Letter bomb

February 7, 2007 by

The recent attacks on the offices of those involved with motoring, in an apparent campaign about speed cameras, are disgusting.

I don’t care if the Chief Constable of Devon & Cornwall Police buys his family’s Christmas presents with the proceeds of speeding fines. Bring it on. Lets have more cameras, more police, more fines, less death.


I’ve been listening to commentator after commentator weasel around the issue. A government minister came on to say that he thought it was excusable to drive past a school at 10 o’clock at night at 35 mph. So do we have a speed limit or not? You’d be stupid to drive past a school at even 30 mph at 9 o’clock in the morning, but why would you need to drive past it any faster than 30 mph at any time? Until we stop fudging this issue it will give the speeders encouragement to keep at it. It is not ok to speed, period. Speed should always be appropriate for the conditions, but should never exceed the limit.



December 30, 2006 by

I’m beginning to see what I think is a shift in responsibility on our roads, which worries me. These days you don’t often see a cyclist on the road who isn’t dressed in bright, often day-glo, clothing. This is good, as it makes the rider easier to see, and from further away, hopefully meaning that other road users can approach safely. More recently I’ve been seeing pedestrians on pavements beginning to dress in a similar way. Fine, but…

My fear is that drivers will only expect to see brightly dressed non-motorists. My fear is also that, involved in an ‘accident’ where you weren’t wearing such gear, you’d be liable to fault as a result (independently of any other fault). I think the lawyers call it ‘contributory negligence’.  Whose responsibility is road safety?  I get the increasing impression that drivers continually try to pass it on to others.  They want to drive with impunity, ignoring speed limits and insisting that any minor holdup is an affront.

I am getting the sense that this is another way the driving lobby want the roads to themselves (by ‘driving lobby’ I don’t mean the average driver; I suppose I mean those that want the roads to themselves!). “Unless you are easy to see with whatever active and passive means are available, get off my road”. I’m not convinced that such gear necessarily makes it safer – it largely depends on drivers’ reaction to seeing you. There was some research recently which suggested that helmet use could increase your chances of a collision because of the way drivers react. Could wearing bright clothing (and perhaps looking more confident/experienced/safer) mean that drivers give you less room too?

There is a similar issue, which I’ve only mentioned before. Proposed European legislation for ‘daytime running lights‘ could mean that collisions with cyclists and motorcyclists  are more likely as drivers get used to looking for a light rather than a biker or cyclist.  Could the trend for bright clothing have a similar effect as drivers look for yellow?

Seeing Red

December 12, 2006 by

Tonight, while walking my girls to school for their Christmas concert, there was the terrible sound of a crash behind us. A motorcyclist had been knocked off and had landed 5m or so from his bike. I was first at his side, but soon left him to more experienced care. It was clearly the car driver’s fault, as he’d turned across the biker’s path while turning right. The biker hit the front of the car, and I think he’s probably broken his leg. All this despite having a good headlight.

Horrible as that is, it isn’t what vexes me most tonight. My reaction was not good. I’m not used to reacting like I now do. Since my ‘incident’ in January I’m on a hair trigger to react (not respond) to what people say and what happens on the road. I anger quickly, and jumped down this witness’s throat when he started saying who was to blame. As it happens I agree with him, but I didn’t give him the chance. I just assumed he blamed the two-wheeler and had a go. Embarassing on one level, and I apologised, but it scares me on another level. I don’t want to be like this.

One more argument against the EU’s proposed ‘Running Lights’ legislation.

So explain that

December 11, 2006 by

I’m riding to work this morning, in filthy weather, lit up brightly, wearing my bright yellow rain jacket. I’m on a 40mph dual carriageway in pretty light traffic.

Car drives past with the passenger leaning out of the window. “You should be on the cycle path” he shouted aggressively, perma-frown in place (there’s a parallel path). I don’t think I was sworn at, for once.

So why did he feel the need to shout at me? There was a whole empty lane to the right, I’m riding at around 20mph, he had ages to see me (and for his passenger to wind down the window). What was his problem?

Oh, and he had a fish sticker on the back of the car.

Share the Road

November 7, 2006 by

What do you think? I didn’t design this,share_the_road_600dpi_4.jpg but found it somewhere and modified it a little. Since one of the biggest (the biggest?) problem on our roads is unwillingness to share (car-to-car, never mind car-to-bike) I thought a few of these around might help.

I’ve found that the Give Cyclists Room stickers seem to work. Certainly people seem to have given bikes more room when driving behind me than they were before.

So I want some inkjet-printable sticky film/sticky-back plastic so that I can print them to stick on car windows. Anyone know where I can find such a thing?