Monday, 31 May 2010

WF09YMC and other traffic criminals caught on camera!

Last Friday evening at about 8.10 pm, on Gracechurch Street in the City of London. The driver of WF09 YMC enters the Advanced Stop Line for cyclists while the traffic light is at red. He also obstructs the cycle lane access to the ASL from the inside traffic lane. He’s also driving with one hand while engrossed in a conversation on a mobile phone – so engrossed he doesn’t even notice me taking his photograph.

Ten minutes later on Threadneedle Street I snap the driver of this blue 4X4 who is steering while using a mobile phone held in his right hand. I don’t manage to get the number.

Ten minutes later on Cheapside. A City of London policeman pounces on a dangerous traffic offender, arrests him, and makes him wait in handcuffs at the roadside while a van comes to take him away. (below)

Apparently the prisoner was one of a number of cyclist who were in the way of motor vehicles, and for a cyclist to hold up traffic is quite rightly regarded as a very serious offence indeed. But then you only have to look at the prisoner to see he has criminal written all over him, right down to that T-shirt which is some sort of celebration of cycling and has bicycles provocatively pictured on the front.

It is the hallmark of an advanced society that a cyclist who has delayed traffic is arrested, handcuffed, and taken away in a van, whereas a driver who has run down and killed a child cyclist is quite rightly permitted to drive off so as not to inconvenience her or delay the flow of motor vehicles.

Last photo borrowed from this site, which comments:

the arrest really was just an uppity cop throwing his weight around. he'd asked the cyclist to move, and then hardly giving him a chance went on to say "right, you're under arrest".
all because of one cop's over-blown sense of pride. ridiculous. the cyclist was supposedly arrested for causing an obstruction and for obstructing a police officer. the obstruction charge was rubbish as he was part of a huge traffic jam and had nowhere really to go.
the obstructing a police officer was just nonsense.

It’s the crap Barclays Cycle Superhighways!

Andreas wonders what might be a good snappy name for the bike hire scheme. I suggest ‘Velocide’.

Apparently Barclays Bank have forked out £25 million for the privilege of having Barclays Cycle Hire and Barclays Cycle Superhighways slapped over every aspect of these projects.

But as Mayorwatch comments

it can’t be right that Londoners should be roped in to some form of subliminal advertising scheme where they’re required to type the name of a bank – or any other commercial entity – into their web browser simply to find out about a public service they may be interested in using.

I regret I don’t bank with Barclays, otherwise I would be able to close my account on the grounds that I am disgusted and outraged that they are associating themselves with the truly crappy and useless ‘cycle superhighways’.

The very wonderful helmet-cam cyclist ‘gaz545’ has posted another amazing video. See if you can spot the 347 things wrong with the street environment. And don’t miss the bear and the monkey.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman uses car to travel 500 yards

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman was pictured being ferried 500 yards from her £3 million London townhouse to her Westminster HQ.

A Tory spokesman claimed she used the chauffeur-driven car because her ministerial boxes were 'too heavy' to carry.

But the trips come just days after the Government declared its aim of saving £2.8million a year by encouraging Ministers to use public transport or walk whenever possible.

Mrs Spelman's 500 yard car journey came after she had enjoyed a 30-minute game of tennis on a private court in an exclusive London square.

Bank Holiday weekend vehicular cycling news

A CYCLIST has died after a collision on the A47 near Peterborough.

The A47 was closed in both directions at Castor after a serious collision at lunchtime today.


A CYCLIST was taken to hospital this morning after a collision with a car in Chippenham.
The accident happened shortly before 9.30am, involving a pink coloured Suzuki Alto, which was travelling from Hardens Mead towards Chippenham town centre, and a pedal cyclist travelling towards Pewsham.

The collision happened at the Hardens Mead junction

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The cycle route to Redbridge

Double-yellow ‘no waiting at any time’ parking restrictions ensure that this two-way cycle route is kept clear of traffic at all times. St Mary Road E17.

Except that it isn’t and the parking attendants never seem to reach this location, where illegal and obstructive parking is commonplace, and where pedestrians prefer to walk in the direct ramped cycle lane rather than use the steps or use the ramp for pedestrians, which takes them on an inconvenient diversion along Hoe Street. The white van and the red car were both parked, with their engines switched off, and no one with them.

City cycling is bad for your health

cyclists inhaled four to five times more particles than a car passenger driven along the same route.

“This is the first time anyone has counted the particles while also measuring people’s breathing during city commuting. It showed that cyclists can inhale an astonishing number of pollutant particles in one journey,” said Luc Int Panis of the transport research institute at Hasselt University in Belgium, who led the study.

A study carried out in London, to be published soon in the journal Epidemiology, is expected to show that exposures to high concentrations of nanoparticles are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. It will also show an association between larger particulates and respiratory health.

Int Panis’s research has already annoyed cycling groups.
He has decided not to attend Velo-city 2010, a conference on cycling to be held in Copenhagen next month, because of the hostility he faced when announcing preliminary results of his research.

dangerous cycling in York

York, the authority where cycling to work is most common, is, by our calculation, the safest place in England to cycle.

And now here’s the latest news from that cycling nirvana:

A WOMAN cyclist from York is today fighting for her life in Leeds General Hospital after she and a bus collided on a major York road. The cyclist, a 40-year-old local woman, sustained serious head injuries in the collision and is in a critical condition in Leeds General Infirmary.

The crash, in Fulford Road, was one of two accidents that brought traffic chaos to yesterday evening's rush hour with huge queues of traffic forming in Heslington, Fulford, the city centre and near the Poppletons.

The cyclist was rushed by ambulance to York Hospital at 5.25pm. She was riding a blue bicycle when it collided with the York Pullman No 55 service heading into the city centre from Fulford.

About half-an-hour earlier, firefighters had rescued a person who was trapped when three vehicles, a silver Citroen C3 taxi and a white Vauxhall Movano van, and a Toyota collided about 500 yards from the Poppleton turn-off on the A59 near the Wyevale Garden Centre.


A mile-long queue of stationary traffic developed on the A59 York-bound carriageway. The A169 at Low Marishes between Malton and Pickering was also closed and a woman was airlifted to Harrogate Hospital with neck and leg injuries following a road crash there.

taxi driver kills Liverpool cyclist

A cyclist has died after he collided with a taxi on Merseyside.

The 41-year-old man was cycling towards Liverpool on Liverpool Road, Huyton, at 1130 BST on Saturday when the collision happened.

The cab driver, a 53-year-old man from Halewood, was arrested on suspicion of causing death by careless driving.

The war on the motorist

Instead of acknowledging that Britain’s roads are full of reckless, lawless drivers who don’t even spot a large sign and a yellow speed camera, this story is characteristically spun to represent dangerous criminals as victims, mercilessly persecuted by the state. In reality these pampered maniacs are getting off lightly. Anyone convicted of speeding should automatically lose their licence for a year.

Two fixed cameras installed to slow cars to 40mph approaching roadworks are thought to be the biggest moneyspinners in Britain.

Activated just 10 days ago, officials estimate 1,000 drivers a day speed past the cameras at over 40mph. But only those exceeding 46mph are issued with tickets.

