Tuesday 31 March 2009

Tesco: 'We deliver more than groceries'

Tesco also deliver lawless pavement parking and cycle lane obstruction. Selborne Road E17, yesterday, 11.55 am.

Tesco won the Environmental Leadership Award 2008

If you have any suggestions as to how Tesco might improve their commitment to the environment, email them at


Funnily enough some people think that Tesco's success is partly based on trading practices that are having serious consequences for suppliers, farmers and workers worldwide, local shops and the environment.

There’s also a book.

Policing London

Day after day the papers have been recycling lurid press releases from Scotland Yard, relating to this week's protests centered around the G20 summit in London. Here's the latest.

The Met warned the prospect of violent clashes had lured anarchists from the Poll Tax riots of 1990 out of retirement. Groups including Class War, the Wombles and the Whitechapel Anarchist Group have secretly reformed to plot carnage on London's streets this week.

We get this kind of over-heated rubbish every year prior to the Climate Change camp. Maybe someone at Scotland Yard should do a history degree. Riots are not pre-planned. Explosions of mass anger are not orchestrated by individuals or fringe groups. And I am sceptical that anything much will happen this week, or indeed that many people will turn up. Most people will be at work on Wednesday and Thursday, and I rather doubt that those unfortunates who lost their jobs at local branches of Woolworths will be heading for the City with rocks in their pockets. The one group that seems to be itching for a bit of action is... the Met. As I shan't be there I know I can rely on bloggers to tell me what really went on.

What I find interesting is the reference to 'carnage on London's streets'. That certainly exists and the Met couldn't really give a toss about it.

In 2007 in London there were 23,210 collisions, which resulted in 28,361 casualties Of these, 222 were fatally injured, 3,562 were seriously injured, and 24,577 were slightly injured. 331 children (under 16) were ‘fatal or serious’.
(PDF source)

It seems to me unlikely that anything that happens in London this week is going to match that level of violence. The major form of violence and anti-social behaviour in London is committed by drivers - a social group who have long enjoyed the Met's favours. The Met is car supremacist to its core, from the Commissioner down. Hardly surprising that the Met incubated Mike Todd, who took his prejudices to Manchester and, I would argue, made it a more dangerous place.

The Met, as RoadPeace has long complained, seriously under-resources investigations into road deaths, when compared to murder.

The Met has always been contemptuous of the interests of pedestrians and cyclists in London and reluctant to enforce traffic law which protects vulnerable road users.

The Met wasted vast amounts of public money in its belligerent and futile attempt to have the monthly Critical Mass made illegal and suppress it.

The Met has a blanket policy of not enforcing Advanced Stop Lines for cyclists, because this might slow down motor traffic.

It has long treated atrocious driving by police drivers with extreme leniency.

The failure of policing in London can be seen from the epidemic levels of criminals manipulating dangerous machinery while chatting into a handheld mobile phone. The Met could catch thousands of offenders every day with very little effort or resources. But it has no real interest in doing so.

And now evidence from inside the service indicates that rape is treated less seriously than damage to or theft of motor vehicles:

"The picture painted was that greater importance was given to motor vehicle crime than victims of serious sexual assault"


Women are right to be concerned: car crime has been treated as a higher priority than their safety.

Dave Hill thinks its time for some engagement with communities the police haven't always listened to well enough.

He is thinking of ethnic communities, but the rot in the Met surely goes much wider than that. And the police, in London as elsewhere, are alienating a swathe of the public by their half-witted mis-use of anti-terror laws.

Porn-movie-in-hotel-room MP’s wife in shock cycling shame

In a shock revelation a top Tory MP’s wife yesterday confessed ‘Sometimes I walk but other days I cycle’. Flaxen-haired Sandra Howard brazenly admitted I can hardly make a decision about whether to walk or pump up my bike tyres

The revelation that Howard belongs to ‘the cycling fraternity’ – a notorious sado-masochist group on the fringes of mainstream society, whose days are spent in shabby underpasses, seedy ‘cycle lanes’ and squalid backstreet ‘quiet routes’ is bound to send shock waves through Westminster.

Monday 30 March 2009

New sign unveiled

This exciting new portable street sign, known as 'The Loakes', has been designed by top consultants at a cost to local council tax payers of only £850,000. It's a dual use sign, displaying to local residents both the council's environmental achievements and its progress so far in area regeneration.

The Audit Commission has praised it for expressing the core stakeholder principle of "total transparency".

Unlike London

On average, half of Amsterdam's population rides a bike at some point every day.

