Saturday 31 October 2009

Cycle parking in Bury St Edmunds

This magnificent facility for two bicycles includes all the essential features of classic British cycle parking.

The facility is not signed. Cyclists looking for somewhere to park can enjoy the thrill of the chase as they search in vain the streets of an advanced industrial society for one of those rare and legendary ‘cycle stands’. Finally, when you least expect it, there they are!– conveniently located in the rear corner of a car park.

In tribute to the fitness of cyclists, this facility is placed as far away as possible both from the buildings it serves and the town centre. Car parking bays are located much nearer, but that is because drivers are often overweight and only able to walk very short distances.

The only illumination provided is from a streetlamp in the street the other side of the wall. At night, the ensuing pool of darkness helps to maintain a cyclist’s dexterity as she struggles to find the keyhole of her D-lock. The lonely secluded location also provides a valuable test zone for bike thieves with bolt cutters, ensuring that cyclists can do their bit to help bring Britain out of recession by buying a new bike to replace the one that got stolen.

Finally, admire the simple, classic features of British cycle parking design at its very finest. The siting of those roof supports is particularly impressive.

Guidance for road contractors

Advisory signs for drivers should wherever possible be placed across cycle lanes or pavements. They must not be placed in parking bays, as this could seriously inconvenience a motorist who needs to park as close as possible to the shops.

Cleveland Park Avenue E17, junction with the High Street. Yesterday.

Bus stop collides with car

Crash, 30 October:

A306 Roehampton Lane, Roehampton » Road blocked and queueing traffic due to accident, a single vehicle and bus stop involved

Was the bus stop wearing a helmet and high-visibility clothing? Apparently not. But it is just asking for trouble loitering at the side of the road like that, more or less invisible to motorists. Many pedestrians also wilfully put themselves at risk by hanging around these very dangerous locations, often wearing dark clothing.

Please – if you want to catch a bus, run alongside and jump on while the vehicle is moving. Please do not put yourself and others at risk by ‘queuing’ at ‘a bus stop’.

This road safety notice is sponsored by Road Safety GB, RoSPA and Renault.

Killer driver will not be charged with anything

Murray Fleming, a 25-year-old IT worker, was injured when at around 6.40pm a Volkswagen Passat collided with his bicycle on the A698 Hawick to Denholm road at Ashybank. He was taken to Borders General Hospital but died shortly after.

And now

Police have confirmed there will be no charges in connection with the death of a cyclist in the Borders last year. Murray Fleming, 25, from Greenlaw, Berwickshire, died from his injuries after the accident on the A698 between Hawick and Denholm last November. The IT worker was involved in a collision with a Volkswagen Passat as they both headed east

Footballing news

Just two days earlier he had been banned from driving for eight weeks after speeding at 106mph on a 60mph road.

It emerged he has 13 convictions including theft, assaulting a police officer and wounding. In a criminal career that ran parallel to his sporting one, the 29-year-old was given a succession of fines and community service orders - but only once was he actually jailed.

And what might that have been for?

receiving a stolen £30,000 BMW resulted in prison

"Car crime!" The courts quite rightly regarded that as a much more serious matter than speeding, drunken driving or physical assault.

Once you get out of your car…

As Montgomery County looked over its accident stats, County Executive Isiah Leggett said this morning, it discovered that more than a fifth of pedestrian accidents are happening in parking lots. The county knows the numbers for the past three and a half years (324 pedestrian collisions in parking lots), and it knows that seniors and young adults are disproportionately involved, but it doesn't yet know why parking lots are so dangerous.

Oh, I don’t think it’s that hard to work out why…

Star of ‘The Duchess’ run down and killed

"Napoleon was an experienced actor with 25 years in the film industry. His speciality was comedy - he could laugh, cross his legs, lie down and beg.

"He enjoyed performing so much - it was his life. He was a very good actor, very natural.

Blogger power

Get blogging, everyone!

A town council has disbanded after members staged a mass walkout in protest at being constantly criticised by a lone internet blogger.

Councillors claim the blog has become increasingly bitter and personal, with members described as 'clowns', 'hypocrites' and 'jackasses'.

In George W. Bush country

In Arizona, a driver who hits and kills a cyclist faces a $1,000 fine.

It's the same in South Carolina. In Louisiana, it's $250.
Those states along with 17 others have safe passing laws.

The Lone Star State does not and has no set penalty.
Now that three people, including a San Antonio couple, were struck and killed within a week of each other while bicycling legally, cyclists again are asking what can be done so all road users can travel safely. Scores of cyclists and pedestrians are killed every year in Texas on the roads and few drivers are prosecuted.

Crashes aren’t ‘accidents’


The Cascade Bicycle Club is proposing a new state law that would aim to protect bicyclists and pedestrians. The advocacy group is pushing for a "Vulnerable User Bill," which would expand Washington's negligent driving law to include traffic infractions that result in death or serious injury to a cyclist or pedestrian, such as a fatal failure to yield. Such infractions then would become gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail.