Despite the higher threshold,
at least 900 tickets potentially netting £54,000 in £60 fixed penalty notices have already been issued.

another insult to the dead

The Wanganui truck driver who killed a young German tourist near Bulls in January has been disqualified from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay $5000 reparation to the dead woman's family. The reparation is a payment for emotional harm and suffering.

Mia Pusch, 19, had been backpacking through New Zealand since October last year. She died on January 5 after she was hit by the truck driven by Cleeve, while riding near Bulls.

In the final entry of her online blog on December 30, Miss Pusch had written:
"When one is a cyclist on New Zealand roads, one is not only torn from one's daydreams by dive-bombing magpies but is more often threatened by a more nasty species that really requires more attention:
truck drivers," she wrote. "They swerve past the cyclists, who are struggling under their own steam, at a break-neck speed mainly within only a half-metre to a metre ..."

Hollywood cops attack Critical Mass

A critical mass against BP turned violent when police threw people from their bikes arresting random people and destroying private property. The one guy was grabbed from his bike and pushed to the ground for not having a back light. Another was plucked so hard from his bicycle that his clothes ripped from him.

One cyclist stopped to video the Hollywood power hungry police kicking a guy, when he asked the cops "what was that for" they came and arrested him as well.
The Los Angeles police have a long history of being power hungry cyclist haters, this one takes the cake.

pissed priest

He crashed into railings on the town's high street and was arrested by police after one of his tyres fell off his car when he tried to drive away from the accident.

A breath test revealed that Father Rowe was almost three times over the legal limit.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

bicycle advertising

Using bikes to promote businesses annoys a lot of cycling bloggers, when this involves appropriating a cycle stand. In Waltham Forest this isn’t a problem as in most key locations there are no stands to misuse!

This bike with plastic flowers has been moving around Walthamstow on a daily basis. It's advertising fun at The Nag's Head on Orford Road E17, fun which is happening NOW. Sorry I'm so late posting it, I was detained by some Belgian beer.

Today it was by the cycle route on St Mary Road, yesterday it was outside the station, and before that across the road from The Nag’s Head (first photo) and then East Avenue.

Hurry along to the Nag’s Head (sorry, no bicycle parking available outside one of Walthamstow’s most popular pubs) for an afternoon of fun NOW. Be warned, though, one visitor reckons it's full of pretentious people who read Nick Hornby books.

(That wouldn't be me. I'm the one reading Nietzsche.)

Bill Chidley on Michael Bryant’s killing of Darcy Allan Sheppard

A very thoughtful piece by Bill Chidley on this notorious incident in Canada in which an angry driver killed a cyclist. The driver subsequently turned out to be the former attorney general of Ontario, which is where the killing took place. The Ontario prosecutor had now decided – crikey, what a surprise – that there is no case to answer.

Bill Chidley runs the Moving Target bike messenger blog, which has always featured in my links. I skip Bill when he’s on about the tribal rites of bike messengers but I always snap to attention when he writes about lorry drivers and cycling fatalities. And as far as I know, Moving Target is the only other blog apart from this one which has ever been rude about the London Cycling Campaign. I often wondered why he was nicknamed ‘Buffalo’ Bill but now that the Guardian has published his photograph I understand…

As a cyclist, I am deeply disturbed that Bryant has been involved in what looks to me like a motorised assault, and is facing no charges whatsoever as a result.

‘love your borough’

Doncha just hate these people who flypost and disfigure the local environment with their scruffy posters. This one says LOVE YOUR BOROUGH. Must be an obscure rock group ... The Drive E17.

Cars crash on Lea Bridge Road

Pedalling along Lea Bridge Road (A104) yesterday evening I spotted the aftermath of what appeared to be a two car crash, with one car appearing to have slammed at high speed into the back of the vehicle in front. No police, so probably no one was injured. A tow truck was there, and at least one of the cars was clearly undrivable, with its bonnet mashed up.

Which is why for a true assessment of the everyday danger on Britain’s roads you need to look not just at official casualty figures but also at insurance claims for damage, which indicate the phenomenal extent of collisions on Britain’s very dangerous roads. Assessing the supposed safety of cycling, as the Cyclists Touring Club does, on the basis of casualty figures alone completely evades the very different and far more crucial issue of exposure to risk.

child cyclist goes under lorry

A YOUNG cyclist was taken to hospital with serious leg injuries after a collision with a lorry on Fore Street, Heavitree. The accident happened near the junction with Gordon Place, opposite the Tesco supermarket at about 3.30pm yesterday.

The bike was left mangled under the front of the yellow Volvo lorry which had 'Special Motorway Maintenance' written on its side and was carrying building materials.

The boy, who is thought to be in his early teens,
was taken to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital with injuries to his legs.

A doctor writes…

The car skidded and I ran into both of them. The child flew through the air, caught in the beam of my headlights. I didn't see the adult.

Traffic stopped behind me and on the other side of the road ahead of me. For a few seconds everything was still. The child, who looked about three years old, was crying in a heap a few yards in front of my car; the adult had been thrown further.

So what has this experience done to me? Suddenly, a few speeding points on my licence don't seem quite so innocent. If you have any, you should also feel ashamed. It is easy to exceed the speed limit and, thankfully, on this occasion, I wasn't. Nor was I fiddling with my mobile phone, sat-nav, or CD player, all of which I have done before.

I think I was going at 20mph at the point of impact, and maybe now you will agree with me that that should be the speed limit in built-up areas.

Dr Nick Foreman is a GP from Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. This article is published in this week's British Medical Journal

Well top marks to Dr Foreman for owning up and writing about his experience. But let me enter some caveats.

His emphasis is on reconstructing the urban environment to curb the lawless and reckless behaviour of drivers - behaviour he himself admits to engaging in. His emphasis is not on deterring bad driving in other ways, for example by taking away a driver's licence. At present speeding and using a mobile phone are treated by the judicial system as mere trifles, meriting three penalty points and a small fine. Professionals such as doctors and police officers are permitted to clock up motoring convictions without anyone regarding them as fundamentally irresponsible.

Had the doctor's collision taken place in a 20 mph zone, what difference would it have made? The crash would still have occurred.

He ‘thinks’ he was doing 20 mph but doesn’t really know and admits he has convictions for speeding. If by law his car had been fitted with a black box we’d know his precise speed. Technology has, potentially, a very big part to play in reducing road carnage but the core reality is that all governments regard the catastrophic extent of driver violence as perfectly acceptable, to be ameliorated only in the most peripheral ways. The road and car lobby continue to shape the parameters of that ineffectual blood-drenched ideology known as ‘road safety’.

UK road casualty figures decline overall only because fewer and fewer people are walking and cycling, more and more people are driving, cars now offer massive protection to their occupants (airbags, rigid steel safety cages) and modern medicine is much more efficient at saving the lives of badly injured people.

The medical profession is deeply implicated in road carnage. It has never taken any serious steps to combat what is an epidemic and the NHS itself is in the hands of drug addicts in thrall to fossil fuel. The extent of car dependency at all local NHS sites in Waltham Forest is phenomenal, matched by a contempt and institutional hostility to cycling and walking. I laugh hollowly when the latest cycling froth from Transport for London talks about working in partnership with the NHS. Instead of more leaflets telling people to ride bicycles, the NHS needs to address its own serious car sickness.