(Below) What are these vehicles, at Oxford Circus, doing being driven into central London? Why does motor traffic still take priority over cyclists and pedestrians in every aspect of our transport structure? Who wants to cycle on crap car-choked streets like these?

The future

Mega floods, droughts and storms triggering mass starvation, mass migrations and resource wars.

Spring in 'The Village'

Beulah Road E17

Sunday 29 March 2009

Parking in Southwold

Southwold High Street has many free parking bays for cars, including these in the very centre of town. Free parking is also available in nearby streets and car parks.

Cyclists have a small choice of traffic sign poles and railings to attach their bikes to, but please DON'T trespass on the cobbled car parking spaces in the centre of town, like these selfish and irresponsible cyclists shown below.

Hixson humour

It frightens me to think about how much damage one of these bikes would do to my car if we hit each other. I have heard horror stories about bike/auto accidents where the airbags and seat belts saved the bike rider from serious injury and the heavy reinforced welded aluminum/titanium frame of the bike caused major damage to the auto and took the life of its driver.

I am too "intimidated" to pass one of these massive battering rams because they might decide to just cross four lanes of traffic without so much as a hand signal or look back which could lead to the fatal injury of anyone in an auto unfortunate enough to be struck by it.

I say we should make it a law that all vehicles except bicycles are illegal to drive on the streets and highways. Just think of how many auto driver deaths we could prevent if we didn't allow them on the road with those massive, deadly, out-of-control bicycles. I don't think that law will be passed soon enough.

Until it becomes a law, I will not pass you cyclists and I will hold up traffic to protect the drivers behind me from possible death-by-collision with a bicycle while trying to pass you. I ask that you cyclists please take extra precaution while you are riding so that you might save the life of an innocent car driver. I pray that each and every auto and truck driver that travel our roads daily with those deadly bicycles make it home safely to their families.

Saturday 28 March 2009

Disgruntled cyclist, South West London

You freewheel along, admiring the blossom and the ducks on the ponds until –hang on – you’re at the railway bridge when you need to have turned right. Only problem is you can’t turn right, or you can if you are prepared to get off your bike and walk it down various paths with ‘no cycling’ written on them. So much for former Mayor Ken Livingstone’s assertion that his proposed £500m investment in cycling in London will mean that ‘thousands more Londoners can cycle in confidence on routes that take them quickly and safely where they want to go.’

(Via Dave Hill)

Another killer driver breezes out of court

A MECHANIC who killed a woman while test-driving a 188mph Ferrari has escaped with a £500 fine. William Lings, 26, who has a previous conviction for drink-driving and three for speeding, mounted a kerb and hit Jennifer England after losing control of the £150,000 Ferrari 456GT. Ms England, 52, who was a full-time carer for her disabled sister, died after being thrown into the air by the collision in Acton in January last year.

Speed terrorism

A SPEEDING driver who mounted a pavement narrowly missing a pedestrian before crashing through a woman’s hedge was lucky not to kill someone, residents have said. The motorist was heading towards Harlow along Parkside, in Matching Tye, when his car left the road and ploughed into the hedge of Denise Steele, 70.

She said: “He came straight across the road on to the footpath, hit a sign post, and went straight into our hedge, and then ripped our wrought iron gates apart. He came to rest 45 yards up the road. Five minutes later in the area where he mounted the pavement there would have been ten or 12 primary school children. It’s a very dangerous situation.”

Lorry driver Terry Green, 38, of Rainbow Road, Matching Tye, had to leap out of the way when he saw the motorist heading straight for him. He said: “If I hadn’t have jumped out of the way he would have hit me. It’s only because he hit a bump on the road and it made me turn round that I’m here. I jumped back and fell on the floor.

“That was the closest I’ve ever come to dying. I was in shock afterwards. Everything happened so quick it’s only when I got home and sat down I thought ‘I can’t believe what’s happened’.”

After exchanging insurance details with Mrs Steele, the motorist drove off in his damaged car leaving her to sort out her broken property.

[She should have called the police, who could have breath-tested the driver, investigated if a mobile phone was in use at the time of the crash, and also investigated the driver’s speed.]

She also called for greater traffic measures on the road adding: “We have got a 30mph limit which is rarely obeyed. We have continuous speeding through our village.”

Matching Parish clark Ernie Fenwick said he was aware of the incident and two vehicle activated speed sign were due to be installed in the next couple of months following a grant from Essex County Council.

[Vehicle activated speed signs, which aspire to slow down lawless drivers by advising them they are breaking the limit, are a farce and simply a symptom of an unwillingness to take speed crime seriously. Install speed cameras. And treat speed crime as a very serious offence, which merits an immediate disqualification from driving.]

