Has the Mayor ordered the cyclists’ magic wands to disappear?

Just three days before the Brighton Road “Cycle Corridor” from Purley to the town centre, part of a £5million TfL-funded scheme, is due to be formally unveiled, contractors for Croydon Council were out on the road last night, removing many of the protective wands which they had only installed earlier this week.

Road up: newly installed cycling infrastructure was being dug up all over Croydon last night

Cyclists fear that the wands have been hurriedly removed because the borough’s Conservative Mayor, Jason Perry, has caved in to pressure from the motoring lobby.

Some sections of social media have been overflowing this week with near-hysterical rants from motorists complaining about the creation of this piece of improved cycling infrastructure which, as the “before and after” video above, posted this week, has long been in great need of an upgrade to the standard of safer cycle lane provided in other London boroughs.

Perry, in his time as a councillor for South Croydon ward, which includes some of the cycle corridor route, was vehemently anti-cycle lane. The plastic guttering salesman claimed, somewhat bizarrely, that having cycle lanes somehow stops shops and other businesses along the road from trading.

In his first months in office, the £82,000 per year Tory Mayor also scuppered a safe school street scheme opposite Lloyd Park, in case it diverted motor traffic down the street where he owns a £1million house.

Wand-ered off: Brighton Road this morning, stripped of most of the cycle lane’s protective wands

A spokesperson for Croydon Council this afternoon denied that the cycle lane was being dismantled in any way. They were unable to provide any comment from the usually voluble part-time Mayor.

But first observations of the changes made overnight by contractors Conway have prompted some highways specialists to suggest that they may have made the road more dangerous, not only for cyclists but for drivers of motor vehicles who may now be in greater risk of collision with the defender bases to which the wands were fixed.

“I can assure you that the cycle lane in Brighton Road remains in place,” the council spokesperson told Inside Croydon.

“The contractor removed the wands that were no longer required, as the scheme has alternate wands and defender bases.”

Which not only doesn’t make much sense – as the wands were only put in earlier this week – but also contradicts what eyewitnesses have observed along the mile-long length of the route.

Observation of the Brighton Road “cycle corridor” shows that the wands were fixed to the defender bases, not supplementary to them, as the council tried to suggest.

“It doesn’t make sense at all,” according to one member of the Croydon Cycling Campaign who had been shocked to see the removal of the vital safety equipment this morning.

Didn’t last long: the almost wand-less Brighton Road cycle corridor today

“Almost all of the wands have been removed. They only left the ones next to junctions as far as I can see.”

And another cyclist said, “The same kerbs and wand solution exists on the stretch of road outside Mayday Hospital, and obviously that sees a lot of ambulance traffic. No bollards have been removed from there.”

An official at the London Cycling Campaign said, “Removing the wands makes the bases they were attached to less visible, and therefore more dangerous to all road users.”

Read more: Council’s ‘new’ cycle corridor to Purley doesn’t go far enough

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6 Responses to Has the Mayor ordered the cyclists’ magic wands to disappear?

  1. James Seabrook says:

    I have enjoyed cycling for many years but haven’t been keen to travel up the Brighton road into Croydon for a long time owing mainly to the dreadful standard of driving in the borough, and actually across this country. I also drive a car and get fed up with these substandard, thoughtless and disrespectful drivers. So for Croydon to start putting in a barrier between car and cycle was a good idea even if it is a bit inconvenient for drivers. But let’s remember, where there’s a hard line separating the cycle lane and rest of the road cars are not legally allowed in in, a bit like a permanent bus lane.

    For Croydon Council to then take out the very things they’ve put in is absolutely absurd. Not only are we paying 15% council tax for this nightmayor’s game of politics but we now have to watch the destruction caused by him pandering to the motorists lobby.

    Croydon Council and its woefully inadequate mayor have been utterly useless. They seem to care nothing for anybody in this borough and it really is upsetting that they can be so negligent when it comes to basic safety. Not only that but as has already been pointed out the bases left in the road are extremely dangerous for everybody, cyclists and vehicles alike, I expect there will be a lot of suing of the Council before long for broken tyres and wheels and whatever else.

  2. Christopher Burgliss says:

    Ah well. I am sure we’ll live. Just hope this was one of the schemes funded by the GLC rather than my council tax

  3. Purr Lee says:

    I don’t think the location of cycle lane on the side of the road ever made much sense. In many other countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands cycle lanes are often effectively on pavements but separate from pedestrians. This could have been achievable and overall been much safer for cyclists and the debate of annoying motorists by getting in their way at slow speeds would have been a non-issue.

  4. Ian Kierans says:

    James mentioned the awful standard of driving in the Borough, This is more of a dangerous ”do not care” mentality of all road and pavement users.
    From Zebra crossings/lights ignored, rare uses of indicators, low gear high speed driving lane hopping illegal parking wanton use of pavements when road is blocked and total absence of enforcement other than Camera fine tech.
    This week on the London road two buses going from West Croydon to Broad Green had to overtake a double parked vehicle unloading to the shops. They did this at caution speed when it was clear to do so. Bbut some twit in a car decided to enforce his right of way and drove right up to them blocking them from pulling over just before lidl where there was space. So mexican stand-off time with cars parked both sides not even a lowry figurine stood a chance of getting by.
    But that did not stop the 4 cyclists mounting a very packed pavement followed by scooters honking pedestrians to get off the pavement.

    This Council cares not and has not for so long. Behaviour begets itself and as more and more people are treated so badly by the organs of state so they will leash that disaffection openly and in public onto others.
    Clearly the Council. Perry and his Conservatives has not learned those lessons at all and never will!

  5. Simon Shepherd says:

    I cycle along this section of the Brighton Road every week and whilst are some benefits to this schemeI have some concerns.
    1) removing the wands from the defender bases makes the defender base very difficult to see at night. When there is a car parked in the cycling lane the cyclist has to pull out into the road and not only has to check for traffic behind to ensure it is safe to do so but also has to avoid hitting one of these difficult to see defender bases.
    2) The defender bases have been placed in the cycle lane, instead of on the white dividing line between the cycle lane and the road. This effectively reduces the safe space for cycling as it makes the cycling lane narrower.

    This scheme is an experimental traffic management order (ETMO) which means everyone has an opportunity to tell the council what they think of the scheme and you can be sure there will be a significant amount of objections from the motoring community asking for it to be removed so it’s important that anyone who is keen to support safer cycling in the borough puts forward any comments and suggestions to maintain and improve the scheme. Comments and suggestions can be made via the Croydon council website (Brighton Road corridor project) and must be made by 3/10/23.

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