If Dr Foreman had been suspended as a doctor when he was convicted of speeding he might well have become a much safer driver. But doctors, like police officers, can clock up motoring convictions and continue with their work.

The problem with 20 mph zones is that they rarely keep speeds down to that level. It depends on the kind of traffic calming employed, which has very variable results. If you want to do 40 mph in Walthamstow’s Church Hill 20 mph zone there is nothing to stop you, other than a driver ahead who is going slower.

20 mph zones are effective in cutting fatalities and serious injuries but do not in themselves make streets pedestrian and cycling friendly. Waltham Forest has a number of 20 mph zones but cycling in them is not a pleasant experience because you are basically cycling down a metal canyon lined on both sides with parked cars. This brings you into conflict with approaching drivers, who rarely give way when they are on the cyclist’s side of the middle white line, or puts you into conflict with aggressive and impatient drivers determined to pass a cyclist, even though you are cycling at 20 mph.

Dr Foreman ought to try cycling. His consciousness has developed but, as it used to say on my skool reports, there is room for improvement.

drunk 4X4 driver in court

The court heard that she was found by police

slumped across the steering wheel of her Land Rover Freelander

Had she crashed she would have enjoyed the protection of airbags, a rigid steel safety cage and all the other accessories that allow a reckless driver to kill or maim others at no cost to themselves.

One police officer told the court it was the highest breathalyser reading he had seen in his 14-year career and described how Manaley was so drunk she kept her eyes closed while being questioned.

The curious silence of Councillor Marie Pye

Not a transport issue, but nevertheless worth reproducing here for what it indicates about a leading member of the local Labour group on the council.

Local resident Nick Tiratsoo has been a tireless investigator of the council’s missing millions. Singlehandedly he exposed a can of worms for which no heads have rolled , no disciplinary action has been taken, and no criminal prosections have (yet) been initiated.

I sent this letter to Councillor Marie Pye back in January, but for some reason she has not responded.

22 January 2010

Dear Councillor Pye

The NRF-BNI fiasco

In the light of recent debate, and particularly comments that were made at the Leytonstone Community Council on Monday night, I am curious to know what degree of responsibility you accept for the NRF-BNI fiasco.

Let me remind you of some facts, based upon the relevant documentation.

Your portfolio

You joined the Cabinet during mid-2006, holding the portfolio for communities and housing. At about the same time, the BNI was coalescing, and there was some discussion as to who would be the Cabinet member responsible. This was rapidly and conclusively concluded, as the minutes of the Better Neighbourhoods Project Board demonstrate:

Meeting on 30/05/06

'JW [Jan Wickham] advised that Neighbourhoods came within Cllr Marie Pye’s portfolio of Communities and Housing, with Cllr Terry Wheeler’s portfolio of Investment and Enterprise covering Regeneration'.

Meeting on 12/06/06

'Page 1, item 5 – Member engagement – there’s still a need for political clarity regarding present confusion on Portfolio responsibilities. Agreed that the Chair will speak to Cllr Pye asking her to clarify responsibilities amongst the other relevant Portfolio Leads...Noted that the Leader wishes to be informed rather than involved. Cllr Pye is currently concentrating on Housing but is aware of her BNI responsibilities'.

Meeting on 24/07/06

'Page 1, item 2 – discussion with Cllr Pye – CM [Colin Moon] advised he’d had a meeting recently with Cllr Pye; all BNI issues regarding other Members should be channelled through her.

Page 1, item 2 – meeting with the Leader – CM advised he’d spoken with the Leader who has confirmed he’s happy for all BNI issues to be referred to Cllr Pye'.

Thereafter, right up to the present, your Cabinet portfolio has remained unchanged in this respect, as the Council's constitution makes clear - see Table 3 at council/ about/lbwf-constitution.htm.

Your actions in relation to the BNI

Many of your actions in relation to the BNI are well documented. Two stand out. First, in late 2006 and early 2007, you were heavily engaged with Councillor Loakes in determining how to address a serious under-spend crisis, in order to avoid the ignominy of clawback, and this bore fruit in the shape of the BNI 'community cohesion' projects - an entirely new departure for the programme as a it then stood. Second, in January 2008, you appeared in the pages of the Waltham Forest Guardian defending your decision to 'withdraw' Peter Musgrave's mildly critical report on BNI operations in Wood Street and Hoe Street - a decision that the newspaper itself considered was 'offensive', 'short-sighted' and '[lacking in] any hint of humility'.

The BNI programme 2006-08

During 2006-08, the BNI spent c. £7m on over 100 different projects. When PricewaterhouseCoopers later surveyed these for LBWF, it found that

• in about a third of cases, no project file could be found;

• in all but three cases, procurement had been contrary to LBWF rules;

• in over half the cases, there was no signed contract in evidence; and

• in the overwhelming majority of cases there had been no audit.

The BNI community cohesion projects were particularly disastrous. None were procured according to the rules, monitored, or audited. A good proportion were clearly questionable, for example, the £66,011 that was paid to a man on the Isle of Wight, which the Council later claimed was a misprint, and the £24-26,000 spent on a one day conference for perhaps 50 local teachers, fair enough if the venue had been in the Seychelles, but puzzling to say the least given that it was in fact at Leyton Orient.

It must also be noted that when, after the intervention of MPs Harry Cohen and Iain Duncan Smith, knowledge of this 'mess' finally became public, you and your Cabinet colleagues commissioned a series of expensive inquiries by outside consultants which were subsequently revealed to be flawed, indeed so inadequate that when the current Chief Executive reviewed them, he felt it appropriate to appoint the Independent Panel.

In conclusion

Any fair minded person who is familiar with the evidence knows that many people bear some degree of culpability for the NRF-BNI fiasco. As regards yourself, in my view the record is clear. You held the relevant Cabinet portfolio throughout the key period, and have to accept ultimate responsibility. I am interested to know whether you agree, and if not, why.


Nick Tiratsoo

Reproduced from the Archipelago’s Comments here.


RA53 BJY white Mercedes van, white male driver using handheld mobile while turning right off Lea Bridge Road on to High Road Leyton at the Bakers Arms junction, 11.13 am, 27 May.

Friday, 28 May 2010

lawless Waltham Forest council driver blocks cycle lane

Some of the worst drivers on local roads are those who drive Waltham Forest Council vehicles. I’ve previously blogged about a number of instances of lawless driving, including council vehicles parked across the pavement and obstructing cycling infrastructure, with the most recent example being the council white van driver using a handheld mobile phone while driving along Willow Walk E17.

Yesterday I came across this new example on Grove Road E17, outside the Register Office. This is council van number 4223. (The council doesn’t exactly go out of its way to identify its vehicles from the rear.) I took the photo from the rear of the vehicle as the driver was sitting in the cab and I didn’t want to risk a string of obscenities, threats of violence or actual violence, which is an occupational hazard of photographing lawless driving.

It’s not simply that the driver is parked on double yellow ‘no waiting at any time’ lines. This idiot – a white male – had driven right up to chicane, placing his bonnet across the cycle lane, which is clearly marked and even has a bike logo on it. The engine wasn’t running. He was there at 2.45 pm and was still there at 2.55 pm.

