Cycling safety: Riding the 'Tour de Chance' – and living to tell the tale
All cyclists have them – those junctions that even confident riders approach with racing hearts. There are hundreds in London and yesterday the Mayor's transport office named the first 14 intersections it plans to make safer.
Seven are scattered across central London, but the other half are around a one-way system in Tottenham, north London. So I jumped on my bike to do laps of what looked on the map like the Gyratory of Doom.
My "tour de chance" starts on the A10, one of those arteries clogged with oil and frustration of which London has so many. It runs from the City north to Cambridge. At Tottenham, it crosses the A503, a feeder for the M11, and several other main roads in a 1.3-mile loop that surrounds a retail park. I join the A10 from the Seven Sisters Road and get on the Tottenham square-about, heading clockwise.
I pass two of the junctions Transport for London is reviewing without realising. Neither appeared exceptional. Crossing two lanes, I stick out an arm and, more importantly, flick my head repeatedly to the right like a breathless swimmer to make eye contact with drivers. All OK. But then I turn right on to Monument Way, whose three lanes feel like a motorway. As I try to cross the torrent, a van driver revs his engine and shows no sign of letting me merge.
But I hold my line and speed and make it to the right turn at Hale, having ticked off five danger junctions. I negotiate the final two without a problem, looming buses notwithstanding, and complete a lap. I have survived. "Death junctions" like these are busy and noisy and intimidating – and any attempt to improve them is welcome – but with practice, confidence and advice (hold your line, have speed, look everywhere and put your brain in top gear) cyclists should not be too scared to ride anywhere. They're our roads, too. Let's improve them and the safety of all road users, but let's not be pushed off our bikes by fear.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior QA Engineer Tes...