Saturday, 31 January 2009

But would you feel safe walking underneath one?

A LONDON student has come up with a novel approach for securing bicycles in the capital - hoisting them eight feet above the street.

Pedestrian massacre

More extreme violence on Britain’s roads, but needless to say no one is joining the dots. Unlike knife violence, road violence is marginalised.

A pedestrian has been run down and killed by a hit and run driver in Margate. Another pedestrian was killed by a hit and run driver in Woking. A boy was run down and killed while walking with his father along the pavement beside a Gravesend road which has been the scene of four fatalities in five years. Pedestrians have also been run down and killed in Berkshire, Burghfield, Swaffham, Whyteleafe, Newbury, Barmuckity, Buckinghamshire and Birmingham and pedestrians are seriously ill after being run down in Newmarket, Inverness, Peel and near Thainstone. And a pedestrian has died nine days after being hit by a car in Sheffield.

Via The London Bicycle Activist:

In 2007 the total number of pedestrians injured by motor vehicles was 29,297, with 642 killed.

In the same year the number of pedestrians injured by cyclists was 225, with 4 killed.

More statistics here

The incompetent Crown Prosecution Service

Not prosecuted because of CPS bungling:

Sir Ranulph had been called to court after allegedly failing to provide information as to who was at the wheel of his Land Rover, which was captured by a speed camera on the A41 near Edgeley, Shropshire, on March 30 last year.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Why should I get off my bike?

This is classic. (Yesterday.)


Why should I dismount? Because I'd slow down traffic? Tough.

The pavement is being resurfaced and the contractors have blocked off a lengthy section of cycle lane. So what? I have as much right to ride my bicycle along Leyton Green Road E10 as any motorist has to drive there. Probably more so, bearing in mind that my bike is properly maintained, whereas a significant percentage of drivers are uninsured and driving unlawfully.

I never asked for this poxy cycle lane and as far as I'm concerned I'd rather it wasn't there.

It's amazing that in the ninth year of the 21st century crap signs like this still exist. Does anyone seriously believe that there's even one cyclist who, seeing this sign, will instantly get off their bike, thinking, 'I mustn't hold up the traffic!'

It's a mad, mad, mad , mad world.

A second quantum of Greenwash

This walking poster is the twin of that cycling one.

Could you walk it? Yes, you could, but why would you want to? The pedestrian environment is degraded in all kinds of ways, including street clutter such as obstructive and unsightly advertising panels like this one. Apart from that, this particular stretch of the A503 is a four-lane high speed carriageway, where drivers flout the speed limit, chat on mobiles, 'lose control' and have spectacular crashes on a fairly regular basis. And if you keep walking here as far as the junction with the A104 you'll discover that there is no crossing facility for pedestrians, meaning that you have to make a long diversion into the rat-infested labyrinth of underpasses at the Waterworks roundabout.

Meanwhile, another crap health quango has come up with some fatuous suggestions for combating obesity and lack of exercise among young people:

Dawn Primarolo, minister for public health, said: “I welcome the new guidance from NICE on getting children moving and playing. It complements our Change4Life campaign to get everyone to eat well, move more and live longer.It’s creating a lifestyle revolution on a huge scale — something which no Government has attempted before.”

No, Dawn, it’s not creating a lifestyle revolution, it’s issuing a press release. One which will belong on the garbage heap of history, along with all the other instantly disposable speeches of Ms. D. Primarolo.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Dirty Britain

Welcome to Oxford Circus, where 4X4 drivers have priority over pedestrians.

Europe is prosecuting Britain for consistently breaking air pollution laws and endangering people's health in urban areas. Legal proceedings against the government were started today by the EU environment commissioner, Stavros Dimas, and could result in unlimited daily fines.

Air pollution near many roads in British cities averages well over twice the UN's World Health Organisation maximum recommended level. If Britain is to reduce PM10 levels it will have to substantially reduce traffic congestion

Dangerous for cyclists AND pedestrians

It's that lethal new cycle lane again.

Forcing cyclists out towards the centre of the carriageway on a bend on an A road where drivers flout the speed limit was always a lunatic idea.

