Thursday 16 July 2015

Cambridge Cyclist to Traffic Droid. Come in, Traffic Droid

What's up, dude?

Seriously, you've gone and twitter-blocked how many other helmet camera cyclists? Why? 

I have no beef with you. I don't immediately recall us having a serious crossed-word. Most of the other folk I'm seeing mentioning this have no argument with you. Some don't agree with some of what you say, most don't particularly mention you.

Whatever it is, let us know, 'cos most are baffled.

Guys, someone tweet this into his TL so we can find out what is happening?

Monday 13 July 2015

Response from Devon and Cornwall Police...

So according to the police force in the South West, obeying the law on the road is a matter of conscience, not something for them to involve themselves in.

Yes, really. Look at their response:

Thankyou for your email.
We would not be able to take any further action if this is regarding the driver taking a photo whilst driving - it is down to the driver to be responsible whilst in their vehicle and ensure they are driving safetly. If a driver is witnessed doing this by an officer at the time then they will be stopped and potentially fined.
Many Thanks

So there you have it. Motons - is there no copper there present? Go for it, its down to you to be responsible and the Police couldn't give a wet slap.

Devon and Cornwall police, you're a disgrace to your uniforms.

Thursday 9 July 2015

Report to Devon and Cornwall Police...

Yes, I know, its pretty random, but it was cup-of-tea time and the dodgy tweet was just staring at me.

Text of email sent to Devon and Cornwall police below:

Dear Sir/Madame,

I was given this email address via. your twitter feed, for reporting a crime.

I'd like to draw your attention to this:

Someone has copied it as a screen capture and re-posted it in case the original tweet is deleted:

Its fairly clear that the image is taken from the perspective of the drivers seat - either by the driver or someone leaning in to the space normally thus occupied. Either would seem hazardous, and with the content of the tweet it comes across as a little sinister. Could you log this and investigate please?


CAB Davidson.

Comments now require an ID

You can thank Anonymous for this. The ever present anonymous sniper who posts snide or rude comments - you're simply not welcome.

So anon. comments disabled for this blog now. I suspect its one cringing yellow chicken who's been leaving the insulting yellow comments, but it isn't worth my time dealing with such an idiot post by post.

You know who you are. Grow some and post as an adult now. Or live a long life alone with your cowardice. 

Monday 6 July 2015

Why aren't I plagued by cyclists?

I ride my bike to get to places. Thats what a bike is for, its to get me close enough to a place such that the rest of the journey is better done on foot. A bicycle isn't a political tool, and if you think it is I cordially invite you to read a decking fictionary. Its a vehicle, it shortens time spent travelling to a destination such that we then don't have to spend as long walking - and its a more economical and healthy choice than driving or getting the bus. That's all it really is - it isn't a device that I define myself by. Its a machine, not a social commentary.

So that means I'm also a pedestrian. I don't tend to ride my bike to a town and then ride around in it - its a hassle unlocking and locking it up again, so I tend to lock it up and walk around. In truth I'm as much a pedestrian as I am a cyclist. All of us are.

As a pedestrian I'm forced to ask what the hell is going on with all the people who complain about all the cyclists. I've been a pedestrian pretty much since I learned to walk, and in that whole time I don't recall being hit by a cyclist, nor have I been threatened by a cyclist. I've had a cyclist swear at me once, ever - on a big, fast, wide, shared use facility where I'll confess I was distracted and not looking where I was going. I've had a cyclist fall off on the  pavement near me once - he was drunk out of his face, riding slowly behind me and fell off. I called him an idiot as his drunk friends (who were in agreement with this point) picked him off the ground and I kept walking 

Why is it I see so many comments about cyclists being a problem on the pavement? Is it that in Britains cycling capital I'm leading a strangely charmed life, and that I'm really odd in never having been 'mown down' or 'nearly killed' by a cyclist while walking around? 

I don't like treating anecdotes as evidence, its lazy and unhelpful, but the real data (which shows cyclists are killing around 100 times fewer people on pavements than motorists are) bares so little resemblance to the perception of Boudicca like spiked wheels scything through the ankles of modern Britons as to be hilariously irrelevant. The idea that cyclists are causing this mayhem is so widespread that we see nonsensical articles that crudely divide distance travelled by injury rate (thus ignoring the dualled A roads and M roads which make up the majority of that figure for motorists, one's that that cyclists can't practically or legally ride) claiming that cyclists are as dangerous as cars. The idea that cyclists are destroying lives is so prevalent that trollumnist hate-pieces are blandly put out by newspapers, reaping the a hate-fear harvest on a scale they're scared even to try to drum up over immigration. We're so hated that we're seeing concerted attempts to booby trap roads and cycling routes, a trend which left un-checked will lead to fatalities.

The numbers don't add up - there are of course stupid and antisocial people on bikes but they're in a vanishingly small minority. You simply can't correlate next to no deaths and serious injuries with endless anecdotal near misses, such a concept would be a statistical brain fart, its not real. Its not credible - to believe that cyclists are 'nearly killing' many thousands while actually killing one every three years takes that special kind of ignorance I like to call 'prejudice'.

But take a step back - we don't talk about cycling safety in simple 'this is how many people are killed' terms. We also talk about subjective safety - where even though its statistically 'not that bad' we don't use some routes because they feel dangerous.

I put it to you that cyclists 'feel dangerous' in the same way that turbans on the buses were a problem. Cyclists are dangerous like immigrants used to be - i.e. they're pretty much not, but the perception of us as outsiders, and the constant reinforcement of negative stereotypes as acceptable in the media does make people worry when they see us. The answer isn't that cyclists must behave better - the evidence is that we're not breaking the rules sufficiently often or severely to justify the hate we see. The answer? Reject their prejudice.

Want to start a conversation with a stranger? Well you can't say 'bloody cyclists!' any more. Want to tell a joke? Well while people are assaulting cyclists just for riding you can't tell that joke about us. It's time we made cycling hate speech as unacceptable as any other hate speech. 

Cycling needs some social-justice style rage. Are you with me?