Cycle Babble

Looks pretty calm here, doesn’t it. But this, claims Stephen, is the most dangerous spot for cyclists in Greenwich. BTW If you’re trying to get your bearings here, it’s Blackheath Road Junction, with the court on the right across the road.

Stephen says:

They changed the traffic light priority last year.  Traffic coming from Greenwich High Road turning right  (as the traffic in the photo is doing)or left into Blackheath Hill had their time on green and the opposite light (where I sometimes come from) had its  turn on green as well. Now both sets of lights are on green at the same time and traffic coming from Greenwich high Road turning right into Blackheath hill towards Deptford completely disregard  cyclists who wish to go straight across. The last time I tried to do this I had to swerve left  (where the silver car is) because a car went right in front of me when it was turning to go towards Deptford.  I went after the car and caught it up in traffic  and said both lights are green at the same time now. He said the famous words “ sorry I didn’t see you”

TBH you were lucky you didn’t get a smack in the jaw, Stephen. Things are getting nastier all the time out there.

This is clearly a horrid spot, but is it the absolute worst, when we have so many cycling black spots to choose from? The junction at Vanbrugh Hill and Traf Road and the ghastly roundabout under the flyover at the A102M have both seen tragic fatalities. Personally I won’t cross either of them on a bike – I’d rather walk.  And I’m not wild about the one way system around the very centre of Greenwich, where you have to swap lanes just at the point where everyone else is and looking out for themselves rather than cyclists.

So today I ask – which is YOUR least favourite bit of Greenwich for cycling in? And – just to lighten things a little, what is your best bit? Mine is definitely that lovely piece of pathway between the ORNC and the five-foot walk – smooth, flat, and with loads to look at as you’re dodging tourists…


the attachments to this post:

dangerous spot stephen low
dangerous spot stephen low

dangerous spot stephen low
dangerous spot stephen low


23 Comments to “Cycle Babble”

  1. tintinhaddock says:

    The George and Dragon is on the junction of Blackheath Hill and South Street. The picture is the junction with Greenwich High Road.

  2. Chris says:

    Yep Phant, the George and Dragon is on the next junction up (towards Blackheath). The “bandaged” building in the pic is a new block of just about to be unveiled oneSE8 flats.

  3. Thanks – I’m blushing beneath the tricorn. Sorry – Phantom brain on other things just now…

  4. Sacha says:

    Despite being knocked off at the Vanburgh Hill junction a couple of weeks ago, by a car doing a very late lane swap, I would say the flyover roundabout is easily the worst. It’s dark, there is no room to escape, you pray there isn’t a lorry/bus going across at the same time. It’s up there with the worst in London

  5. Roger Patenall says:

    Yup – Woolwich road underpass, although coming from Westcombe Hill I can usually use the bridge.
    In the borough i also dread Kidbrooke Park rd from homebase, through Henly X to Weighall rd. Seems to attract a lot of ‘racers’ to whom cyclists are fair game.
    Another comment – between charlton Village and Woolwich (along Hillreach), the drains are laid laterally instead of at right angles, if you know what i mean, so your wheels fit in just nicely. . .

  6. Old China says:

    I did almost come a cropper at the G&D junction last year when I incorrectly anticpated a light change. I was kicking myself as I thought I’d made an error even after cycling that way for years, but maybe it was because the light order had been changed?

    For me though, the E. Greenwich flyover is much worse.

    Plenty of nice routes to choose from. I like coming in to town along Creek Rd as once I cross the creek I feel like I’m on the home stretch. All along the river is great too, when it’s open.

  7. Old China says:

    Roger, ah yes – drains angled to hold tight the wheels of unaware cyclists and stop us dead. I got caught recently. Did a big flip over my handle bars and buckled my front wheel. £100 for a new wheel. Someone must have a hoot putting those drains covers in like that.

  8. adf says:

    Actually, that junction is horrible for drivers as well. The traffic lights as so far back that you cant get to the junction until cars have started coming from Greenwich High Street towards Deptford, and as soon as they stop you have cars coming round the blind corner from blackheath. I live in that complex and have to hold my breath every time I try to drive out. Someone should write to the council…..

  9. John says:

    Hmm. Must admit, I don’t see what the problem is with any of the junctions mentioned – don’t think I’ve ever had issues that weren’t down to me not paying attention or someone else being downright stupid/illegal, which could have happened anywhere. But then, I’m quite quick/confident/assertive …

    It may sound a bit foolish (memories of Cycling Proficiency and all that) but I’d recommend looking into cycle training – a lot of the boroughs subsidise it if you live/work/study in them (or at least they used to – not looked since the latest cuts).