The proposal is the club's top priority for the 2010 legislative session, said David Hill, Cascade's advocacy director. "This isn't about acts of God or things that are generally unavoidable. This is about when people deliberately ignore the parameters we have established for safe operation of what is a very dangerous appliance and it results in seriously bodily injury or death," he said.

The City of Seattle had a similar ordinance
that was overturned by the state Court of Appeals in August.

Blaming the victim

A CYCLIST was taken to hospital with back injuries after a collision with a car on a Basildon industrial estate.

The details are sketchy and it is quite impossible to arrive at any explanation of this collision or to attribute blame. But it provoked two immediate comments from Association of British Drivers type people, for whom the motorist is always innocent and the real problem lies with the victims:

I wonder about the circumstances though because so many cyclists think they dont have to obey the rules of the road such as red traffic lights etc...

I agree, too many cyclists ignore road signs and traffic lights. Mind you, pedestrians are just as bad - most of them don't realise there is a section of the highway code telling them how to behave on or near roads.

This is tunnel vision taken to an extreme. There is no more violent, anti-social and lawless social group than drivers, whose contempt for speed limits is evident everywhere, from the motorway to the residential street, and whose recklessness and inattentive driving kills around 10 people every day in Britain.

Friday 30 October 2009

The curious blindness of Peter Barnett, Angie Bean and Richard Sweden

(Above) Blatant all the year round obstruction of a cycle stand by The Flowerpot pub on Wood Street E17.

Wood Street ward in the London Borough of Waltham Forest is represented by three councillors (all Labour). They are Cllr Peter Barnett, Cllr Angie Bean and Cllr Richard Sweden.

One thing none of them ever seem to do is walk or cycle along Wood Street and see the things I see. You know, all the year round obstruction of the pavement and cycle stands by easily identifiable offenders.

Perhaps none of these three councillors lives in the ward they represent (it happens). Or perhaps they do and simply travel everywhere by car.

With elections coming up next year I'm sure all three, if they are standing for re-election, will be telling voters of their passion for clean streets, of their zeal for making Wood Street even better than the nirvana it is under the current administration, and how they are committed to the fight against global warming. Even though the streets of their ward are hostile places for pedestrians and cyclists, and about to get a whole lot worse under the Wood Street Corridor Scheme (which basically involves the creation of whole swathes of new parking bays on the pavement, and forcing cyclists to ride between long lines of parked cars and dangerously close to fast traffic).

Should you wish to communicate with these councillors (as they are plainly ignorant of the state of the streets they purport to represent they would benefit from seeing the pics on this blog), their email addresses are as follows:

(Below) Obstructed cycle stand outside 241 Wood Street. "Under section 137 Highway Act 1980 a person who without lawful consent or excuse in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along the highway is guilty of an offence."

(Below) "Under section 137 Highway Act 1980 a person who without lawful consent or excuse in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along the highway is guilty of an offence." Week after week rubbish is dumped obstructively on the footway on Brandon Road (a few yards from the corner with Wood Street), rendering it impassable for wheelchair users and people with twin pushchairs. It seems plain who is primarily responsible for dumping at this spot (clue: it's a nearby business). The first photograph shows its condition last Sunday.

This is the same location yesterday. Even able-bodied pedestrians are forced to walk in the road.

(Below) A smashed, deformed cycle stand on Wood Street, hit by a vehicle, near the junction with Havant Road. It's been like that for a year and is long overdue for replacement.

Hit and run killer lorry driver back on the roads in three years

"You have shown no remorse at all. In the witness box not once did you express any concern for the deceased and his family. Your attitude was 'it was all the cyclist's fault'.

Andrew Stubbs, 41, was behind the wheel of his lorry when it hit cyclist Tony Spink, 41, at the junction of Ings Road and Charlesworth Way, Wakefield.

Stubbs, from Oxford, had been driving since 5am and had not taken the legal 4.5 hour break when the accident happened at around 10am. Featherstone artist Mr Spink's bike was dragged along under the lorry for several minutes.

But instead of reporting the accident, panicking Stubbs is believed to have pulled over onto a layby, pulled out the wedged, mangled bike from his lorry and thrown it into some undergrowth on the Ossett Bypass

Mr Spink, an experienced cyclist, had tried to cling on to the windscreen wipers and was thumping on the side of the truck to try and get his attention.

Stubbs was convicted by a jury of perverting the course of justice and careless driving.

Yesterday, at Leeds Crown Court, Stubbs was jailed for two years and banned from driving for three years.

'Cycle Fridays' failed in Islington

BORIS Johnson's Cycle Fridays scheme has been hailed as a "costly flop" with as few as six Islington cyclists a week turning up to conquer their fear of the roads.

Cycle Not-so-super Highways

I want Cycle Superhighways that...

1) Make my journey a pleasant experience and not a daily struggle for space.

2) Give me and other cyclists priority over motor traffic.

3) Include sections free of motor traffic.

4) Stop buses, lorries and cars passing too close and too fast.

