Moving Blog

I’ve thought about it for a while, I’ve had it set up for a while. With some changes to how self hosted wordpress works, I’ve decided to move my blog over to that. It will give me more flexibility in modifications and will hopefully become more of a project for me to tackle. After all my day job is to create websites.

So the new blog is www.croydoncyclist.co.uk All current content is moved over to there. Only thing I can’t move over is people’s subscriptions. So if you have set it up to receive this as an e-mail alert, you will need to do the same on the new blog. This is fairly simple due to a subscribe via e-mail form on right hand side of every page.

Teaching Pedestrians to LOOK

Bike Butterfly is a cycling invention that aims to teach pedestrians to look before crossing the road. Far too many just use their ears to listen for motorised traffic and cross when they don’t hear an engine.

I can’t see this being useful, it may make a pedestrian think next time but I believe that as a cyclist we should be actively looking out for situations where pedestrians might step out and take action to avoid getting into a situation where you can’t avoid them if they do step out.

Looking into this in more detail,  it appears to be a ‘test’

What new business models will the marketing agencies of the future operate to? Will they buy media in traditional ways, or ‘create audiences’ that their client brands can buy into?

Johnny Vegas and Monkey started out advertising ITV Digital. They then popped up a few years later advertising PG tips. We’re interested in understanding if  you can de-risk advertising by creating assets that have a built in audience and then attach brands and businesses to them once they are proven to be popular. Will they be rejected once they have a commercial function? We don’t know but we are in the process of finding out.

Source: http://www.corkewallis.com/work/bikebutterfly

Ampere Way Updates

For well over a year, a cycle lane in Ampere Way, Croydon was full with plastic jersey barriers. Preventing use of the cycle lane. A few weeks ago there was an update to the cycle lane along Ampere Way.

It used to be like this.

It is now like this.

At least the cycle lane is now usable but the additional bollards now mean that the width of the cycle lane has decreased, road sweepers can not clean them and moving in and out of the cycle lane is difficult.

The bollards have been placed on the left side of the painted lane boundary line, reducing the width that was once there. As we can see from the image below, the road is plenty wide enough for the cycle lane to have been increased in width considerably and still allow for motorised forms of transport to pass smoothly.

How are they spending the money? – Croydon A cycling Borough

Back in May 2011 the Mayor of London announced that Croydon was a cycling borough and would receive £450,000 over a 3 year period to improve cycling in the borough.

Croydon is one of the largest boroughs in London, both by land and by population. £450,000 is not going to change cycling in the borough for everyone. Wondering how the money would be spent I asked the council if they could give me some information on their plans.

The majority of the money is being spent on a cycling hub at East Croydon station. The idea being to attract people to cycling by getting those who use the tram or bus to get too and from the station on their way to work in central London. It’s probably the best place in Croydon to build a cycling hub, it is the busiest train station with a huge range of destination. The east Croydon area is going over a massive re-development process for the 2020 vision. This includes high-rise buildings, arenas and all sorts. The footfall around the area will increase dramatically and it won’t just be seen as a transport hub.

Money is also going to be spent on making Wellesley Road ‘feel less concrete cars-ville [and] more “Connected City” ‘, those are the words from Croydon Council!!! The way they are going to do this is by adding in several surface level pedestrian crossings. Something which Wellesley road hasn’t seen for a number of years! This should help connect East and West Croydon together making it possible for people to easily move around the town.

£105,000 of the money will go to marking more cycling routes in the town centre and to encourage and enable cycling through parks. Croydon has a vast quantity of parks but most of them have bylaws that prevent you from cycling in them. Getting through the town centre is also a bit of a tricky task at present, the options are to go down an urban motorway or try to survive with the buses and trams on the back route.

Money is also being given to provide cycle training at schools and to those who want it, community led rides, and cycle awareness training for HGV drivers.

I’m sure we could all think of ways to spend £450,000 to make cycling better in our boroughs, the Cycle Hub is probably one of the best things that could be done and if done  well, will last us for decades!

What Constitutes Careless Driving?

I had a run in with a driver a few weeks ago. I was minding my own business in a cycle lane, when all of a sudden I had a car almost touching me and forcing me to take action to avoid a collision. The clip was forwarded to RoadSafe who forwarded it to my local traffic unit for the potential for prosecution.

According to the Road Traffic Act, Careless Driving is

A person is to be regarded as driving without due care and attention if (and only if) the way he drives falls below what would be expected of a competent and careful driver.

I would say that driving is well below par of a competent or careful driver. The driver came only inches away from hitting my handle bars with her wing mirror and encroached into the cycle lane whilst I was using it.

I was informed yesterday that the police would not be taking matters any further. At this moment in time I am unsure why, I have asked them if they can let me know their choices behind not taking this further considering the evidence.

The HornIT Horn / Buzzer Review

Featured

The HornIT is a 140db bicycle horn / buzzer that comes in a small size but packs a huge punch! This audible warning device is great for making people aware of your presences and has many advantages over similar devices such as the Airzound.

