstances, and the thought of encountering city traffic freaks me out.

And I've had all the patronising lectures about how wrong I am from smug cycle-fascists a billion times, so don't bother.

Brockley Jon said...

The buses aren't as bad as people think. The no.21 is an option for me, all the way to Old Street. It's just that the traffic is so unpredictable - one day clear run (45 mins), the next day roadworks double your journey. And sitting on a bus in traffic is worse than sitting on a train, as you see all the walkers and cyclists streaming past. No doubt bikes rule in terms of speed, but can relate with what Kate is saying. Train is still my usual choice.

I'm mucho impressed by the Sydenham Town Forum's video features. People will be expecting them of Brockley Central next! The chap with the cricket jumper on didn't hold back did he! - "You can't see past the end of your nose!" Nothing like good structured debate. Probably one of our regular anonymous commenters.

Danja said...

3. Pedestrians wandering slowly across the road and getting under your wheels

I live on Pepys Road, and take great care to wander especially slowly if there's traffic going more than the 20mph max - whatever it is.

Anonymous said...

Thanks the Lord for Ladywell station and its proximity to Brockley.

The Brockley Telegraph said...

kate, I used to be scared of cycling in London too but I pushed myself to do it. I find that setting off at 6.30am the traffic really isn't that bad. I normally arrive at work - more London place 15/20 mins later (so is quicker than the train door to door). I have only had one accident, and there was no third party involved (just me) so try not to worry about it and give it a go!

Headhunter said...

Yeah cycling is really the best way in if you can stomach the traffic and you have access to a shower at the other end.

If you don't have a shower at the office, you could join a gym nearby and use theirs. The money you spend on gym membership is probably less than you would otherwise spend on that monthly travel card, so even if you only use the gym for the shower, it doesn't really matter.

Hugh - what's your route via Rotherhithe? I usually go through New Cross, Bermondsey on to London Bridge and out to Chancery Lane. It usually takes me about 15 mins to Lon Br too, but interested to hear alternative routes to vary things a bit...

Danja - the problem on Pepys Rd and often other relatively quiet streets is that people chuck a glance over their shoulder before stepping into the road, but then dawdle slowly across whilst looking at their mobile, checking their bag etc as they don't realise how quickly a cyclist can reach them going downhill, so I end up have to scream loudly at them to let 'em know I'm coming. Granted though, I'm probably doing about 30mph down that hill, but then so are all the cars/lorries/vans etc and I'm buggered if I'm going to slow myself down to the limit so all the cars are trying to squeeze past me whilst wI'm whizzing down the hill.

As I've said before here - that new 20mph limit has made not a blind bit of difference to traffic speed in general.

drakefell debaser said...

Must admit, as a bloke I have similar fears as Kate does of cycling in London. I have a few mates that cycle in and one had an almighty crash because a nutter pedestrian kicked his front wheel as he went past which did not help me the last time I considered it. We do have showers at work now which has been my excuse in the past and Southern Trains do give me strong reasons on a daily basis to go pedal power. It’s taking that step I suppose….

drakefell debaser said...

Must admit, as a bloke I have similar fears as Kate does of cycling in London. I have a few mates that cycle in and one had an almighty crash because a nutter pedestrian kicked his front wheel as he went past which did not help me the last time I considered it. We do have showers at work now which has been my excuse in the past and Southern Trains do give me strong reasons on a daily basis to go pedal power. It’s taking that step I suppose….

Headhunter said...

Take that step DD! It really isn't as bad as it might seem. Most of the time your main problem is trying to work out a route around gridlocked traffic rather than avoiding fast moving traffic coming up from behind or anything like that. Just keep your eye on the road ahead, occupy your own space (ie move to the centre of the lane/road) if you're travelling at approximately the same speed as the rest of the traffic, make sure you signal and move out well in advance of anything stationary in the lane in front of you. Most other road users are fairly used to cyclists these days, even if they find them annoying. With the possibe exception of black cabbies and white van man.

drakefell debaser said...

yes true HH, the only way to overcome things is by doing them. I am told there are tax incentives via the ride to work scheme as well which sweetens the deal and its far less overall than giving TFL 90 odd quid a month to be carted around like a horse off to the knackers yard.