He added: “We have had complaints that some people go at an excess speed and where the accident occurred there’s a playing field where children dash across the road. If there had been kids there it would have been quite nasty.”

Robbie Fowler smacked on wrists with feather

Former England footballer Robbie Fowler has been banned from driving for six months and ordered to pay £265 in fines and costs after using his mobile phone while driving.

[But he won’t mind as he is currently working in Australia.]

The 33-year-old admitted he broke the law while behind the wheel of his BMW X5 last year, despite denying it at the time. Fowler, of Caldy Road, Caldy, Wirral, was caught using the phone as he drove along Netherton Way, Bootle, on November 14.

The offence took the striker to 12 points on his licence and led to a six-month driving ban being imposed. He was also given a £150 fine and ordered to pay £100 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Fowler was not at South Sefton Magistrates' court.

[Driver criminality is indulged to the extent that the offender in such cases is spared the inconvenience of turning up in court. And a £150 fine is pocket money to a rich man like Fowler.]

Fowler had previously racked up points by speeding in 2006 and "contravention" of pedestrian crossing laws in 2006 and 2008.

[In other words, a very dangerous driver and a prospective killer who should have been taken off the roads long ago.]

Friday 27 March 2009

The Town Square rat run

Drivers continue to use the Town Square pedestrian zone as a convenient rat-run between the High Street and Selborne Road. They are only able to do this because the bollards installed on the High Street side to prevent this happening disappeared ages ago.

This market trader had no business in the Town Square but rather than go the long way round along Westbury Road, he found it much easier just to turn off the High Street and roar across the square and out on to Selborne Road. (Saturday morning) The Council colludes in this by doing nothing to prevent vehicle access from the High Street side.

Also, walk past the children's play area and take a look at the surface. The regular passage of heavy vehicles across the Town Square is producing a sand-dune ripple effect. The small paving stones used in the square were not designed for use as a carriageway.

Practical road safety suggestions #23

With top speeds of 198 mph and capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, the 'baby Bentley' is one of the fastest cars on the road.

So grab a spanner and slow it down a bit!

The violence the national media has no interest in

Two cyclists died on Wednesday:

Hit at a roundabout:

A 55-YEAR-old Skelmersdale cyclist knocked off his bike by a car on Tuesday afternoon died at 6.50pm on Wednesday evening.

Hit at night:

A cyclist was killed in an accident on the A415 in Abingdon Road, Burcot. The 39-year-old man died after colliding with a blue Audi A3 outside the Chequers pub.

Thursday 26 March 2009

How ‘green’ is Streetcar?

The Streetcar circus came to town yesterday, with a stall in the shopping mall and a display of shiny Polo and Golf saloons in the Town Square, along with a pair of blue inflatable cars for those contemplating a trip down the River Lea.

Streetcar is a car hire firm with a difference. In co-operation with local authorities it parks its hire cars in exclusive on-street parking bays scattered around a neighbourhood. Basically, in return for an annual fee, local residents can book a time slot for using the car, with the rental charge depending on the amount of time the vehicle is required for. Streetcar also rents vans. Membership is £59.50 a year, which gives you access to a car for £3.95 an hour or £39.50 for the day. You get insurance and "30 miles of petrol" thrown in, after which petrol is charged at 23p a mile. You pick up your vehicle and return it to "its own dedicated space" at one of 800 London locations.

Local authorities are keen to promote Streetcar. According to Waltham Forest council’s Sustainable Communities department, Streetcar offers the glorious vision of Fewer cars on the road, with one car club car potentially replacing up to 20 private cars.

How is that enticing statistic arrived at? Plucked out of thin air, I think. If twenty households which each own one car all get rid of them and all share one Streetcar then it would be true (though in total it only takes 19 cars off the road, as you still have the Streetcar). This assumes that these twenty households all want to use the Streetcar at different times. Common sense suggests this is unlikely to happen. If twenty households all want to rent the car on Saturday, or in August, then supply is plainly going to be inadequate to demand. There are, of course, other Streetcars in the neighbourhood. But they also have twenty households wanting to use them.

So to my mind the statistic doesn’t make any sense. But it’s the sort of crap you can expect to emerge from ‘Sustainable Communities’ which is based in ‘Environment and Regeneration’ which is located at Sycamore House, Forest Road E17 – a council building used by members of the public, which lacks a single cycle stand for visitors (though it does have some lovely new, clean, locked bike sheds exclusively for the use of council officers).