The HornIT appears to mount with a cateye type bracket, at first this was worrying as they are notoriously poor. At a second look it appears to use a slightly different tightening mechanism which is an improvement. It tightens via a hex key which appears to be very solid and the rubber grip of the strap allows the bracket to hold well even on polished metal.

It runs off 2 AAA batteries and I’m told that this will last around a year for some users. The horn was still effective after 6 months if used to power 6 x 1 second bursts every day. The battery compartment is underneath the device and is accessible by a Philips screw.

One of the most attractive features of the HornIT is the separate trigger switch, this allows flexible mounting of the product whilst still allowing the user to trigger the device whilst their hand is in control of the brakes. This is a very important factor, such a device should not impede your ability to come to a safe and controlled stop if required, a warning device will not always be heard or prevent someone from doing something you don’t want them to do.
I have noticed that it is possible to catch the trigger cable with your hand and pull it out without knowledge, it is also a little bit tricky to put the trigger back in whilst moving.
The switch it’s self is made from a stretchy rubber that allows it to be mounted to any part of the handle bars, I had no issues stretching it around the hoods on my road bikes.

There are two modes on the HornIT, one rated at 140db which uses a dual tone which can sound a little bit like a bird tweeting. To me this is more of an annoying sound and not one that would instantly grab my attention as something dangerous is coming my way (as a typical horn sound would). The second mode is 130db and is just a single tone. Much more to my liking, the sound is still loud and I feel still suffers the same issue of not sounding like a normal horn. You can switch between modes by pressing a button on the back of the device. Two downsides I see to this, you can’t change the mode from the trigger, so to change mode you must move you hand back to the device. There is also no way to tell which mode you are in without sounding the device. This can be annoying if you want to use the two different modes for different reasons, as it is easy to forget which mode you are in.

Positives

  • Runs on batteries
  • Separate trigger switch
  • Small, easily removable device
  • Two separate

Negatives

  • Buzzing sound doesn’t always register the same as a traditional horn sound
  • Not able to change modes from the switch
  • No way to tell which mode you are in without sounding the buzzer

The clear rival to the HornIT is the AirZound, a product which is already very popular with cyclists after an audible warning device to other road users. The HornIT has many advantages over the AirZound, such as being small, compact, running on batteries, and a remote trigger. Where as the only advantage the AirZound has is a more true horn sound. I found I was pumping up my AirZound several times a week when I used one, and I have to say the ease of use, the fact that it is small, runs on batteries, is about the size of a light and has a remote trigger, the HornIT has to be the winner out of the two.

Watch my video review of the HornIT

As a note, it is a good idea to read the instructions on this and do as it says. I.E. Don’t use this indoors, it really is very loud and does make you deaf!

Things are looking positive

Hundreds if not thousands of cyclists turned up to cycle around the streets of London to show support for The Times Cycle Safe campaign on the eve of the parliamentary debate. A debate which saw the House of Commons rather empty.

I would like to start of by saying thank you to the usual suspects, Mark of i b i k e l o n d o n, Danny of Cyclists in the City and of course the London Cycling Campaign for organising another great protest ride, which despite the forecasted weather, had plenty of cyclists attending. And whilst there where a few niggles with the police and how the pack was being split up, thank you to them for helping marshal the event and keeping everyone safe.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to cycle this event due to a knee injury, instead I was walking on foot with my camera in hand taking photos. A few of those photos can be seen on flickr. The turnout was certainly huge, I’ve heard numerous numbers thrown around, and as a bystander, I can certainly say it was above 1,000 cyclists. Watching the cyclists coming over westminster bridge was just amazing, the line went on for ages!

This was of course on the eve of the parliamentary debate about cycling safety. The Times campaign has certainly set an impressive chain of events into motion as we see the House of Commons almost empty yesterday afternoon. This is an achievement that no other cycling campaign has managed in recent years.

So are things looking positive? Well a great turn out from cyclists and a good turn out by MP’s is certainly a positive, our trusty Prime Minister David (not a cyclist) Cameron may have just thrown a few bad eggs. Promising a pitiful amount of money for building new cycle routes across the country (less in fact than what was spent on the current Cycle Superhighways, and we know how good they are). It is of course a start.

At the end of Wednesdays ride, Mark of i b i k e l o n d o n announced a new date to keep clear in our diaries, Saturday the 28th of April, for another mass ride, where hopefully even more cyclists will turn out for our biggest gathering to date.

 

A riders view of the ride. Thanks to Arasllopp for this

Cycle lanes don’t keep us safe

It has been said countless times that painted cycle lanes on the side of the roads don’t keep us safe. Despite this, our cycling facilities seem to be made up of mostly this, painted cycle lanes on the side of the road.

The magic paint lines obviously don’t keep other, much harder and faster vehicles from straying into them, and the consequences of them doing so can be huge. As the cyclist in the above video found out, being in the position designated to us on the road doesn’t equal safety and being hit by a bus that was driving in it was not a pleasurable experience!