Headhunter said...

Yeah DD there's the "Bike to Work Scheme" that the government has set up, but the company you work for has to join the scheme for you to take advantage.

It involves the company buying your bike for you and you leasing it back from them whilst paying them back in installments/rent payments until the full amount is paid off.

I think the scheme also means they can buy the bike without paying VAT which immediately gives you a 17.5% discount. Also the scheme means you don't pay income tax or NI on the price of the bike. This results in possibly 40%+ saving on the cost of bike and accessories, although I think there is a limit on the cost of the bike, so you can't go out and buy some super light titanium framed job for £3000. They expect you to be buying a commuter bike not a competition level machine!

Anyway, it's all quids in you and quids out the crappy rail company....

Headhunter said...

I think this is the official website for the scheme:

http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Anonymous said...

Great films on that Sydenham website - almost Fellinni in its portrayal of the dark side of human nature.

Why doesn't BC do something equally angsty with people shaking theirs fists at the Speedicars signage?

Headhunter said...

...... I like it. Perhaps we could fade into a shot of the Tea Factory set against a dark, ominous sky, panning out to a young cash rich/time poor 20 or 30 something staring balefully up at the mismatched patch of bricks.

Or how about a single mother with pushchair and gaggle of kids with her face pushed up against the window of Degustation/SOTH/Dandelion Blue gazing enviously on as young commuter buys a loaf of pain de campagne for £5...

fabhat said...

for coaxing nervous cyclists onto the roads - and they are often free/heavily subsidised as well. I think Southwark cyclists does one (yes i know, we're in Lewisham) but they might have contacts for lewisham. Alternatively i shall do some digging and return with fresh links...

fabhat said...

Here's the link for free cycling training in Lewisham:

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/TransportAndStreets/Cycling/CyclistTraining.htm

Anonymous said...

What this is about is a few loud mouths moaning they have to take the long way round to Sydenham Station.

Only congestion I saw was caused by politians, company execs and protestors blocking the platform.

I use Waterloo station which are manned ticket inspections and all it needs is one train and there are delays, whereas swipe barriers are much quicker and rarely is there a delay as there are a multitude of exits.

Anonymous said...

And the raising of concerns about disabled users, buggy pushing pregnant mums and heavy ladened sherpas gets right up nose.

I bet those same people would be the first to complain if wheelchair users and buggy pushers prevented them getting on trains during the rush hour.

Anonymous said...

Why can cyclists have a chip imbedded in their foreheads with the frame number and their address that can be be picked up by traffic cameras?

Another incident today at a crossing where a cyclist decided the red light was to allow him to shoot through, rather than allow pedestrians to cross the road.

Headhunter said...

However, pedestrians are not immune to stupidity, stepping into the road without a glance. I've had to swerve/brake violently several times to avoid them over the years. Should pedestrians have id chips embedded in their foreheads too?

Motorists and motorcyclists also do idiotic things. Most are very good at leaving space for cyclists in the cycle lane, but on occasion, for example yesterday morning, motorcyclists in particular will decide to plough up the cycle lane until the extra girth of their machines prevents them going further because a bus or lorry has edged slightly into the cycle lane, then they just stop, blocking the whole cycle lane for pedal cyclists

Headhunter said...

However, pedestrians are not immune to stupidity, stepping into the road without a glance. I've had to swerve/brake violently several times to avoid them over the years. Should pedestrians have id chips embedded in their foreheads too?

Motorists and motorcyclists also do idiotic things. Most are very good at leaving space for cyclists in the cycle lane, but on occasion, for example yesterday morning, motorcyclists in particular will decide to plough up the cycle lane until the extra girth of their machines prevents them going further because a bus or lorry has edged slightly into the cycle lane, then they just stop, blocking the whole cycle lane for pedal cyclists

mljay said...

"not getting a seat"... with an approx 12 minute journey into london bridge, i cannot understand why "getting a seat" is such a big issue. On the tube system, you can travel from Kings Cross to Heathrow - STANDING which is an hour journey, in much more crowded conditions.
We hardly have it THAT bad.
As long as trains are not crowded, I think it is acceptable to stand for journeys less than 30minutes.

Anonymous said...