I've noticed that the new parking bays are popular with drivers of large vehicles such as coaches and HGVs, who find this a convenient place to stop and rest. Just round the bend is a zebra crossing, which large vehicles help to obscure. Brilliant.

Worth every penny!

(Above) Mission Grove E17, just across from the local primary school. Yesterday afternoon.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance TOWN HALL RICH LIST 2008 supplies

a detailed list of the 818 most highly paid people in local authorities – people receiving remuneration packages of at least £100,000 in the 450-plus councils across the UK.

Eight council officers in the London Borough of Waltham Forest are paid more than £100,000 a year. They include:

R Badrinath Executive Director -
Corporate Services
£112,852 £118,679 5.2% FOI response
Includes expenses of £83

J Dean Chief Executive £151,146 £139,837 -7.5% FOI response
Includes returning officer fee
£7,547; expenses £435

I O'Donnell Head of Strategic
- £103,190 FOI response
Includes pay supplement
£4,500; petty cash and expense

M Esom Executive Director of Environmental Services
- £115,133 FOI response

S Mistry Head of Legal and
Democratic Services
- £106,248 FOI response
Includes returning officer fee
£2,202; pay supplement
£5,625; petty cash £41.60

J Wickham Deputy Chief
- £104,154 FOI response
Includes expenses of £100

The full list, in PDF format, can be found here.

But who could possibly resent these salaries, when these officers have given us the earthly paradise that is the London Borough of Waltham Forest? Who could doubt, reading this blog, that Martin Esom is a truly outstanding Executive Director of Environmental Services? Well done everyone!

(Below) Another exemplar dedicated cycling/walking route. Essex Road E17.

(Below) Gainsforth Road E17. I first spotted this on December 4, and blogged about it over a month ago. And this is how it is this week.

'Rubbish emissions could be cut further'

When I saw that headline in The Independent I thought it must surely refer to wfm. Ceasing publication of this rubbish free council newspaper would both save a lot of money and benefit the environment. Sadly, the Indie story was about something else.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Every picture tells a story

Behind this British Telecom van are three more BT vans, all parked on the pavement with total disregard for pedestrians, particularly pedestrians with a mobility handicap. You definitely wouldn't get past with a double buggy, and I doubt if you would with a motorized wheelchair. Whatever task these BT workers were there for, it wasn't necessary to park like this. (Willow Walk E17, 18 January.)

On its website, BT gushes that its corporate values are

Helpful… Inspiring… Straightforward... We are committed to contributing positively to society and to a sustainable future. This is part of the heart of BT.

Oh yeah? Training staff to park with consideration for others clearly forms no part of BT's luminous vision of good practice.

You could cross to the other side of the road. But the pavement there is also blocked, by a green "Eve" van parked across it.

Lastly, take note of the bicycle locked to the traffic sign in the foreground. That's because there are only two cycle stands by the entrance to Sainsbury's. A perfect place to install more would be along the kerb. About where that white van is parked. Not only would cycle stands here be very convenient, out in the open and a deterrent to bike thieves, but they'd also prevent pavement parking.

The new Met commissioner

So the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner is to be Sir Paul “rusty” Stephenson.

Sir Paul is one of the many police heroes of those libertarian loons who call themselves The Association of British Drivers. The ABD proudly quotes this pearl of wisdom from Stephenson:

“There is a perception that people who commit criminal offences and who, quite properly and according to guidelines, get a caution, get an easier ride than those who speed at the lower end. Whilst clearly the comparison is not a helpful one, I do nevertheless have some very real sympathy for this perception. Any criminal justice system to be effective has to be seen to be fair. It just cannot be right when people feel that our response within that system is disproportionate.”
Paul Stephenson, Chief Constable, Lancashire Constabulary, 2004-03-11.

