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Sunday, 31 August 2014
What was this driver thinking?

Or perhaps he wasn’t thinking.

Posted by bigblue on 31/08/2014 at 12:11 PM
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Friday, 29 August 2014


I was interested to see the concept of filtered permeability being put to use on Parisian streets, like this one. The metal bollards prevent cars using the streets as routes through the city. Only locals would access the street in their car (and then they might struggle to find parking. Other metal bollards put an end to the Parisian habit of parking cars on the pavement). Meanwhile cyclists and pedestrians can pass through at will. Previously I have seen this working in York.

It keeps motor vehicles onto main roads, and creates quieter residential and business zones within the city that provide a better living environment. Children were playing in the street and the pavement cafés and restaurants were more pleasant than those a block away. The streets had more of a community vibe, and I saw my first French hipsters.  They look like hipsters in any other country.

Posted by bigblue on 29/08/2014 at 01:46 PM
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Thursday, 28 August 2014
Lose is not the correct word


And nor would a lock prevent your bicycle from being nicked. York University could provide more secure bicycle parking of course, but that solution might be too obvious, and it will cost more than little notices on the wall.

Posted by bigblue on 28/08/2014 at 07:43 PM
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Wednesday, 27 August 2014
Sailing in Jardin de Tuileries


I remember doing this a few years ago when my children  were young. The yachts are hired from a vendor in the park for a fixed time period.

Posted by bigblue on 27/08/2014 at 08:13 PM
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Tuesday, 26 August 2014
Ide Hill Descent (with dash)

Another video of me cycling down Ide Hill in Kent. Here I am displaying the (closely synchronised) speed and orientation information. The yellow track is the route of my complete ride, with an arrow indicating where I am on the route.  I didn’t think I was going particularly fast here because my top speed was not very high, but my end-to-end speed for this segment of the route is (according to my computer) my fastest recorded time.

Posted by bigblue on 26/08/2014 at 03:12 PM
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Monday, 25 August 2014
Whatever the Cost



Cost is a graffiti writer who blanketed New York in the 1980s and 1990s with a series of stickers. His real name is Adam Cole and, from what I saw in Paris recently, he has recently plastered parts of Paris.

Apparently when asked by a New York Times Style reporter what it all meant (the stickers he produced with a collaborator), he replied “if you could give us the meaning of life, I’d give you the meaning of us”.

From what I saw of his stickers there is no mystery. The banal message celebrates the ubiquitous modern cult of celebrity. Without irony, and without intelligence, he is apparently parodying one of the least attractive aspects of modern society. Probably unintentionally too.

Posted by bigblue on 25/08/2014 at 09:30 PM
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Sunday, 24 August 2014
Lingfield is lovely!

It’s just a pity about some of their daredevil drivers. This chappie put me, the occupant of the oncoming vehicle, his passenger and himself at risk for no reason.

I had a nice ride this morning through Surrey, Kent and East Sussex. I passed more cyclists than drivers (over a three hour period that ended after noon), and everyone was cool and relaxed. However coming home through Lingfield I met a couple of reckless drivers. This is one of them. Perhaps he gets so bored sitting in traffic queues that he takes his chances of excitement when they present themselves?

Posted by bigblue on 24/08/2014 at 06:03 PM
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Thursday, 21 August 2014
Aggressive driver threatens me with his vehicle

As you can see in the video this driver was quite irate at my using the road, and that due to the narrow road and oncoming traffic he needed to slow down and add a few seconds to his journey time.  The question is: do I report his threatening and aggressive behaviour to Kent Police? My previous experience suggests that Kent Police would only be interested if he was threatening me with something other than his motor vehicle, or if he had actually hit me with his vehicle. 


The incident occurred on Pilgrims’ Way West leaving Otford in the direction of Sevenoaks at approximately 8:25 this morning. This evening at about 21:10, I followed the advice of commenters on the YouTube video and reported the incident to Kent Police.

As I might have mentioned before, Kent Police handles these a bit differently to Surrey Police (my home county is Surrey). Whereas Surrey Police require you to fill in a form (and discourage you from reporting an incident where you do not have two ‘independent’ witnesses) the Kent Police just take a verbal report over the phone. They log the facts in their database and say that this is then passed to the ‘case review team’ who will then come back to make contact with the reporter.

So, now there’s a wait to see what happens and also to see whether they are interested in reviewing my video footage.