5) Keep my path free of parked cars and the danger of opening car doors.

6) Enable me to cycle at the speed I prefer.

7) Don't force me to cross lanes of fast-moving traffic.

8) Do away with hazardous or difficult one-way systems and roundabouts.

9) Are continuous and don't stop and start.

10) Allow me to stop at red lights ahead of other traffic and move off first.

The Mayor's question time at the Greater London Assembly:

*Question No: 2840 / 2009*
John Biggs

Will you sign or do you intend to sign the London Cycling Campaign’s manifesto detailing 10 demands for the planned cycle super-highways, which the campaign group worry will not live up to the standards you originally promised

*Answer from the Mayor:*
I do not intend to sign the London Cycling Campaign’s manifesto.

Doored - 32 stitches required

Cyclist Alan Folly has made an appeal for the man who left him needing 32 stitches in his ear to come forward. Mr Folly, from Tilehurst, was peddling past a parked car in Castle Street, in Reading town centre, when the passenger door opened, flooring him.

The dustman said: “I was outside Sweeney & Todd pie shop and there was a double parked car and the man opened the passenger door and hit me.

“The next minute I was on the floor.”

The London Borough of Waltham Forest is about to embark on a massive new programme of on-street parking bays installed alongside cycle lanes, hugely increasing a cyclist's exposure to risk, both from 'dooring' and overtaking vehicles.

Crime and punishment

A drunk 4X4 texting driver killed a cyclist and – no, of course this isn’t Britain, silly! - is going to state prison for the next 20 years.

Thursday 29 October 2009

Slob City

EX08 GXR The kind of slob driver that London is full of. Goes into the Advanced Stop Line at red, is very poorly positioned, and by the time I’ve got my camera out is pushing forward into the pedestrian crossing area. The kind of yob who should be taken off the roads and re-educated, but who understands that the transport universe rotates around them, not around cyclists or pedestrians. 25 October, Wood Street E17, junction with the A503.

About 75 minutes earlier, on Selborne Road, I am approaching the red light by the bus station when another yob overtakes me and occupies the ASL. White male driver of AK52 XDN. Very similar behaviour, revving the engine, roars off at green and then (naturally) blocks the cycle lane. The problem is London-wide, of course. There’s analysis here of ASL abuse in Westminster

Because it is a prejudiced and largely unaccountable institution which panders to the criminal motorist, the Metropolitan Police refuses to enforce ASLs. Meanwhile the proposal to transfer enforcement to local authorities seems to have vanished into the mist. If the Brown government doesn’t introduce legislation before it is booted out of office next year, it is highly unlikely to feature as a priority for an incoming bad-driver-friendly Cameron administration.

London Concrete refused to fit cyclist sensors on killer lorry

Cynthia Barlow, chairwoman of campaign organisation RoadPeace, whose 24-year-old daughter Alex Jane McVitty was killed in a collision with a cement mixer in 2000, said: "After my daughter was killed, I bought shares in the company - which is now Cemex. One of the things Cemex did was put sensors down the left-hand side of the vehicle which alert the driver if there is somebody on the inside.

"Three years ago, I asked London Concrete to do the same. But they have only installed half the system - the part that warns others it is turning left.

London Concrete declined to comment.

Ms Goosen's flatmate, Cristina Schoenborn, joined calls for companies operating heavy vehicles to be forced to install further safety devices. The 30-year-old translator backed the Standard's Safer Cycling campaign and called for all lorries to be fitted with proximity sensors.

She said: “London is not safe for cyclists. I used to ride my bike, but not any more.

“People may argue that fitting sensors would cost too much but it is a price worth paying. How much does a death cost, in terms of ambulances, medical costs and coroners' courts?

Crap cycle signing in Nottingham

A blue "shared path" sign gives the impression people can legally ride past it and carry on in front of the Council House toward South Parade. There are no signs telling cyclists to dismount. Yet Mr McClintock said he knew of someone who had received a fine for cycling there in August.

When he asked for clarification from the city council, he was told it was legal to ride there and people should not be fined.

Cyclophobia - latest

A CYCLIST suffered head injuries after thugs threw what is believed to be part of a brick at him.

The lawless law

Dozens of on-duty police officers from one force area have been punished for speeding while not responding to emergency calls, figures have revealed.

A total of 87 officers from Kent Police accepted a conditional offer of a £60 fine and three points on their licence for breaking the limit between April 2006 and March 2009.

Why was he not disqualified for life?

The judge disqualified Searles, a former Metropolitan Police constable of Swanley, Kent, from driving for six years.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

A Leyton cycle superhighway!

Thanks to an enlightened and progressive council, cyclists in Waltham Forest have the benefit of a cycle route that runs in a straight line from Grange Park Road E10 and along Manor Road to the A104. This route passes through a road closure and incorporates a contraflow lane on the one-way section of Manor Road. This route allows cyclists to avoid two busy A road alternatives.

(Below) The cycle lane through the road closure.

(Below) But look closer. What's that in the middle of the cycle lane?

