Wednesday 31 December 2008

'Shared use'

No one from the council seems to walk anywhere, which must be why this spectacular obstruction of the footway by overgrown vegetation has gone unnoticed. The 'shared use' section of Lea Bridge Road, close to the border with Hackney.

Crap cycling in Blackpool

The wife of a cyclist who was seriously injured in a road accident has joined forces with police in urging Blackpool Council to upgrade their cycling safety measures. Michael Golowicz, a chef at Septembers restaurant on Queen Street, broke his pelvis and suffered severe injuries all over his body in the accident on December 11. His injuries could have been avoided if there had been an advance stop line marked on the road at the junction where the accident took place, according to Mr Golowicz's wife, Pat Wood, and the police officers investigating the incident. A spokeswoman for Blackpool Council said: "In respect of an advance stop lines at junctions, Blackpool has been installing these for the last two years as part of any road improvement works where there has been enough space to do so.

Eh? They only started putting them in during the sixth year of the twenty-first century? How backward is that?

And what’s this crap about ‘where there’s enough space’? By definition, every road junction has space for an ASL.

Car supremacism in Barnsley

A MAN left in a wheelchair by cerebral palsy has launched a campaign for a pedestrian crossing outside the supported housing scheme where he lives. A pedestrian crossing would help not only Mark but also the other 20 residents of the sheltered housing scheme, plus pensioners. But Barnsley Council insists the site does not meet criteria for a pedestrian crossing. A spokesman said: "There are very strict national criteria which must be met before pedestrian crossing facilities can be considered for installation. Among the criteria, there needs to be a sustained flow of pedestrians crossing the carriageway throughout the whole of the day. Data captured on site shows that, at Church Street, Carlton, this does not exist. It is important new pedestrian crossing facilities are used frequently and over a sustained period to make the facility safe." He added Department for Transport guidance said that, where crossings are little-used, drivers can forget they are there, creating a more dangerous situation.

Gosh, yes, it’s so easy for a driver to forget about a pedestrian crossing when they are chatting on a mobile, isn’t it? And a driver’s hypothetical forgetfulness must always come before the needs of someone with cerebral palsy who needs to cross a road.

In fact the Barnsley Council man is telling porkies. The criteria were relaxed some years ago, giving councils the freedom to put in crossings more or less wherever they want to (except on A roads).

Mad cyclist!

"A youth carrying a girl on his cycle suddenly came into the convoy's way near the radiotherapy unit of the cancer research centre. The convoy was hardly 150 feet away when police managed to drag back the cyclist in the nick of time," said an eyewitness. According to locals, Saha may be mentally deranged.

In other words, a normal cyclist. About ten minutes cycling around Waltham Forest is enough to make me mental as I have to brake for or dodge idiots who cut me up, overtake and turn left, approach me on my side of the road, jump red lights, or come round corners while gabbling into a mobile phone.

Octogenarian runs down pedestrian

Drivers aged over 70 should be re-tested on a regular basis, argues Anna Ford. A perfectly reasonable point of view. It is totally insane that at present you can go on driving until you are over one hundred if you want to, and the only person required to state if the driver is fit to drive is… the driver!

This earned Ford the wrath of Vanessa Feltz, who defended older drivers and asserted that

What they are most emphatically not is dangerous.


In Lancaster an 89 year old driver ran down a pedestrian, who suffered a broken collar bone and a dislocated shoulder.

No one should be driving at the age of 89, period.

Tuesday 30 December 2008

In praise of the Clyde Loakes administration

(Above) Pavement parking alongside the A113 in Woodford, London Borough of Redbridge

Waltham Forest is crap for cycling and walking, but to be fair the neighbouring boroughs of Redbridge and Newham are much, much worse. And when I venture into Hackney I’m always a bit puzzled why ten per cent of journeys there are made by bicycle. I think it has much more to do with the sort of cool, enlightened people who live there than the local council making Hackney a cycling paradise (it isn’t, that I’ve noticed).

Everything is relative. At a local level the transport policies of Labour councils tend to be more progressive than the Lib Dems (with occasional exceptions, such as Richmond), and both Lib Dems and Labour are way ahead of the car-infatuated Tories. As this blogger rightly points out you should never, ever, put Tories in charge of transport.

