Tag Archives: bikeability

Weekly War Bulletin, 2 Oct

The exciting news of the week is that petrol head secretary of state for transport Philip Hammond has ended the War On The Motorist by announcing that John Prescott’s M4 bus lane will revert to an all-traffic lane.  Never mind the fact that this will do nothing to improve the actual journey times of Motorists, because a bottleneck further down the road determines its overall capacity.  This is politics, after all: no room for evidence in deciding policy.  Interestingly, this news has pitched private Motorists against cabbies, with desperate attempts to justify the presence of taxis in bus lanes.  Despite being the most universally hated road users in London, the taxis could at least rely on the politicians — who in turn rely on taxis to avoid mixing with the proles on the buses — for friendship and a free ride down the bus lane.  Now even Phillip Hammond has deserted them and told them to sit in the jams with all the other non-public transport.

A meaningless PR “study” finds that Clapham and Wandsworth have the most congested roads in London.  The AA say the problem is roadworks and a lack of “money thrown at the problem”.  Not too many cars, then?  The Evening Standard commenters actually fill me with hope for once:

What the lobbyists fail to mention though, is that there are simply too many cars in London. Why is that simple fact not mentioned?

You could a south London version of the Westway and it would still end up gridlocked. Road works don’t help in the slightest but it’s just a distraction from the true cause.

Of course, they won’t mention that, because in UK plc any attempt at tackling this problem is a “war on the motorist”.

- Ashley, Camden, 01/10/2010 13:57

The government has stumbled upon a clever scheme to keep good news about transport funding flowing: regularly announce that Crossrail funding is safe.  Everyone will forget that you already announced that last week, and the week before…

But Norman Baker, Minister for Pedestrians, Cyclists, Bus Passengers, and Other Unimportant Transport Users, has this week announced that Bikeability will not be allowed to go up in flames with the bonfire of the quangos.

The Met have expanded their Cycle Task Force.  There are some hilarious and presumably sarcastic comments from the mayor’s transport advisor: “the Cycle Task Force is a fundamental part of the cycling revolution the Mayor has delivered in London,” and “however there is always more that can be done to make London the best cycling city in the world…”

A hit-and-run killer dragged a woman under their car for a mile, around Belsize Park.  Meanwhile, a killer delivery driver in the city gets a suspended sentence.

Driver re-education courses, for careless driving and law breaking, won’t work.  Not that the £1000 fine given to hardened criminal Katie Price for careless driving and apparently texting while driving a horsebox on the motorway will.

The government has published its Manual For Streets, advocating shared space for the nation’s high streets.  Look forward to some of the ideas being implemented in the street regeneration plans that have been announced for Belfast, Bournemouth, Prestatyn, and Reading.  Also in the regions, Clay Cross in Derbyshire has been given conservation status; and Aberystwyth gets more money to spend on green transport (interesting that the BBC illustrate the story with a “cycling forbidden” sign).

Work begins on the next couple of “superhighways”.  Interestingly, they’re the ones to serve, erm, the two parts of town that already have superhighways.

Going places is going to continue to get more expensive.  (Unless, erm, you walk or cycle there?)  Lets all blame the government and ignore the rising prices of increasingly hard to obtain oil.

TfL aren’t very good at replying to freedom of information requests — or are good at procrastinating on them, anyway.

French towns are replacing their bin lorries with horse-drawn recycling carts.  This is still the least absurd modern transport solution I’ve heard all year.  The robotic high-density deep-underground car park in Birmingham being one of the many absurdities indicative of late-phase chronic car dependency.

South Wales are making more shock adverts about careless and dangerous driving.

Drivers who pass their driving test are safer than the ones who don’t.  Thanks, Professor Obvious.

Stratford Central Line westbound has an exciting revolutionary new platform where the doors can open on both sides of the train.  Magic.

Nobody is stealing hire bikes.  Well, five.  Of more concern is that the Independent have adopted the Evening Standard‘s awful name for them.

Segway owner accidentally rides Segway over cliff, falls to his death.

Smelly cyclists not welcome in New Forest tea shops.

Kingsland cyclist muggers arrested.

Anti-social Motorists in Guidford “block one-way system“.

Lorry collides with M6 at Coventry.  Car collides with M11 in Essex.  And the National Arboretum has opened a memorial to those who have died in the name of Motorways.

And a house has collided with a 206 in Hampshire, a Cafe has collided with a Vauxhall in Aberdeenshire, and three houses collided with a car in Sunderland.  Meanwhile a bollard has collided with a Nissan in Derbyshire.

Luxury cars torched in Dundee and Devon, and a “spate” of scratched cars on the IoW.

Australia have launched a National Cycling Strategy.  Lets hope they’ve looked at Europe and noticed which country’s strategy has succeeded and which is failing, and picked the one that works.

Finally, Google Street View now covers Antarctica.

Some moments of zen: Old man rides a bikeBear rides a train.  And, man carries carpet on mobility scooter — how irresponsible: that 8mph carpet could have been a danger to the poor Motorists…

“It’s a danger to himself and a danger to other motorists. If someone wasn’t careful, they could’ve hit him off and he could’ve got seriously hurt and his family wouldn’t like that.”

