15 March 2009
Ticket for cycling on the pavement? Bin it
In the Netherlands, they have these cool roadside basketball nets called blikvanger.
Even if Dutch is a mystery language to you - German crossed with a dialup modem - you can guess that it's some sort of test-your-skill rubbish bin for cyclists.
It saves you time, because you don't have to stop, you can just vang your blik into it as you trundle by. I liked it so much I cycled back three times.
Here's the less convenient English equivalent. We went past it yesterday on our way into Bonnington Square near Vauxhall via the cycle contraflow in Vauxhall Grove, off Harleyford Rd.
(Bonnington Square is a real gem, by the way: a gently surprising oasis of Kew-Gardens greenness, in all senses, just off the grey concrete scrub of Vauxhall roundabout. It's got a nice cafe, characterful Victorian houses, jungly trees, and a playground with swings that nobody chucked me off.)
One natural route from here to Brixton, especially if you go past the fantastic array of Portuguese cafes and tapas bars in Stockwell, takes you along Stockwell Avenue into the centre of Brixton.
We heard an interesting story about this avenue. Part of it was paved over and pedestrianised a few years ago. However, many cyclists continue to use it as a way into the town centre (right) as we did yesterday.
The police (I'm told) have been out issuing tickets to cyclists who do so... except that it's perfectly legal to cycle along. The council meant change its status to footway-only, but never got round to it. It remains a right of way for cyclists. The only online reference I can find is a discreet council report of a meeting in September 2008 in which it's acknowledged that Stockwell Avenue is OK to cycle down.
In any case, Stockwell Avenue is going to be remodelled as a genuine cycle path... one day soon.
Perhaps it would be an ideal place to trial a blikvanger. Then if the police try to ticket you, you can throw it away conveniently.