Thursday, 26 September 2013

Dear Britain -Why do you hate people when they ride bikes?

  • Why is giving room when passing so a person riding a bike has a safe amount of room so hated? 
  • Why is holding back so that a person riding a bike doesn't feel bullied so hated?
  • Why is a person wearing sport specific clothing so hated?
  • Why is a person who can spend a few thousand on sports equipment so hated?
  • Why is a person who rides a bike as a hobby or interest to get and stay fit so hated?
  • Why is a person who rides a bike instead of driving a car as transport so hated? 
  • Why does Britain hate people when they ride bikes? 

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Guest post from Major Ivor Misunderstanding - Bloody Runners!

This is a guest post by Major Ivor Misunderstanding (ret)


Once again we are trapped in our homes by hordes of people supposedly embarking on a "fun" run although what is fun about running I have no idea.

They have closed off the public roads and turned them into a racetrack. As a result I will not be able to drive to the Golf course for lunch and a few harmless whiskies before harmlessly driving home as I do every Sunday.

What right do they have to deprive myself and others of our personal freedoms so that they can have a morning of so called fun?

These so-called runners don't pay road tax like I do. I have heard although I don't believe it , that some roads are paid for by council tax. I'll wager most of these neer-do-wells  aren't from around here either. why can't they run on their own roads?

All that pounding must damage the roads really badly. Do they get charged for the roads to be repaired after they have destroyed it? No I'll bet they don't.

Do they not have special tracks they can waddle around near their homes tucked out of site so that they don't offend the vast majority of the right-minded public. We don't want to see people doing this kind of nonsense.

Most them "wear" such minimal clothing so that they are almost naked underneath, with everything  jiggling and bouncing about whilst they bound down the road all sweaty and steamy.

All this exercise must place a great strain on their bodies. What about the millions which it must cost the NHS to treat all the heart attacks that all this running must attract. Why is it that the poor taxpayer must fork out for these idiots when they harm themselves. Make them go private, and don't treat anyone who gets ill or injured whilst running without taking their card details first.  I also think they should be forced to wear special helmets for when they trip over. I know how easy it can be to fall over. I have done so myself many times walking across the car park from the clubhouse.

Another thing is all the rubbish that these louts create, just chucking away fruit leftovers, and water bottles. They leave the place looking like a tip. the police should fine them.

I am glad to see though that someone has had the good sense to make them all wear registration numbers so they can be easily identified.


Ivor Misunderstanding, Major (ret)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Helmet survey - The responses

About a week or so ago, I posted a link to a simple helmet survey I knocked up.
This was in frustration at the simple yes/no leading crap which has being doing the rounds lately on newspaper websites, mainly as a response to a campaign and subsequent comments by Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish, and Laura Trott.

I wanted to get a feel for the sort of person who wanted compulsory helmets, and what sort (if any) of riding they did and how long they had been cycling. It is important to note, that there is no deep academic or scientific basis for the questions or results other than my curiosity.

In the end I only got 90 responses, I was hoping for more but it's still more than a lot of the beauty product "surveys in TV ads.

I wanted to export and post the raw data, but it turns out that SurveyMonkey doesn't let you do that with the freebie, but does let you filter the results.

Question 1. 
I had hoped that more none cyclists would respond as they also have a valid viewpoint. I found it interesting that by far the largest proportion reported that their main style was commuting/transport.

Question 2.
Again, interesting that most responses were over 20+ years of experience, which surprised me as I expected a wider spread.

Question 3
Fairly even split for this one overall, with 52% wearing a helmet and 48% not.

Question 4

Expected this result, but not perhaps quite as high with 82% saying that a lid did not make them feel safer from traffic. From personal experience, I find that I suffer more close passes when wearing on and feel that this could be the source, as well as the fact that if a vehicle hits you at speed, then a helmet is not a lot of help.

Question 5
There you go. 95% of people who ride bikes don't think helmets should be compulsory. No surprise apart from the numbers. I expected a fair few more to be in favour actually.