So it seems more than likely that with Sir Paul as Commissioner, the epidemic of driver lawlessness on the capital’s streets will get worse. Jenny Jones has outlined the problem [PDF format]:

The Metropolitan Police has failed to treat road crime with the seriousness it deserves. London’s roads are becoming increasingly lawless in several dangerous ways. This report describes the rise in “hit-and-run” incidents, the widespread evasion of vehicle tax and insurance, and the declining enforcement of traffic offences not detected by electronic devices, such as speed cameras. Cuts in the number of traffic police have lead a minority of drivers to believe that they can break the law with impunity. Yet, an increase of 8,000 in the total number of police officers in London over the last six years provided the Met Police with ample opportunity to make road safety a priority. More people die on London’s roads than are murdered. Most road deaths are preventable, yet several times more resources are devoted to murder investigations than to road death investigations. The lack of priority given to road crime is demonstrated by the current reluctance of the police to prosecute drivers who injure cyclists or pedestrians, in the absence of independent witnesses. This dismissive approach is not adopted towards the victims of car theft, burglary, assault and other crimes.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Enviro-crime culprits caught on camera!

WE’RE WIPING OUT ENVIRO-CRIME, is the blaring headline in the new issue of wfm magazine.

The council announces that a top priority is

Eliminating enviro-crime by cracking down on offenders and cleaning up the borough.

This blog is happy to participate in this marvellous exercise and in the space of just 90 minutes yesterday morning the following enviro-crimes were caught on camera.

(Below) The entrance/exit to the cycle lane at the South Access Road/Argall Avenue road closure. A London Borough of Waltham Forest refuse lorry was parked across the KEEP CLEAR markings, the driver evidently having gone off for a cup of tea.

(Below, and first pic above) London Borough of Waltham Forest vehicle 1950, reg. LV06 FNC, unlawfully obstructing the pavement on Tower Hamlets Road E17 at 11.50 am. The driver was not with the vehicle.

(Below) A Mr Big known only as "Kier" is believed to lie behind an organised campaign of littering on local cycle lanes, by cycle stands and on pavements. Orient Way.

(Below) A poster campaign has disfigured much of the borough, with ugly bright yellow three-sided posters bearing statements-of-the-bleedin'-obvious such as SECURE YOUR VEHICLE and SAT NAV TOP TARGET FOR THIEVES. The one that reads THIEVES OPERATE IN THIS AREA has attracted particular admiration for giving a real boost to local house sales in a time of serious recession.

Speed camera fraud

A garage boss who earned £24,000 by taking the rap for more than 100 speeding drivers was starting a prison sentence yesterday. Abdul Musa charged clients who had been caught breaking the limit £200 a time, in return for which he would lie that he had been behind the wheel. His scam, which spread by word of mouth, resulted in 120 drivers evading speeding tickets by paying him the cash bribes.

A survey has suggested as many as half a million motorists admit swapping points with friends and relatives to evade the threat of a ban, and police believe the case represents 'the tip of the iceberg'.

Monday, 26 January 2009

A Quantum of Greenwash

Cycling is a great alternative to the car or bus, and can be much more convenient too – no waiting around, no traffic jams or parking problems, and no parking charges either. You don’t even need to have somewhere to get to, just getting the kids out for a bike ride is a great fun activity. Just make sure they are careful and wear a helmet.

That’s the message from the Department of Health, which is wasting zillions on a fatuous new campaign:

Change4Life is a society-wide movement that aims to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat better and move more. The Change4Life advertising campaign began on 3 January 2009 – on TV, in the press, on billboards and online.

I photographed the Change4Life 'could you bike it?' poster on the bus shelter on Hoe Street by the boarded-up arcade site on Saturday morning. Then I swung the camera round to show the cycle lane outside the adjacent bank. There were four vehicles parked there, obstructing the cycle lane. So the answer to the question is: No, you couldn't bike it, not safely, not here.

Travelling by bike you have no parking problems? This is the same Department of Health which does nothing about health trusts and hospitals like Whipps Cross which promote car dependency and discriminate against cycling and walking.

BBC News values

Forget the BBC's current spot of bother. You only have to look at transport and road carnage to see that the BBC's insistence that it is the finest and most objective and impartial news service in the world is complete tosh. BBC London news didn't regard a single one of last year's horrific lorry/cyclist fatalities as being newsworthy. But this same news service repeatedly focused on stories about motorists wrongly getting parking tickets.

Ironically, one of the top stories on today's BBC London news is this: An inquiry has begun after three parking wardens issued fines on a car parked in a bay which had no sign listing parking restrictions.

Tim Cowen from the company [NCP] said the ticketing "mistake" had happened on two occasions because the sign in the bay where the car was parked had been removed.