Hackney Council also co-operates with Streetcar, gushing that it is

part of our wider work to increase opportunities for everyone in the borough and make the area safer, cleaner and greener.

One of these ‘green’ ambitions is

to relieve parking pressures within the borough

In other words, if some households can be persuaded to get rid of their cars, this will make things easier for those households which own two, three or four vehicles.

Another reason is

to improve the level of social inclusion experienced by residents who can not afford their own car (sic)

In other words, to promote car use. Ten per cent of journeys in Hackney are supposedly made by bicycle. Instead of building on that very impressive base, Hackney Council remains in love with the car and car travel. Hackney is crap to cycle in (don't get me started).

But while local authorities promote Streetcar as an exciting new ‘Green’ scheme, Streetcar itself makes no such claims and simply pitches itself as offering cheaper motoring. It is a company which boasts that it has 'aggressive' growth plans following a £6.4 million investment by Smedvig Capital. Its non-executive chairman is Sir Trevor Chinn, who is also chairman of the A.A.

Streetcar’s ambition is to make money for its shareholders, not to save the planet.

Sir Trevor Chinn has also had years of involvement with the Motorists’ Forum. This is a shadowy but very powerful lobby group which cosies up to like-minded car supremacists at the Department for Transport.

The Motorists' Forum works with a range of Government Departments, including the DfT, DTI and the Home Office, across a breadth of motoring related topics. It takes the approach of trying to agree a work programme with Government Departments where they can influence the Department and bring together a body of people with a breadth of knowledge and expertise.

Although it includes one token green – the estimable Stephen Joseph of the Campaign for Better Transport – it is overwhelmingly dominated by road lobby representatives, such as

Karen Dee - Confederation of British Industry
Paul Everitt - Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
Joe Greenwell - Ford Motor Company Ltd
David Holmes CB - RAC Foundation
Chris Hunt - UK Petroleum Industry Association Ltd
John Lewis - British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association
Nick Starling - Association of British Insurers
Andrew Strong - Automobile Association
Neil Thompson - RAC

These people do not in any sense represent British motorists but rather businesses keen to see people buying and using motor vehicles. The Motorists' Forum is hostile to restraints on reckless driver behaviour and is basically a more sophisticated, more effective and far less shrill lobby than the self-styled Association of British Drivers (ABD). Ironically, the ABD, unlike the Motorists' Forum, genuinely represents motorists - albeit a tiny, unrepresentative minority of petrolhead libertarians.

The accomplishments of the Motorists' Forum include acknowledging that Intelligent Speed Adaptation (technology that can control maximum speed through a mandatory speed limiting function that the driver cannot override) could significantly reduce carnage on the roads, while concluding

we wish to make it clear that we are not recommending the compulsory fitment or usage of ISA. And we note the Department for Transport's position that any future use of ISA should be taken forward by the motoring industry in response to customer demand, just as with other technologies available for customers to purchase if they so choose.

That's right, reckless speeding and killing people should be a matter of personal choice. What's the point of buying a nice shiny car designed to do 140 mph if it comes with a spoilsport device that forces you to obey the speed limit? On such hypocrisies is the nation's blood-drenched 'road safety' industry based - but you won't find the sycophantic Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (sic) ever adverting to them.

The Motorists Forum also boasts

The Forum believes that their advice played a part in Government deciding that authorities wishing to join the "netting off" scheme should be required to make safety cameras more visible to motorists.

So it would be fair to say that the Chairman of Streetcar is not someone who is readily associated with sustainability or environmentalism.

One thing that intrigues me about Waltham Forest and Streetcar is this. Since this is a money-making business, is the Council charging Streetcar to rent street space for its cars? Some cost is involved in marking out the bays, putting up signing and making traffic orders, and there is also a loss of revenue for bays located in Controlled Parking Zones, which many of them are. Or is the Council supplying these bays for nothing, on 'environmental' grounds, effectively leaving the local council taxpayers to subsidise Streetcar’s profits and Sir Trevor Chinn’s no doubt very agreeable remuneration?

Ah, if only someone could invent some sort of cheap self-propelling device which allowed people to travel around London without requiring petrol and which didn't generate air and sound pollution...

Traffic calming for pedestrians

This dual purpose sign, placed across the pavement by contractors working for the Council, requests motorists to move their parked cars so that a road hump can be built. It also cleverly slows down people pushing buggies, reckless wheelchair users and speeding pensioners on mobility scooters, by preventing access along the footway, obliging them to stop, descend the kerb, go into the road, pass the parked car, and then mount the kerb again. Milton Road E17, yesterday.