(Below) The stump of an old bollard.

(Below) The cycle lane is not at grade but incorporates a step, to ensure that drowsy cyclists are jolted awake.

After negotiating the pink step and the jagged stump of bollard, cyclists are free to enjoy the benefits of a top class contraflow lane (below).


Waltham Forest council is against binge drinking, and pro-walking and pro-cycling. That's why it agreed to rent out pavement space for this attractive and unobstructive advertising panel, which regularly advertises booze. Forest Road, going east, approaching the junction with Hale End Road.

Look carefully and in the background you can see where the lovely pink cycle lane fizzles out, some thirty metres short of the signalled junction. There just isn't room for a cycle lane further on, where priority has to be given to two lanes of motor traffic. And the junction doesn't have an Advanced Stop Line, even though this is a major A road with a dangerous left-turn. If a cyclist gets crushed to death here by a lorry, she'll only have herself to blame for getting in the driver's 'blind spot.'

And now I think I need a drink.

An astonishing revelation

Essentially, ‘road safety’ analyses based on official injury statistics are worthless, because the figures are inaccurate. Road danger is MUCH WORSE than currently recorded.

The Department uses data collected by the police to measure its performance on road safety but research suggests that serious injuries are under-recorded.

“The under-reporting of road traffic accident injuries has been a problem for some time. The department has carried out work to determine the mismatch between the police data on road traffic accident injuries it uses to measure its performance on road safety and the often very different data provided by hospitals. The department has now identified the scale of the mismatch: some 230,000 casualties were reported to the police in 2008 against an estimated true figure of around 800,000.

“It is extremely important that the department now devise a formula for adjusting the police data so that we get a more accurate picture each year of the department’s progress against its targets.”

Tuesday 27 October 2009

Going Dutch

Back in August this blog acknowledged the London Borough of Waltham Forest's impressive development of cycling facilities on the Netherlands model.

And as you can see from the above pic, it's coming along nicely. Drivers who use the off-road cycle lane are very responsible and only drive slowly.


Spot the cycle sign. I blogged about this a year ago. Nothing has changed. Nobody seems to care about the comprehensive neglect of the borough’s so-called cycling network.

Drivers don’t like mobile phone drivers

Gordon Brown indulges them, as does the Association of Police Officers. Both are on the side of the anti-social lawless yob. In reality this yob minority is loathed by the majority:

Motorists talking on mobile phones while on the move is the single most irritating thing to other drivers, it was revealed today.

As many as 64 per cent of people polled said use of hand-held mobiles was their number one pet hate on the roads

Car supremacist policing in Australia

A cyclist without a helmet!

The police officers chased the teenager in a police car, threw him on the ground, arrested him and transported him to a police station in the back of a caged vehicle.

He was then fined for not wearing a helmet.

The investigation found
there was no reasonable basis for police to pursue the youth and no lawful basis for apprehending him.

Monday 26 October 2009

What is wrong with this sign?

No prizes for the correct answer.

Beresford Road E17.

‘a terrifying bike rage attack in Cambridge’

"She was going to turn left but had to stop to give way to other cars when she heard a loud bang. A cyclist had deliberately rammed his bike into her car causing damage. She looked in her mirror and saw the cyclist speed off back along Garlic Row. He was angry because he had to stop and cycle around her car."

Or was the cyclist angry because he’d been cut up by a driver who overtook, turned left in front of him, then braked? Was the collision deliberate? To me it’s not credible that anyone on a bicycle would deliberately ram a vehicle, for the obvious reason that the cyclist is likely to come off worst. An inflated bicycle tyre is not exactly the weapon of choice against a ton of reinforced steel.

It sounds to me like a classic instance of the sort of bad driving which cyclists have to put up with all the time. The cyclist crashed into the car through no fault of his own, the car suffered a small dent and a scratch, and the cyclist didn't bother to hang around to engage in a pointless argument with an aggrieved motorist.

And now

police will take to the city streets to crack down on anti-social cyclists.

anti-social cyclists flouting the law will get a £30 fine

Last year, hundreds of fines were issued.

Joining officers on Wednesday night, will be a film crew from ITV1's Tonight show who are shooting a documentary on bike rage.

Isn’t that marvellous. Prime time telly watched by millions, with innocent motorists sobbing their little hearts out at the terrifying experiences they’ve suffered at the hands of those vicious, brutal, dangerously out of control cyclists.

The Road Danger Reduction Forum is back

Aftermath of a smash on Lea Bridge Road.

What’s wrong with the Government’s ‘road safety’ strategy? The Road Danger Reduction Forum has the answer:

the continued:

* Failure to properly define “safe roads” (allowing, for example, more hazardous environments to be defined as “safer”).

* Denial of adaptive behaviour (risk compensation) by road users.

* Inability or refusal to differentiate between endangering or killing/hurting others on the one hand, and being endangered or killed/hurt on the other.

* Failure to approach the standards of other relevant safety regimes and oppose rule and law breaking driver behaviour.