Some cyclists seem to be quite happy to use the roads as though they were private obstacle courses rather than adhering to the rules. Every day on my in to work I see them undertaking buses and cars, cutting across lanes, jumping onto pavements, and running red lights. They seem to regard their journey as some kind of time trial - and yet they show incredulity when they bounce off someones bumper.

Tom said...

For those that would like to try cycling but want some more skills, there are some great training providers around.

If you work in the City you can get it paid for - it cost me £8 for two hours via CTUK last year. I would recommend it to everyone.

The problem of bad behaviour of some (usually male and inexperienced) cyclists is well known, and the police are actually quite strict on it now.

London has only very recently (five years?) become a cycling town, and there's very little established culture about how cyclists should approach a VERY car-orientated transport infrastructure (Elephant & Castle anyone?).

Interesting how the roads have emptied in the last week - commuting has become a joy again now that the school-run drivers have stopped. Incredible. Why can't we have more school buses to take this unnecessary traffic off the road?

Tom said...

anon 10.07 - I think your point that some road users are selfish and unskilled could be applied to all - car drivers, bus drivers, cyclists, pedestrians etc etc. I ride the roads a couple of hours of a day and see it all.

your point may occasionally be true but its a bit boring (and not very useful) just to whinge isn't it?

at least cyclists don't intentionally try to drive into people - as happened to me earlier this week, when one woman decided it would be fun to drive into me (she missed).

Anonymous said...

Clearly illegal did you catch the number plate?

Thanks for the replies about cycling earlier, I thought about it, I think I might get a bike. I do like to see people on those Brompton bikes, and how they can fold them up and pack them away.

Do dah said...

That was my comment above, sorry.

lb said...

As an occasional driver, very occasional cyclist and regular pedestrian, I'd agree that yeah, a large proportion of everyone using the road does so without any concept of safety or responsibility. For every driver who charges across a junction without looking there's a cyclist who'll happily mount the pavement at speed, or a pedestrian who'll wander into the middle of the road without looking. The main difference is that a car driver's controlling something that can cause a lot more damage, people need to keep remembering that.

Anon@23:41 - yes, this is a typical tactic of the green-crayon brigade, they do it all the time.

drakefell debaser said...

thanks for all these tips and links etc, I think I will take the plunge and get a bike as it is 5 miles for me to get to work if I cycled. A journey which takes 45 minutes by public transport on a good day...its madness really

Tom said...

I didn't take the number plate but I did use sufficient language as to balance out the equation a little.

The most disturbing thing about it was that there was a child in the car and I got the distinct impression that the little boy egged her on to drive into me.

However, don't get the impression this happens a lot: this was a very isolated incident - the first time in years that I have been on the receiving end of such direct aggression.

Brockley Kate said...

The situation at Forest Hill and Sydenham has been mentioned in Parliament!

http://foresthillsociety.blogspot.com/2008/07/jim-dowd-talks-in-parliament-about.html

Headhunter said...

Exactly. People who whinge about cyclists should try cycling themselves once in a while to get a new perspective on stupidity from other people on the road.

As for running red lights, this is increasingly common from motorists at certain junctions - I see it every morning without fail.

Red is most definitely the new amber to some motorists

Headhunter said...

DD - Your journey would most definitely be quicker by bike. If you cycled 5 miles in 45 mins you probably wouldn't even break sweat so wouldn't even need a shower at the other end.... Well at least you'd probably break no more sweat than you would otherwise on a hot, packed commuter train/Tube/bus...

lb said...

Mentioned in Parliament, eh? Call me old fashioned, but I regard things like being burgled or coping with a family member's serious illness as "making my life difficult", not being compelled to walk over a footbridge. It's a minor inconvenience.

Just goes to show even an MP will try and curry votes using any old henk.

lb said...

When I said "even an MP", by the way, I meant as in comparison to a ward councillor or a deputy mayor, for example.

Bea said...

lb - the inconvenience is not only the extra walking time but the extra hassle for the disabled and people with buggies having to get up and down two flights of stairs.