    And in terms of drain covers, tell the council, being as specific as you can. Online form on the website: make the point that it’s a danger to cyclists. They’ll sort it out (or at least they sorted the one I told them about a year or so ago).

  10. John says:

    (God, my first paragraph above sounds smug. Didn’t mean it to be. Sorry.)

  11. Darryl says:

    The junction’s the responsibility of the mayor as the A2 is a TfL road, so TfL/ London Assembly members are the people to gripe at. It’s been brought up a few times by both Darren Johnson and Len Duvall, I think, and there was a recent tweak to the junction.

    That said, I still wouldn’t dare cycle across there – and didn’t even do the Woolwich Road flyover when I went through there at 1.45am the other week.

    The two worst places to cycle – Norman Road (HGV hell) and the top of Tunnel Avenue leading towards the Dome, which is cratered like a bomb’s hit it.

  12. djb says:

    The round about under the flyover is worse road in London. The phasing of the lights is terrible, as one set goes red, the other is turning red/amber. If a car goes through an amber the other lights are green. The poor girl that was killed there last year had no chance, the lorry driver didn’t even know he had hit her…stay safe people.

    my favourite place is the tow path along from the Woolwich ferry roundabout out to Kent. I must see 6-7 rabbits everyday as I ride through the woods, and no cars!!

  13. Darryl says:

    If you cross on the ferry to North Woolwich, you’ll immediately hit a death-trap, though – watch the way HGVs thunder right into the cycle lane outside the old railway station…

  14. methers says:

    I’ve just bought myself a bike and started cycling around the area, and so far I love it! I am pretty fearless though, and I can see why many people would be put off cycling by our busy roads and lack of decent facilities.

    I hate the Woolwich Road flyover junction, whether I’m negotiating it as a driver or pedestrian, and I would never cycle round it. Darryl did point out that the council are going to try to improve the junction; I wonder what they will do.

    http://853blog.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/greenwich-council-plans-to-improve-cycle-death-junction/

  15. Bobby says:

    That junction is terrible for car drivers as well as mentioned earlier. I would imagine it is hell for cyclists.

    Every-time I leave the development I either need to get going pretty quick or hang back and wait for all the traffic from Greenwich high road to pass, but then you end up getting in the way of the Blackheath road traffic as the lights go to green very quickly.

  16. Stephen says:

    Bobby is right.

    Another point to make is the traffic light opposite Greenwich High Road was moved when the priority was changed and is now much further away from the junction giving the traffic from G.H Road even more of a head start, or maybe that is the idea?

  17. catherine says:

    its a shocker for pedestrians too!

  18. Kate says:

    On a slightly off-topic note The Blackheath Hill/Lewisham Road/Greenwich South Street junction is appaling for pedestrians. There is no pedestrian crossing so it really is a matter of ‘chancing it’ inbetween light changes and watching out for cars careering round blind junctions or forgetting to signal until you are already half way across the road. Why the council never thought to erect a pedestrian crossing at that much-used point I have no idea. I guess it will take an unfortunate person to be killed crossing it for them to take any sort of action. Ive certainly had a couple of near-misses!

  19. Steve says:

    Cycling south along Anchor & Hope Lane is a pain if you want to go up Charlton Church Lane. You can either brave the bus lane (not allowed in this case) and shoot across Woolwich Rd or you have to turn eastwards along Woolwich Rd, do a U-turn at the roundabout and then back along Woolwich Road before turning left up Charlton Church Lane.

  20. methers says:

    In reply to Kate:

    Blackheath Hill and Blackheath Road are both part of the Transport for London Road Network, and therefore it is up to TfL (not Greenwich Council) whether to erect pedestrian crossings here or not. As TfL are currently on a mission to “smooth the traffic flow” across London it’s unlikely they would interested in giving pedestrians a few extra seconds to cross here.

    And you’re right, it is a scary place to be a pedestrian.

  21. Dan says:

    I fully concur with the comments above. The flyover & Greenwich South St / Blackheath Hill are TERRIBLE and I have had several near misses there myself (esp, with cars coming the other way as the article suggests).

    On a lighter note, surely the best bike ride in Greenwich is coming down the hill in the park? Wheeeeeeee……

  22. Ruth says:

    I love cycling through the Cator estate in Blackheath. It’s nice and quiet and although a bit hilly it’s great free-wheeling down.
    I don’t tend to cycle on any busy roads because I normally have my toddler on the back.

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