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Justine Thornton taking sensible shortcuts shock horror probe

A Daily Mail story pillorying Justine Thornton, wife of Labour leader Ed Miliband, for breaking traffic laws on her bike, actually demonstrates the "insanity" of London's roads, says a leading cycling advocate.

The Mail accuses Ms Thornton of running a red light, ignoring a 'No right turn sign' and a 'No entry' sign, riding the wrong way up a one-way street and riding on the pavement.

Some might say that all those and more are mitigated by the fact that she was being followed by a Daily Mail photographer who stalked her for two days to collect the images that illustrate the story.

But cycling advocates including GB Cycling Embassy chair Mark Treasure say Ms Thornton's route between work and home uses segments that campaign bodies and councils have intended for years to make into cycling shortcuts.

Treasure tweeted:

The simple solution here would be a protected contraflow cycling lane — there's plenty of precedent in Cambridge among other places for contraflow bike lanes — allowing riders like Ms Thornton to avoid the multi-lane one-way traffic of the Strand gyratory.

Alex Ingram of hfcyclists, the Hammersmith & Fulham branch of the London Cycling Campaign, picked up on the shot of Ms Thornton riding between a pair of 'No entry' signs at the end of Dartmouth Park Road.

Here it is on Google Streetview:

And here's the same short stretch of cobbles from the other direction:

There's no reason these 'No entry' signs couldn't have 'Cycles excepted' exemption signs, though it would mean less fun for those who enjoy seeing the Mail get its knickers in a knot over nothing.

A Labour spokesman told the Mail: "Justine believes it is very important that everyone obeys the Highway Code and she will be more careful on her bike in future."

It's a pity the Labour Party didn't take the opportunity to say it would encourage London borough councils — often blockers of high-quality cycling provision — to execute some of the simple ways to make cycling faster and safer that they've known about for years.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

21 comments

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Must be Mad [647 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

Justine-Miliband-veers-right-breaks-countless-cycling-laws-process.

I put it to you, Mr Daily Wail, that the number of cycling laws in this country *can* be counted!

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cat1commuter [1421 posts] 3 years ago
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Double no-entry road would also be a candidate for a "no motor vehicles" sign. "Except cyclists" on a no entry is really for one way roads.

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IanW1968 [368 posts] 3 years ago
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I like whatever the Daily Mail doesn't.

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AJ101 [281 posts] 3 years ago
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Do you remember when boris johnson did this on his first day at work? And he was in charge of transport!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-565882/Caught-camera-The-film-sh...

then his team came out with some guff "Boris feels strongly that cyclists should not jump red lights" having just, er, jumped a load of red lights.

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Stumps [3493 posts] 3 years ago
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What i dont understand though is why if you cant enter from either side why it needs double yellow lines to stop people parking.

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OldRidgeback [3093 posts] 3 years ago
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There are plenty of cycling contraflows in London already too.

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Beaufort [270 posts] 3 years ago
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Get off the bike and walk maybe.

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Matt_S [297 posts] 3 years ago
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Sure it highlights the insanity of some of London's roads. Still doesn't excuse it.

Much like Top Gear showing how some sports cars can stop in much less than the highway code stopping distances. Surely that means that a bit of speeding is ok, too?

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Must be Mad [647 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

Sure it highlights the insanity of some of London's roads. Still doesn't excuse it.

Does such a trifling matter require an excuse?

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ConcordeCX [1013 posts] 3 years ago
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Matt_S wrote:

Sure it highlights the insanity of some of London's roads. Still doesn't excuse it.

No, it highlights the insanity of the Daily Mail. Labour cyclist breaking trivial rules - guaranteed to burst a few of their readers' blood vessels.

Still, it must mean that none of the Mail's journalists or their partners, or their readers or their readers' partners ever commit trivial offences, and that's nice to know. Otherwise they'd be hypocrites wouldn't they?

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atgni [508 posts] 3 years ago
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I suspect they followed her through the no right turn and no entry road etc - 'in the public interest' of course.

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Bigfoz [172 posts] 3 years ago
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"Get off the bike and walk maybe."

We don't ask drivers to push their cars, why should cyclists have to to be safe? I'd do whatever it took to avoid that gyratory system too.

Did the fail's stalker also follow her through? If so they also broke the law...

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AJ101 [281 posts] 3 years ago
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Beaufort wrote:

Get off the bike and walk maybe.

Or better still - get off the bike and take the car instead.

That pretty much sums up the cycling provision in many parts of London.

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saddlebag [4 posts] 3 years ago
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So, Labour leader's wife uses bicycle as everyday means of transport and not just as a publicity stunt. Cool.

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Canyon48 [1128 posts] 3 years ago
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That no entry thing is just bonkers.

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ConcordeCX [1013 posts] 3 years ago
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wellsprop wrote:

That no entry thing is just bonkers.

If I were on the council's highway committee I'd insist on making it one way as well.

In both directions.

B

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emishi55 [198 posts] 3 years ago
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It is one way in both directions.

Much more like this are required.

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bigmel [116 posts] 3 years ago
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"Did the fail's stalker also follow her through? If so they also broke the law..."

A newspaper breaking the law, don't be ridiculous  14

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truffy [649 posts] 3 years ago
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IanW1968 wrote:

I like whatever the Daily Mail doesn't.

Fair point.

But her husband's an arse, so fair game!

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Colin Peyresourde [1839 posts] 3 years ago
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What kind of idiot would follow her or her husband?!

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exilegareth [156 posts] 3 years ago
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Won't it be because double yellows can be enforced by council enforcement officers, whereas no entry would require a police officer?