|12th March 2010||#5|
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they need to do one for drivers.....
had an interesting dialogue with a lady whilst on my way to herne hill today.
looked back, indicated i was overtaking a cyclist.......overtook....got beeped, despite checking the distance between us before over-taking....
at the lights she glared at me and shook her head, so i signalled to weave her window down.
she says, angrily,
'you were riding out in the middle of the road'...
i say 'yes, i did indicate before making my move to overtake the cyclist in front of me, thus moving out in the middle of the road to overtake him safely'
(bearing in mind there are cars parked all the way down this road, it is residential...)
lady : 'well i didn't see that, but it is very frightening for us when you ride out in the rode like that'
(what, ride in the middle of the road?)
'well, trust me it is pretty frightening for us too when cars drive us right into the curb.......'
lights change. we go our separate ways....
last time i checked, i was entitled to the width of a car? which, considering the parked cars, I was just about taking up, and actually wasn't out in the middle of the road, and it wasn't for long at all as I resumed my position once overtaking the person in front of me....
however, it was nice to have a chat, rather than a sweary shouty signalling match.....
|13th November 2011||#10|
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One of the best things to come out of TfL's Cycle Safety Action Plan are the Cycle Safety Working Groups which were set up when everyone realised that the origninal draft plan missed most of the important issues. These groups have reps from London Cycling Campaign, Roadpeace, CTC, London Councils, FTA and the Police as well as TfL staff.
At this group we have put HGV safety at the top of the agenda resulting in the chance to revolutionise driver training and maybe ensure companies are brought to accout. Last week, just before the latest tragedy, we proposed that road infrastructure, especially at major junctions, be put at the top of the agenda for future meetings.
We also agreed a new sub-group to look at cycling and casualty statistics. TfL and the Mayor claim that the rate of casualties and fatalities is falling, as the number of cyclists has increased dramatically in recent years. A recent blog by Danny Williams
challenged that view using Department for Transport data. My view is that the Transport for London data is far better than anything from DfT and I believe that the casualty rate is falling, but not nearly as much as it should. The main problem is that there is very poor information on how many people cycle, where they cycle and how far they go.
A working group concentrating on cycle casualty data should give us better information and encourage TfL to invest in collecting more data about cycle use in London.
Last edited by charlie_lcc; 13th November 2011 at 15:05.
|13th November 2011||#11|
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I think arguing about small rises and falls in the rate of casualties is probably not productive. It enables TFL's strategy of making tiny safety improvements, and then pointing to tiny improvements in safety as evidence that it's doing its best.
Instead, we should be asking ourselves, what's an acceptable number? What should the target be? How should we define a safe and unsafe junction?
David Hembrow's post here:
might be a good guide.
In general, cyclist KSIs (per km) in the Netherlands are, I think, about a third of those in the UK. This seems an appropriate target. If we set this as a target - clearly it's only obtainable through very high quality infrastructure and traffic calming on something like the Dutch model. It's also obvious that the kind of interventions TFL usually considers will come no-where close to hitting the target.
There's also, perhaps, a more subjective safety target one could use. If it doesn't feel safe enough to cycle with a small child in a child seat, it's not yet safe enough...
|13th November 2011||#18|
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There is no question that TfL, owing to a lack of political direction, is for the most part pursuing business as usual, but there are exceptions, and the work that Charlie describes is among those.
For instance, in Hackney about nine years ago we succeeded in having the junction with the worst crash record for cyclists remodelled. This was a small and somewhat innocuous-looking junction at St Mark's Rise/Shacklewell Lane, where there were 10-20 reported cyclist casualties a year, including several serious ones. The problem was a sweeping left turn at a place where many rat-running motorists would turn left down St Mark's Rise and most cyclists would carry on towards the A10. The left turn arrangement was an example of bad design, but it would have been without consequences if motorists had followed proper left-turning procedures instead of putting their own sense of being in a hurry above the safety of other people. The simple fact that people often show a lack of consideration or simply can't cope with driving doesn't make junctions or any other piece of infrastructure 'safe' or 'unsafe'.
This is not just splitting hairs. It's a very important distinction to observe if you want to understand traffic and why people cycle or why not and lots of other things besides. By claiming that crashes are the (inevitable?) outcome of a 'dangerous' junction, you let drivers off the hook more than you realise. It's like blaming an uninvolved third party. You need to describe the problems with a junction neutrally, i.e. putting the finger on bad design, and separate the perpetrators' responsibility out properly.
It is still very much the case that badly-designed junctions, where some drivers' mistakes or unlawful driving cause high levels of casualties, have to be redesigned. Focusing on the design problems allows you to comprehend that problems with such junctions typically go much deeper than the relatively small symptom of bad design which are casualties.