* Commitment towards unsustainable transport policy and car dependence.

In fact, it shows just how far away government is from grasping what road safety policy should be about,
and why the Road Danger Reduction Forum is needed. So do have a read of it and our response.

‘Cycle Fridays’ cost £68.80 per cyclist

The "guided cycles" were aimed at encouraging novices to commute by bike but figures released show that in some instances only two people turned up.

Boris Johnson was forced to admit that the scheme was so low-key that even his wife was not aware of it.

The series of Fridays, from 14 August to 2 October, cost £30,000,
meaning that £68.80 was spent to attract each cyclist who turned up.

And the winners are…

(Above ) Westbury Road E17. Spot the cycle stand. (Saturday.)

For persistent obstruction of cycle stands, and for persistently failing to take any action against this obstruction, the winners are the shopkeeper on the corner of Walthamstow High Street and Westbury Road E17, and local environment supremo Councillor Bob Belam, whose apathy towards the widespread obstruction of cycle stands in the borough was rewarded by allowances for 2007-8 which added up to £31,653.60.

David Miliband and global warming

The Foreign Secretary accused the public yesterday of lacking a sense of urgency in the face of the potentially devastating consequences of climate change. David Miliband said that people had grown apathetic about the issue when they needed to be galvanised into action before the Copenhagen climate change summit in December.

“For a lot of people the penny hasn’t dropped that this climate change challenge is real and is happening now,” he said.

This is a bit rich coming from a prominent member of a government which has done nothing whatever to promote cycling and walking, has subsidised the purchase of new cars, has wasted billions on ‘road improvements’, and is strongly committed to expanding airports and air travel. The Government is equally keen to fiddle its environmental target figures through creative accounting.

So feeble is Labour in government that it hasn’t even managed to bring in national legislation banning pavement parking. A government committed to the great car economy is in no position to give anyone a lecture on what needs to be done to save the planet.

Sunday 25 October 2009

'Working together for a quality environment'

(Above and below) Kier Street Services and Waltham Forest Council. Working together to keep Waltham Forest free of cyclists. Hoe Street, junction with Hatherley Road E17.

(Below) The attractive cycle parking facility by the toilet on Willow Walk E17. All pics taken yesterday.

Cycle route rejected in Llandudno

CAMPAIGNERS are claiming victory after it was decided a cycle route will not run along Llandudno promenade.

Protest group Save Our Promenade (SOP) are delighted that councillors have agreed to go along with a report which takes the cycle path from Craig-y-Don to West Shore via Maesdu Road and Bryniau Road avoiding the prom completely.

But cyclists who had hoped to see the route link with the North Wales coastal cycle path via the prom and the town centre say the council is missing an opportunity to make Llandudno cyclist friendly.

“It is disappointing that the council doesn’t seem to have grasped the nettle and used the opportunity to set up a network of cycle paths within the town which would have linked residential areas to schools and the town centre. We should be thinking of the safety and welfare of children who cycle to school not just keen cyclists,” said Neil McKenzie of the Llandudno Safe Cycling group.

Cllr Philip Evans said the preferred route was also the most cost effective.

Traffic air pollution implicated in miscarriages

Traffic pollution may be to blame for miscarriages, researchers believe.

The researchers say that the findings may be relevant to other countries, including Britain, where air pollution regularly exceeds the levels considered safe by the World Health Organisation.

Cyclophobia in Wigan (2)

A vicious trap set for Wigan cyclists has claimed its first victim.

Cyclophobia: driver deliberately targeting cyclists

Police investigating the hit and run death of a cyclist west of Auckland are looking into reports of similar incidents in the area.

Some of the reports involved an almost identical vehicle to the one that killed Graham Robinson and the possibility that a motorist is repeat targeting cyclists

"That is absolutely terrifying. To me
that means we've got a serial murderer on the roads," says Barbara Cuthbert from Cycle Action, Auckland.

Canadian judgement

In May, 2007, Darius Tierman, a Toronto police officer on medical leave, was caught on tape attacking a cyclist after an argument on Queen Street. But, in a decision that escaped public attention last December, an Ontario judge found Mr. Tierman not guilty of assault, despite video showing him punching the cyclist three times. Justice John Ritchie said in his decision that Mr. Tierman was defending himself and his vehicle from the cyclist, who was going to use his bike as a weapon. Mr. Sokol testified the attack came unprovoked after Mr. Tierman’s vehicle rubbed his bike.

[Somehow I doubt that the cyclist said the car driver rubbed his bike. I imagine he said the driver hit it.]

Justice Ritchie determined Mr. Sokol deliberately blocked the defendant’s vehicle partway into the intersection of Queen and Bay streets, parking his bike and refusing to move it.

[As you might well do after a yob driver has crashed into you.]

Mr. Sokol threatened twice to throw his bicycle on Mr. Tierman’s car if he tried to move it. Mr. Tierman kicked the bicycle, at which point Mr. Sokol picked it up with the intention of throwing it at the car. Mr. Tierman stopped the attack by punching Mr. Sokol three times, knocking out his tooth.

