London council tests speed bumps for cyclists to initital negative reactions

Despite their safety benefits, drivers have grumbled about speed bumps since they were first introduced in Europe in 1970, but now they have been installed in a London street to slow cyclists.

Following complaints from local residents, fourteen rumble strips each approximately 4cm high have been installed in Douglas Road, Islington, North London, to slow the cyclists who use the route.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) said: 'It’s vital in shared spaces such as Douglas Road that cyclists be aware that their speed can intimidate, but it seems these speed bumps may create more problems than they solve, especially for elderly pedestrians who will have to walk over them.'

The cluster of speed bumps was installed to stop speeding cyclists shattering the peace of a quiet back street, a housing organisation said.

Residents had complained about bike users racing down the 250 metre pedestrianised path in Canonbury, north London.

Douglas Road South was a popular route with cyclists trying to avoid heavy traffic on nearby main roads.

After a number of local people said they had narrowly escaped a collision with speedy bikers, Homes for Islington (HfI), the firm which runs housing estates in the area, installed 14 of the humps usually used to slow down motorists.

But the measure has divided opinion, with some residents complaining that the garish black and yellow speed control devices are an eyesore.

One resident told the local Islington Gazette: Kids are always playing out the back but there are a lot of cyclists coming down here really fast. It's not a bike path but they think it is.

'Something has to be done but it's ridiculous that we've got these horrible humps. They're an eyesore and some of them don't even go right to the edge so you can cycle round them anyway!

Cyclist Phill Millership told the newspaper: 'It may be an economical solution but it's certainly not a practical or aesthetic one - for bike users or residents. It's ill-conceived. People have got prams and all sorts to get down here.'

A spokesman for HfI said: 'The estate tenants and the residents' association wanted the ramps following issues with speeding cyclists on this narrow path which is shared by pedestrians and cyclists.

'If in hindsight it does not work we will review it with them.'

Conservative member of the London Assembly, Brian Coleman said: 'This is another typical example of the speed fascists that exist in local authorities up and down the country.

'The installation of road humps down a quiet back street is a complete waste of scarce funding for local traffic projects.

'Road humps are an abomination that contributes to slowing traffic and adding to pollution, and can often impede the emergency services on route to the scene of accidents.

'In a city that suffers from congestion, we should be freeing up traffic on our road, not slowing it down.'

Read more comment and opinion in The Times

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