Not much of a story there, you might think. Someone nicked the 'no parking' sign and so the parking tickets had no validity. But notice that the BBC sees fit to enclose the word mistake with apostrophes, thereby insinuating that it was not a mistake at all.

Why is it a story? I rather suspect it is because the journalists responsible for prioritising London news stories are all motorists with a string of parking tickets to their name. These same journalists don't regard a London cyclist being crushed to death by a lorry turning left at a junction as worth a mention. The major form of violence in British society, road violence, is consistently marginalised by BBC journalists and news management.

Here's another current story which BBC London news has chosen to ignore:

SOCCER star John Obi Mikel was busted for drink-driving at 5.30am — just hours before Chelsea’s FA Cup match. Mikel, 21, was pulled over by cops who spotted him driving his Range Rover “erratically” outside the club’s ground on Saturday. The £40,000-a-week midfielder was given a breath test and put in a police cell. He had been charged and bailed by the time Chelsea beat Ipswich 3-1. He faces a minimum of a year’s driving ban and a maximum of six months in jail with a £5,000 fine — less than a day’s wages.

Sunday, 25 January 2009 c'est la même chose

The four protruding nails in the white panel add that little extra touch to the usual crap. Hoe Street E17, yesterday.

Cycling in Toronto, cycling at night

Sez the Toronto Star:

Cycle lanes are expensive and often not practical on city streets, especially in older parts of town. Introducing them can be controversial and troublesome. Many residents on Lansdowne Ave. were so angry at the narrowing of their street last year to accommodate a bike lane, they hired a lawyer to make sure they got a public consultation even though the project was already under way; one local chained himself to a tree.

Cycle lanes are expensive? Compared to what’s spent on motorways and car culture generally? ‘Not practical’? Walking and cycling are very practical ways of getting around cities.

In the face of car dependency and motor terror, there’s now a high-tech offering designed to encourage more people to cycle at night:

A laser mounted on the rear of the bike projects sharp, bright lines behind the cyclist, creating a virtual and movable bike lane. In principle, the LightLane gives drivers a boundary, a way of measuring their distance from the cyclist, and creates for cyclists the sense – even if illusory – of their own space on the road. The LightLane was created by Americans Evan Gant and Alex Tee, who entered the project in an online bicycle-design competition. Gant, an industrial designer, and Tee, a mechanical engineer, work for the Boston-based product-development firm Altitude.

Their objective was to encourage commuting by bicycle. People are reluctant, they believed, partly out of fear of riding at night, especially during winter when darkness falls before the evening ride home. They concluded bike lanes were part of the solution. Then they let their imagination run free.

Dodgy car-hire firm exposed!

A luxury car-hire business run from the home of Britain’s top anti-terror chief was operating without the correct licence and has been forced to stop offering a range of trips. The company run by the wife of Scotland Yard Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick was not ‘abiding by regulations’ for many of the services it advertised and drivers had not had criminal record checks.

Mr Quick’s own 130mph Jensen Interceptor was among the chauffeur-driven cars available for hire. Tandridge District Council in Surrey launched an investigation after The Mail on Sunday discovered the firm had neither a private hire licence nor an operator’s licence – an offence that can lead to a £3,000 fine.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Cycling news from Japan

Let's hope no cruelty was involved...

4X4 killer driver back on the roads in 2014

Gresham denied the charges of causing death by dangerous driving and told police he "did everything he could" to avoid the tragedy. He told officers he thought the vehicle had been well-maintained but today the judge told him he had gone "beyond complacency into arrogance". The court heard Gresham's previous convictions dating back 15 years were not relevant to the case.

The judge said “The simple fact is that your Land Rover should not have been on the road. It was... an accident waiting to happen. The vehicle was in appalling condition, its many and various defects were plain from the expert evidence given at trial. Not only would it have been blindingly obvious that driving the Land Rover in that condition would be dangerous, but you also drove it in a dangerous manner. You were driving that Land Rover too fast for that road. The inescapable fact is that the blame for this accident lies entirely with you. I have not the slightest doubt, for it is obvious, that you desperately regret what happened. The best expression of remorse would have been a plea of guilt.”

