The Times – Save our Cyclists

Yesterday The Times launched a campaign to make cycling in cities across England safer after one of the Times’ reports was struck by a lorry only yards away from her workplace in November last year, she has been a comma since.

I was asked to give my opinion on current road conditions for cyclists, and whilst I think the roads are a safe place, there is obviously an issue on our roads.

In the last quarter of 2011 we saw an 8% rise in cycling deaths or serious injuries in London over 2010’s last quarter whilst deaths and serious injuries of car drivers, motorcyclist’s and pedestrians continued to fall.

Compare Paris to London, a city which has 3,000,000 more people than us and is known for its crazy drivers. How many cycling related deaths where there in 2011?

The bike accident is not what concerns us most and in 2011, there were no death

Source >

There where 0 cycling deaths in Paris throughout 2011, where as in London, there where 16 deaths and many more seriously injured. Why do we allow these deaths to continue? It seems that the public think these sorts of deaths are acceptable, nothing happens to make cyclists safer on the roads!

In the past decade, cyclists killed on our roads outnumber servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by a factor of two.

Any sort of death of a person is a tragic incident, just think about how you would feel if a family member was suddenly no longer with you! We can do something about deaths on our roads, make them safer and all road users will have the benefit of being able to travel without the thought of it being there last.

The Times raise an 8 point manifesto of things they want changed, and whilst I don’t agree that every point is going to make a difference, they are certainly pointing in the right direction and having such a large newspaper behind us is a great thing.

In the first day of the campaign more than 5,000 people pledged their support with more than 300 writing to their MP’s and many more showing support on twitter.

Motorcycles in the bus lane

Yesterday TFL announced that motorcycles will now be allowed to use all bus lanes in London.

Previous to yesterdays announcement motorcycle use of bus lanes in London was on a trial basis, the second of its kind. Both trials lasting 18 months and on selected sections. This was to gain an understanding on the effect of allowing them to use the bus lane.

Collision rates in bus lanes in the second trial decreased by 5.8 per cent for motorcyclists and by 8.5 per cent for cyclists when compared with the first trial

Safety in numbers, as long as two wheelers stick together and don’t squabble about the space then I’m sure people will be more aware about us in the bus lanes.

In line with this increased enforcement, the average speed for motorcyclists in bus lanes reduced by 6.5 per cent during the trial, with the proportion of motorcyclists exceeding the speed limit decreasing by one fifth (51 per cent in September 2010 down to 41 per cent in September 2011).

41% of motorcyclists still speeding in the bus lanes? Seeing as how that was enforced by the Police, it shows just what sort of problem we have on our roads. People see speeding as acceptable even with the dangers of the bus lane.

Another study by TfL indicated that journeys made by motorcycles using bus lanes were, on average, more than 10 per cent quicker than those not using bus lanes and 36 per cent quicker than cars

It was quiet clear already to know that using the bus lanes is faster than sitting in a queue of cars. Seeing as how I can often keep up with a few motorbikes and mopeds over a few miles of bus lane and stop starts at traffic lights, 36% faster is a pretty good figure to hear. Now if only a bus lane went from my house to my work place.

As long as motorcyclists are aware that they need to share the bus lane with us (that is a two-way street) then I don’t have too much of a problem with the idea. But if they start behaving like the examples below, it is going to be a problem!

You can find out more information about the previous study here.

Good result for dangerous driving?

Fined £400 + £85 costs and 6 penalty points applied to their license. A good result for some pretty dangerous driving?

The fine is pretty substantial compared to some of the other cases I’ve seen about dangerous drivers bullying other road users. This fine was how ever for failing to nominate a driver.

The registered keeper of this vehicle was sent several letters by the Police and failed to respond to all of them. They were summoned to court for Failing to Nominate a driver and were fined £400 + £85 costs and given 6 penalty points.

It’s a shame the police couldn’t do more work to find out who the driver was a take them off our streets for good. But let’s be honest, this was probably a better results fine wise than if they were charged for dangerous driving. In fact they probably wouldn’t have been charged for dangerous driving, as the CPS pretty much always lowers the driving offence as a standard practise.

So whilst this is a good result, lets not get stray from the issue, the registered keeper may not be the driver in the video. The driver in the video may have gotten away free, we don’t know. The registered keeper could be trying to cover for a friend who may be banned, uninsured or be a wanted criminal, who knows.

You can watch footage of the incident below, the basics of it are as follows.
The driver came too close for comfort as we stopped at some traffic lights, I asked him if he could give me some more space.
The driver replied that it was OK because he hadn’t hit me.
As we set off there is a cement truck to my right and the driver gets closer and closer, my speed stays constant throughout and he edges towards me several times. When he is finally able to squeeze past (and leave me very little room) the driver then slams on his brakes trying to force me into the back of him. Luckily I’m more than aware of this stupid kind of move and I’m able to brake and swerve.

It has to be the worst incident I have had, the only one where I honestly thought I was going to get rammed of the road and potentially die. I feel that it’s a shame that the Police didn’t push more on this to find out who the driver was and get him removed from the streets!

7 Days to go – Blackfriars Bridge 12th of October

Only 7 days until the LCC’s planned ride takes place at 6pm on Blackfriars Bridge.

Credits to Ealing Cycling Campaign

This isn’t just about Blackfriars Bridge anymore, TFL aren’t listening to vulnerable road users. We can’t let them ignore us, if they go ahead with the current plans then who knows what cycling will be like for Londoners in the future!

