CBW’s coach driver columnist, Drive, who works for a South of England operator and is a frequent visitor to the capital, shares his frustrations about driving in London and also sheds some light on the more extreme views aired by some cyclists about the drivers of large vehicles
London, the large city that is situated in the South East corner of England. It is a vast expanse of high-density residences, with numerous access roads both in and out of it. The giant is being made smaller day by day however, with many roadworks, construction sites and of course, the Crossrail link.
It started to get smaller for us coach drivers with the disappearance of various coach parking facilities many years ago, with the coach parking area, South of the Thames at Vauxhall Bridge, to build flats on it. Ken Livingstone, who was the then Mayor of London, in his wisdom, decided to change Trafalgar Square from a square roundabout, to a circular roundabout and pedestrianising the road in front of the National Portrait Gallery, with direct access to Duncannon Street and The Strand. This in itself created a lot of congestion. Next to go was Tooley Street coach park, which was disposed of in order for the mayor’s offices to be built.
The next Mayor, Boris Johnson, was also a coach driver’s ‘friend.’ As he was a ‘cycling enthusiast’ and he came up with this wonderful idea of having cycle lanes throughout the city, culminating in the construction of the Cycle Super Highways (CSH), which to my mind has caused major congestion problems in various places around London. These CSHs have been constructed at the cost of numerous coach parking spaces.
The current Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has done absolutely nothing to alleviate the problems that have been created by these cycle lanes. Like I said earlier, London is becoming smaller for us coach drivers and our vehicles. Every borough has its own set of rules, laws and numerous restrictions, with Camden being by far the worst for catching ‘offenders.’
Having given a pre-amble giving my thoughts on London, I will now come to the reason for writing this.
On February 6, a cyclist was killed by a coach, owned and operated by a well-known and respected London coach company. A novice driver picked out and posted a tweet from Twitter. This included a photograph of the scene, with the first three words being “You bl**dy murderers!” To me, this was like red rag to a bull. The woman who posted that statement, is a member of a Facebook group called Stop Killing Cyclists (SKC).
With the aid of a fellow driver, I managed to become a member of SKC[…]
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