Nigel Gresham was sentenced, at Lincoln Crown Court, to two years in prison. Judge Michael Heath also disqualified him from driving for five years.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Case closed

'And what do you see here, Watson?'

'Is it someone exploring the perimeter of a large prison, Holmes?'

'On the contrary, Watson. The obstructed carriageway, the litter and the general air of desolation can only mean one thing. This is a section of the London Cycle Network.'

(Cranbrook Mews E17.)

Another glorious milestone on the road to climate catastrophe

Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon is to officially open a £300m widening project on the M1 north of London. The road has been widened to four lanes and improved on a 10-mile section from junction 6a north-east of Watford to junction 10 south of Luton. Mr Hoon will unveil a plaque by the side of the motorway, which is next to an original plaque installed when the first section of the M1 opened in 1959.

The media, in its characteristic flat earth news way, simply laps up the Department of Transport’s press release. You won’t find the phrase ‘climate change’ anywhere. A new £300 million length of eight-lane motorway is regarded as an unequivocally good thing, even though it has long been known that so-called ‘road improvements’ encourage greater car use. Meanwhile nationally the number of journeys made on foot or by bicycle continues to slump. This is in sharp contrast to those European countries where car ownership is high but a vastly greater percentage of car owners also regularly cycle.

As far as the media is concerned the only shadow on this glorious achievement is that during the roadworks

35,297 motorists fell foul of the enforcement cameras and were fined and receiving points on their licence as a result.

Needless to say the DoT press release says nothing about how many speed cameras have been installed on this newly ‘improved’ stretch of motorway. And no journalist will ask.

Morrison plc again

On Saturday January 10 Morrison plc signs were obstructing the pavement on Wingfield Road E17. Exactly one week later their signs (blown over in the strong winds) were obstructing the pavement on Orford Road E17.

And let us also not forget that Orford Road has not a single cycle stand, even though it is the centre of Walthamstow Village, and a street with three popular pubs, five popular restaurants and a variety of shops. But as you can see, there are plenty of parking bays and off-road space for motor vehicles.

Cars are bad for the climate - and climate change is bad for cars

A family were left with a £15,000 bill after a 'mini hurricane' brought down two trees on both their family cars. Gutted Terry Bawden, 56, has been left the huge bill after the freak weather blasted across his back garden.Force 10 winds ripped across his home - felling two 80ft trees which landed on top of his VW Polo and Vauxhall estate.

Expect to see a lot more freak weather in the years ahead...


Trees in the western United States are dying twice as quickly as they did three decades ago and scientists think global warming is to blame.

Killer driver allowed to flee Britain

A Pakistani student who is accused of killing a father and son in a road accident has escaped trial in Britain because prosecutors allowed him to leave the country, it has emerged. Syed Raza was charged with causing the deaths of a father and son in a road accident two years ago, but the Crown Prosecution Service can do nothing to force him to return to face trial in the UK.

A letter by the county's Chief Crown Prosecutor Jaswant Narwal, reveals 'concerns' over how Raza was able to abscond before trial: 'I am concerned , that bearing in mind Mr Raza was resident temporarily in the UK, that the issue of seizure of his passport does not appear to have been fully considered by the police, CPS or the courts when considering bail.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Another bogus Sustrans 'Greenway'

The Sustrans North East Greenways consultation document states:

Although the A104 creates a barrier for east-west connections, there are cycle facilities at the Waterworks Corner and Greenman (sic) Roundabout gyratorys (sic) which pass under the road network.

Or to put it another way: because cycling and walking come last in all transport planning, cyclists and walkers are forced into seedy underpass systems so as not to inconvenience traffic flow. Sustrans does nothing at all about challenging this discrimination. On the contrary, it accommodates it.

Let me concentrate today on the Waterworks underpass system. This is a filthy, remote, vandalised and inconvenient series of routes in a location which is quite literally infested by rats, and where personal security is minimal. There is no CCTV and from time to time serious assaults occur here.

If you want to travel between Walthamstow and South Woodford, either on foot or on a bicycle, you are denied a crossing at the junction shown in the first photograph below. In order not to slow down traffic, pedestrians and cyclists are diverted into the squalid and circuitous Waterworks underpass systems.

