Tag Archives: bike hire

Weekly War Bulletin, 20 Nov

For really large values of “week”.  I was too busy to digest October’s news as it happened, so here’s a quick look at the stories that stood out since the last Bulletin.  Normal service should be resumed from next week.

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Participatory democracy

The Metropolitan Police Authority are consulting on next year’s policing priorities for London.  You can answer their questionnaire here.  The excuse that the police use for targeting cyclists who roll across the stop line on red, while ignoring the taxi that is stopped next to them at the ASL, is that people complain about the red-light jumping cyclists, while nobody minds that the ASLs are unenforced.  The excuse the police use for intimidating children riding home from school on a pavement, while ignoring the Chelsea tractor that has been abandoned there next to them, is that the people will it.  The excuse the police use for racing down the Vauxhall Bridge Road after cars stolen from Mayfair, rather than nick the bike thieves at Shoreditch and Victoria Park, is that The People say car theft is their priority.  The excuse the police use for stopping and invading the freedom and privacy of commuters in the name of protecting us from terrorism, rather than protecting the vulnerable from violence on night buses and the walk from the station, is that The People are frightened of terrorism, not the shadows behind the station.

So tell them what annoys and frightens you, and we’ll see what happens.

In other news, the GLA are asking for your comments on the “Superhighways” and the hire bikes, and the London Cycling Campaign are seeking nominations for the best cycling facilities (heh), events, initiatives, etc for their annual awards.

–Joe

Weekly War Bulletin, 25 Sep

As we know, Boris has been quietly dropping policies that improve our transport and built environment by cutting private and business vehicle use.  The already delayed Low Emission Zone, for example, has been pushed back another two years — so another two years of the smogs that cost the city millions of pounds and thousands of lives.

All Newspapers reported the story that Brake are backing helmets for hire bikes – they’re essential, apparently.  Indeed, Boris is terrified by people’s careless Borisbiking.  As CycaLogical points out, though, All Newspapers overlooked the next part of Brake’s recommendations — that traffic be cut, speed be cut, and more routes be de-Motorised.

Oona King thinks that cycling in London will take off only if we provide showers for “hot and sweaty” cyclists.  No mention of the one issue that non-cyclists most consistently cite as putting them off: too much traffic too badly driven, and the lack of sane de-Motorised infrastructure.

Car park fees at tube stations are to rise — a stealth fares hike says All Newspapers.  Presumably, since there is no other way to get to a tube station, Motorists will just have to drive all the way to their final destination instead.  And up and down the country local councils are continuing their War On The Motorist by considering raising parking fines.

From the department of absurd transport “solutions”: the 155mph 23 seat business-class “superbus“.  And the electric van fitted with sci-fi sound-effects, because people would obviously be unable to adapt to a world with quieter vehicles.

Instead, how about a more stepped introduction to driving, with recently-passed Motorists kept off the roads after dark?

Via Boing Boing: the story of an Illinois state trooper who sends emails while driving at 126mph, before inevitably veering into an oncoming car, killing two.  His comeuppance? A 30 month suspended sentence, two years off work on full pay, and the receipt of $75,000 worker’s compensation.  If that isn’t a harsh disincentive to drive dangerously…

The number of careless driving convictions is falling.  Interpret this fact as evidence for anything you like.

Cycling is cool — but not for professionals.  Therefore professionals are not cool.

Recall of Bentleys: the flying B mascot will impale the pedestrians that get hit by the cars, they found.  Obviously, it’s fine to sell something that you know will kill people, it’s only the impaling bit that’s wrong.

London Underground will be fined for flying flaps that slapped passengers on the platform.

The proposal to give Waterloo Station (a “much altered and uncoordinated mix of styles”) listed building status has been rejected, leaving Network Rail free to mess about it with it.

Brixton bus depot burned down.

Apparently it was car-free day on Wednesday.  Me neither.

Railway first-aiders say they’re not allowed to give first-aid to passengers.

