Monday 19 December 2016

Cambridge is run by, and for, motorists.

So we're not likely to get road closures to fix the streets of Cambridge by channeling traffic in other directions. A proven method of reducing conflict at junctions and thus shortening the average journey time of everyone in a car is rejected because motorists don't like it.

Its like I've died and gone to stupid land. Birmingham or somewhere. This meant to be a city full of some of the smartest people in the world but for some reason when it comes to transport we're the biggest idiots you can imagine. Everyone here agrees that congestion is a nightmare - that you can't get from one end of the city to the other in a reasonable time because of traffic congestion. 

Everyone agrees that cycling is part of the solution, not part of the problem, and that more people walking or cycling would be a great way to make things better for them to drive to where they want to go themselves - and thus will only endorse measures that will inconvenience motorists sufficiently that they themselves wouldn't be put off motoring - they support 20mph zones in principle but will whine like a 30 year old PC fan if its enforced on them. They'll whinge on with whatever contrived counter-arguments they can against anything that'd stop THEM driving, while vocally supporting anything that wouldn't but, inexplicably, they think might put other people off.

There is no joined up thinking. Lets not enforce 20mph limits or, indeed, anything much on the roads. Whats that, cyclists are on the pavements? Why aren't they on the roads where we don't enforce anything? Send the cops to get them, thats tackling the problem at its source, isn't it?

While Policing, the City Deal, indeed the whole structure of how we make decisions is done by in a faux-populist approach by geriatrics with axes to grind pestering the hardest we're basically doomed to failure here. Be under no illusions, Cambridge is a polluted, congested, car-sick hell hole run by, and for, car dependent codgers.

Friday 16 December 2016

Chris Grayling Doors a Cyclist

Yes, its a legal requirement to look before opening a car door if you're a passenger, if you door someone you've broken the law. Its primarily the drivers responsibility but I believe a passenger can be held responsible too - either way, its not, legally, ok to endanger a cyclist passing the car you're in. You don't even have to hit them for it to be illegal - you simply must not endanger them.

No, its not illegal to filter on the inside. Its not necessarily a good idea and one can make an argument that a situational choice to do so is wrong - but its not illegal. You are required to look out for cyclists doing so regardless of whether you approve of it. You don't like cyclists on the inside? Fine, I don't care, but be aware that the Highway Code makes it clear that you have to look out for them.

No, one can not rationally say 'you were going too fast' and 'I didn't see you'. Those are not compatible statements. One could say 'I didn't see you' alongside 'How fast were you going?' But that ain't what he's done.

Its not ok for a Transport Secretary to say things like this while he's also acting in a way that could kill cyclists. I'm left wondering how he doesn't see this as simple exemplification that segregated infrastructure saves cyclists lives, and saves others from so many negative interractions therewith. Do you want an easy life without this kind of thing? Then for Pete's sake man, invest in bike infrastructure.

Monday 12 December 2016

Milton Road Plans - How Should we Respond?

It seems that councillors and residents associations have come out in favour of a pretty groovy plan for cycling on Milton Road. 

Now we're a way off from this happening yet, its got to go to the local authority and, this being Cambridge. months of ridiculously intense, nit-picky scrutiny. And it'll start with local bloggers taking on the role left vacant as our regional press becomes ever less adept at this. Say what you like about Richard, Puffles the Dragon Fairy and even me, but without the likes of those guys its hard to see how we'd hold any local government to account in the UK these days.

Now, as I say, its a fairly groovy plan, but the devil may be in the detail. Will we really do away with bus lanes along most of the road, in favour of a cycle lanes with priority over side roads segregated from the main road by trees? What kind of trees, are they going to try to keep some of the more miserable specimens and just shoehorn us in? And will it really be continuous, is Cambridge actually ready for a true Dutch style roundabout on a major road in to the City?

There's a long way to go, but provisionally I think we've got to be supportive - and I think we need to take criticism from other lobby groups (the bus lobby in particular) on the chin, before hitting back just as hard. I don't recally bus and car lobbyists wringing their hands and saying 'but what about the cyclists?' all these years. Its an adversarial system where we all demand what we want and there's no reason why we should play nicer than other groups.

So for what its worth, I'm with Camcycle on this. For the moment. There will be calls to cut back on provision for riding and indeed on tree planting in favour of bus lanes. And its now our job to rebut those calls. 

One last thing - my three local city councillors in Kings Hedges (Smart, Gawthrope and Price) abstained on this vote. Whats the matter, gents, can't be seen to be supporting cycling? Well if you won't vote for me, I'll not be voting for you. Shame on you all. Our county councillor. Fiona Onasanya, voted for this. Thanks Fiona, thats brilliant. 

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Shameful Headline from the Telegraph

What an awful rag that paper has become.

Apparently, according to the headline:
Cycling with headphones kills mother as coroner says she caused her own death
So apparently a woman was riding a bike with headphones and, unequivocally, the coroner says that killed her. Thats what the headline says, so thats what happened right? Lets read on...

The mother-of-one, who is thought to have been listening to music on her iPhone, probably panicked trying to avoid a collision, Hull Coroners' Court heard.
The hairdresser was "riding purposefully" before she wobbled at the nearside of the lorry and fell fracturing her skull and spinal cord. She fell on the verge and died instantly without hitting the lorry. 
Ms Norton, who was not wearing a helmet at the time, seemed unaware of the HGV, the inquest heard.

Oh, so she might have been listening to music. She's thought to have been listening to music. And she was near-side of a lorry and fell off? So she's allegedly unaware of the lorry and just randomly fell off and thats not related to the lorry, she wobbled and fell off because she was listening to music? Why would she do that? She was riding along and only fell off when the big lorry came alongside, and thats just a coincidence because she was unaware of the lorry?

But it gets worse.

Ms Norton’s 18 speed Carrera racing cycle was found in its lowest gear with the chain still in place. Her iPhone and headphones were picked up at the scene.
Coroner for East Riding of Yorkshire Paul Marks ruled that listening to music could have contributed to Ms Norton’s misjudgement.
Professor Marks said: "I accept this was an entirely avoidable incident and the cause of the events that lead op to the accident rest entirely with the cyclist.
He concluded: "I cannot determine if she was on her iPhone listening with earphone at the time, but if she had been, it could have caused a distraction and could have contributed to the cause of the accident."

So we've no evidence she was listening to music other than she had an iPhone with ear plugs. We don't know she was wearing it. It appears we have no independent witnesses who can tell us what happened. And the coroner says that maybe its all her fault, but presents no evidence that this was the case? And, best of all, rather than doing the slightest due diligence on the report the Telegraph chose to go a step further from saying that headphones might have contributed to the accident and in their headline claim that the coroner pins blame firmly on the cyclist wearing headphones over this? 

There's a sucker born every minute, they say. But what kind of sucker would you have to be to buy this crap?