The purpose of this chicane is to slow down motor vehicles, while supplying a lane which allows cyclists to avoid conflict with oncoming motor vehicles. This council employee managed not simply to block access for cyclists but also to create an additional hazard by blocking sight lines for all road users.

In its climate change document the council blathers in management-speak about the role of the individual:

Behavioural change makes a significant contribution to both adaptation and mitigation activity and needs to be driven forward, primarily through the actions identified in the communications and outreach theme.

Which is a bit rich from a council which can’t even get its own drivers to obey road traffic law or display rudimentary common sense and respect for other road users.

“She just came out from nowhere”

That’s what they always say, is it not? The cyclist just came out of nowhere – or in this instance, the pedestrian. Crikey, yes, that’s the last place you’d expect to see a pedestrian, on a pedestrian crossing.

What drivers who say this really mean, of course, is ‘I was driving along in my one ton metal bubble paying no attention at all to the world around me, while breaking the speed limit. But I knew this was socially acceptable and that if I did kill someone the personal consequences would be very minor and Britain’s marvellous justice system would still allow me to continue driving my car.’

A student whose careless driving killed a trainee barrister on a pedestrian crossing has escaped imprisonment. Foysal Ali, 24, drove through flashing amber lights, striking Victoria Johnson, 23, outside Mile End Tube station.

He was speeding at up to 37mph in the 30mph zone and should have “proceeded with caution” until the signal changed to green, the court heard.

Ali, of Forest Gate, claimed he could not have avoided ploughing into Miss Johnson at 2.20pm in January last year, telling the jury: “She just came out from nowhere.”

Ali was earlier cleared of a charge of causing death by dangerous driving on the direction of the judge.

Well obviously driving at 37 mph in a 30 mph zone and running down and killing a pedestrian couldn't possiby be construed as 'dangerous', could it. No, that's just 'careless.'

I hate those signalled crossings with flashing lights. They are a lethal menace and should be done away with. The moment they start flashing drivers take this as a signal to start edging forwards, irrespective of who is on the crossing.

Vehicular cycling news

AN 11-year-old cyclist suffered serious leg injuries when his bike was in collision with a car in Newton Abbot.

He was taken to Torbay Hospital where his condition is said to be serious but stable.

In Thorpe Bay

POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a car failed to stop after colliding with a cyclist.

The incident happened at Burgess Road, Thorpe Bay, near the junction with Thorpe Hall Avenue, on Tuesday, May 25 at about 3.30pm.

In Swansea

A 66-year-old cyclist has been seriously injured in a collision with a van, say South Wales Police. The collision, which involved a Blue Ford Transit van, happened at New Cut Road, Swansea, at around 1600 BST.

The man was taken to Morriston Hospital, Swansea, where his condition was described as critical but stable.

And in Stockton Heath

A CYCLIST received a broken collar bone and fractured ribs after being knocked off his bike by a transit van.

The 42-year-old was taken to hospital after he was in a collision on Ackers Road, Stockton Heath near to its junction with Mill Lane and the Cantilever Bridge at 10.30pm on Monday.
Police are appealing for the driver of the white Ford Transit to make contact with the police.

A violent lorry driver with an uncontrollable temper

Cox, a lorry driver, drove at Anthony Wearn, 38, running him over and causing "tremendous pain".

who admitted dangerous driving and criminal damage in Havant, Hants, was also banned from driving for 15 months.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Another day of vehicular cycling in London

At this major junction vehicular cyclists enjoy the extra protection afforded by a pink Advanced Stop Line and a generously wide pink cycle lane, helping to guard against the danger of being hit by a left-turning vehicle.

Crikey, some days I forget that 2010 is London’s Year of Cycling, with a cycle revolution taking place in the capital!

And yes, that bus driver overtook me and with the traffic light already at red, drove straight into the ASL. Junction of South Grove E17 and Selborne Road.

Top priorities in the ‘Year of Cycling’ include

Reducing cyclist casualties, in particular collisions between cyclists and HGVs.

That’s not working out so well, is it, with four London cyclists crushed to death by lorries this year so far, the last one last Saturday, and a woman cyclist under a lorry at Highbury Corner on Tuesday, who seems to have lived but who may well never cycle again.

The dangerous lorry farce

Remember the amazing YouTube video of the tanker lorry shunting a Renault at speed down a motorway? The driver didn’t realise he had a car wedged just below his steering wheel.

The driver appeared before North West Traffic Commissioner Beverley Bell who was told police had concluded Mrs Williams had pulled out in front of him from the left. Tests had confirmed he could not have seen or heard the car wedged in front of his cab, and the hearing praised his actions after being alerted by the other motorist.

Exonerating him, Miss Bell concluded: 'You showed, in my view, coolness and a clear head. 'I feel it is entirely inappropriate for me to take away your licence. 'You, your employers and the haulage industry should be able to hold your heads up high after this incident.'

Leaving aside the fawning sycophancy of Ms. Bell, there’s one technical detail which the mainstream press has not reported:

Traffic commissioner Beverley Bell is urging operators of trucks that do not have downward facing mirrors to get them retrofitted.

Bell says that, if the truck had been fitted with one such mirror, Tomlinson would have seen the car at the front of his vehicle.

"I would strongly recommend that the drivers in the industry get mirrors fitted so that they do not fall into the same trap [as Tomlinson]," she states.

Evidently this tanker had a blind spot. But it’s entirely at the whim of the lorry operator whether or not to bother fitting a downward facing mirror. In this case a major road haulage firm wasn’t prepared to spend the money. And a tanker driver who can’t see a car wedged under his bonnet is not going to be able to see at close quarters a pedestrian or a cyclist. But what is human life compared to the profits of the road haulage industry?

British justice: two cases

Contrast and compare these two cases for the attitudes of judges and of the mass media. Causing distress to a motorist is treated very, very seriously. Killing a vulnerable road user by dangerous driving is treated as of very little consequence.

A crook who committed no violence but who fraudulently impounded cars for non-existent parking offences, causing their owners ‘distress and inconvenience’, is sent down for two years. The adjective ‘ruthless’ is applied. This is treated as a major national news story, carried by the Independent, the Mail, the Sun, BBC national News, BBC local news, and two Birmingham local papers.

A lorry driver who ran down and killed an elderly pedestrian and is convicted of dangerous driving, breezes out of court a free man and will be back on the roads in twelve months. The story is carried by one small local newspaper.


An unlicensed wheel-clamping firm boss who fleeced dozens of innocent motorists was jailed for two years today after his "business" was condemned as a ruthless scam.

The clamping business had operated legitimately when it was set up in 2005. But the judge added that operation then became a "con" in which motorists parked legitimately saw their vehicles clamped and towed away before being held to ransom for up to £445.

The judge told Baker: "You were not in fact licensed for this activity, as it is accepted you should have been.

"It's plain by this fraud that in effect you illegally impounded people's cars, not just
causing them distress and inconvenience, but naturally feelings of real loss and panic.


A LORRY driver who struck down an 88-year-old woman who then died has been given community service.

Delivery driver Krystian Filip Zelazny, 35, of Hawkshead, Northamptonshire. struck Ada Hepplewhite as she was crossing Church Street in Enfield Town last July. She was taken to the Royal London Hospital but died on Sunday July 19 from her multiple injuries.

