My brand new cycle lane idea

My regular route to work is being dug up again and it made me realise that it has been roadwork free for a number of months now. This got me wondering if more roadworks are done in the summer when it is warn and nice to work outdoors. Maybe roadworkers are harder to find in the winter.

If this is the case then it is a real bummer because it is likely that more roadworks will be done in the summer when there are more cyclist on the road creating dangerous situations like the one in this photo.

More blocked cycle lanes

This made me think of my great new idea for cycle safety. What if roadworkers were only allowed to dig up cycle lanes in the winter when they are significantly less busy? And during the summer they can dig up the regular roads. This way there would be less intrusion during the busy cycle months and therefore statistically the roads should be safer for cycles.

They (you know the they people who control everything) already do other common sense things (no seriously) like fix the tube at night when no one is using it. Why not only dig up cycle lanes in the winter when all the softer riders bikes are collecting dust?

Isn’t Socialism Great

The socialist who run the unions that work on the London underground went on a 72 hour strike this week. In the end the union called off the strike slightly early after accepting the EXACT package that the Tube bosses offered them in the first place.

Why did they strike then? I have no idea. Maybe just to flex their socialist muscles.

One crazy spin off of the tube strike is that London’s buses and roads became way more congested. One Tuesday and Wednesday on my rides to work I saw some crazy stuff. The significant increase in traffic caused loads of extra pressure and I saw several vehicles do crazy things that you would normally never see. The worst of which was a car that cut across in front of an oncoming car when they both got green lights to go straight ahead. Crazy.

There were also loads of extra cyclists who were riding for two days. All those people who bought bikes and have rarely or never used them were able to dust them off and ride to work. The finniest part was that a lot of the “strike riders” rode in ways that regular riders wouldn’t, like all over the footpath.

There were reports in the news that the queues for the buses were so bad that fights broke out.

I wonder how many people got hurt or ended up in hospital so the unions could flew their socialist muscle.

Live Earth Consumption Orgy

Wembly Live Earth

Went up to Wembley Stadium to see Live Earth. I cannot think of to many things more inappropriate to bring attention to the state of the planet than an alcohol and rock fueled orgy of consumption.

The bands ranged from good to great but the highlights for me was seeing Wembley Stadium itself. It was awesome. It’s just a pity they don’t play rugby there.

My humour highlight was Thandie Newton’s small piece to air. She started by saying:

“Someone once said -“

At this stage I was thinking I bet she was too lazy to even bother to find out and credit the author of the quote she is stealing. She finished:

“- with power comes responsibility.”

Then I didn’t know when to laugh or cry. Not only did she steal someone else’s quote but she also butchered it. Everyone knows that the line “With great power comes great responsibility”? is by Spiderman’s uncle Ben. So I started yelling “Uncle Ben said it! Uncle Ben said it!” But it was still early in the day and people hadn’t drunk very much so everyone just edged away from me and looked nervous.

Some Pretty Dire Cycle Statistics

These are all from the Evening Standard which seems to be the only newspaper to carry regular articles on cycling and cycle safety in London. My guess would be that one of the editrors at the ES rides to work.

  • 372 cyclist were killed or seriously injured on London roads last year
  • 19 cyclists were killed in collisions – nine of which involved a goods vehicle
  • In 2005 21 cyclists were killed, nine involved lorries
  • The was a 30 per cent rise in cycle deaths between 2003 and 2005
  • The number of cycle journeys has risen by more than 80 per cent over five years
  • There has been a 23 per cent increase in the number of cyclists using London’s main roads, compared to the same time last year
  • 64 per cent of drivers never cycle on roads as they are afraid of having an accident

No surprises about that last one.

Dangerous roads

Earlier this year I wrote to a long list of local councillors about a stretch of cycle lane on the way to work that was blocked in several places by road works. In some places the road was genuinely dug up but in several other the cycle lane was blocked to provide storage space for road signs, equipment and – a portable toilet. I even took some photos (click on the image below to see more).I got a couple of responses about looking at danger areas etc a few weeks later but not much else.

Toilet blocking cycle lane

Yesterday on the same stretch of road I took the photo below of a toilet blocking a cycle lane. In the couple of minutes it took me to take these photos I saw two cyclists ride into oncoming traffic on the wrong side of the road to avoid the toilet blocking the cycle lane. While I admit this is an incredibly stupid thing for cyclists to do the fact that a high percentage of cyclists will do this makes the placement of the portable toilet here, dangerous in the extreme.

Toilet blocks cycle lane

My proposed solution is that the local councils should outlaw using cycle lanes for storage by road workers.

The Bomblers are at it again

It’s been 9 years since I last went to Tiger Tiger in Leicester Square. Sixteen hours before I was due to make a return visit for a friend’s birthday some evil bastard parked a car packed with explosives and nails outside it.

