Tuesday 12 February 2008

Quote of the day

Thousands of street lamps in suburban areas are being switched off after midnight. The blackouts are being imposed by councils to cut energy bills and meet climate change targets.

I feel certain this marvellous idea will eventually be copied by the forward-thinking London Borough of Waltham Forest.

What intrigued me was this comment by the road and car lobbyist Edmund King:

Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: "In terms of road accidents, we have to be sure that this won't lead to more deaths and injuries on the roads, particularly for cyclists and pedestrians who are difficult to see at the best of times.

I know exactly what he means. When I’m on a bicycle it’s like I’m completely invisible. Drivers simply can’t seem to see me at all, no matter how much reflective gear I’m wearing.

It’s probably because they are (i) chatting on a mobile phone (ii) have no awareness of anyone not in a motor vehicle (iii) are eating a sandwich while steering with one hand (iv) are drinking coffee/a can of Coke, while steering with one hand. All of which I see on the streets of Waltham Forest on a regular basis.

As this post is partly about lamp posts, let's bring Waltham Forest into it with a couple of snaps of this Sheffield cycle stand outside South Chingford library. The Council's top designers have cleverly located it just inches from a lamp post. Its proximity to the library wall makes it unusable by a second cycle. And if you look carefully at the beautifully maintained surface, see if you can spot the shards of broken glass. Another triumph for this cycle-friendly Council!