And your moment of zen, via flickr blog and flickr user Brunocerous: the sad sight of an old tree downed by storms in NYC.

BJN_1152 tree v SUV

Weekly War Bulletin, 18 Sep

This week, a report by Professor Obvious, commissioned by the Department for Transport, found that Motorists feel a great sense of entitlement to the road and will throw their toys around when they don’t get what they think they’re owed.  Like the van driver who cut out in front a cyclist, threw a bottle when the cyclist pointed out the quality of the driving on show, and subsequently got fined because it was all on film.  This last development is likely to alarm the readers of the Daily Mail who, usually so keen to dictate how others should behave, are getting rather worried about Sussex police’s plans to Big Societise traffic policing, with the public encouraged to report each-other’s bad behaviour on the road.

George Michael “gasped” when told he was to be locked up for a mere four weeks, having admitted getting wasted on what the BBC delightfully describes as “cannabis cigarettes” and driving his three ton truck around central London — by pure good fortune crashing it into a Snappy Snaps before he could drive it into a person.  We share your astonishment, George.

Two young offenders have fled detention on their cycle proficiency bikes.  Their choice of getaway vehicle is yet more evidence, as though it were needed, that cyclists are selfish, anti-social, holier-than-thou, road-hogging pavement thieves.

RoadPeace are fighting against those in the “road safety” industry who will try to blame the deaths on our streets on anything — headphones, poverty, texting — except cars and drivers.

But: it turns out that breaking the speed-limit is officially morally OK after all, because the government lied about how likely you are to kill a child at 40mph.

And the London Cycling Campaign want to spend £20,000 on posters asking people nicely if they wouldn’t mind just being a bit safer when they drive their lethal vehicles around entirely inappropriate streets.

Permission to pave a cycle path in Putney Common is denied because of a rule that the area must be kept natural and free from human influence.  A3 dual-carriageway is exempt from that rule for obvious reasons.

Nobody uses TfL’s guided rides to work.

Mayor makes special arrangements for pampered director of centuries-old wealth-hoarding organisation to get driven around London without paying the CCharge.

Not really news, but the Telegraph has some impressively large contextless numbers on the copper-wire theft that is the cause of signalling failures.

This week saw the first casualty of note on a hire bike.  More interestingly, the Standard now seems to think that the hire bikes are known by a compound noun, “Borisbikes”.

The Campaign For Better Transport makes the dubious claim to have objectively measured the car-dependence rate of major British towns and cities, finding Nottingham least car-dependent, and Milton Keynes most car-dependent.

Lewisham, a borough seeking to cut its budget by 25% — £60m over 3 years — is having a laugh playing with fantasy Bakerloo Line extensions.

Billboard posters of woman in underwear will not cause car crashes.  That’s OK then.

Poor Brian Coleman, the Motorist’s friend in London, has had his taxi allowance cut.  What will he do next time he gets banned for speeding?

In a letter to Nature, biologists warn of plans to build a highway across the Serengeti: the road would cut the migration routes of large mammals like wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, and past experience says that this would be sufficient to cause a massive shift in the whole ecosystem of the park.  That’s The War Against The Motorist right there.

Finally, your moment of zen: 11foot8.com

Weekly War Bulletin, 11 Sep

Those deeply unpopular and ineffective speed cameras whose only point was bleed dry the poor hard-done-by ordinary Motoring Brit?  Switching them off has prompted an, er, popular backlash from ordinary Brits, after their roads filled with people driving like massive twats.  Even the AA has realised that the anti-camera morons are not representative of their members.

In Dorset they’re serious about their War On The Motorist: in the Poole suburb of Sandbanks, famous as home to spoilt sportsmen celebrities with Range Rovers, a quarter of all Motorists have been caught speeding within the past five years.  Poole are even bucking the trend by installing those evil average-speed cameras on streets with schools.

Shocking finding of investigative journalism, though: law entirely ineffective at punishing and reforming dangerous drivers.