Or to look at it another way, a yob driver hit a cyclist, kicked his bicycle and then punched him three times, and a car supremacist judge let a violent and aggressive cop off the hook.

Saturday 24 October 2009

Waltham Forest Council adopts twin-track approach

This permanent pool of water on Hoe Street at the junction with Browns Road E17 helps to discourage both walking and cycling. Pedestrians get splashed and so do cyclists!

This is a valuable tool in the Council’s ‘let’s get more people driving’ strategy, which underpins its exciting new proposal to radically expand on-street car parking at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists.

Call the police!

Someone has driven a double-decker bus into the pedestrian zone and parked it in front of the benches. But it's alright. They’re working for a safer London.

And what better job recommendation than the words of this serving Metropolitan Police officer: "All going good, driving fast police cars, chasing people and fighting people. Perfect job!!!"

Climate catastrophe sceptics

A Canadian PR man has written a book exposing the well-funded and sophisticated North American campaign to cast doubt on global warming. Which is plainly working, since

Only 57% [of Americans] said they believe there is solid evidence that earth's average temperature has increased over the past few decades, compared with 71% who said that last year -- a 14-point drop. Also, just 36% said increases in global temperatures are the result of human activity, which was down from 47% last year.


describes the work of many individuals and organisations who are available for spreading the doctrine of doubt. Conservative think tanks such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) have played a major part in the task in the new millenium. Their donors are well disguised, but in the case of CEI have certainly in the past included ExxonMobil and probably GM and Ford.

Unsafe cycling

CALLS have been made for a safety review on a busy road after a 12-year-old boy suffered serious leg injuries when he was knocked off his bike.

"We've had three accidents in the last six months and it's not so long ago another boy was knocked off his bike. It's time something was done before someone else gets hurt."

"Motorists know there is a speed camera at the top of the road and at the bottom, but they put their foot down on this stretch, because the road opens up and there is nothing to force them to slow down."

Elizabeth Thompson, 61, of Meigh Road, believes the main problem is parked cars on the pavement.

Speed kills - and the RAC and the Conservative Party want to keep it that way

Britain's motorists are about to be hit with a new breed of hi-tech sneaky speed cameras.

Sobs the Mail. The story turns out to be a wild exaggeration, since it refers to cameras which will be tested in France.

The rhetoric is worth examining. It equates lawless speeding motorists with all motorists. But only a minority of drivers are caught by speed cameras. You have to be a particularly stupid driver to be caught out, since they are painted bright yellow, and you get warning signs, and your SatNav will tell you that there’s one coming up. You never read that ‘Britain’s bank users are about to be hit with a new breed of CCTV’, since it’s only bank robbers who are affected. And note the language – speeding drivers are victims who are hit. In reality, of course, it is speeding drivers who hit someone or something else – a cyclist, a pedestrian, another car, a tree, a house, a shop…

The move has not been welcomed by motoring groups with many resenting the 'stealth' aspect of cameras which do more to catch speeding drivers than getting them to slow down.

But drivers caught by speed cameras do modify their behaviour once they have clocked up enough points to run the risk of losing their licence if they are caught again. Grudgingly, they start obeying the speed limit. The reform we need is that you get 7 points on your licence for a single speeding offence and that if you are caught speeding again in the next ten years you lose your licence. A modest proposal which would massively improve the safety of British roads.

Although a plural is used, only one motoring group is identified by the Mail. This is ‘The RAC Foundation’. The RAC has always opposed measures to slow down speeding drivers. It purports to be the voice of the motorist but it never consults its members for their views. In reality the majority of drivers support speed cameras. People join the RAC not because they want representation in their capacity as drivers but because it offers a breakdown service.

The RAC Foundation said it 'spelled misery for UK motorists.'

Again, ‘lawless motorists’ are conflated with motorists in general. You never hear anyone saying that a police anti-rape initiative ‘spells misery for men’.

Question. Why is the Charities Commission allowing a political organisation which promotes lawless speeding to escape paying taxes by permitting it to pose as a charitable organisation?

A spokesman said: 'New cameras, especially if they do their job by stealth, will be treated with suspicion.

[Only by criminals.]

'They should be only one part of the fight to reduce road casualties and their positioning should be based on evidence that they will save lives, not help balance the books for politicians.'

The evidence that speed cameras save lives is overwhelming. The problem at the moment is that isolated speed cameras simply result in the farce of speeding drivers slamming on their brakes, then speeding up again afterwards.

The Conservatives have indicated that if they won the election, they would concentrate more on speed warning signs than cameras to prevent fast driving.

That’s right. Because the Conservative Party knows that ‘speed warning signs’ are meaningless, and they are committed to the freedom to drive as fast as you like and as badly as you like, with vulnerable road users paying the price – not the well-protected wealthy yob in the eleven air bag Lexus 4X4.