Zelazny has been given 250 hours community service, disqualified from driving for 12 months and had his license endorsed.

He pleaded guilty to
causing death by dangerous driving.

Suppressing cycling in Australia

Supporters of UKIP and members of the Association of British Drivers will be delighted to hear that in Australia impressive efforts are being made to smash cycling and drive these pests off the road.

The fine for not wearing a helmet has jumped to $146 - which is likely to bring in at least $1 million in revenue for the state government this financial year.

Last year, when the fine was $58, there were 6600 cyclists fined.

The officer in charge of Victoria Police's bicycle unit, Sergeant Arty Lavos, said
cyclists without a helmet were a particular focus.

And for a terrifying picture of complete cycling anarchy, where not a single cyclist is wearing a helmet, take a look at these shocking scenes.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Woman cyclist goes under lorry at Highbury Corner

HIGHBURY Corner was brought to a standstill on Tuesday afternoon after a cyclist was trapped under the wheels of a lorry.

A woman in her 30s is believed to have been riding onto the roundabout from Upper Street when she came off the bike and went under the vehicle outside the Famous Cock pub.

A barmaid at the Famous Cock said: "I saw a cyclist under the wheels of a big lorry. She was moving and responding which was a good sign so hopefully she'll be OK. I heard she was cycling and changed lanes but the lorry could not see her on his left hand side and
she somehow came off the bike and went under the front wheel.

Classically bad cycling infrastructure

This photo shows the two motor vehicle access routes in and out of Waltham Forest College, beside the A503. These cut across two cycle paths and a cycle lane. The vehicular lane in the foreground is the exit, the further one the way in. The college is behind the railings on the right.

Here, cyclists have to watch out for vehicles coming out of the college, vehicles driving into the college, and hordes of students on foot who are shamelessly indifferent to those white lines and bike markings.

Motor vehicles have absolute priority at this nexus of conflicting interests, which is what you’d expect, is it not?

And the message is very clear. Whether you are a vehicular cyclist, risking your life on the A road, where drivers speed and lorry drivers chug along chatting on handheld mobile phones, or whether you prefer the off-road cycle path, which leads you directly to a busy bus stop, it’s still an inescapably crap experience.

Photo taken last Sunday, when the college was closed.

And if you’re wondering why the cycle lane is diverted off-road, it’s to allow cyclists to go behind some railings, past the traffic lights, and return to the A road here.

It’s the new Town Square safety!

The Council has cracked down hard on political and religious grouplets who want to put up a table in the Town Square and display their leaflets to passers-by. Since last month campaigners must register at least one week in advance, supply the names of those involved and cough up £60 for insurance because someone sitting behind a stationary table is potentially a major menace to public health.

What isn’t a threat to public safety, of course, are legitimate commercial traders driving through the Town Square in their private cars – like this woman driver forcing her way through the crowds last Friday at 11.30 am.

Waltham Forest – where the term ‘pedestrian zone’ takes on a whole new meaning.

‘Julie’ and the killing of Catriona Patel

Earlier this month I blogged about

the ill-informed discussion which occurred on the London Fixed-gear & Single-speed website discussion thread after the killing of Catriona Patel.

In particular I drew attention to the comment of ‘Julie’, who made claims designed to divert criticism away from the driver - claims which now seem very curious in the light of the charge of dangerous driving.

I have now belatedly discovered that ‘Julie’ went even further in her energetic efforts to divert attention from the possible culpability of the driver. Read the postscript and comments here and draw your own conclusions.

Boris poisons Londoners

Boris Johnson was today challenged to improve the lives of millions of Londoners by bringing in a clean air zone in central London. The Mayor has so far refused to back the plan to tackle air pollution which leads to more than 4,300 premature deaths in the capital every year.

Under the Liberal Democrat proposal the oldest, most polluting diesel vehicles would be banned from the city centre where pollution is worst. Motorists would be offered financial help to upgrade these vehicles and congestion charge cameras would enforce the ban before the 2012 Olympics. Mr Johnson has described the idea as “extremely interesting” but suggested it would be too expensive and that his own plans would work better.

Simon Birkett, of the Campaign for Clean Air in London, said: “This radical and well thought-through proposal is just what London needs…
It contrasts starkly with the wishful thinking in the Mayor's draft Air Quality Strategy.”

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Breaking news: another London cyclist killed by a lorry

A Fulham man was killed after being hit by a lorry on a busy red route through central London.

How the London Cycling campaign dresses up failure as success

Recently the main London Cycling Campaign website has carried this on its main page:

Local campaigners help lift cycle ban in Waltham Forest park

Lobbying by the Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign is opening Lloyd Park to cyclists.

Now let’s put these glad tidings into context.

In its sixty year history of local authority control, not one cycle stand has ever been installed in Lloyd Park, the most popular park in the borough and home to the internationally famous William Morris Gallery, which likewise has not even one cycle stand. In its twenty year existence the local LCC group ('Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign') has done precisely nothing about this dismal state of affairs.

Last year the park was given lottery money for a radical revamp. This included expanded car parking in the park, with the development of an existing car park. Having scrutinised the plan, I immediately got in touch to ask why no cycle parking was shown. The response was that there would be cycling parking. But nobody could say where, or what the provision would be. Unlike the expanded car parking, no serious consideration had been given to cycle parking. It was literally an afterthought.

Cyclists are currently banned from the park. In one sense this is reasonable, since there is very little demand for north-south cycling through the park, and cyclists already have use of a far more strategic east-west route which cuts through the park. This is also the busiest park in the borough, where people take small children to play. In practise, anyone who wants to cycle in the park does so, since there is no one to enforce the ban. You very occasionally see an adult riding through the park but this is rare, mainly because few cyclists want to start or end their journey on Brettenham Road E17 or Cazenove Road E17.

There's no reason why leisure cycling routes shouldn't be introduced in the park, of course (though it's far too small a park to make it a special destination, especially with the off-road routes along the Lea Valley not very far away). But cyclists need to be kept away from conflict with pedestrians. Good cycling infrastructure could and should be created around the perimeters of the park. But this isn't something the representatives of the London Cycling Campaign have asked for. Instead we get the cheap, lazy, friction-creating option of 'shared use'. No cycling campaigner should ever embrace 'shared use', which is just a way of creating cycling infrastructure on the cheap, at the expense of pedestrians. Unfortunately Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign shares the same stunted vision as its parent organisation. Its collaborationist policies are a gift to car-centric transport planning. 'Shared use' cycle paths can be found across the borough: they provide no real benefits for cyclists but are a gift to car-centric planning which seeks to remove cyclists from the road and dump them on to pedestrian infrastructure.

Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign (WFCC) successfully lobbied to get several paths in the park redesignated as shared use for cyclists and walkers.

The routes include the vital 'Clay Path' through-route, used by cyclists avoiding the perilous Forest Road and the convoluted one-way system to the north of Lloyd Park.

Clay Path has always been a permissible route for cyclists, so in no sense has it been 're-designated'. And Clay Path is a problematic route, because the access road at its eastern end (shown in the first photo above and the two below) was recently made one-way. If you want to access Clay Path from the A112 along Bedford Road you can't, because it's now NO ENTRY:

(Above) The entrance to Clay Path directly ahead. But no access for cyclists, because on-street car parking and the management of motor vehicle flow is a greater priority than safe, convenient cycling infrastructure.