The E&C is a good example--it is one of London's most major centres, the most important point in SE1, one of London's most important postcode areas. It has been depressed for decades following extensive war damage and the idea that most journeys should only pass through the area rather than end there. There is very little local economic activity as a result. There needs to be a complete local regeneration project, but as has been the case in London for some time, current efforts are very timid and involve little more than the Heygate Estate while putting forward only a fairly feeble suggestion for the main junction which would not have addressed what is required there.
Real progress is usually not achieved by aiming for very remote things. If you try that, you might not see another possible step that might get you closer to a more realistic aim and which might indirectly, via any number of intermediate steps, lead to what you really want eventually. I've seen plenty of people get completely frustrated because they always had aims like the above in the back of their minds.
Sorry if that seems patronising, beside the point, or like teaching a grandmother to suck eggs, but campaigning for change is hard, long-drawn out, and sustained work.
|13th November 2011||#20|
|13th November 2011||#21|
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since it not meant for peds and cyclists, then are we doomed to stay inside a cages for the rest of our lives?
|13th November 2011||#23|
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Just to be clear, i think the work Charlie has been doing with TFL is an absolutely vital part of reducing the casualty rate. But designing 'poka yoke' is just as important. There's no inherent contradiction here. No-one will go out on the road wanting to take risks just because we improve passive safety. In fact, much of passive safety involves design that makes people aware of risk.
Many other things that TFL does, and flags as improvements - for example the proposed redesigns of the junction at Kings Cross - are clearly no-where near what's needed to improve safety to a significant degree.
Many stories can be told about which parts of what the Dutch have done are effective, and which aren't. if you have clear experimental evidence, that's always useful. Otherwise, we know that their interventions, all together, have been enough to create and maintain over 30% of modal share in many cities. We haven't managed that anywhere here, so it's likely we have something to learn from their experience over the past 30 years.
David Hembrow points out that the most dangerous junction in the Netherlands has a cycle casualty rate less than 1/6 of that at E&C. It's also true that the Dutch have several junctions that look outwardly a lot like E&C (but with cyclists given a segregated route around the junction). It's clear, therefore, that one can design junctions that work more or less like E&C with a very much lower casualty rate. This would seem to be around the right scale for our target.
Again, things aren't exactly the same here and there, I agree. But they're similar enough for us to be able to think of the 1/3 casualty rate (and the 30% modal share) as something close to the what we'd be able to achieve with a raft similar interventions.
I think here, the answer is clearly to start building high quality infrastructure (and putting in place other interventions on the Dutch model), and trying to measure the effect as it's rolled out to see what's most effective. If it doesn't work, we can always stop building it.
High aims are difficult to achieve, it's true. The London political system, though, concentrates a lot of power at the top - if the Mayor and his advisors decide something should happen, it usually gets done - and to sway these people, one needs to be able to articulate both problems and solutions in a clear (and careful) manner. The detail can be worked out later.
There's room for both this approach, and the more local, detail-oriented pressure on borough councils and TFL. In fact, I suspect both are necessary for any significant progress.
Hope that's clearer....
Last edited by chameleon; 13th November 2011 at 19:57.
|14th November 2011||#29|
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Steve Norris for Mayor??? He was a tory car dealer, when he was a minister for Transport we took him for a ride around London. One of the results was the National Cycling Strategy 1996. It set a target to quadruple cycling by 2012. In London it has almost tripled.
Last edited by charlie_lcc; 14th November 2011 at 10:51. Reason: grama
|14th November 2011||#30|
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You really do have a penchant for the brown stuff, eh?
I'm simply bored of deaths coming from the same vulnerable section. It'd be interesting to see how deeply entrenched that inertia really is when this kind of tragedy is brought closer to home.
I wish I could be just like you and feel no sense anger at what have been utterly preventable deaths- especially against the backdrop of those in power paying lip service, telling us to get out of our cars/telling us how much monies have been spent painting roads blue/the police perceived inactivity towards reports of dangerous drivers/TfL's dishonesty regarding the dangers of certain junctions that experts have warned would result in death(s)/ a refusal by the haulage industry or the dept for transport to add simple cameras, to stipulate a minimal amount of mirrors irrespective of how old the vehicle is or where ever in Europe it's come from before entering dense URBAN roads/ or to ensure drivers have a basic amount of rest and are able to grasp basic road signage.
You have no idea what it's like to leave this world via a HGV. A friend was unfortunate to witness this and required counselling for months afterwards.
I wonder how glib you'd be if it were your best mate? Maybe you could hold up a mirror and proclaim: "Has it ever occured to you that busy urban streets are not meant for cyclists?!"
Possibly for an encore you could turn up to the funerals and tell the now fatherless/motherless/loverless/brotherless/sisterless/friendless grieving ones:
"Has it ever occured to you that busy urban streets are not meant for cyclists?!"
Oh you dropped this "r" (it's occurred)
Maybe you could do talks to rape victims about taking their blame in wearing skirts?
Last edited by Multi Grooves; 14th November 2011 at 12:34.
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