EK08 WHS, black Suzuki Jeep, young male Asian driver, steering with one hand while chatting on a handheld mobile phone with the other, children in the back, High Road Leyton, 11.45 am, 23 October 2009.


MT03 NVX Space wagon, male driver, drove at a pedestrian who was half way across Storey Road E17 at the junction with Selborne Road, the pedestrian fell forwards as the driver braked, and seemed to fold over towards the vehicle, then regained balance and walked on.

The driver then saw me approaching on a bicycle and drove out in front of me, forcing me to slam on the brakes. The driver may have been drunk, though I’m inclined to think he was just an everyday run of the mill slob who expects all pedestrians and cyclists to defer to a motorist, and drives at them as an inferior species, treating them with contempt. 22 October, 11.25 A.M.

Friday 23 October 2009

Rebecca Goossen's death ruled ‘an accident’

ROAD safety campaigners have expressed alarm after a coroner ruled that the death of a 29-year-old cyclist in a collision with a 32-tonne lorry in Finsbury was an accident. Rebecca Goossen, a trainee architect, died in a crash with a cement mixer at the junction of Old Street and Goswell Road as she cycled to work on April 9.

The lorry had begun to turn left at the junction when the cyclist, who was travelling straight on, was caught on the inside. Collisions investigator Mark Crouch told the inquest it was “entirely possible” that the cyclist was either partly or completely obscured to the driver, despite the vehicle being fitted with “all the appropriate safety measures”.

Dr Reid said: “The vehicle was fitted with the correct measures for its type. But it is not possible to exclude the possibility that she was sitting in one of the few blindspots that remain despite these measures.”

Cycling campaigner Cynthia Barlow said, “His ruling shows a too-ready acceptance of the existence of blindspots as something that cannot be avoided. There is no such thing as a blindspot. There are difficult-to-see spots, but there are measures that can be taken to make drivers aware of vehicles on their inside. Clearly, such measures would have saved this young girl’s life.”

Ms Goossen’s tragic death is the latest in Islington to involve a cement-mixer lorry. Community activist Lisa Pontecorvo, 64, was crushed to death as she wheeled her cycle in front of a cement mixer in Holloway Road in September last year. And in December 2006, cyclist Emma Foa, 56, died after colliding with a left-turning cement-mixer lorry in Camley Street, King’s Cross.


Emma Foa’s death was unequivocally the fault of the driver.

Help for the persecuted local driver

Conservative Cllr Alan Siggers, who put forward the motion that was unanimously agreed, said: “If you want to buy a loaf of bread, it takes you longer to buy a scratch and sniff card for parking and put it in your car than it takes to buy the bread.”

Conservative Cllr Edwin Northover, who seconded the motion, said that he had received a parking ticket while stopping for a few minutes to buy a sausage roll at Percy Ingle's bakery.

These are valid criticisms. A car is absolutely essential when purchasing a large, heavy item like a loaf of bread or a sausage roll. And it’s no use Green fanatics arguing that Cllr Northover should have cycled to Percy Ingle’s. The state of the cycle stands outside this bakery’s High Street E17 branch never changes throughout the year. This is what they were like this morning. Frankly, you'd have to be mad to want to cycle in the London Borough of Waltham Forest.

(Below) You can't move these carts. They are locked to the cycle stand.

Brightness at noon

A top tip from London’s Greenest council!

By turning off electrical appliances you can help to reduce climate change.

That’s right, the same council that has lights blazing all through the day, even on a sunny day like today. These pics taken at noon on Orford Road and on the path through the churchyard of St Mary's.

Shared Use

‘You can’t fault Asda for reaching the parts that other supermarkets can’t reach.’

Cycle Superhighways to Nowhere

Twelve routes from outer London into the centre will be developed, with the first two in place by next summer.

They will be wide lanes painted blue on major roads, and at least 1.5m wide.

One point five metres wide? There’s nothing remotely super about that. As has been well-established, cycle lanes narrower than two metres increase a cyclist's exposure to risk and would be better off not existing.

And this is very revealing, from the Mayor’s latest Greater London Assembly question time:

Question No: 2713 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
Will road space be allocated to the cyclist from motorised traffic on your planned cycling Superhighways?

Answer from the Mayor:
Cycle Superhighways will be designed to minimise impacts on other road users, while ensuring the provision of safe and continuous routes for cyclists. The aim of the scheme is to increase the number of cyclists on London’s roads without adversely affecting traffic flows or traffic and bus journey times.

In other words, no.

Which is very interesting, as the London Borough of Waltham Forest is currently proposing a massive re-allocation of footway and carriageway space from the pedestrian and cyclist to the motorist, by way of creating hundreds of new on-street parking bays.

In short, car dependency and fossil fuel addiction continues to be fed and pampered at every level. London hasn’t even begun the process of moving towards the Copenhagen/Netherlands model and shows no sign of ever doing so. Instead all we get is spin, gimmickry and transport planning which continues to prioritise private car ownership and use over walking and cycling.

Afternoon Crash in Chingford

The emergency services were called at 4.12pm today [22 October] after two cars crashed in Station Road.