Worse, Bedford Road even has new speed cushions, of the sort that encourage drivers to swerve to avoid them. On its website Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign claims that the council no longer installs speed cushions in deference to its lobbying. This simply illustrates how out of touch the group is and how little local cycling it does, since the council continues to install them.

The exaggerated claims of these cycling campaigners are even more peculiar considering the fact that at the 21 April Planning Committee meeting officers invited councillors to consider the option of closing Clay Path.

Naturally at the same time as proposing to close a public footpath, the officers were keen to expand car parking in a second area, or as they euphemistically put it:

Re-organising car parking to the east of the Gallery.

Clay Path is a fenced, dedicated strategic walking and cycling route which crosses Lloyd Park from west to east, between Winns Avenue E17 and Bedford Road. It’s a very important route for local residents. Naturally it’s in a grubby, neglected condition, because walking is not important to Waltham Forest council.

Clay Path is a public footpath but cycling is permitted on it. The fact that an officer can produce a report proposing its possible closure tells you all you need to know about the council’s car-mad officers, their contempt for walking and cycling, their indifference to climate change strategy and their confidence that their lunatic ideas will receive a warm welcome from the car-dependency- promoting councillors of Waltham Forest.

In the end the committee decided to half-close it,

as in stick a gate at either end and lock it up from as early as 4pm.

A crumpled traffic order (shown above) was posted to that effect, to the dismay of one regular local user who noted that

Unlike the CPZ Parking Consultations, where all houses in the affected area got letters and A3 colour posters were attached to every lampost, this time only a handful of letters were posted. And certainly not to my house anyway, and I live pretty near the park.

Well obviously. The council takes the views of car owners very, very seriously. But it is contemptuous of walking and cycling, and continues to neglect them. It neglects public footpaths, allows them to become obstructed, and repeatedly tries to shut them down.

Objections to the proposed gating have been registered and the council has not yet reached a decision. Given its contempt for walking and cycling, no one should feel too hopeful about the council’s impending decision.

(Below) The entrance to Clay Path from the western end. There is no signing to indicate where it leads and the name of the path is concealed behind overgrown vegetation. A typical Waltham Forest right of way in a local authority which is contemptuously indifferent to such walking and cycling networks that currently exist, and which are constantly under attack from car-centric planning.

What cyclists need are a reconstructed Clay Path which is widened through the park and runs in a straight line between Bedford Road and Winns Avenue, and Dutch-style infrastructure on the Bedford Road-A112 link and along Winns Avenue. Provide that and you make cycling convenient, fast and safe, which is what you have to do if you really want to see mass cycling. Clay Path could form the spine of a direct, major cycling route running all the way from the B179 via Tavistock Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Road to Bedford Road. But Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign is a major obstacle to the development of mass cycling locally, entirely lacking in vision and content with crumbs.

All this magnificent campaigning victory boils down to is the introduction of some 'shared use' signs in a park which is surrounded on all sides by cycling-hostile streets which are dedicated to car parking and the management of motor vehicle flow. With cycle campaigning of this calibre cycling is going nowhere in Waltham Forest, and cycling’s modal share in the borough will continue to flatline at one per cent.

(Below) Winns Avenue E17. The scope for Dutch-style infrastructure is obvious on this very wide road. But local cycling campaigners aren’t asking for it.

(Below) Winns Avenue leads on to this lethal junction with a mini-roundabout. This is a classic example of poor cycling infrastructure. Cyclists who want to cycle in a direct line across Higham Hill Road and on along the brief section of contraflow on Queen Elizabeth Road opposite are expected to pedal round the roundabout, turn right, then take a ninety degree turn left into the one-metre wide contraflow. Any cyclist with right of way from Winns Avenue is at risk of being run down by drivers who come speeding along Higham Hill Road from either direction, indifferent to anyone emerging from Winns Avenue. Mini-roundabouts are intrinsically hostile to safe cycling.

(Below) Incredibly, the Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign actually embraces this lethal junction as an example of good practice. This is taken from the group's Movers & Shakers document. It's another reminder that one of the biggest impediments to the growth of mass cycling in Britain are people who call themselves cycling campaigners.

It’s the ‘cycling mayor’!

Who can doubt that cycling in London will continue to increase under our enlightened cycling Mayor?

Boris Johnson today announced plans to scrap the western extension of the congestion charge zone on Christmas Eve.

Park Lane will once again be its western boundary, instead of the Shepherd's Bush roundabout. At a stroke, almost the entire borough of Kensington and Chelsea will be removed from the zone.

But the move will cost Transport for London £55 million a year in lost revenue and congestion and air quality will worsen in west London. There are also concerns about an increased danger to cyclists.

Val Shawcross, a Labour member of the London Assembly, said: “It's hard to see who wins from this.
Cyclists, bus users and local residents will all suffer from more congested roads and dirtier air while TfL will throw away millions in valuable revenue at a time of financial hardship.”

The catastrophe of vehicular cycling

A teenager suffered spinal injuries when he was hit by a bus as he cycled to school in Derbyshire.


A WOMAN has been arrested after a cyclist was seriously injured in a crash on the A60.
The 44-year-old man was riding along Loughborough Road, between Ruddington and Bradmore, at around 10.30pm on Friday when he was in collision with a red Toyota Yaris, which failed to stop at the scene.

The man, from Keyworth, was taken to the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, where he is currently in a serious condition.

Detectives located the driver of the Toyota, a 27-year-old Derby woman, and arrested her on suspicion of dangerous driving and failing to stop and report a collision.


A 70-year-old cyclist was left with serious head and abdominal injuries after a collision with a coach in Lowestoft yesterday.

Monday, 24 May 2010

The magnetic properties of cycle stands

Supply your own witty caption. It’s too hot today for me to bother…

Vernon Road E17.

Cyclists should always carry scissors

These 5 cycle stands beside the Turkish supermarket at the western end of Walthamstow High Street have been arbitrarily taped off for several days. No explanation, no indication of who is responsible. No work is going on at this site (the wall in the background has always been in this condition). But it’s okay, it’s only cyclists this affects. And who really gives a toss about the convenience of cyclists?

Giggling hit and run killer gets just 6 year driving ban

The latest insult in a society where the right to drive is far greater than the right to live.

Mr Roberts’ 12-year-old daughter, Amy Allen, said: ‘He was a loving father and he was always happy when he was with me. I will really miss him.’

Her father was killed by a murderous yob who admitted that he ‘liked the excitement of driving a powerful car.’ In a 30 mph zone

Kurshid roared into him at 70mph, catapulting the father-of-one 40 yards into the air.

As the victim lay dying, Kurshid, of Bolton, Greater Manchester, sped off with rap music blaring from the stereo and dumped the 155mph car.

But the directors of the company which makes this killer vehicle were not prosecuted for conspiracy to kill. Britain’s corrupt judicial system is drenched in the values of the road lobby and declines to ban drivers for life. No politician has a word to say. The editors of the Guardian and the Independent will continue to publish motor porn reviews drooling over high speed killer cars. And Britain’s toothless cycling and walking organsations are mute, as always.