Hundreds have already pledged to the LCC that they will attend, lets hope that hundreds more turn up on the evening.

Cycle Video Day

 

Cycle Video Day 10th of October 2011

Magnatom has recently announced an idea called Cycle Video Day.

The basic idea is to get as many Video Camera Cyclists to submit some footage that was taken on that day, showing what ever they wanted, them being cut up, left hooked or passing loads of standstill traffic as they go about their travels. The main idea is to show our numbers!

I know loads of people who know about my self or a few other guys that film their cycle journeys. But in reality there are loads, across the world I know of nearly 400 but there are hundreds more who I have yet to discover or who don’t post online.

I’m already having ideas about what I want to try to do. With plenty of Londoners using cameras, I would like to try to get a few of us together and all do a short ride with each other. It would be great to see each other from different perspectives.

Magnatom has asked for anyone to input in the general ideas pot. There is nothing set in stone about how this is going to work or where this is going to do. All that is set is the date. If you want to give some input, head over to his blog and comment on one of the Cycle Video Day posts.

Blackfriars Bridge October 12th!

BE THERE!

The LCC sent out a newsletter yesterday with information about the next Blackfriars bridge flashride. Giving us plenty of warning about the next date to try and attract as many cyclists as possible. It’s important that we show up in numbers to show just how important it is.

TFL has shown their true intentions very clearly, they are car centric, in a city which already has awful congestion problems and pollution problems. They want people to get as quickly as possible from A to B whilst they are in their cars. This in turn puts cyclists and pedestrians in danger as they increase the speed limit and decrease the space we have to use.

It’s time for action, cyclists in the city and ibikeslondon have been pushing this forward for quite some time, but they and the rest of us need help from everyone to protest against this, even if don’t use this bridge. It is important to come along and add to the protest, if TFL win this ‘war’ then who knows what they will do to us next!

Show your support on the LCC page and by turning on Blackfriars bridge on Wednesday the 12th of October at 5.45pm.

Croydon bicycle shops hit in the riots

Image from Cycling Weekly

Croydon has a handful of bicycle shops, ranging from top end bikes and parts to the lower end bikes. Geoffrey Butler Cycles recently told Cycling Weekly their story from the night of the riots last month.

Geoffrey Butler Cycles is located in the high street of South Croydon, a world of difference from West Croydon where the rioters where kicking off. Stephen Delaney, manager of Geoffrey Butler Cycles, went to his store at around 8pm and the door to his shop was already kicked in and several thousand pounds worth of stock was already missing, included a Team Sky Pinarello Dogma with Di2 Dura-Ace worth over £7,000. He decided the best way to protect his store was to stay up all night and protect it him self, he called some colleagues and friends to come and help him out, they blocked up the door with Calmpagnolo delivery boxes.

Geoffrey Butler Cycles also owns Bike Plus which is situated just a few miles down the road, at around midnight Mr Delaney received a call that this was also being broken into and rushed down there. In front of him was two white vans which pulled up by the shop but drove off as he got out. Quite clearly showing the intent of the thieves. Only a few bikes were taken from Bike Plus, and again staff arrived and stayed in the shop all night to protect it as the Police didn’t have the resources to protect local shop keepers.
In total Geoffrey Butler and Bike Plus had £40,000 worth of stock taken.

Cycle King which is based just down the road from Geoffrey Butler was completely cleared out, an estimated 600 bikes were taken which totalled over £120,000 worth of stock. As mentioned before, it is thought that this was done by an organised group of people. This looting was done well away from all the other action and looters turned up in white vans and packed them full of goods. Cycle King was forced to change the shutters they had several years ago by the council as they didn’t fit in with the rest of the high street. And as a result the cheaper ones where no match for organised criminals.

Originally reported by Cycling Weekly >

Lillian’s Law

Back in 2010 on the 26th of June, young Lillian Groves was hit by a car and unfortunately died later in hospital. The police found cannabis in the driver’s blood and a half smoked joint on the dashboard but the driver was only sentenced to 8 months in prison due to the driver only being tested for drugs 9 hours after the incident, at which point the levels of drugs in his system was not enough to prosecute under causing death by careless driving while under the influence of drugs.

Backed by the Croydon Advertiser, Lillian’s parents are calling for the government to change the law and procedures which deal with drivers under the influence of drugs.

It would include rolling out a drug test kit which can be used in the field. This is to attempt to catch and prevent drug using road users, who are involved in as many as 1 out 5 road deaths. These test kits are already widely used in Australia and United States of America.

Read more and sign the petition >

London Skyride 2011

Yesterday saw over 55,000 cyclists ride along 7.2 miles of motorised vehicle free London roads. It’s a fantastic event that allows cyclists to see some of London’s greatest sites free from potentially dangerous traffic.

Since the Skyride started in 2009 (then known as the London Freewheel) the numbers have never dipped below 50,000 cyclists taking part. With the 2010 turnout of 85,000 being the largest so far.

The turnout of only 55,000 in 2011 seems small in comparison to the 2010 turnout. Could this be down to the great british weather? A shower of rain did hit London yesterday. It’s too hard to tell what caused the drop in 30,000 cyclists which is the lowest turnout since 2008, so many factors could have affect it, from advertising to bad weather.

It is a shame that the numbers didn’t increase on last year, the popularity of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme and the Barclays Superhighways has increased cycling in the capital a significant amount over the past few years and I think most of us where expecting more. 55,000 isn’t too be sniffed at, it is still a large number of cyclists taking advantage of the closed roads and enjoying the capital the way it should be.