All entries for May 2006
May 15, 2006
Apparently the Highway Code is entirely within the remit of the Driving Standards Agency. 67% of the staff are driving examiners.
Advice for Pedestrians, Cyclists and Horse Riders is mostly directed to getting them to do what drivers want them to do; keep out of the way so motor vehicles can have the roads to themselves.
Pedestrians and Cyclists are told to wear light coloured, fluorescent or reflective clothing – for the convenience of drivers (Rules 3 & 56). No mention that drivers should use light coloured, fluorescent or reflective cars so that they can be easily seen, nor that they should wear racing car standard helmets. Yet the latter would bring significant benefits in preventing neck and head injuries.
May 09, 2006
The Coventry Evening Telegraph (8th May 2006), published a letter criticising Coventry council. Firstly for re-surfacing Kenilworth Road and secondly for adding a cycle track. The writer opinioned that other roads should have higher priority for re-surfacing and that as the road was hardly used by pedestrians and cyclists it didn't warrant a cycle track.
The text of my reply (which I've just sent off)
Whether or not the Kenilworth Road should be prioritised for re–surfacing (Ted Duggan's letter published 8 May), improvements for cycling are important.
Like most roads, Kenilworth Road is cycle–hostile at busy times. Motorists cannot leave sufficient space when passing cyclists without crossing the central white lines.
At peak times the junction of Gibbet Hill Road with Kenilworth Road is congested. With Warwick University planning for 40% growth over the next few years, traffic problems can only get worse. A switch from car to cycle for some of the people who commute between Kenilworth and the university does offer a partial solution. It would also improve the fitness of those who do make the switch. But most people are reluctant to cycle along roads where a constant stream of cars and lorries whiz by them at 40/50 mph.
May 05, 2006
Over 11,000 cyclists have complained about proposed changes to the Highway Code. In particular against a proposed addition which would tell cyclists to "use cycle facilities…..where provided".
If such an amendment were incorporated, insurance companies would use it to reduce the size of compensation given when motorists drive into cyclists who have chosen to use a road rather than a nearby cycle facility.
This is unjust. Parliament has decided that cyclists have the right to use all roads except those from which they are explicitly excluded (mostly motorways), the Department of Transport should not attempt to erode that right without due process. It's especially galling as some cycle facilities are more dangerous than the carriageway and many are more inconvenient.
The outrage generated by the proposal has lead to close scrutiny of the Highway Code's current text. The advice it gives to cyclists is simply not based on practical experience in the real world. It suggests that cyclists should follow a rigid and poorly informed set of rules irrespective of the consequences for their safety. On the other hand, some of the most important advice that can be given to cyclists, such as the importance of positioning and exercising care when using many cycle "facilities", is conspicuous by its absence.
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