Embassy response to Nag's Head consultation

We have serious concerns about the design being proposed at the Nags Head junction.

In particular, the positioning of a cycle lane directly outside parking bays is troubling. In 2011 Sam Harding was killed after being deflected into the path of a bus by a driver opening his car door, just a few hundred yards from this junction. The design being suggested will expose people cycling to an unacceptable degree of risk. On a road like this, provision for cycling should be located between the footway and any parking, with the parking acting as both subjective and objective protection from passing traffic, as in the example below.

We are also concerned by the use of Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs) at the junctions. Two of these are tokenistic, as no right turn is possible northbound onto Tollington Road, and no right turn is possible southbound onto Parkhurst Road. There is absolutely no point in providing ASLs for right turns that cannot be executed.

Conflicting movements between motor vehicles turning left and cyclists progressing straight ahead are only partially solved by ASLs - when signals are red. They are of no benefit when signals are green, and furthermore (with lead-in lanes provided, as in the Nags Head design) will actually encourage people into dangerous positions on the nearside of large vehicles that may be about to turn. At the recent inquest into the death of Katherine Giles, the coroner noted

I can highlight once again the danger of coming up on the near-side of lorries. It’s been recognised as causing many deaths in London.

Yet designs like the one being proposed here will encourage precisely this behaviour - moving up the inside of lorries, and other vehicles.

The scheme, therefore, fails to address (and may even exacerbate) dangers posed to people cycling on this section of Holloway Road. Importantly, it also does very little to make cycling a realistic prospect for the vast majority of people who do not feel willing or able to cycle in London. Cycling in close proximity to heavy traffic on a road with a 30mph limit is far from attractive.

We would suggest, instead, cycle tracks that run behind the parking bays, with properly designed bus stop bypasses, on the continental model, that are now starting to be implemented in London. These cycle tracks should provide physical protection from motor traffic, along with separation in time at the junctions - namely, cycle traffic progressing ahead on green signals, while turning traffic is held at red.

If these kinds of changes cannot be implemented - changes that would make a genuine difference to the safety and comfort of those who might choose to cycle in the area - there is little point spending any money here at all. In the words of the Mayor's own Vision for Cycling -

Timid, half-hearted improvements are out – we will do things at least adequately, or not at all.

The consultation closes on Monday 6th January - have your say here