The Sustrans North East Greenways document promises a brand new 'Greenway'. It will incorporate the Waterworks underpass system, run a cycle path across the open grassy area leading to Beacontree Avenue E17, thread through the quiet residential streets of Upper Walthamstow, cross Hale End Road (where the 20 mph limit is a total farce), go down MacDonald Road, cross Fulbourne Road, go down Victoria Road, then cut across behind the college and the Town Hall, emerging by Farnham Avenue. But who is going to use this Greenway, assuming it ever gets built? It is not a leisure cycling route, because at least half of it is on urban streets, and the off-road section is scarcely very idyllic. And since many cyclists prefer the most direct route, it will have no advantages at all over the Forest Road route, which will remain much, much quicker.

In short, Sustrans are evading the problems which afflict cyclists, instead substituting futile and cosmetic 'Greenways'. For better cycling between South Woodford and Walthamstow three simple things are needed. Firstly, a signalled crossing for pedestrians and cyclists at the junction of the A503 and A104. Secondly, speed cameras all the way along Forest Road where, in spite of an appalling record of collisions, drivers are still permitted to hurtle along at 40-50 mph in a dense residential area with a 30 mph speed limit. Thirdly, enforcement of Advanced Stop Lines for cyclists.

(Below) The lights turn to green, and traffic surges out of the A503 on to the A104. Here, there is no crossing of the A104 for cyclists or pedestrians. The 4X4 is king.

(Below) Welcome to a Sustrans-approved cycling and walking facility!

(Below) A smashed lighting panel, with accompanying graffiti.

(Below) A fractured pathway with a tyre-wide crack.

(Below) crap signing

(below) Unsuitable for those of a nervous disposition...

Destitute sign seeks careful owner

I don't think I'll say where I spotted this sign because the council would only come along and collect it and find a use for it. But I'll supply one clue. It was nowhere near a cycle track!

Nowhere left to hide

It's official: there is nowhere left to hide from global warming. The notion that Antarctica is the last continent not to be heating up because of climate change is dead, according to a new study. The results suggest that the southernmost continent is warming roughly as fast as the rest of the planet. They overturn previous suggestions that only the Antarctic peninsula, which stretches points north towards South America, was heating up while the continent's interior cooled.

And now

THE author of a key government report on climate change has said the situation is even worse than he previously thought. Lord Nicolas Stern woke the world up to the threat of climate change when he produced the Stern Review three years ago. However, he has now said he thinks that the risks are even more dire than he first thought.

Writing in New Scientist magazine, he said: "Since my colleagues and I published the Stern Review in 2006, it has become apparent that the risks and potential costs of the impacts of climate change are even greater than we originally recognised.
"Global emissions of greenhouse gases are growing more quickly than projected, the ability of the planet to absorb them now appears lower than was assumed, the potential increases in temperatures due to rising gas concentrations seem higher, and the physical impacts of a warming planet are appearing at a faster rate than expected."

Prosecute Clancy Docwra Limited

Netley Road E17, yesterday. The clowns employed by Clancy Docwra Ltd have been unneccesarily and unlawfully obstructing local pavements for over a year now.

In the first place signs like this one belong in the road, not on the pavement. In the second place the idiot who set this sign up has no understanding of what it is like to push a wheelchair, a double buggy or use a mobility scooter. If our supine council really cared about pedestrians and walking it would be vigorously taking this matter up with Clancy Docwra and prosecuting them for repeated obstruction of the footway. But no one in this crap council walks anywhere or gives a toss about walking. Except when it is necessary to supply some Greenwash for wfm. Needless to say the Clancy group has the usual bullshit corporate statement about the company's passion for the environment: in PDF format here.


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Contractors obstructing cycle lanes on local A roads

All these photographs were taken yesterday morning.

(Above and below) Cycle lane on the A112, junction with Church Hill E17. It's not clear who the contractors are who are responsible for leaving behind a section of plastic fence panelling. But this sort of crap is typical - as is the death-trap metal railing which a supposedly cycle-friendly council has installed here. Cycling in London - it's murder.