Wednesday 25 March 2009

Absolutely Fabulous

Another awesome new off-road cycling facility on Wadham Road E17. It's clearly marked out, includes a drain and is fully illuminated at night. What more could any cyclist possibly want?


Just beyond this (above) in Selborne Road E17 is this (below).

I don't mind telling you it's thirsty work photographing all the incitements to drink booze in the Alcohol Restriction Zone...

Rectal anxiety - what a great way of promoting a pint. Should be good for sales of new bicycle saddles, too.


An abandoned BBQ trolley alongside a cable TV junction box which is spattered with graffiti, a mountain of contractor fencing, with one panel obstructing the footway for anyone in a wheelchair or pushing a pram or buggy. The rest of the walking environment here is a corridor between a brick wall and a line of vehicles parked on the pavement. It's a mystery why fewer and fewer people are choosing to walk, is it not? Richards Place E17, yesterday.

Cultural differences

A bike ride organised by ‘cycling campaigners’ in London will usually say something along the lines of:

Join us outside the post office at 10 a.m. for a fun ride to Blenkinsop House, with its interesting display of early twentieth century Latvian vases. It has a tea-room and a shop which sells some marvellous themed pencil sharpeners. If the weather is good we’ll be having a picnic in the park, so remember to pack some crisps. Fingers crossed that Timothy will be bringing along his harmonica to entertain us in traditional fashion! We will back by 4pm, and Nigel has invited anyone interested to come and see his very interesting collection of historic bicycle pumps.

Whereas in Los Angeles the invitation runs like this:

Like a tempest on the horizon, you can hear us approaching as you see our blinking bicycle lights in the distance. The hooting and hollering and the beat of the music seduces your psyche as the outlaw bicycle party passes you by. It is at that moment that you finally understand: your life shall have no meaning until you JOIN THE MOB!

Needless to say the infamous LAPD loathes cyclists having FUN and makes it its business to engage in harassment

One cyclist was in cuffs being cited for not having a bicycle license and an out of date address on his drivers license when blogger Alex Thompson began taking photos. Then Thompson was detained, cuffed and cited for allegedly crossing the street against the red flashing hand.

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Car parking before cycle lanes

Leyton Green Road, aka the B159. The pavement and the carriageway have both been resurfaced, with the cycle lane re-marked. Funnily enough, during the roadworks (below) was the only time I have ever been able to cycle along this road from High Road Leyton to Lea Bridge Road without having to swing out round parked cars. The stretch of road where the yellow cones are is normally filled with half a dozen parked cars, which presumably belong to the residents of the short terrace of houses on the left.

Leyton Green Road is relatively narrow and very busy. It is used by lots of double-decker buses. But on both sides of the road there are sections where the cycle lane vanishes under parked cars. Compare the photo above with the one below (roughly the same spot, note the telegraph pole). Car parking takes priority over the safety and convenience of cyclists. The result is that cyclists get caught up in the jams when the traffic backs up at the lights, as in the photo below.

Parked cars also force other vehicles out into the middle of the road, obliging oncoming traffic to move into the cycle lane on that side. The continuous cycle lanes are entirely meaningless because there are ALWAYS some vehicles parked, quite lawfully, over sections of them. And this takes us to the heart of the hypocrisy involved in pretending that London can be made into a first-class cycling city. To do so would involve conflict with car owners and their 'needs'. On Leyton Green Road, as at numerous other locations, the council is not prepared to put cyclists before car parking. Storing a stationary one-ton bubble of metal on the highway gets priority over those who choose to cycle. Unfortunately numerous bodies which claim to be promoting cycling prefer to pretend that such conflicts don't exist and evade the reality that such decision-making constantly sends out the message that cycling is an inferior means of transport.

Satirist strikes!

I spotted this pasted up on Hoe Street yesterday.

purple prose

An ancient folk custom which all contractors obey is to leave behind one section of plastic fencing and two traffic cones when the streetworks are finished.

Take this purple plastic fencing, for example. It was left behind, and ended up in the cycle lane on Hoe Street at the junction with Church Hill. I blogged about it on 21 January. Two months later this crap is still clogging up the street and absolutely no one from the local council has noticed, because no one is employed to notice. Cyclists and pedestrians inhabit a third-rate environment, off the radar. All that's changed in two months is that this purple panel is now an obstruction for pedestrians instead of cyclists.

Monday 23 March 2009

Child cyclist hit by car in Woodford Bridge

A CHILD - believed to be a young girl - has been seriously injured after she was hit by a car near to Roding Primary School. The incident - which took place at about 5.20pm this afternoon (Monday) happened in Gaynes Hill Road in Woodford Bridge.