And the killer yob will soon be back on the roads, since he is 21 years old and has only been disqualified from driving for six years.

The pictures Kier don’t want the local press to have

I was surprised to read in this week's local paper that Kier, the developers who are keen to build on the land beside Walthamstow station have refused to supply the local paper, the Waltham Forest Guardian, with pictures of the proposed development:

Their bashfulness is strange, is it not? After all, these pictures were on public display for about thirty-five seconds – I was unaware of the proposed development or the display, as was our local MP Stella Creasy.

The developers claim that one of the benefits of their scheme is to provide a pedestrian route between Walthamstow Central and Queens Road stations. In fact this pathway was a condition of an earlier development by Queens Road station, which the Housing Association involved then reneged on. Ten years after the path was supposed to open it hasn’t.

Luckily a local blog was on hand to take pics of the plans, which you can see here, with additional comment from another local blogger here.

Incidentally, if anyone was remotely serious about a massive expansion of cycling in Waltham Forest, some of this land would be set aside for greatly expanded cycle parking provision at Walthamstow station. But of course that features in nobody’s plans, which is yet another reason why cycling’s modal share in Waltham Forest will continue to flatline at one per cent for the foreseeable future. Cycling isn’t going forward in Waltham Forest – small rises on selected A roads are elsewhere matched by stagnation or regression.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

‘Naked streets’ in Walthamstow

Saturday 15 May, Walthamstow High Street. Spot the pedestrian stranded in the middle of the road while drivers pass by on either side. Contractors working on the Selborne Road/Willow Walk junction had turned the junction lights off and set up temporary lights. For some reason - almost certainly to 'ease traffic flow' - they simply switched off the pedestrian crossing lights at the nearby High Street/Willow Walk crossing, shown above. So on the busiest day of the week for pedestrians, High Street shoppers were left without crossing lights, allowing them to try out the exciting 'naked streets' concept. As you see, this simply means that drivers plough on regardless of any pedestrians in the vicinity.

The fact that contractors have the power to switch off lights for pedestrians and leave them to their fate is simply another symptom of the core reality that London is a city planned around the needs of drivers, not pedestrians or cyclists. In the past year, pedestrian lights have been switched off on Hoe Street E17, on Selborne Road E17 and on Blackhorse Road E17, leaving children and elderly people to get across busy roads as best they can. The dedicated cycling crossing lights remain switched off at the St Mary Road E17/Selborne Road crossing, and, incredibly, have been off since last September.

Note also the two bikes locked to the traffic sign in the foreground. At Sainsbury's (immediately to the left of this picture) there is parking for hundreds of cars and, er, two bike stands. Which tells you all you need to know about the London Borough of Waltham Forest and its Green credentials.

‘careless cycling’ charge dropped

Contrast the Crown Prosecution Service's zeal in this case with the CPS's refusal to prosecute a van driver who slammed into the back of two cyclists, killing one, because he 'didn't see them':

A CASE against a cyclist accused of breaking a dog’s jaw while riding through a park has been dropped after a year of legal wrangling. Springer spaniel Lucy was injured when a rider came around a corner on a cycle path in Castle Park, Colchester, and accidentally hit her in May last year. Firefighter Craig Todd was later charged with careless cycling under the Road Traffic Act.

But Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday the Crown Prosecution Service had dropped the case as there was too little evidence. Mr Todd, 38, of Fronks Road, Dovercourt, said he had been cycling carefully along a nationally-recognised cycling path when the incident took place.

He said: “I have spent a year of my life worrying about something that I didn’t feel was my fault. I have gone through a year of stress, several court appearances and I can only thank my close friends and colleagues who have supported me through this difficult time.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous that it went this far.

The massacre continues

A cyclist who died after a collision with a car has been named.

Christopher Ashman, 47, of Headlands, Kettering, died after the collision with a black Ford Mondeo on the road between Thorpe Malsor and Kettering on Wednesday night.

The driver of the Mondeo failed to stop at the scene of the collision

Parking enforcement farce

Spot the cycle logo on the road beneath the rear tyre of this fat slob’s ludicrous supercharged car.

Anti-social behaviour of this sort should be punished by the loss of the driver’s licence, because even if the traffic warden had given him a ticket, a £30 fine would have meant nothing at all to a super-rich idiot like this.

A traffic warden let him off the hook for parking on double yellow lines.

The drama unfolded after the Gavin and Stacey star parked his gleaming new Jaguar convertible illegally on a roadside in central London. James then paid a visit to the doctors in Harley Street before buying a huge roll for lunch from a nearby bakery.

She made light of things and said to him "you're too important to get a parking ticket".

'Instead she asked him to sign his autograph, which he did very willingly.'

Suspicious behaviour

A cyclist carrying a tree on the cross bar of a bike in Coventry has been arrested on suspicion of theft.

Sadly they were not inside it

The Top Gear team scaled new heights after hurling a motor home off the top of a sheer cliff in their latest stunt.

Presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were seen rolling the Citroen to its destruction in the picturesque coastal village of Hartland, North Devon.

Transparency in a digital age

A report showing that Britain is failing to halt the declines of many of its highest-priority wildlife species and habitats, from the red squirrel, the juniper and the common skate to chalk rivers and coastal salt marshes, was "sneaked out" this week by the Government with no publicity, environmental campaign groups said yesterday.

More than twice as many conservation priority species and habitats are declining as are increasing across the UK, the report says, yet to find that study is virtually impossible without special knowledge. It was posted on the website of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the Government's UK-wide wildlife advisers, on Thursday.

But it is buried deep in the site, there was no press release, and there is no reference to it or link to it on the website's front page. It is not even on the website of the relevant Government department, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The report – "The UK Biodiversity Action Plan: highlights from the 2008 reporting round" – was finished more than a year ago,
and wildlife campaign groups have accused the previous Labour government of deliberately sitting on it, and the new Conservative-Lib Dem coalition Government of actively seeking to hide it. It concerns the progress – or lack of it – of the 500-plus UK species and habitats which have been the subject of Biodiversity Action Plans, or BAPs, set up since the Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Memo to Waltham Forest environmental supremo Clyde Loakes

(Above) Central Walthamstow street scene under our new Labour council.

And the newly appointed cabinet member responsible for environment in the London Borough of Waltham Forest is… former leader of the council Clyde Loakes.

This seems an opportune moment to remind Clyde that although this blog is critical of the council, it is also objective and fair-minded. It did, after all, once salute the marvellous and progressive administration of Councillor Clyde Loakes. Sadly, things have gone backwards since then, with the Council's thirst for converting pavements into car parks growing ever stronger, and with Loakes toeing the party line on its demented 'neighbourhood improvement' schemes, which promote car dependency and degrade the walking and cycling environment.

Cllr Loakes needs to attend to all the crap which the deeply complacent council officers currently fail to deal with and which is highlighted here on a regular basis - everything from obstructed cycle stands, blatantly inadequate cycle parking provision, advisory speed signs which don't flash any more - they are all over the borough, Clyde - footway obstruction, squalor, potholes, general decay... And as far as the latter is concerned I’m only publicising a tiny fraction of the current condition of the borough.

