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Europe

Wednesday, 01 October 2014
Dangerous attempt to overtake.

I have no idea what this driver thought that he/she was trying to do. It is bizarre, to say the least.

Posted by bigblue on 01/10/2014 at 02:55 PM
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#BloodyCyclist in the middle of the road ... oh wait?

If I had anticipated that this driver didn’t have brakes, I would have moved over. As it was I just had time to unclip and put my foot down.  You can’t see it in the video but the driver was furious and ranted at me that I should have been on the left of my lane (swinging in and out of the parked cars?) so that he could drive in the middle of the road. I was a bit surprised at this, because normally when somebody stops for me, or moves out of my way, I thank them.

Posted by bigblue on 01/10/2014 at 10:38 AM
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Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Enough - stop!

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I have written before about insincere warnings to cyclists that are being slapped on the back of every motor vehicle. I would be interested to know who is advising companies to do this, an attempt to shift responsibility of safety from drivers to cyclists.

Now it has gone way too far - a private company called UPM Tillhill has erected posters along a quiet country lane near my home, warning that the road is used by timber lorries.

F#@ off! This road is used by joggers, cyclists, children, disabled people, horse riders and pedestrians of all ages and sizes. It has been serving this function since the time of Chaucer*. If you are concerned for our safety then drive properly, carefully and at appropriate speed. In other words, you need to take care.

(* Cyclists since the 1800s).

Posted by bigblue on 30/09/2014 at 08:08 PM
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Friday, 26 September 2014
Seeing dog lets down her blind owner

As you can see at the end of the video, the dog looked somewhat embarrassed for not having alerted her blind owner to the presence of the cyclist.

Posted by bigblue on 26/09/2014 at 07:48 AM
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Tuesday, 23 September 2014
Sunset

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These autumn sunsets can be quite spectacular. 

Posted by bigblue on 23/09/2014 at 07:59 PM
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Monday, 22 September 2014
Dust?

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I have been getting quite a bit of Saharan style dust on my windows and car this week so was interested to note how muggy Oxted looks from the North Downs this evening.

Posted by bigblue on 22/09/2014 at 09:45 PM
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Thursday, 18 September 2014
Car and horses

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I was reminded of an incident that I witnessed recently when someone on twitter this evening mentioned the great Scottish Cycling advert Think Horse.

What happened (in my photograph above) was that the rider was coming up the road with two horses (she was riding one and leading the other). A driver approached from the other direction. Clearly the driver started with the right thought, because he/she did slow down. 

Now if I had been driving, I would have come to a complete stop some distance from the horses (preferably in a ‘passing point’ if there was one) and let the rider and horses pass me. I might even have turned the engine off. This driver however kept moving past the rider and horses, and the horses were quite nervous and jumpy. This put them and the rider at unnecessary risk. On this country lane two cars can barely pass each other. Perhaps drivers should be enjoined to ‘think lorry’ or to ‘think tractor’? 

Posted by bigblue on 18/09/2014 at 10:46 PM
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Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Piss-poor @SurreyCouncil Infrastructure

In addition to the observations in the video, I would like to add the following points.  It appears that Surrey County Council create cycle lanes either as a tokenistic gesture, perhaps an afterthought, or for the (perceived) convenience of motor vehicles.

In the first case it appears that the cycle lanes are tokenistic gestures, because they are not properly integrated into the road plan. They are intermittent and don’t provide ubiquitous coverage. They don’t even provide coverage in the places where they are most needed, only where they seem to be easy to “bolt on” to a road that appears to be designed singularily for another purpose.  And yet originally, the roads were not designed for cars.

In the second case, the fact that the cycle paths appear and disappear at whim, or direct cyclists onto the pavement (where they can cause problems for others, or get into conflict with parked cars) indicates that the cycle lane might be designed not for the cyclists’ benefit but for what Surrey County Council perceives to be in the best interest of the only road user that they are considering (the driver).  In the example in the video, it appears (by the way it veers off towards the school) that the cycle lane is designed for school children at the local school to get to school safely?  But then it is not fit for purpose, because it is clearly not designed around their safety? Who would want their primary school going children to use this cycle lane? Furthermore, why is there no cycle lane for school children coming from the other direction? What this simply too inconvenient for Surrey County Council?

Now Surrey County Council have a transport strategy  that states it wants to encourage more people to use bicycles and to walk, rather than use their cars.  It is not clear whether this is anything more than nice words, because they appear to lack the vision to implement this effectively.  They propose to develop cycling infrastructure in a piecemeal fashion as they secure specific funding for this (e.g. from central government).  However the above is a clear example where money (residents’ resource) is actually being spent, but it has just been wasted on infrastructure that is simply not fit for purpose: Such infrastructure will not encourage more people to cycle. As I think the video indicates, the “cycle infrastructure” may actually make things worse for cyclists in some respects.

I should also note that ironically, proper cycle routes can actually improve traffic flow.  Therefore if Surrey Council were to build proper cycling infrastructure (not the kind that they are fond of) they might actually achieve something close to what they tell us they want (more safe cyclists), and what they appear to really really want (convenience for drivers).

Posted by bigblue on 17/09/2014 at 06:56 PM
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