Tom said...

lb - difficult to see what the MP has done wrong ... he's listened to his constituents and brought up the issue. damned if he does and damned if he doesn't it seems to me.

big thing at the moment is disabled access to public transport - note the buses and the audible announcements - and the changes at F Hill mean no disabled access, as far as I can see. So I don't think it's a matter of 'a few people can't be bothered to stroll up a few stairs'.

Anonymous said...

Tom, I wasn't 'whinging' about cyclists. I know that all road users can be careless but when you're on a bike you're far more likely to come off worse in any incident involved with a car. My point was simply that cyclists do seem to take a huge amount of risk considering that they could be killed for doing something that would only result in me getting a minor scratch on my car. Drivers may behave like dicks, but they can afford to because they're not likely to be injured in the same way. Some cyclists act surprised when they come off second best in a 50-50 with a bus. It's not rocket science.

Danja said...

at least cyclists don't intentionally try to drive into people - as happened to me earlier this week, when one woman decided it would be fun to drive into me (she missed).

I dunno, I've been run into by an idiot on a bike running a red light, who easily have swerved around me. On the upside, it didn't really hurt me (luckily it was body/body) but he bounced off my shoulder and ate some tarmac for his stupidity, (which a car driver wouldn't have).

I'm not anti-cyclist at all, I cycled for many years, just haven't got back in the saddle since snapping an achilles, but there are a awful lot of ignorant cyclists around who don't help the cause.

Anonymous said...

If any environmental hippy tries to enforce any sort of 20MPH limit on the roads you can be sure I'll press down slightly harder on the accelerator when I see them.

lb said...

[Bea] - the majority of the complainers I've seen appear to be talking about having to wait an extra minute or two (which isn't much of an inconvenience, I'd say) and then backing it up with concerns about people with mobility problems (which is not an inconvenience to the complainer itself, but rather to the person they're suggesting might be inconvenienced). Even the videos on the website are attempting to demonstrate congestion.

The majority of the complaints seem to be about the (minor) inconvenience to the average commuter.

Headhunter said...

True Danja, there are some stupid cyclists out there, but as a percentage of their respective totals on the road, I don't think there are any more cyclists doing silly things than motorists or pedestrians. Although I admit, that a cyclist is likely to come off worse from any encounters, even with pedestrians.

lb said...

[Tom] At Sydenham Hill, at least, it appears anyone with limited mobility can ask for the gate to be opened specially. I strongly suspect this issue as being used as the "only legal route" (as someone admitted on the Sydenham forum) they think they can get leverage.

do dah said...

I acknowledge that compared to what other people go through in life, a habitual inconvenience using the train is minor.

Minor but not insignificant, and these people are right to raise the issue. The culmulative effect of minor inconveniences is major. It stresses people out, unnecessarily. Continual positive thinking takes energy.

That energy has to come from somewhere draining people of their joie de vivre and that's quite probably why we have such ill tempered people around.

Who push others or the train, accidently hit but don't apologise. It all has an affect.

Anonymous said...

HH - "Although I admit, that a cyclist is likely to come off worse from any encounters, even with pedestrians"

Except for the recent well publicised case where a cyclist killed a pedestrian...

but i totally agree regarding that there are equal numbers of bad cyclists as bad motorists. I think though it is up to the cyclist and the motorist to take care for pedesterians

Headhunter said...

A cyclist killed a pedestrian? Hadn't heard about that. Not denying it couldn't happen if the bike clipped someone at the wrong angle though. I've only had a few close encouters with pedestrians, usually I manage to brake or swerve in time but when I have hit them I usually bounce off them into the tarmac whilst they stay standing. Pretty dangerous really as it's possible to ricochet off some dreaming pedestrian into the path of a bus

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/7496757.stm

its here

and here

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7497432.stm

b. said...

im glad people stick to the point.

so - who employs the people who make these decisions? i should apply for a job.

b. said...

oh, and just to be clear:
i hate pedestrians and cars while cycling.
i hate cars and bikes while walking.
i dont drive.

so basically i hate cars more than pedestrians and cyclists. but inside i know i hate pedestrians the most.

no love in my life it seems.

Anonymous said...

What's this nonsense about a 'culture' and etiquette of cycling? It's simple RED LIGHT STOP, it's easy to understand.

By going through RED LIGHTS which mean STOP cyclists are aiming at pedestrians.