(Below) Enterprise were tasked with a spot of highway patching in a parking bay on the A503 alongside Homebase. Presumably it was working on behalf of the London Borough of Waltham Forest. As you can see from my snaps, there was no need at all for these idiots to block the cycle lane. But, hey, Enterprise Wins at the Highways Considerate Contractors Awards 2008! The council could put a stop to this kind of crap by refusing to subcontract work to clowns like Enterprise. Why not drop a line to our esteemed leader Councillor Clyde Loakes and ask him?

(Below) Murphy are still doing work for Thames Water on the reservoir site beside the A503. Their very visible site entrance cuts across a fairly wide pavement with minimal pedestrian flow. But these idiots still feel it necessary to block the cycle lane at a point where two lanes of vehicles exceeding the 30 mph speed limit are squeezed into a single lane.

Arizona: 14 years for killing a 14 year old cyclist

When Jose Rincon Sr. first met prosecutor Mark Diebolt, he told him how much time he wanted Glenda Rumsey to serve in prison for killing his only son. "Jose was 14 years, one month and one day old when he died. I told him that if she does one day less that that, it wouldn't be fair," Rincon said.

On Tuesday, Pima County Superior Court Judge Richard Fields sentenced Rumsey to 14 years in prison and gave her credit for 56 days she's already served in jail. She can be released after serving 85 percent.

Flat earth news

I’ve blogged before about how the media works itself into a frenzy about some forms of violence, while marginalising or ignoring altogether road violence. Last month I cited a classic example of BBC London news car supremacism. The attention lavished on drivers alleged to have been ‘unfairly’ given parking tickets is in stark contrast to the indifference shown towards pedestrian and cycling fatalities. It’s just another example of Flat earth news

When it comes to transport fatalities, the media is primarily interested in train crashes and plane crashes that involve Europeans or Americans. These are of course two of the safest forms of transport there are. The media, except at a local level, has very little interest in car crashes or the deaths of cyclists and pedestrians. The recent New York plane crash, in which no one died, is a top story and was treated as being as far more important than what was then happening in Gaza (or anywhere else in the world).

I watched a TV reporter in Mumbai solemnly talking of “the scale of the carnage” during the November terrorist attacks. But there is a much greater carnage in India which barely registers. Just take crashes involving Indian buses.

In 2001, 31 people died when their bus crashed head–on with an oil tanker and exploded on a highway in Coimbatore. In 2006 At least 64 people were killed in two separate bus accidents in northern India. In April last year a bus in India crashed killing at least 44 children and three adults.

And now Thirteen schoolchildren and a teacher have been killed when a vehicle carrying them collided with a truck in western India, the police said.

BBC News explains that

Road accidents are common and claim hundreds of lives every year in India. Most are blamed on reckless driving, old vehicles and poorly maintained roads.

BBC News would never dare to explain that “reckless driving” is responsible for a very large percentage of British road crashes. But it’s okay to say this about Indians.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Always look on the bright side of life

Monday, January 19, 2009 is going to be the most depressing day in history, according to experts. But that turned out not to be the case in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, where residents were yesterday able to relax in this special comfort zone, grateful that they live in a neighbourhood where the Council is proud to boast that it is leading the fight against fly-tipping.

Afterwards there was the option of strolling round the corner to enjoy a refreshing dip in this outdoor pool on Westbury Road.

Noise pollution

Yesterday I was woken up at 3.15 a.m. by a jumbo jet passing over. Ten minutes later there was the wail of a siren, though why it is necessary to use a siren at a time when the streets are largely empty is a mystery. And at 3.50 am I was still awake when a car horn was blown a few times. Probably a taxi driver arriving to collect a passenger. It's unlawful to use a car horn after 11 pm in a residential area but I very much doubt if the police even prosecute once person a year in Greater London for this offence.

As for aircraft noise. Things are going to get worse, because

PLANS have been drawn up to add an extra 7,500 night flights a year over London once Heathrow's third runway is built.

Memorial to Jason MacIntyre

The latest ghost bike.

(This is the case where the family are furious that the police never bothered to investigate whether or not the killer driver was using a mobile phone at the time he drove into his victim.)

4X4 driver abandoned dying child cyclist

A DRIVER who left a 10-year-old boy dying after hitting him with his 4x4 was yesterday branded “shameful”.

Prosecuting Gareth Preston said: “No one was aware a car had been involved. It is clear he had no intention of coming forward.” Following a post mortem it was believed that the fall off his bike had killed Lee. But police started investigating the involvement of a vehicle after evidence from one his young friends.