The girl, who is thought to have been riding a bike at the time of the collision, was taken to hospital by air ambulance. Her condition has yet to be confirmed.

(from the website of The Waltham Forest Guardian)

It’s worth noting that, while the circumstances of this crash are not described, this serious collision occurred in an area where the local police have made it very clear that they have no interest in enforcing the law against driving while using a handheld phone – they choose to catch just one offender every two days.

Elsewhere, a nine year old child cyclist was killed by a hit and run driver.

Fournier Street E1

Today I went along Fournier Street

Enduring crap

Even though these streetworks are located entirely on the pavement, the contractors couldn't resist putting two signs in the cycle lane, one partly, and one completely. Yesterday, Hoe Street, along by the Pendleston Road junction.

Take a trip down Walthamstow High Street

This special anti-walking device has been brilliantly located where many pedestrians walk, in the High Street on the corner by the library building. If you want some paving for your garden, why not pop along now?

Kier support local wildlife

Kier collect street rubbish and put it in lovely plastic bags. And then they leave the bags out for collection another day. For which the foxes, cats and rats are very grateful. College Road E17, yesterday.

Sunday 22 March 2009

Car smash on Grove Road

This crash probably happened last night or in the early hours of this morning. How did this crash occur? It appears that the driver of the Audi, which is a left hand drive vehicle with an Estonian number plate, somehow managed to drive into the traffic sign on the chicane on Grove Road E17 (between Eden Road and Beulah Road). The car ripped the sign from its foundations, continued past the chicane, and the driver then swerved left and careered on to the pavement, finally coming to a stop on the corner with Beulah Road. It seems to have hit another car, which may or may not have been parked. I wonder if the emergency services were involved and if the driver, assuming that he or she stayed on the scene, was breath-tested?

The white vehicle behind the Audi was plainly not there when the crash occurred and was presumably parked there this morning.

If no one was injured, and it may well be the case that no one was, this crash will not appear in the 'road accident' statistics for 2009, and anyone who argues that Grove Road is a very dangerous road for cyclists and pedestrians will be told there is no statistical evidence of this.

Grove Road is supposed to be a 20 mph zone, and the site of this crash also forms part of one of those legendary 'quiet routes' for cyclists which the Council and the London Cycling Campaign are so fond of. If any cyclists or pedestrians had been passing at the time of the crash they might well now be dead or seriously injured.

(Below) Two traffic signs, including the remains of the 20 mph speed sign.

(Below) On the other side of the junction with Beulah Road is this damaged car, which was presumably hit from behind by the Audi.

(Below) Above the crashed car is the blue London Cycle Network 'Walthamstow (quiet route)' sign for cyclists.

Cyclists and pedestrians are treated like crap - everywhere

So, there’s a popular bridge route used by thousands of cyclists and walkers. It needs some very minor maintenance. So what does a privatised water authority do? It announces that the bridge will be shut for sixteen months. And comes up with some spurious excuses…

We were informed in November 2008 that the bridge was closed because of falling debris; however at no time has the river been closed to river traffic. Although there has been no public access to the engineers’ report, our understanding is that no major structural work is required such as replacing the cables, and therefore the only work which appears necessary is to repair the decking and repaint the structure.

We understand that both the City and County Councils have already agreed to make financial contributions to the cost of the repairs.

We conclude that it is unreasonable that the work should not be completed within two months and would urge you to consider a shorter time frame to minimise further disruption. If this is not the case the public should be fully informed as to why not.

Just like Britain, then

Over the last decade of cycling in the Middle Tennessee area, my companions and I have been cursed at, had objects thrown at us, had vehicles cut us off, endanger us in numerous ways, and generally act hostile toward us. That someone would do that dumbfounds me.

I have always been careful to block traffic as little as possible, and even when with a large group, we would go single file to reduce any inconvenience to motorists.
Apparently, any action that impedes some motorists, even if only for a few seconds, is intolerable.

Cycling in Canada

RCMP on Vancouver Island have decided not to charge a group of elite cyclists — including Olympic triathlon medallist Simon Whitfield and some Olympic hopefuls — after some of them were struck by a car on the weekend.

The group could have been charged with failing to bicycle in single file, which contravenes the Motor Vehicle Act, but police said Wednesday they determined the drivers and riders involved in the accident were all at fault.

Many in the group of about 20 cyclists were struck by a car passing them during their weekly ride Saturday morning.