In Tory Redbridge (above) you can basically park on any pavement you want to, how you like, and the council will be totally indifferent to your pleas for enforcement. Whereas Waltham Forest would never tolerate scenes like this. My quarrel here with Waltham Forest is not its enforcement, which seems to me to be actually very good, but with its creeping seizure of pavements for legalized parking.

Another example of the difference between a Labour/Lib Dem council and an adjacent Tory one. The street in the photo below is Woodford New Road, photographed from the junction with Chelmsford Road. The road junction in the foreground is in the London Borough of Redbridge but the road and the traffic island are in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

The Tories of Redbridge want to get rid of the traffic island because about once every two months a driver turning right here out of Chelmsford Road crashes into the nearest concrete bollard. Waltham Forest quite rightly thinks that the problem is with drivers, not with the traffic island. Whereas the Redbridge Tories know that traffic islands are just part of the war on the motorist.

This may be the only occasion this blog ever celebrates the marvellous and progressive administration of Councillor Clyde Loakes. Enjoy this moment of bliss while you can.

Cycling in Gaza

Look carefully and you'll see four cyclists beside what’s left of the Alshefaa mosque in Gaza. Mountain bikes - the perfect way of getting around when your neighbourhood has been shredded by F-16s and Apache helicopters.

What's the greatest killer of Israelis? Not what you might think.

On September 10, a grim milestone was marked: 30,000 Israelis had lost their lives in traffic accidents - 6,000 more than the total killed in all of the wars, terror attacks and violence since statistics began being recorded in 1960.

What’s more

The probability of a road user in Israel being a casualty in a (reported) road crash was 5.4 per 1000 persons

The situation resembles that in Northern Ireland. Forty per cent of people killed during ‘the Troubles’ died as a direct consequence of conflict between the Protestant and Catholic communities. But a further sixty per cent were killed on the roads. That carnage was never noticed by the mass media.

Jon Garvie:

The facts about driving are stark but wilfully ignored. Road fatalities will be the third largest global cause of death by 2020 and more people die each month on American roads than were killed in the September 11 attacks, but where is the war on cars? The majority of deaths spring from egregious human error, yet we persist in labelling them “accidents”. Such events are normal, not deviations from an otherwise safe activity.


A WOMAN cyclist was taken to hospital after a Christmas Eve collision between a bicycle and a van on a York road. The crash happened just before 8am.

And now we get to the important bit:

The accident did not cause any major traffic disruption.

Cycling fatalities rocket in New Jersey

2008 has seen the highest number of bicyclist fatalities in the state in at least six years. Director Pam Fischer announced yesterday that 21 cyclists were killed through December 17 of this year - up from 11 fatalities each in 2006 and 2007. Officials from Highway Traffic Safety said that most of the victims were adults, and that most of the crashes occurred in the state’s urbanized areas. Those officials speculated that the slow economy and fluctuating gas prices have encouraged increasing numbers of New Jerseyans to bicycle for local errands and to commute to work.

Highway Traffic Safety has planned new programs to educate adults about safe bicycling and to increase helmet use.

That’s right – blame the victims. The ideology of ‘road safety’ is all about cyclists and pedestrians accommodating their behaviour to take account of reckless driving.

‘Roads are getting safer’


Four cars and a cyclist were involved in two separate crashes within minutes of each other on the same stretch of road. Police, who said there were no injuries, were at the scene for around two hours.

Non-injury crashes, by definition, don’t appear in the published annual road fatality and injury statistics by which ‘road safety’ is falsely measured. Every time fatality figures drop some dim-witted official spokesperson asserts that Britain’s roads are the safest in Europe and getting safer all the time. Which is complete garbage.

Britain’s roads are very, very dangerous places and getting more dangerous all the time. Cycling is in decline everywhere except London, largely because cyclists are being terrorised off the roads. And don’t believe the cycling stats, either. Although it is undoubtedly true that more people are cycling in London, all that is being measured is commuter cycling on cherrypicked major routes which no cyclist heading into town can avoid.

The London Borough of Waltham Forest does not measure cycle use on residential streets, or on its flagship prizewinning Orient Way cycle path, or at the Green Man, or at the waterworks underpass. The results might be too embarrassing.