There are hordes of cyclists that ignore RED LIGHTS and is any wonder drivers of vehicles think if they can do it why can't I.

I'm so pleased to know that I can safely cross the road knowing if a cyclist ignores the RED LIGHT I'll get away with just a broken leg, possible facture ribs or wrist.

How considerate of cyclists to think of the well being of others, when they break the law.

Millions of pounds spent on providing cycle paths etc and the public get repaid by lawlessness and cyclists hurtling at great speed through parks where young children should feel safe from traffic.

Brockley Nick said...

Anon, come off it! There are no decent cycle routes through London. Bus lanes are useful, but of course cars feel free to use them when it suits them too. Most parks are perfectly suited to cyclists, and allow it.

I'm not condoning dangerous cycling, but please let's keep a sense of perspective. The number of deaths and serious injuries caused by bicycles is a tiny fraction of one percent of the numbers caused by cars. Bicycles also don't congest our streets, rattle our window frames, pollute our air, add to global warming and necessitate stupid roundabout systems like the one currently ruining Brockley Cross.

drakefell debaser said...

well said Nick, the lack of proper cycle paths has been one of my concerns about jumping on a bike in the first place.

Tom said...

Cyclists are not one homogenous lump so really can't be generalised about. just as not all car drivers are murderous lunatics - only some.

and yes, people's behaviour tends to be governed by a set of rules, both written (laws) and unwritten, as well as the physical and psychological remnants of previous generations. I decided to call these set of rules and remnants 'culture'.

most cyclists come onto the road and find an environment designed for another group of road users. often, this environment's design actually endangers the cyclist, but there have been some responses - like the green boxes at traffic lights. others, like dual carraigeways and epic roundabouts, remain danger spots.

also, many cyclists on the road now are new to cycling, or haven't done it since they were kids. as such, they take a child-like approach to cycling, running red lights etc.

a mature, skills-based approach to urban riding is beginning to develop and within cycling fraternities no longer is it seen to be cool to take very high risks in traffic.

check the debates at moving target or LFGSS if you don't believe me.

however, most people find cyclists an easy target for their angst, and there's not much point in arguing with that.

Headhunter said...

I think angry anon actually needs to try riding a bike to see what it's like before painting a picture of cyclists as angry hoardes, trying to mow down innocent pedestrians at every turn.

However no one can seriously believe that rant! I think we have a flamer in our midst...

patrick1971 said...

do dah at 12.26 is quite right. Walking over an extra set of steps is in itself minor, but it's just one more minor, unnecessary irritation, especially if you've been used to an easier journey. Why make people's journeys more difficult than they need to be? As I said in an earlier post, they never have the gates staffed in the evenings, the time of the greatest threat from scummers and thugs, so the whole revenue protection argument is a bit of a nonsense. I'd have more sympathy with it if they properly staffed the gates at all times.

It is amazing how nothing seems to work people up as much as cycling, apart from maybe parking.

lb said...

I see cyclists running through red lights on pedestrian crossings every day where I am (not casual cyclists either - these are people with decent bikes and proper kit). A minority perhaps, but still a fairly significant one.

Only a couple of days ago I saw someone crossing the road on a green man nearly get run down by a bloke riding an expensive lightweight job. When the pedestrian said something to the effect that going through a red light was illegal, the cyclist stopped and physically threatened him.

With behaviour like this (and it seems common enough based on what I've seen) is anyone that surprised that cyclists are a "target" for people's annoyance, as well as motorists?

Headhunter said...

I always hear stories like this - cyclists mowing down pedestrians then stopping to kick them in the head/reverse over them to leave tyre tracks on their foreheads before continuing their daily commut to the office.... Bit of an urban myth if you ask me...

Anonymous said...