Saturday 21 March 2009

Brighton solidarity…

with protesters in the southern hemisphere


A1199 Woodford Green. Catch that protruding sign in the cycle lane with your bulging pannier, swerve off and collide with an overtaking vehicle, get thrown back on to the railings, bounce back under the wheels of a passing heavy goods vehicle... Cycling in London is full of possibilities. Take care, now.

EMD cinema & Frank Brangwyn meetings

Sunday 29th March, a public meeting to discuss the future of the historic EMD cinema at St. Mary’s School Hall, Rectory Road in Walthamstow from 4.30pm. For more info see McGuffin.

Wednesday 1st April, the Friends of the William Morris Gallery are showing a film about the life of Frank Brangwyn - painter, print maker, muralist and designer, followed by an introduction to two of his works in the gallery collection. Come along for a glass of wine, or a cup of tea or coffee, doors open at 7pm and the film starts at 7.30, at the William Morris Gallery Lloyd Park, Forest Road. Tickets cost £5, on the door, or from the Friends call 020 85036166.

Crap policing in Buckinghamshire

A CYCLIST scarred for life after being hit by a car claims police officers failed to speak to him about his accident for nearly a month. Graeme Cooper was knocked unconscious, had to have a pin inserted into his hand and has a permanent scar on his chin after being hit by the car when cycling home from work.

The incident began when three youths travelling in a Volkswagen Polo threw a drink carton at Mr Cooper when they drove past him on Hill Avenue, Amersham. The car then got stuck in traffic queuing at a roundabout – and Mr Cooper believes the occupants either drove the vehicle into him or opened a door to knock him off after becoming worried he would confront them.

Friday 20 March 2009

Attractive cycling environments #86

Suitable for defending Walthamstow against the tanks of an enemy invader, this also doubles as a cycle lane in the world-class cycling city that is London. Enjoy. (And if you're towing a trailer use the pavement, you pest.) Edinburgh Road E17

Motorcyclist hits pedestrian on Blackhorse Road E17

From the Waltham Forest Guardian website:

Blackhorse Road was closed yesterday following an accident in which a motorcyclist crashed into a female pedestrian. The 33-year-old woman was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital suffering from back injuries which are believed to be non-serious. The motorcyclist was unhurt in the accident. The crash happened near the junction with Forest Road at about 7.45am.

Demonising cyclists

Hysteria in Washington DC - a cyclist is spotted carrying a helmet instead of wearing it. Front page news. Obviously a quiet sort of place then, if this is the stuff of headlines...

Adam Voiland puts forward 7 reasons there's more to bicycle safety than helmets.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Cycling in London

Under a picture of a cycle lane leading up to an Advanced Stop Line the London Cycling Campaign asserts:

To encourage more people to choose to use their bicycles, the roads must be made more cycle-friendly so the risk, and the perception of risk, are both significantly reduced.

And now here's a picture I took yesterday of a local road which meets LCC's criterion of being 'cycle-friendly'. Yes, it's The Bell corner again (where the A503 crosses the A112).

The lights are at red. That black cab beyond the HGV, incidentally, has stopped on a KEEP CLEAR marking.

Waltham Forest Council is forever boasting that

By 2003 almost all main roads in the core of the borough had cycle lanes (20 miles) and a substantial network of quiet routes (also 20 miles) using residential roads and park land was also in place.

The LCC repeatedly gives the Council prizes:

Waltham Forest was declared the winner for its innovative and extensive cycling facilities, which includes a 40-mile network of cycle lanes and quiet routes in the Borough.

What all this evades is the width of those lanes, the condition they are in and the segregationist philosophy which underpins them. It also evades how drivers treat such facilities as do exist for cyclists, the reckless, hostile and aggressive attitudes which some drivers have towards cyclists, and the general disintegration of traffic law enforcement in London.

I know exactly how 'Buffalo' Bill Chidley felt when he wrote To make myself feel better, I cancelled my membership of the London Cycling Campaign. I should put a link to their page, but I’m not going to, because I think they suck.

The local branch of the LCC has steadfastly declined to link to this blog, in the shrewd belief that it will be of no interest to cyclists in Waltham Forest. I’ve always linked to them but my generosity has expired and I’ve now followed Buffalo Bill’s example.

And now consider this. The off-road cycle lane between Beresford Road E17 and Roberts Road:

Last summer a driver who was coming down the slip road off the North Circular 'lost control' and slammed into the metal fencing at the side of the slip road, in the process demolishing the lighting column which had thoughtfully been rooted in the off-road cycle lane. Many months later the twisted stump of the lamp post remains, with a loose electrical wire drooping from it. This is adjacent to a sharp bend on a two-way cycle lane. The metal fencing has not been replaced, so plastic temporary fencing and a couple of traffic cones are all that separate cyclists from motor traffic.