Allegedly, the tube strike led to a rise in cycling.  I only saw an increase in inexperienced drivers on the road, but then, I live in South London where we don’t have tubes anyway.  As the Tories criticise the unions for walking out on strike instead of being nice and getting around the table to talk about the ticket office closures, they, er, walk out of the London Assembly, refusing to debate the issue of ticket office closures.

Candidates for mayor are firing up their politicking, with Boris stating disagreement with coalition transport cuts, and Ken promising to resurrect the never obviously useful Cross River Tram project.  And desperate to make the Hire Bikes — and by association the one lone man solely responsible for their entire concept and implementation, Boris — look brilliant, the Standard now claim that “Boris Bikes” are inflating property prices around the docks.  Meanwhile, the problems with the system mount up, as TfL automatically charge users’ credit cards hundreds of pounds each for non-existent usage.

“Signalling irregularity” sent a Hammersmith & City train the wrong way down the tracks, weeks after the media mostly ignored the runaway Northern Line train.

The director of Stratford Westfields shopping mall thinks that Stratford needs international trains to stop at its white elephant international station — that “international commuters” are vital for its development…

Speaking of white elephants — that absurd cable car suggestion to cross the river between the Dome and Silvertown?  They’re still seriously talking about building the thing

Councils are switching off their street lights to save money.  Expect a rise in traffic accidents and violent crime and robbery — but that’s OK ‘cos the costs of those won’t be on the council’s books.

Every tabloid hack knows that students these days are just taught how to pass exams, rather than the stuff they’ll need to know out in the real world.  Turns out that this is just as true of learner drivers — but the authorities are trying to change that, starting with the removal of test routes from the internet.

As Sustrans opens an alternative coast-to-coast route, the government is being asked to remember what a good investment proper cycling infrastructure is.  The most entertaining reminder is Christian Wolmer’s epic letter to the Minister for Miscellaneous Non-Rail Non-Car Transport (or whatever his title is).

Lambeth Palace has collided with a bus.

Three-mile, £105 million motorway will provide “attractive gateway” to Port Talbot.

Durham know that a weak “congestion charge” that’s in single figures — whether £2 or £9 — is never going to be effective.  The only proven way to get cars off the streets is the destroy them.

There’s a violent thief on SouthEastern trains.

That was quick: the visit-all-docking-stations-in-a-day challenge has already been successfully completed.

Tory councillors say stupid things about cycling and road danger shock.

A Cincinnati woman is arrested for an “equipment violation“, while a Carlisle woman on the motorway does it the old fashioned way.

The M42 was closed by a poorly horse.

Ho ho.  Florida man arrested for “arguing with bicycle“.

Your moment of zen, Driving Fail via Boing Boing:

Weekly War Bulletin, 4 Sep

How to shift modal share to cycling?  Shut down the tube.  TfL say commuters should get on their bikes during the strikes that start today.

Prince Charles has another brilliant idea: a national tour to say nice things about cycling.  But how to get around such a big and difficult to traverse country as the UK?  How about a £100k private train?  “‘Peep peep,’ said Charles the Mental Engine to Thomas, as he was pulling Annie and Clarabel on the 08:27 stopping service to Birmingham New Street.  ‘Get out of my fucking way.  Don’t you know who I am?'”

A professor of marketing has discovered that sad non-cyclists envy us awesome cyclists.  This is not news.  One only needs to watch all the cabbies, bikers, and white van men sat in the advanced stop lane for cyclists at the lights, desperately hoping that people will see their position and mistake them for a cool bicyclist.

And from the desk of Professor Obvious: drivers are not very good at driving when they are angry.

We were supposed to be able to use hire bikes without a subscription and key around about now.  TfL now say casual users won’t be allowed to have a go until the new year.

And with other important transport projects being mothballed, scaled back, and dropped entirely, rumours are flying that Boris, fearing that the electorate will take it out on him, might give up and seek to return to Parliament, to represent Londoners as a back bench trouble maker.

Oxfordshire towns and villages can rent their own speed cameras for £5000 a year, after a residents’ backlash against the county’s cameras being switched off.