Yellow bus campaign

THE parents of two children killed by cars seconds after stepping off their school buses have united to campaign for a safety crackdown. Heartbroken Carla and Derrick Oldham and Maureen and Philip Milne want to ban drivers from overtaking parked kids' coaches. And they have demanded schools use easy-to-spot American-style yellow buses to warn motorists to slow down. Carla's daughter Robyn, 15, was yards from her home in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, when she was struck by a Mercedes. Two weeks later, Maureen watched in horror as her 12-year-old son Alexander was hit near Lonmay, 20 miles away. Alex's sister Maerin, 10, also witnessed the tragedy.

Texting kills

A motorist sent a string of text messages moments before she ploughed into a car and killed its driver, a court heard yesterday. Philippa Curtis had taken off her shoes and was driving in her socks while rushing to see her boyfriend when she made two illegal calls and sent more than 20 messages. In one of the texts, the waitress bragged about serving singer Dina Carroll at the restaurant where she worked.Travelling at 70mph, she crashed into the back of a broken down Fiat Punto, killing 24-year-old Victoria McBryde, who was waiting by the side of the road for a car recovery service.

Meanwhile the streets of Waltham Forest are crammed with drivers chatting on handheld mobiles, to the almost complete indifference of the Metropolitan Police and Commander Mark Benbow. Here’s a few potential killers whose details I jotted down:

10 December: EY07 YMF white van, male, 2.15pm Hoe St
11 December: Hoe Street, 11.55, Peugeot 547 MLP, female driver
19 December: Larkshall Road E4, black 4X4 reg. V7 AKD, 11.24 am, male driver
20 December: X107 CNO Mercedes, male driver, 12.40 am Cleveland Park Avenue E17, White van man M483 UPY 1.20 pm Lea Bridge Road, KM03 LKP silver 4X4 male driver, Lea Bridge Road 1.55 pm, BMW reg LG56 XKP woman driver 2.08 pm Palmerston Road E17, Male driver, GV03 UJN, Hoe Street, 2.18 pm

Monday 29 December 2008

A simple but classic design

Since the council's yellow salt boxes provide insufficient obstruction of cycle stands, a new prototype cycle-parking-deterrence device is being tested out on Erskine Road E17.

A load of bollards

These three bashed-into bollards are perfectly positioned to impale or trip up blind pedestrians, and testify to the care which drivers show when in a pedestrian zone. (The Town Square, Selborne Road entrance.)

Kier 'employee of the year'

Seeing that this cycle stand was not obstructed in any way, a quick thinking Kier employee jammed their streetcleaning cart against it and went off for some well-deserved refreshment. Westbury Road E17, Saturday. The pink carnations are a lovely touch, aren't they?

'Get Sorted'

Everyone is passionate about the environment in Waltham Forest. That's why someone has thoughtfully placed their can in this broken council recycling box by the vandalised telephone booth on East Avenue E17. But is broken glass recyclable?

Bendy buses

(Above) Euston Road (A501), junction with Gordon Street WC1.

Moving Target reckons that the danger of bendy buses has been overstated, which certainly seems to be the case where London cyclists are concerned. However, The London Bicycle Activist notes that Although there are only 350 bendies in the whole of London - around five per cent of the bus fleet - they are responsible for nearly 20 per cent of bus-related deaths.

There are no bendy buses in Waltham Forest, so they don’t rank at all as a local threat. You have to cross the border into Haringey to encounter them. Personally, I don’t like bendy buses in London. They annoy me most as a pedestrian in the West End. They straddle signalled pedestrian crossings and obstruct them when the phase turns to green for walkers. You then have five seconds to sprint round the back and get across the road before the traffic starts moving again. On wide streets like Piccadilly this is no joke. There are plenty of bendy bus drivers who are idiots.

As a cyclist I have a deep loathing of many bus drivers. I don’t find them threatening in a big way because in Waltham Forest their speeds are generally quite low. But they routinely drive into cyclists-only Advanced Stop Lines, they drift into cycle lanes without warning, and they jump red lights. I see this every week. But it’s much harder for a cyclist to end up under a bus than it is under a lorry. And I've never seen a bus driver chatting on a mobile phone.