CCTV pictures then matched the blue Freelander to the location and a search was conducted, with the help of Land Rover, to track the owners of every vehicle that matched this description. This led officers to the address of Allen and on September 11 he was arrested.

'the driver lost control'

TWO women and a man were killed when their car smashed into a tree at high speed. The three were in the back seat of a silver Mini Cooper when the driver lost control yesterday on the A12 in Ilford.

The car was seen speeding along the A12 between the Barley Lane and Whalebone Lane junctions before it mounted the kerb and hit a tree sideways on.

Monday, 19 January 2009

It’s another Sustrans ‘exemplar’ facility!

The pedestrian and cycle bridge leading to Leytonstone over the A12 is an exemplar crossing of both a major road and London Underground Line.
(Sustrans North East Greenways policy document)

No it isn't.

It's a dirty, squalid, claustrophobic tunnel with two ninety degree blind corners. The corner on the Leytonstone tube side is shown above, with a pedestrian, hardly surprisingly, ignoring the fantasy that walkers will keep to the left of the white line, and cutting across the cycle lane, with the risk of colliding head-on with a cyclist coming the other way. And as you can see, "Test me U pricks" is the intriguing challenge painted by a local artist on one of the panels of this exemplar facility, which is popular with those who have urgent messages - sexual, political, whatever - to bring to the attention of passers-by.

Sustrans calls the road below the A12. This is what it says on modern maps. In reality it is a motorway. Cyclists can cycle on A roads but are banned from this one. It is, in reality, the M11 Link Road. And this supposedly 'exemplar' cycling and walking crossing in actually the Department of Transport's grudging, crappy response to the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in the wake of the massive community severance which resulted from the M11 link road being carved through Leytonstone and Leyton by the Conservative government of John Major.

The M11 link road involved the destruction of some 300 homes, the mass displacement of the people who lived in them, all in order to speed traffic outside London into the centre of town, connecting with Hackney, where at the time the road was built 62 per cent of households lacked even one car. This section of what purports to be the A12 is in all but name part of the M11 motorway.

Because the Department of Transport loathes cycling and walking, the crossing facilities it supplied were crap. The person who wrote the gushing Sustrans document on North East Greenways plainly neither knows the local area, nor ever cycles or walks in it.

There are in fact four crossings of the M11 link road in Leyton and Leytonstone, and they are all monstrously unsatisfactory in their own ways. But let's concentrate on the one Sustrans refers to. This fabulous exemplar facility had attracted the attention of this blog long before Sustrans arrived on the scene. The first three pics used here show the state of this facility last year, the last three show the condition it was in last Friday.

(Below) This exemplar crossing is unsuited to anyone suffering from acute depression or worried about the safety of their children, as it affords easy access to all that lies below...

(Above and below) Two vandalised panels.

(Below) And here is this exemplary cycling and walking route in all its splendour. Scratched opaque plastic wall panels add to a claustrophobic sense of entrapment. Muggings are an intermittent feature of this crappy pedestrian/cycle route, which lacks any CCTV, and which is the last place you'd want to come face to face with an aggressive gang. And once you enter this route there is no escape. Here, even Indiana Jones would turn pale...

(Below) Like all local cycling facilities, this one is, as you can see, beautifully maintained. In this pic you can see the ninety degree turn featured in the first photo here, but from the opposite direction. Turn sharp left at the upside-down cycle logo for Leytonstone.

(Below) There are fabulous views of the M11 link road, underground lines, and Chinese-style "wall posters" in this exemplar facility. Enjoy!

Obviously not the SUV driver at fault, then…

A couple of months ago, two Nepalese cyclists were killed in a road accident in New Salata area after being hit by an SUV. Neither of them was wearing a helmet.

Yet more Town Square cycle stand obstruction

I first pointed out that these cycle stands were being obstructed by market traders' frames last April (see the second photo here). So naturally the Greenest and most progressive cycling borough in London has done... bugger all. These pics taken yesterday.

And the cycle stands on Mission Grove E17 still have traders' trolleys locked to them, and the footway remains blocked. But I am losing the will to go on photographing that particular enduring crap.