London Ambulance staff managed to release the injured person from one of the cars and took them by ambulance to hospital.

Thursday 22 October 2009

The Leytonstone Bike Shed

(Above) The gleaming new Bike Shed in 2005, with a green bollard thoughtfully sited right in front of the entrance and an imaginatively located tree.

‘The Bike Shed’ serving Leytonstone tube station opened in 2005, amid much fanfare. Using a smartcard entry system ( a smartcard costs £5, providing unlimited use) it offered secure and sheltered parking for 48 bikes. It remains one of the jewels in the crown of the London Borough of Waltham Forest’s ostensible commitment to cycling. The Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign is proud of its achievement in lobbying for cutting-edge cycle parking, and the Council identifies the Bike Shed as evidence of its cycle-friendly policies.

On a sunny October weekday at 11 a.m. (last week ) there were just seven bikes parked there (or eight, if you want to count the one which lacked both wheels). Cyclists appear to be shunning this facility. Why might that be?

The Bike Shed is located by two car parks, in a relatively isolated spot, ideal for a bike thief. There is no cycle lane leading up to it. To get to it you stop by the entrance to the car park and lift your bike over the kerb (no dropped kerb, obviously - mustn't make things too easy).

A mildewed sheet of A4 taped to the inside of the shed welcomes new cyclists and tells them where to go to buy a smartcard. It is twinned with a CRIMESTOPPERS notice warning that there have been bike thefts from the shed. An illegible number is supplied, should you be able to assist local police with their enquiries.

It's a mystery why this magnificent facility attracts only seven cyclists after five years, particularly since cycling has substantially increased over that period.

(below) Welcome to the Bike Shed - instructions on where to go to buy a smartcard. And the promise of CCTV at some point in the future, to deter theft.

(Below) ‘recently there have been a few thefts of bicycles from this bike shed’

It’s those cyclists again

Anti-social cyclists are a potentially fatal hazard to themselves, other road users and pedestrians, say MPs.

They claim the Government is turning a blind eye to the aggressive and dangerous antics of such cyclists, described by one MP as 'Darth Vaders on wheels'.

'Spectator' watch

(Above) Spot the chilling similarity

I was born in the same county as Rob Ainsley, so when the train pulled into the terminus and I spotted an abandoned copy of The Spectator on a seat I naturally snatched it up. A free magazine is not to be spurned.

I allude to the issue dated 17 October 2009.

Opening it up I immediately encountered an expensive two page advert headed JOY IS TIMELESS. For a sporty two-seater BMW, ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. I turned over. The next two pages were a glossy advert from ExxonMobil. It was all about how Green this multinational oil corporation is, and how it is passionate about ‘reducing greenhouse emissions’. Isn’t that comforting?

Then a lot of stuff about the Conservative Party conference, which I skipped.

Bryan Forbes’s ‘Diary’. Bryan, like ExxonMobil, is obviously a passionate Green. He recounts his recent trip to California for a first night – a 10 hour flight to L.A., then a two hour drive to Santa Barbara. Then straight back to London. Bryan is vexed about airline food and the long walk required at Terminal Five.

The letters page. ‘Cyclists beware.’ Anthony J. Burnett writes in to complain about motorcyclists and cyclists. Bikers are selfish and thoughtless people, whose powerful headlights make life intolerable for drivers at night. Cyclists are no better. They constantly ride three abreast, ‘chattily pedalling’, wholly indifferent to Mr Burnett, as he fumes behind them. They need ‘to take a look at the rules of the road.’ Move to the London Borough of Waltham Forest, Mr Burnett. I have never seen cyclists riding two abreast, let alone three. Quite often I never see another cyclist at all!


Ah, this is just the stuff! A splendid headline.


James Delingpole gets a page to talk about the Third Reich and the uncanny similarities with modern Greens. Crikey, that’s so true! The Nazis had ‘the Jewish question’, plunged the world into war and exterminated six million people in death camps, while the Greens are driven by thoughts of ‘Man-Made Climate Change Doom’ and ‘persecute and try to silence anyone who disagrees with their ideological position’. That’s so true! Each night in London you hear the sound of breaking glass as rampaging gangs of Greens smash the windows of car showrooms and terrorise and beat-up innocent 4X4 drivers. Even at this moment Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert are no doubt finalising their plans for the mass extermination of BMW owners, once they have seized power.

The Nazis, confides Delingpole, ‘were also big greens – go figure.’

A shrewd point, that. People forget that Hitler was one of the first roads protesters. When Hermann Göring sent the Luftwaffe to bomb British cities he could barely sleep at night for thinking about those aircraft emissions.

If James Delingpole is ever unavailable to write his column, I am happy to substitute. I could do a piece headed GORDON BROWN, LIKE HITLER, TAKES THREE SUGARS IN HIS TEA.

So, please, Vote Conservative, and help save the nation from the Green terror, the euro, and the merciless totalitarian tyranny of speed cameras, traffic calming and parking attendants.