Update 27/11/2014:

Today I received the following letter from Kent Police, dated 24 November 2014:

I write to provide you with an update on the allegation of poor driving standards that  you recently reported.

Following a review of the circumstances it has been decided that there is not sufficient evidence which is likely to result in a successful prosecution. Accordingly no further action is being taken.

Thank you for taking the trouble to contact us. 

Your sincerely,
H. Trow
Central Process Unit
Traffic Summons Team

I am somewhat disappointed in this result.  I wonder what would have happened if someone had threatened me with a non-vehicle object, such as a club or stick: would Kent Police also have determined that “no further action” was required, or would they have interviewed such a person to establish whether they posed a danger to society at large (regardless of whether a prosecution would be successful or not).  My second concern is that the vehicle showed up on the national database as untaxed. Surely this is an area that they should have addressed with the owner, as it is illegal to drive an untaxed vehicle on the roads?

The slogan for Kent Police, emblazoned on the letterhead is:

Protecting and serving the people of Kent

I don’t feel particularly well served or protected in this case. 

Update 6/01/2015:

I have written today to Kent Police regarding their decision to take no further action on this case and requested more information on how to appeal their decision:

Dear Ms Trow,

Thank-you for your recent letter advising that Kent Police has decided not to proceed with prosecution against the driver of vehicle R961XRV who drove at me in an aggressive and intimidating fashion, threatening to knock me over at approximately 08:25 hours on 21st August 2014 on Pilgrim’s Way near Otford in Kent.

I was disappointed to learn of this decision, and I believe that the decision runs counter to the Mission, Vision, Values and Priorities of Kent Police, as outlined on the following page:

I also noted that you did not address at all my observation that the vehicle was identified as untaxed according to the national database, suggesting that the vehicle was not properly insured.

As I feel neither well served nor protected by your actions (or lack thereof), I am hereby requesting some additional information from you:

(1) Please explain what action has been taken regarding the tax status (untaxed) of the vehicle.

(2) Which specific charges were considered when you took the decision that you lacked sufficient evidence to secure a prosecution:

(a) Driving an untaxed/uninsured vehicle?

(b) Driving without due care and attention  under section 3 of the Road Traffic Act of 1988?

(c) Dangerous driving under section 2 of the Road Traffic Act of 1988?

(d) Common assault under section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act of 1988?

(e) Other? (Please specify)

(3) Were any of the above possible charges (a to e) discussed with the CPS prior to taking the decision that there would be insufficient evidence?

(4) Did you identify the registered owner of the vehicle and did you get the details of the driver?

(5) Did you contact or interview either the registered owner of the vehicle or the driver in order to question them regarding their apparent criminal acts?  

(6) Did the driver of the vehicle provide an explanation for his behaviour? 

(7) Please provide details of the explanation that was provided  which (in your interpretation) means that the action of revving his engine and accelerating at me in a manner that threatened physical violence (as evidenced in the video footage) should not simply be taken at face value for what it was? 

(8) Could you please provide me with your appeals procedure so I can appeal your decision?

Kind regards,


Update 23/01/2015:

A few days ago I received the following email from the case review officer at Kent Police in response to my appeal against their decision to not proceed further with action against this driver:

I write in reply to your email dated 6 January addresses to Ms Trow.

I would like to confirm to you that enquiries were carried out.  Firstly enquiries were made with the registered keeper of the vehicle involved requesting details of the driver for the alleged incident.  This is a legal document requesting information under Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.

No reply was received therefore the case file was forwarded to area for an Officer to be allocated to carry out further enquires.  This was done and the Officer visited the property of the vehicle keeper, however the property was empty.  No further information could be found in order to trace the keeper and a notification marker was placed upon the vehicle details.

To date no further information has come to light.

I can assure you that where we have evidence that an offence has been committed all reasonable lines of enquiries are carried out to enable a positive conclusion, however, in this instance the driver cannot be traced.

Kind regards
Yours sincerely

Shirley Pearce
Case Review Officer

So basically Kent Police have adjusted their story slightly: They admit that they are unable to trace the criminal and will therefore let the case lie? I am a bit confused by the earlier letter suggesting there was no evidence of an offence having been committed and the latest suggesting that they made every ‘reasonable’ effort to prosecute an (alleged) offender. 

Posted by bigblue on 21/08/2014 at 11:53 AM
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