The Coalition Government Don’t Care About Your Transport Needs

The Telegraph today got hold of a leaked document detailing the quangos the government plan to scrap under their brutal “spending review”, which has felt more akin to a knife in the gut than a budgeting exercise. Amongst those for the chop are Cycling England and the Disabled Person’s Advisory Committee proving yet against that the Tories and Lib Dems don’t care about your transport needs. Cycling England work hard to deliver, using a very limited budget to get thousands of children and adults cycling. This pie chart shows how negligible the spend on Cycling England is in comparison to the total transport spend:

Even the Department of Transport’s own figures show a benefit to cost ratio of 3:1(links to PDF) Cycling England do excellent work, with a high profile for a team of only three full time member sof staff, getting school kids cycling by identifying safe cycle routes, helping to build cycle racks, and coordinating the national institution that is the Cycling Proficiency Scheme. If we’re to combat childhood obesity, doing things like cutting Cycling England and cutting free swimming are the stupidest things imaginable: they lower the likelihood that exercise becomes part of peoples routines at an early age, and have such high returns for such low costs that they make no difference to the spending of the public sector. Until, that is, 30 years down the line, heart disease and stroke rates implode. Just yesterday, ministers reported that school sports were growing, but not fast enough and that interest in cycling was surging. And now they are cutting an organisation that fosters exactly that.

The loss of the Disabled Person’s Advisory Committee is indicative of the lack of consideration towards disabled people and their transport needs that has become endemic. Recently, as reported here by Adam Bienkov, the Tory London Assembly Members walked out of a debate on staffing at TfL ticket offices whilst members of disability rights group Transport for All campaigned outside. It’s tough enough to get around cities and rural areas with a disability, without having local and national government decide they’d rather save a few pennies than ask you what you need, or how you’d like to get around the streets and community you call your home. But when a government reduce society to pennies, pounds and economic terms instead of people, families and community bonds, that’s what we get.

So in summary, this government don’t care about public transport. They don’t care about eco-friendly transport. They don’t care about transport that benefits people. They don’t care about transport that benefits the marginalised. They don’t care about transport that works for the poor. They don’t care about the type of transport that most people in cities use. They hate bus passes, they hate bikes, they love cars. I hate this government.

–Dawn

Weekly War Bulletin, 28 Aug

The Motorist ranks are divided by news that the suckers who pay for insurance are subsidising, to the tune of £50 per driver per year, the 2 million who don’t bother to get insured on account of the fact that they’ll almost certainly get away with it, and even if they don’t, the worst they’ll get is a slap on the wrist.  But the AA, always quick to spot an unfair attempt to blame the poor hard done by Motorist, has found that the high cost of insurance is not the fault of people driving uninsured, but of those who are killed or injured by drivers and who subsequently exaggerate the seriousness of their deaths and injuries so that they can over-claim.

And the Institute of Advanced Motorists, who must surely be anti-Motorist impostors, are even claiming that 70% of drivers are in favour of safety cameras.  It’s almost as if they’re suggesting that Tory newspapers have invented the War On The Motorist, and that in fact most drivers do not think that speeding is acceptable behaviour.  Everyone already knew that the IAM were imposters.  But what’s this?  The AA signing a letter in favour of speed cameras?  What has happened to the great institutions of Motorism?

Luckily, Motorists can unite against local councils who want to tax people for parking at work.  It’s just another stealth tax on the working man.  A War On The…, well, you know the rest.  Meanwhile, in Brent, Motorists are being bribed to give up their residents’ parking permits, with vouchers for bikes, season tickets and car clubs on offer.

Luckily, Super Philip Hammond to the rescue: central government might step in again and veto these anti-Motorist councils and their parking taxes.  And more importantly, Hammond has saved the pub industry, by agreeing that preventing drink driving would be bad for business, and is therefore unacceptable.

Cycling England, the quango administering Bikeability training courses and Cycling Cities looks likely to be cut.  What does anyone need Bikeability training for anyway, when we have PCSOs to teach people how to cycle safely and courteously — as they have with the 84 year old pavement cycling war veteran.  Police around the country are cracking down on the menace of anti-social cycling.

Manufacturer of 200mph car is baffled as to why they keep crashing.

This week, it rained.  The tube got a bit damp and stopped working.  And the first monthly tube strike is coming up in two weeks, as TfL proceed with plans to close ticket offices, arguing that modern technology has made many redundant.  Depot staff are also walking out over the coming months.

Every time is peak time on the railway now: rush hour has been redefined, so that train companies can charge more for longer.

TfL are having to manage the daily problem of Hire Bikes piling up around Waterloo in the evening.

Metal railings have collided with a bus in Picadilly Circus, injuring one.  This presumably makes things easier for the proposed Picadilly Circus remodelling, which will remove the remaining railings.

Stoned pop singer drives Range Rover into Snappy Snaps; not allowed to drive for six months.

And finally, Londonist has the architects’ pictures of the new Blackfriars Station: all pedestrians are expected to be ghosts by the time it opens.