The motorways are full, and the M6 toll road has failed to solve the congestion problem around Birmingham, because Motorists will not pay for a road when there is a free one going to the same place.

Want to get to your destination three minutes quicker?  You can now take advantage of a new convenient fast-track level-crossing service from the British Judiciary, where you can put the lives of hundreds of people in danger for the competitive price of just £50.  Payment may be made by direct debit; no need to turn up in person to pay.  On days when revenue enforcement officers are unavailable, the service is free.

Police arrest drunk driver; crash his supercar into garden.  Heh.

London-Frankfurt direct trains are moving into the testing phase; but intra-national high-speed rail is going to face hiking nimbys.

Finally, your moment of zen: a cyclist with a reckless disregard for his own safety — where is his helmet?

Weekly War Bulletin, 21 Aug

As yet more counties have to switch off their speed cameras, a study from the Department of The Obvious finds that more people are speeding where the cameras have been switched off.

This week’s cold hard news, though, is all about how some rich sportsman drove an absurdly inappropriate vehicle into central Manchester and got a parking ticket from a mean looking unrepentant traffic warden.  When you make millions of pounds a week, you can afford to do what you like with our streets.  “Supercar” drivers (for some reason I can’t read that word without thinking, I’m super, thanks for asking…) in Westminster just chuck their parking tickets away as they leave the country.  A fellow footballer demonstrates that in a country which punishes homicidal behaviour with £60 fines, millionaires will happily keep on behaving homicidally until you confiscate their weapons.  And a TV actor is released on bail and presumably allowed to continue driving his BMW after giving a pedestrian serious head injuries and driving away without stopping.

There’s another type of person who likes to drive in London.  In Peckham, a shop has collided with a BMW, killing its driver, who was in his 30s.  Hmm.

Motorists whine about having their human right to park wherever they bloody want being infringed.  Except that the government have this week ended the war on the motorist!  Hooray!  Motorists right to park on your front lawn, in your business’ front yard, or, indeed, on any part of a pavement that is technically private land, has been enshrined in law.  Only IanVisits dissents.

Sounds about right: on average, one child in every class is killed or seriously injured by a motor vehicle before they can leave school.  Kids in rich London boroughs are safer.  Hey, it’s just the necessary price we pay for our modern quality of life…

It’s OK though: authorities and businesses around Holborn are taking seriously the dangerous anti-social behaviour on our streets: they’re setting their private armies of wannabe cops on anti-social cyclists.  Previously, London’s battalions of private security guards were able to keep themselves busy tackling the threats posed by tourists, train spotters and press photographers.  Now that the EU has ruled that owning a camera is not an act of terrorism, security have had to find a new threat to neutralise, and a new set of laws to make up.  Look forward to being hassled by people who think it’s illegal to ride without a helmet, or who tell you that they will call the police if you don’t stay within the advisory cycle lane, because as a private security guard they know the law and that is the law.

As the Lib Dems join the fight over just who it was that had the idea to install hire bikes, we find that one in six of them aren’t even in use yet, because installation of docking stations in some of the posher parts of town has been held up by people who are worried that they will take road space away from their Mercedes.

Ready for the next round of train fare increases?  The Secretary of State for Motoring Transport could abolish the cap of 1% above inflation increases, in the hope that more expensive train fares will mean higher fares revenue, and less need to subsidise the trains.  Like it does on the, er, very expensive but empty SouthEastern bullet trains from St Pancras to Kent, which have already had to be subsidised by exempting SouthEastern’s conventional services from the 1% cap.  All sound a bit complicated and surreal?  That’s train fares.

Another reason we must build HS2: how else will people get to London Birmingham Airport on time for their flight to Edinburgh?  It’s not like they can use Heathrow, given how awful the shopping is there.

Local train in Suffolk hits a sewage tanker, whose driver thought that getting his sewage to its destination a couple of minutes quicker was more important than the life and limb of 21 train passengers and staff.

Your moment of zen: bear gets stuck in car! (via Boing Boing)