Clyde, as it shows on his council page, is a member of a body concerned with waste. So maybe he could now address the daily problem of all the crap on Mission Grove, off Walthamstow High Street, besides Percy Ingles bakery, which faces a primary school and is permanently obstructed by market traders who use it as a place to park their trolleys instead of using the proper facilities, and by local traders who dump waste on the pavement (shown in the first photo) rather than pay to use a council trade waste container. This crap has been going on for YEARS.

(Below) The 'Welcome to Walthamstow' signs in the town centre continue to welcome visitors by directing them to toilets which were closed down years ago. That's just how crap and complacent this council is.

It’s the same everywhere, mate

It’s the fundamental condition of vehicular cycling in Britain:

He said he was "quite often" overtaken "stupidly close" by motorists on the road, who ignored the Highway Code rules about leaving space and the legal requirements to drive safely.

And it's not just the "close over-takers". Motorists who display unprovoked aggression towards cyclists are another danger.

"I was riding through Fremington past the speed camera where is a central reservation," he said. "I was doing nearly 30mph on the bike and this guy comes behind me and undertakes me in the bus stop, shouting abuse and stops in front of me. If he had waited for 12 seconds he would have been able to overtake me safely."

He had experienced
cars speeding past him as he approached traffic lights just to get a few metres in front of him.

Collaborationist Green campaigning

Groups such as Conservation International (CI) and the Nature Conservancy (TNC) are among the most trusted "brands" in the world, pledged to protect and defend nature. Yet as we confront the biggest ecological crisis in human history, many of the green organisations meant to be leading the fight are busy shovelling up hard cash from the world's worst polluters – and simultaneously burying science-based environmentalism. In the middle of a swirl of bogus climate scandals trumped up by deniers, here is the real Climategate, waiting to be exposed.

This behaviour has pervaded almost all of the mainstream green organisations. They take money, and they offer praise

The addiction to corporate cash has changed the green groups at their core.

It continues to get worse

There is now incontrovertible evidence to show that the top few hundred metres of the sea are warming – and that this temperature rise is consistent with man-made climate change.

The findings are important because ocean temperatures are seen as a more reliable and convincing signal of global warming than land-based measurements, which are prone to huge variability.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Cycle parking in London and and Amsterdam

Never lock your bike up by a wheel seems to be the moral of this sight, on St Mary Road E17, in a central location which lacks any cycle parking, contrary to what the borough’s cycling officer told members of the Greater London Assembly.

And while the LCC gives a prize for the provision of seven cycle stands at Shadwell station, in Amsterdam…

Driver runs down six cyclists

Bikes and bodies were strewn across his yard, Wonnacott said.

The N.C. Highway Patrol charged Daniel Burton Wilson II, 21, of 325 Sand Road in Rockwell, with six counts of felony hit and run. Authorities say Wilson turned into the cyclists and struck six, dragging one underneath his Nissan Pathfinder.

The Cabarrus County District Attorney's Office is determining "if this guy was trying to intentionally run over the cyclists," Barger said.

The first Comment under the story is a characteristically cyclophobic one:

hammer wrote:
They shouldn't allow these bikes on the road !

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Boris Johnson’s 10 point cycling plan to nowhere

A cycle lane in Leyton.

The mayor has announced a 19 July 2010 launch date for the first two Cycle Superhighways, at the same time as publishing growth figures of 14% in two years and a 10-point plan to encouraging more cycling.

Welcoming the growth in cycling, LCC joined the UK’s major cycling organisations, along with the NHS, the police, London Councils and other signatories, in backing 10 cycling priorities set out by Mayor Boris Johnson.

The ten points are the same old tired crap we’ve seen a thousand times before. Aspiration, aspiration, aspiration. Froth, spin and everybody signing up to niceness. Sugared with the usual dodgy statistics, this one trumpeting

growth figures of 14% in two years

It’s funny that cycling keeps increasing exponentially, with hundred per cent increases, and two hundred per cent increases, and yet in some mysterious way modal share always stays less than two per cent.

Perhaps the most astonishing revelation of any London blogger this year has been the discovery that police have been halting traffic so that TfL can make a film showing how safe and friendly Cycle Superhighways are. Yet more spin over substance.

Only two of the ten points refer to tangible objectives (more secure cycle parking and ‘Cycle theft tackled through dedicated police attention’) but even these are lamentably vague about resources and targets.

How’s about: every parking bay in London at every station, supermarket, school and NHS building must be matched by a cycle stand? Crikey, no, nobody involved in this fatuous 10 point plan would want to sign up to a measure like that, would they? Far too dangerously radical. In the year 2008-2009 the London Borough of Waltham Forest received £450,000 to spend on cycling. For a borough which can’t even supply cycle parking at four out of ten of its public libraries, a good question is where did that money go?

One simply measure which would make vehicular cycling a lot safer is to return to the days when all side roads had STOP signs with a continuous white line, instead of GIVE WAY with a dashed white line. Far too many drivers approach junctions at speed, take a momentary glance for motor vehicles, then pull out. They don’t ‘see’ cyclists because they are in a tearing hurry.

The 10 point plan says nothing about enforcing Advanced Stop Lines, a very simple, concrete, practical measure which would certainly benefit vehicular cycling.

But if you look at the Mayor’s shiny plan you’ll see that action is promised against cyclists, since

Public response to the consultation on the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy indicated a growing frustration that cycling is undermined by a small number of cyclists who disregard the rules of the road.

But as this blog repeatedly argues, bad behaviour by cyclists is an evolutionary response to a car-centric transport environment.

Naturally there is nothing about safe, convenient cycling infrastructure on the Dutch model. Instead we are offered crap like this:

Streets and spaces where everyone respects each other’s right to use the road, where they stick to the rules of the road, and where everyone recognises their duty of care to other road users.

This really is a bad joke when you consider that up to one driver in eight in London is uninsured, and when you consider the spectacular levels of lawlessness which are very visible on every London street, and which are institutionally condoned, not least by the Metropolitan Police. You don’t have to wait very long to see someone drive past chatting on a handheld mobile phone, and some of those drivers are at the wheels of lorries. In reality London is now more dangerous for cyclists than it’s ever been

When even the Met’s own drivers repeatedly display their contempt for pedestrians and cyclists, I think we can do without the pious support of this profoundly cycling-hostile organisation. The Met could benefit cycling best by cleaning up its own act as an institutionally car supremacist organisation.

The London Cycling Campaign's enthusiasm for the 10 Point Plan is a collaborationist strategy because it demands that cyclists accept the status quo. Parking bays, car dependency, the West End full of people in 4X4s – let’s all learn to live together, eh? Well I am not interested in adjusting to car-clogged streets crammed with idiots in gas guzzlers and devoted to car dependency. I want to see the end of those on-street parking bays, I want to see Dutch infrastructure, I want to see bans on cars on Oxford Street and Regent Street. But the LCC doesn’t. The LCC is part of the transport establishment, not part of the movement for change.

Cycling promoted as an enjoyable, everyday, healthy activity

You can promote it like that until you are blue in the face but when cycling is stressful, dangerous, unpleasant and inconvenient, most of the population won’t do it. And don’t. And will not, for the foreseeable future. This is a 10-point plan to nowhere, every bit as delusional as the LCC’s vision of ten per cent modal share by 2012.