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The Pavement Cycling Issue

The Road “Safety” Crackdown comes in the wake of the hit-and-run death of a cyclist, Jake Gilmore, in Bath in November. He was one of a number of cyclists who died in what was a dark month for road safety in the UK. Police forces in other locations - notably London, Edinburgh and Bristol - have also mounted similar crackdowns in the last few weeks. “Crackdowns” are barely more than PR exercises. Read more...

Bath's 'Bladud' Bikes - a hire scheme before its time?

[I started this post back in March] News reaches me via @katie_monk on Twitter that “Word on the street is that the bike scheme might be getting scrapped because the bikes are getting vandalised. Boo hiss!“ It would indeed be a shame for the scheme to close… or would it? It was funded with EU Civitas money, implemented by Bicincitta (an Italian company), and launched last year with no little amusement at the (initially) badly-translated web site and frustration at (and, in one case, concern at the security of) the sign-up process, which was said to be extremely awkward, and lacking the casual-use flexibility of the much-larger “Boris Bikes” scheme in London; a scheme that, although better technically than the Bladud Bikes, still work out as the most expensive bikes in the world. Read more...

Conscientious Objection and the "War on the Motorist"

Philip “Hoverboard” Hammond?p=1328, Secretary of State for Transport, says he’s going to “end the war on the motorist”, as if such a war exists rather than being the mental (in both senses) construct of the car-sick UK press and government. Anyway, a comment on a Guardian editorial on the absurdity of this assertion made me think: “I have to admit, there is a nice driver or two about who – in rush hour – politely wait for me to cross a four lane roundabout feed with no pedestrian crossing in the pouring rain pulling my wheelie suitcase. Read more...

Charlie Simpson, cycling and charity

BBC News: bq. A seven-year-old boy from London who was aiming to raise £500 for the Haiti quake relief effort through a sponsored bike ride has raised more than £72,000 (n.b. now over £100,000). – http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/8477345.stm The bike ride is a great effort, and the fundraising really got going after Charlie was featured on BBC Breakfast. None of what follows is intended to knock what Charlie has done, so please don’t take it in that way; it is merely a comment on our collective attitude to cycling here in the UK, with reference to kids in The Netherlands (highlighted on David Hembrow’s blog%20travel). Read more...

Paris vs Bristol

Bristol, Britain’s first Cycling City, aims to introduce a Paris Velib-style cycle hire scheme, operated by Hourbike. My fear is that, by having a system that is too small, the scheme will fail. Some quotes from the Happy Birthday Velib video (linked below) bear this out: bq. “you have to go big enough to where it’s at least 1 bike per 200 residents. I think that’s a bare minimum for the good function of the system” Read more...

Do motor industry executives dream of electric cars?

Apparently, yes: they do.stm: the relentless obsession with Carbon emissions (while important) has led us into a blind alley of thinking that electric vehicles are somehow “green”. A clue: they’re not, unless the energy used to propel them comes from a renewable resource. Otherwise, all you’re doing is swapping local pollution and emissions for those far away; you know what they say about “out of sight…”. Carbon emissions are only one of the car’s many downsides. Read more...

But I've got my hazard lights on!

There are some great blogsĀ out there documenting the worst excesses of a car-supremacist culture (in which we in the UK live): both the behaviour of drivers and the panderings of local authorities to them, despite claims by certain extremist groups that drivers are persecuted by councils. Bristol gets a lot of attention as the UK’s first cycling city, and it undoubtedly has too many cars in certain parts of the city. Read more...
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