Luckily the bombers are once again as skilful as they are sane and the bomb never went off. Thankfully in the UK there seems to be a high correlation between being a sadistic terrorist murderer and being a bumbling incompetent.

When will the bombers learn? Horrifically killing innocent people doesn’t get you paradise and virgins. It gets you a little concrete cube to spend the rest of your life in with a guy called bubba who makes you wear lipstick.

Evening Standard’s 12-point charter

The Evening Standard have a thoroughly praiseworthy 12-point charter for improving cycle safety in London. I am struggling to find more information about it online except on one other blog so I thought I would promote it here:

  1. A real cycle network across London
  2. Better cycle lanes with proper segregation
  3. Enforcement of special advanced stop lines for cyclists
  4. HGVs to be fitted with special cyclist safety mirrors
  5. Compulsory cyclist awareness training for all bus drivers and new HGV drivers
  6. Make safe the Thames bridges: some of the most dangerous places for cyclists
  7. Cycle-friendly streets: fewer one-way systems which funnel cyclists into the middle of traffic
  8. More cycle parking across London
  9. A police crackdown on bike theft
  10. Campaign to urge the selfemployed to claim a 20p a mile cycling allowance against tax
  11. Better cycle-bus-rail coordination: adequate parking at all railway stations
  12. Cycle training for all schoolchildren and any adult who wants it

POLICE CLAMP DOWN ON DANGEROUS RED-LIGHT-JUMPING CYCLISTS IN HOLBORN – REAL CRIMINALS LAUGHING

Police officers ticketing a dangerous red light jumper in Holborn

Every day when I ride to work I see people step out onto the road without looking. I guess they have forgotten the advice of their parents and are not looking “right then left then right again”?. And while ears might be useful for hearing cars and trucks they aren’t so useful for spotting cycles. This often results in the unobservant pedestrians getting a bing from a bell or a toot of a horn and usually a little scare.

Some of these sharp eared walkers have taken offence to cyclists binging them and the local police have been called into action to sort out the silly cyclists. A group of them now regularly patrol the intersection next to Holborn police station issuing tickets to any cyclist who stupidly runs a red light while they are there.

My point is that I don’t think that a lot of pedestrians are getting hurt. But London roads are putting at least four thousand cyclists in hospital each year.

Now if I were in charge of the police (and why not?) I might target my limited resources at minimising death and injury on the roads. Or I might be looking into why thousands of bikes are stolen in London each year. Quite possibly I might send an office down to Brick Lane where rumour has it you can choose from several cut price stolen bikes any day of the week.

That’s just me though. I have crazy ideas for common sense use of limited police resources.

Ahead of my time, again

It’s good to know that in this fast paced techy time that I can still have the occasional idea that is ahead of the big players.

My idea to put all the cycle accidents in London isn’t possible on Google Maps … yet. Hopefully they will set it up so that any logged in user can add a flag to a map soon.

My Google Map idea for logging cycle accidents in London

I Believe I Can Fly

This morning I was riding down the cycle lane on Avenue Road on my way to work and a people carrier turned left in front of me without indicating. Naturally I did what any sane cyclist would do and I slammed into his rear vision mirror and was catapulted through the air.

I landed a few meters further down the road. I think my right hand hit first. Luckily I was wearing glove to no damage there. My right elbow followed and was very lightly grazed. Next my right hip landed and took the brunt of the impact. No graze but I think I will have a hell of a bruise. The last to hit the asphalt was the right side of my helmet. It hit with such force that I remember thinking at the time that if I wasn’t wearing it there was no way my skull could have taken the hit and stayed in one piece. All in all I got off extremely lightly.

The driver stopped and was really nice except he was touching me far to much and wanted to tell my what to do all the time. Like lie here and don’t move or let me see you walk to the tree and back. I think he was more shaken up than I was. But then I knew I was going to be okay and he was probably shitting himself that I might have internal injuries or shock or a really nasty lawyer (oxymoron?).

Massive Lucky Break

My apple and banana were both in the left hand side of my pack and escaped the carnage entirely unscathed!

Cycle Crash Map

I knew this street was a bad spot because I have had a few close calls and last year I saw a woman with her bike in the back of an ambulance at the same place. And London is full of places where cyclists regularly get cained.

So I have come up with this idea. I have created a Google map that shows where my accident was and encourages other people to plot their accidents or accidents they have seen on it. Once enough data is gathered the map could be used to get local councils to make dangerous intersections safer.

This is the link to my Cycle Crash Map. If you could link to this on your blog (if you have one) or tell people about it that would be great.

Additional weirdness

While I was dazed and confused by the side of the road the driver kept asking me to move away from a smoking white van that three geezers were trying to start. It was only a little smoke so I didn’t see what the fuss was until the geezers started carrying fists full of dirt to white van. At this stage the guy who hit me moved me to the other side of the road and the white van turned into an inferno. I have never seen a live car on fire before and would have completely missed that if I hadn’t been hit.