Sunday 28 December 2008

A sign of the council

The first few times I followed the London Cycle Network signs on Coppermill Lane, I kept missing the turn-off along Haroldstone Road E17. The sign in question is just below the CPZ sign.

My mistake was to cycle in the road, when the sign is helpfully angled only to assist those cyclists who are riding on the pavement.

Street signs of Waltham Forest #63

Saturday 27 December 2008

Car free day at Oxford Circus

Oxford Circus, December 6.

As you can see, car free day on Oxford Street and Regent Street was a complete flop. The takings in the shops must have been significantly down on this day.

Thank goodness every other day of the year returns Oxford Circus to car drivers. And the plan to replace Oxford Street’s diesel buses with an electric tram has been abandoned.

Kill a cyclist and keep your licence

A MAN has been fined £500 for causing an accident in which a cyclist died. Reginald Archer, 69, of the Street, Liddington, admitted driving carelessly. Swindon Magistrates Court heard that Mr Archer was driving on Liddington Hill on January 7 when he failed to notice a 52-year-old woman on her bicycle.

Police driver runs down two children on pedestrian crossing

Two girls were hurt when they were hit on a pedestrian crossing by a police van responding to a 999 call. The sisters, aged nine and 11, were hit by the marked vehicle in Porthleven Road, Helston, Cornwall, on Friday.

Serial drunk driver spared jail, again

SCOTLAND'S worst serial drink driver has been convicted for a SIXTH time - but he still hasn't been sent to jail. Businessman Alex McMorran, 64, was caught over the limit on the M74 on December 7 December 7, even though he was already serving a four-year ban for a drink-drive offence last year.

The callous drunk has four other convictions and managed to overturn a previous life ban. But at Dumfries Sheriff Court on Christmas Eve, McMorran was given a 10-year ban, a £1700 fine and 200 hours' community service for his latest offence - but no prison term. Safety campaigners slammed the sentence and one of McMorran's own relatives was left disgusted. She said: "He just never learns. It is absolutely shocking. It really is just a matter of time before he kills himself or someone else.

Friday 26 December 2008

'Cyclists Dismount'

CYCLISTS DISMOUNT - it's National Route 1 of the National Cycle Network.

(Hackney Marshes, just south of the A104, the bridge over the River Lea)

Note the tyre marks. Vehicles are driven over this bridge.

Crap cycling in Hackney

Like their colleagues in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the highway engineers in the London Borough of Hackney are idiots. Because there is no point in providing cycle lanes at road closures or chicanes unless those cycle lanes are protected by double-yellow 'no waiting at any time' restrictions. Expecting motorists to display common sense, consideration for cyclists or to obey unenforcable advisory white markings is a complete no brainer. (Junction of Redwald Road and Daubeney Road E5)

(Below) Northchurch Terrace N1

Hackney insults the memory of a dead cyclist

This is the site where cyclist Antony Smith died under the wheels of a left-turning lorry in April.

This badly designed junction forms part of a major cycling route and it underlines just how badly cyclists are treated by planners and highway engineers right across London. The ASL, apart from being too small, is set far, far too back from the junction. And there are no dedicated cyclists-only crossing lights. And now, to make matters just that little bit worse, the carriageway has been resurfaced and the cycle logo in the ASL has been obliterated.

Hackney is every bit as crap for cyclists as Waltham Forest. Or as anywhere else in London.

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Exclusive photo of 'wfm' Christmas party

Forward to another glorious year in people's paradise of Waltham Forest!

Superb value to the council tax payer at just £462,094 for a twelve month subscription

The Waltham Forest song

Everything is broken

Broken hands on broken ploughs
Broken treaties broken vows
Broken pipes broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling bullfrog croaking
Everything is broken.

(above) First pic: Hove Avenue E17; second pic, additional traffic calming on Shrubland Road E17

(below) Argall Avenue E17

(below) Glenthorne Road E17

(below) Essex Road E17

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Winter wonderland

Festive greetings from
the London Borough
of Waltham Forest

The closed-down public lavatory on South Grove; the public footpath off Brunner Road; the closed-down EMD cinema on Hoe Street; the closed-down St James Street Library; the rat-infested underpass for pedestrians and cyclists at the Waterworks roundabout.