This is a classic instance of what Chris Hutt would describe as neglected by the authorities, off their radar.

incitement to violence OK by PCC

The farce that calls itself the Press Complaints Commission reports that a notorious Times opinion piece which whimsically urged the decapitation of cyclists was the most complained about last year:

It attracted 584 complaints, mostly from cycling enthusiasts objecting to the suggestion that piano wire be strung across country lanes to decapitate cyclists

Who could possibly be at all surprised that

The commission found that the story did not breach its code of practice

Cyclists on a roll

A closely-watched bicycle bill going before the state legislature would allow bicyclists to slowly roll through stop signs. The proposal would make it legal for cyclists to slow down to a safe speed and then go through without stopping and without getting a ticket, but only if the intersection was clear.

A car-addicted nation

Road traffic has increased nearly 25% in the last 15 years despite government attempts to get people to drive less, legal targets to slash carbon emissions and a major increase in rail use, new figures show.

The figures were released as English regional bodies announced plans to spend more than £4bn in the next five years on 92 major road-building schemes, which are expected to further increase traffic levels and carbon dioxide emissions.

Campaigners said they were dismayed by the regions' lack of sustainable transport plans . "They are still wedded to road building. They had the option to ask central government for different kinds of transport schemes, including rail, cycling and trams, but they have overwhelmingly chosen road building.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Fantastic new cycle lane opens!

This remarkable new 3 metres-long cycle lane provides cyclists with a rare opportunity to collide with the crash barrier alongside Wadham Road E17

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Clampdown on 'excessive use' of bicycle bells

Under the proposed law, cyclists may not carry an object higher than their shoulder or wider than the handle bars.

Other offences include riding without at least one hand on the handle bars, excessive use of bells, and wilfully blocking others by stopping in the middle of the road or next to trees, signposts, light fixtures, mailboxes, trashcans or any other areas that obstruct traffic.

Cyclists will also be restricted to riding under 15 kilometers per hour.

Cycle parking

Cycle parking in the alley beside St James Street station, yesterday. To the right of the clothes was a pool of vomit but I decided to spare you that. Dead rats, yes - but this blog draws the line at vomit and faeces. Reluctantly.

They dump this rubbish everywhere

(Above) Wood Street E17

There's some enviro-crime organisation going around dumping these ugly and obstructive advertising panels all over the borough. These enviro-criminals show a complete disregard for pedestrians and the environment. All I can say is: shame on you!

(Above) High Road Leytonstone
(Below) outside Walthamstow Central

Footnote. The idea behind these panels was that the council would make money flogging advertising space. But these are council posters, so obviously they aren't raking in any advertising revenue. Another triumph for the Loakes administration!

Pedestrian mania

Today’s Independent has an interesting feature on the lost world of ‘pedestrian mania’

Edward Payson Weston lived to be 90, at a time when life expectancy for his peers was mid-40s. Aged 70, in 1909, he walked almost 4,000 miles from New York to San Francisco in 105 days, and at 71 he walked from Los Angeles to New York in 77 days.

He urged people to walk to keep fit, and warned that cars would make people lazy.

And then he got run down.

Another reckless speeder is indulged by the British legal system

Douglas Haigh, 44, was on the wrong side of a narrow road when he hit the red bus on July 31 last year with his black Porsche 911 Turbo. Simon Jones, prosecuting, said: "The Porsche was driving on the wrong side of the road at high speed and out of control." After the initial impact, the Porsche then went further out of control and hit a red Volkswagen Golf, with a family inside, including two young girls aged one and three. They were later airlifted to hospital. The court heard that after the accident, Haigh seemed more concerned about the state of his car than the injured bus passengers.

So what was this criminally reckless idiot charged with?

Haigh, from Wimborne, Dorset, denies one charge of driving without due care and attention. The trial continues.

Jake Voelcker:

Drivers are less harshly punished. This is due to a bias in the criminal justice system because of a lack of representation of vulnerable road users amongst judiciary, policy makers and legal officials. Unequal class and power relations allow the interests of drivers to be over-represented whilst the rights of pedestrians and cyclists are eroded.

Monday 16 March 2009

Chingford crash

Elderly drivers?

Vanessa Feltz opines that

What they are most emphatically not is dangerous.

And now here’s what an elderly driver managed to do on Connaught Avenue, Chingford

And as no one was injured it will not appear in the official ‘road accident’ statistics for 2009.