HH - a repost

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/beds/bucks/herts/7496757.stm

its here

and here

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7497432.stm

Tom said...

that story hit the headlines exactly because it's so unusual (and because the lumpen 'motorist' hates the cyclist, in tabloid terms) - it's a 'man bites dog' story.

the 'dog bites man' story largely goes unreported - the thousands of people killed every year by motorised traffic. these unfortunates - as well as the tens of thousands severely injured each year - aren't really of interest to the anti-cyclist whingers.

again: anyone defending all cyclists en masse of all sins is a fool, just as anyone attacking all cyclists is an idiot.

cyclists are you, me, dads, mums, friends, motorists, pedestrians, kids and grannies, ie just people. some good, some bad. some skilled, many not.

the only answer is to educate people about to ride bikes on the roads better, safer and faster.

cycling proficiency sounds quaint and out of date but is in fact much-needed and should be an accepted part of riding on the roads in London. not compulsory though.

it is likely that in the coming years, there will be fewer car journeys in zones 1 and 2, and much better public transport and cycling infrastructure. as such, the anti-cyclists had better get over their prejudices and get with the programme.

/rant

Headhunter said...

Yes we've seen those articles - someone posted them further up this thread. Regrettable as the death is, as we have already discussed, I really do not believe that cyclists are any worse than many other road users. Scroll up to read about nasty experiences of cyclists who read this site. As Nick points out, cyclists cause a tiny fraction of 1% of the injuries caused by motor vehicles on our roads.

Monkeyboy said...

You can tell it's hot - tempers are fraying.

lb said...

I don't believe cyclists are any worse, in terms of general awareness, than other road users; (many car drivers are appalling in this regard). Unfortunately, they aren't much better at paying attention either. Luckily it's rather easier to steer a cycle out of a troublesome situation than it is a car, so the end result isn't usually quite as dramatic.

"I always hear stories like this - cyclists mowing down pedestrians then stopping to kick them in the head/reverse over them to leave tyre tracks on their foreheads"

No, it wasn't an 'uban myth', it was an actual event that I witnessed about two days ago. And, I might add, it wasn't the first time I've seen it.

Anonymous said...

Guns don't kill people, people do. Yeah but you can cause a lot more damage with a gun....you see?

No idea what my point is but I'm sure it's relavent.

Anonymous said...

Guns don't kill people, people do. Yeah but you can cause a lot more damage with a gun....you see?

No idea what my point is but I'm sure it's relavent.

Tom said...

Dog bites man 1

stats

Headhunter said...

OK LB, I believe you, but you get road rage from many road users, not just cyclists though.

Personally, I have to say I have lived in London for nearly 10 years now and I have never seen these demonic cyclists with fiery tempers.... Ever.

Not to say they don't exist, just that they must be a pretty damn rare occurence. I think the demons on lightweight bikes you refer to are probably cycle couriers who get paid per drop, so they are probably keen to move as quickly as possible. Not that that's an excuse.

Cycle couriers are probably the white van men of the cycling fraternity. Although I have to say, the cycle couriers I have seen generally pootle along pretty slowly on their "fixies" as without gears acceleration is hard work, especially from slow speed.

Anon 16:51.... Riiiight. Not sure what your point is either...

Anonymous said...

"skills-based approach to urban riding", what the f...?

What urban high techology has been introduced that now makes it more difficult for cyclists to know a RED LIGHT means STOP?

It's a very simple rule to learn and adhere to, what's difficult about it? Why do people point to others bad behaviour to defend theirs?

If a car jumps a red light the make and number can be noted, how can a cyclist doing the same be reported?

What are cyclists doing to bring the law breakers to justice?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, can't contribute to the cycling debate, but as a parent who often uses the station with a pushchair, I am really concerned about the increased inaccessibility of the platforms. My pram doesn't fit through the ticket barriers, so I will alwyas need someone to let me through (how long will this take??) and will now be faced with additional flights of stairs.

At the moment I only make journeys northwards from Brockley as I can bounce the pram down the stairs, and then get out through the gate when I get back, but this new arrangement will involve me trying to carry a pram, a baby and all the other paraphenalia that accompanies a trip out with a baby, up a flight of stairs as well.

Can anyone explain why in 2008 any major access changes do not have to be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act??

Thanks
Blu

Monkeyboy said...

brand spanking new stations do have to comply, not sure about refurbishing old stations. I know that some work is being done on certain Victoria line stations because when the new rolling stock is introduced it must be DDA compliant, that means altering the platform height to allow access. It may only be an interim change at Brockley to allow Oyster Card use, the new ELL trains will be DDA compliant I assume - so hopefully the station will be brought up to standard?

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