(Caution: reliance on some websites may lead to disappointment)

Monday 22 December 2008

Christmas charity appeal on behalf of 4X4 owners

At this time of the year it’s awfully easy to forget those less fortunate than ourselves. That’s why this blog is asking everyone to spare a thought for owners of 4X4s. These unfortunates suffer dreadful prejudice, with ownership even being identified as an unerring marker of the driver's selfishness and vacuity.

As you can see from the above photograph (Elmsdale Road E17), many 4X4 drivers struggle to find space to park on the pavement. The council is doing its best, each year transferring more and more pavements to legalised pavement parking, and even moving the markings to give pedestrians less room. But no matter how hard the council tries, demand always seems to outstrip supply. So please, if you can spare some pavement for a 4X4, let Cllr. Bob Belam know, and the highway engineers will be down with their white paint before you can say “but it breaches minimum standards for the disabled”.

Fancy a seven-litre 130mph Jensen sports car, guv?

Need a flash motor for a special occasion? Just drop by at my place, mate, and we’ll sort something out

Sunday 21 December 2008

A lawless A.A. motorcyclist

The A.A. rarely loses an opportunity to slag off cyclists or to suggest that drivers are at the mercy of bad signing.

The A.A. said the behaviour of some cyclists effectively meant there were "two tribes" at war on the roads.

Clear, concise, relevant road signs help reduce congestion, CO2, frustration and accidents says AA president Edmund King.

Why not send the A.A. an email and ask what it is their employee found so hard to understand about the markings at this junction on Charing Cross Road, by Trafalgar Square, this afternoon at 3.55 p.m.

According to the A.A. website, if you have

a comment or question relating directly to campaigns and motoring policy then please email the Public Affairs team at


The Automobile Association is an organisation initially intended to help motorists avoid police speed traps. (something it still does).

Christmas traditions of Waltham Forest

(Above) At this time of year, it is customary to decorate local street furniture and leave out food for the rats. (West End Avenue E10)

(Below) On Selborne Road E17, jovial drivers play 'squeeze out the cyclist' in the newly refurbished cycle lane, while jostling for position in the Advanced Stop Line, with a merry blasting of horns.

(Below) At this time of year it is customary to place objects against cycle stands, in this instance two solidifed sacks of cement and some large fragments of broken glass. (Truro Road E17, yesterday.)

(Below) On the other side, various sacred objects are placed against the cycle stand.

(Below) It is also customary to 'leave out some clothes for Santa', just in case he's feeling the cold on Christmas Eve. Browns Road E17.

Saturday 20 December 2008

Festive scenes in the Town Square today

Welcome to the pedestrianised Town Square and shopping centre! Where smart drivers know there's no need to pay to park in the adjacent underground car park.

But hang on, I think I know one of those vehicles...

(Below) Who turned up at the shops today in this flash limo? Yes, it’s her again!

(Below) Today, the town square stage featured legendary contractors Kier, who had brought along "Dumpy the environmental education vehicle".

Dumpy "demonstrates the advantages of recycling and sustainability to children of primary school age". Let's hope the little blighters can't read today's papers!

Three out of four councils are dumping recycled household rubbish in landfill sites or sending it off for incineration, it emerged last night. As much as 20,000 tonnes of rubbish put out for recycling was dumped over the last year after it had been separated into designated bins.

"Dumpy runs on bio-fuel". That's just great, is it not?

Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report. "It is clear that some biofuels have huge impacts on food prices," said Dr David King, the government's former chief scientific adviser, last night. "All we are doing by supporting these is subsidising higher food prices, while doing nothing to tackle climate change."

Oxfam says there is "growing scientific evidence" that biofuels are exacerbating global warming trends, rather than helping reduce the problem.

George Monbiot believes that biofuel programmes are a formula for environmental and humanitarian disaster

(Below) Dumpy teaches children about "the merits of a clean environment" - something they certainly wouldn't have found on the other side of the square, by the Bhs cycle stand.

(Below) 'Keep it green' is one of Dumpy's slogans - and Kier certainly have lived up to their promise at the cycle stands by the children's playground, where shards of green glass have been scattered for the last six weeks, without being swept up.