Olympics

This piece was written when only a provisional route had been published. The actual route is different from that described below. The direction is reversed and it goes along Oatlands Drive / Hangar Hill / Brooklands Road instead of Seven Hills Road. The points made in this article are completely lost as the route will not go along Seven Hills Road. Oh well.

The Olympics are coming to Elmbridge!

The cycle road race, one of the main opening events of the London 2012 Olympics will pass through Elmbridge. Starting in central London the race will cross the river at Hampton Court, head through Esher to Leatherhead and then on to Box Hill. It will then wind it's way back to West Byfleet, then re-enter Elmbridge and follow the very dangerous Byfleet Road and the even more dangerous Seven Hills Road, towards Walton. From Walton it returns to Hampton Court Bridge and then back into London.

A map of the provisional route is available here MapMyRide.

The Byfleet Road and Seven Hills Road have long been considered too dangerous for ordinary cyclists to use. Most take refuge on the footways as the roads are too narrow and busy to be safe for even experience cyclists.

Byfleet Road is the main route for trucks from the Brooklands Industrial Estate to the M25. Cyclists are frequently intimidated by 40-ton trucks bearing down on them and unable to overtake due to the narrowness of the road and the volume of oncoming traffic.

Seven Hills Road has many blind crests but motorists insist on trying to overtake as cyclists slow down on the uphill parts. The result when oncoming vehicles loom over the brow of the hill is that the cyclist gets squeezed into the gutter. Recently a cyclist was hit by a van in these circumstances and suffered permanent brain damage after months in a coma.

Seven Hills Road is a strategic link between Weybridge and Cobham. There is no reasonable alternative for cyclists wanting to travel between these two important Surrey towns. Their only option is to risk their lives on Seven Hills Road and Byfleet Road.

Surrey County Council have shown no interest in addressing the issue of safe cycling on this road despite complaints for over twenty years. Will they allow the Olympic Elite to use these roads while continuing to deny them to local cyclists?