There were only 4 in favour. 2 identified as fast recreational, and 2 as general leisure riders. All four answered that they wore a helmet (no surprise) and 50% feel safer with a lid & the other 50% don't.
All of those had been cycling less than 20 years & 1 less than 5, so presumably have always worn lids. 

60% of all the respondents who cycled for more than 20 years did not wear a helmet. almost 90% reckoned it didn't make them feel safe from traffic, and 100% were against compulsion.

Monday, 2 September 2013

After the debate... What next?

Well we've not had the campaign, the inquiry and recommendations and now the debate..  What next?

Backstepping just a touch.

The get Britain cycling parliamentary debate was well attended with estimates of a 100 or so MPs from all parties. the debate itself was largely positive with only a few mentions of helmet compulsion (which mostly got talked down quickly) and the usual crap about training, hi-viz.
But overall there was some very good points with everyone agreeing that investing time, effort and money into cycling as a transport mode is a very good thing for the UK.
Maria Eagle gave it both barrels as she laid out a cycling manifesto from Labour, and the Govt's response was underwhelming by comparison. I certainly wasn't expecting a massive U turn from the likes of Norman Baker but by spelling out what the Government are doing, really highlighted their lack of real commitment and progress.

So what next...

Actually to my eyes chucking a shedload of money at the problem as is, would be completely wrong.
What we need is:

  • A proper long term plan and timetable for cycling. As many said other transport has such plans but cycling doesn't. That is the important thing that came out of yesterday. Which ever party Govt follows this one will carry on the work
  • A review of legislation to that a lot of the facilities which currently would not be legal could be made legal
  • A review of design guidelines to ensure that proper high quality facilities which are designed for the future planned growth and are more than a blue shared use sign on a 1metre path.
  • Carefully (but speedily) updates to planning guidelines to ensure that provision for cycling is considered right from the very start of a project.
  • Once we have the above two, they need to be mandatory for LAs and developers to follow.

Some of that appears to be happening, but it isn't transparent or public enough, and expert opinion AND best practice from the continent needs to be considered.

Then and only then is when people should start the actual digging and building.

In the meantime, there is stuff that can be done.
Public facilities like shops, schools, workplaces  need to be forced to provide secure parking provision for bicycles as many don't currently, and implement other facilities such as showers and lockers etc.
For example, my workplace only has a few bikepods for secure bike parking which are all taken and does not plan any more or operate a waiting list. This is completely the wrong approach, is failing the people that want to cycle now and could be tackled immediately. They are not willing to so need to be forced.

Local Authorities, and large developments such as out of town supermarkets should be made to implement a "Cycling Suggestion Box" scheme, where small improvements which can be made relatively easily, such as the following examples

  • Dropped kerb for access onto a route
  • Removal of a barrier
  • Where short contraflow or cycle bypasses to blocked off roads for increased permeability

LAs should be forced to examine and reply publicly back with either timetables for the work OR constructive explanations why it cannot happen. If it is sensible, then the change should be implemented. Like Freedom of information, there should be strict timetables set for consideration and replies, and also for any works needed.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Why not use cycle routes and paths?

Because most of them are utter shite.

These are some examples from my local area.

These are some examples, but there many more barriers as well as these where you need to dismount to pass, either at the ends of the path, or randomly in the middle of the route. These are often magnets for anti-social behavior and broken glass abounds

Randomly having to give way for anything crossing the route, often for no reason. Absolutely no priority to cycles

 Completely unsigned and with no indication of direction, so unless you know a local area intimately you WILL get lost

Or the routes are just symbols painted onto narrow footpaths

Or the cycle path is nothing more than a dirt track (ignoring the wagon parked blocking it)... or an anonymous cut between a couple of houses

Or even suddenly has a section that you are not allowed to ride along, even though it is a LA cycling route

Just imagine the uproar if roads were this crap...