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Thursday, 18 September 2014
Car and horses


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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Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Oxted in the gloaming


Earlier this evening, as seen from the Woldingham viewpoint. 

Posted by bigblue on 16/09/2014 at 10:38 PM
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Monday, 15 September 2014
Nearly overtakes into oncoming cyclist

I heard her start to overtake, and saw the oncoming cyclist. I put out my arm and pointed at the cyclist. She held back (and missed the cyclist).  A very stupid move, and after I pointed out my cameras to her she held back completely until the road widened. Coincidence?

Two and a half minutes after she overtook me, I caught up with her again.

Posted by bigblue on 15/09/2014 at 07:40 AM
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Sunday, 14 September 2014
Dangerous Overtake

This driver felt he had to get past me, regardless of the pedestrian island and lack of space to overtake safely.

The irony: three minutes later I arrived at the top of the hill 30 metres behind him. He was held up behind the bus and stopped at a traffic light. Perhaps he had more respect for the bus than a vulnerable road user?

Posted by bigblue on 14/09/2014 at 10:16 PM
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Wednesday, 10 September 2014
Oxted earlier


A late-afternoon, late-summer view from the Woldingham viewpoint. 

Posted by bigblue on 10/09/2014 at 09:53 PM
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Monday, 08 September 2014
Cyclist must get out the way?

The passenger and/or driver of this lorry shouted at me to “Get out the way!”.  Did they expect me to go into the road that was joining the carriageway from the left?  This would not be safe - there are often cars coming out of that road, and it would force me to exit and then rejoin the main carriageway. Furthermore, surely it was the pedestrian island, rather than me, that was “blocking their way”?

So a little (unneccessary) drama, and a second or two later they are on their


dangerous and nasty way.

Here are some still photographs from the video:

Update: (9/9/2014)

In response to my tweets last night about the incident, I received a reply from @SurreyPolice asking me to call them.

I called them shortly afterwards and they took a record of the incident.  They will also send me a form to complete in the next day or two.

Posted by bigblue on 08/09/2014 at 11:10 PM
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Sunday, 07 September 2014
The London MetPolice just missed this one!

The dangerous driving occurred just in front of two officers from the Metropolitan Police Force, but they had just apprehended a dangerous takeway across the road and were in the process of taking it into the custody of their vehicle and so they missed the event.  What a pity, but I guess this is what happens when you are fighting crime on all fronts?

Posted by bigblue on 07/09/2014 at 02:12 PM
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