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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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Tuesday, 16 September 2014
Oxted in the gloaming

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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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