Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Brian Rogers of Kingswood: speaking the truth

We've been a bit quiet recently. The main problem: thinking of new things to say.

Everyone has this problem. Take this well thought out letter from Brian Rogers of Kingswood.

It certainly pushes our buttons:
  1. affluent middle classes cycling
  2. holding up important people on their way to work
  3. tax-payer funded lycra clad louts
  4. sanctimonious, car-hating people
  5. fill up the car parks
That would be a good article: tax dodging affluent (actually, this is probably true), car hating, and driving to our favourite parking spaces. It would make a good article, and we have formally invited Brian to actually write for us. All he'd need is "in our lane", "red light jumping" and "speeding along too fast" and we'd win this week's Daily Mail "lycra lout" bingo.

Of course, the same day that George "coke" Osborne announces that air passenger duty won't be applied to people flying in and out of the city on private planes is particularly bad timing for the tax-payer funded text. Remember: those people who live in Monaco and fly in for three days a week may retain non-resident tax payer status, but they hold up the economy, and adding £30/week on the already outrageous cost of (tax free) jet fuel would force them stop flying in to the UK at all.

Brian needs to work on his timing a bit there.

Furthermore, a quick web search shows that he wrote pretty much the same letter  a year ago.
 irresponsible for the city council to pour tax payers' funds into a cycling track that is, well, just a hobby for a privileged and sanctimonious few?
See? The same problem we have. There's only so much orginality you can do from one point-of-vitriol. Brian is having trouble writing the same letter once a year -you can imagine how hard it us for us.
Maybe its time for the team to retire

Occupy Redland

OK... College Green is full of tents. The grass is a bit buggered. Billy Bragg has sung to the masses. The Council is letting it happen. All good.

So it's nice to see that a break away group appears to have established itself in Redland. Not on the Green, but near it.

This car, we're sure, is the new outpost for "Occupy Redland". YCZ7199. It's been here for the last three days, making quite a statement by parking in a slightly anarchistic state. On the junction of Hartington Park and Woodstock Road.

We thought of inviting the Daily Mail down, with their heat seeking cameras, to see if it was being used at night, but so far we've had nothing positive. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Using the alternative

I would like to follow the instructions, only white van man and other lazy parkers are blocking the pavement (despite the fact it's perfectly legal to park here).

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Integrated Public Transport

Contributor "R" writes to us

Dear Bristol Traffic

These flats on Cotham Road South opposite the junction of Kingsdown Parade and Horfield Hill were built only a few years ago with the car in mind. The ground floor level includes garages with access across the pavement to the road. However, I wonder if the developers failed to realise just how useful garages are for keeping other things in apart from cars ?
Perhaps they did as their clever design hints at the existence of a driveway in front of the garages. This hint has not been overlooked by this tax-payer who is presumably pleased that the bus stop outside the garages gives pedestrians the satisfaction of making good use of what we all regard as an underused part of the road network.
Indeed we should applaud this as an example of "integrated public transport". I was unable to stay for long and determine the effect on pedestrians of an approaching bus.
Yours dearly,
This is a fine example of integrated transport. We also suspect that as this is in the Kingsdown RPZ, such imaginative parking will allow the resident to avoid needing to pay extra anti-motorist tax on their vehicle. 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Costa Fortune

BMWs cost a fortune. And this one, LF52XBW, parked up on the pavement on Gloucester Road today was being eyed up and photographed by more than a few people today. Hence the security looking after it.

But why was it there?

Well, it's complicated. The bit of road that runs between the Bear Pit and Filton Avenue changes names a few times - North Street, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham Road and Gloucester Road. It's Bristol's premier cycle commute route, and home to a Bristol Showcase Bus Route. The people that inhabit the road rather like its independent feel, free, mostly, from the anodyne 'High Street' shops and outlets so pervasive of most British towns and cities. The residents tend to kick off a bit when corporate idiocy tries to impose its muscle on the local populace.

Ergo, today there was a bit of a protest outside the new Costa Coffee which is apparently illegally opening on Gloucester Road. It seems franchise holder, Stuart Montgomery, plans to ride rough-shod over Planning Law and open a new outlet here, having been refused planning permission to do so. The complication is not that he can do it, but that it is not until he does it that Bristol City Council can serve an enforcement notice*** on him to cease trading.

Local councillors Jon Rogers and Gus Hoyt turned up, along with MP Stephen Williams to register their support for the protesters in front of both HTV and the local press. The usual anarchist protesters also daubed chalk on the pavement, even after the politicians had left and the police had arrived with their CCTV van. But this is middle-class Bishopston, so no trouble.

Back to the BMW though. Why was it there?

The best suggestion I heard was by Jon Rogers, who asked, "Is it the prize for the first person to buy a coffee here?" That, of course, will allow the Council to force the apparently unwelcome franchise to close.

On a lighter note, though, there is a new, independent, Bread Stall down the road in Stokes Croft, outside the old Sofa Riot shop, not competing with any existing business except Tesco. Now even the transient student population can get decent bread without having to use a multinational minimart.

*** He recently tried the same trick in Whiteladies Road, where, we hear, an enforcement notice has been served by BCC after he opened a Costas in the former Derbyshire's newsagents premises. Of course, enforcement takes time, so business is being done.

Occupy M32: year 40

A group of protestors are camped on college green, but apart from the "whiners corner" of the Evening Post, not having much effect.

A greater group of protesters have decided to come out in numbers and bring the city to its knees. Here they are on the M32

Their protest demonstration goes all the way up to Eastville junction.
Yet the mainstream media completely ignores this, even though these protestors include BMW and Mercedes drivers -the nearly-but-not-quite-1%, whose journeys in from the suburbs are crippled by the excessive fuel taxes the state is charging in order to keep the banks afloat.
The residents of the areas near the M32 are aware of this ongoing protest against the capitalist economy, and have been spraying signs of support against the M32 itself.

If there is one criticism, this protest has been going on for about forty years, and yet it has had little effect.

Friday, 18 November 2011

no, not our van

Someone emails us to say
"was this the famous Bristol Traffic Van? It drove out of Ashley Road after the light changed to block the traffic heading north to Cheltenham Road. Many of the drivers on Stokes Croft were somewhat unhappy about this, as the junction was already blocked and the driver ended up even stopping cars heading south from getting through"

No not us. It says Lloyds Pharmacy prescription delivery on the side, while ours clearly says "pornography delivery"

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Railwaypath Ghost Cyclist

We've been using the term Ghost Rider to describe someone who chooses to die on a bicycle, usually by RLJ-ing. The last video of someone on a bike crashing into a pedestrian causes us to look at the rest of taypet21's video collection. This person is a threat to the rest of the city. really.

Look at this video where he crashes into someone walking down the railway path. It's like he sees the women, and rather than try and slow down, he speeds up and runs into the screaming. If this was us, we'd destroy the evidence rather than put it up on youtube

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Broadmead bumping

A video reaches us of an incident at the bike path crossing rupert street to the horsefair where the cyclist crashes into the pedestrian and they both come off.

Nice swearing. If we cycled, we'd swear like that too. One point though: there are no lights controlling pedestrian crossings of the bike path, and so that highway code about giving way to pedestrians probably kicks in. The other: this was predicable. There is no point putting a camera and a horn on your bike if you aren't going to look at where people are walking and whether they are looking at you.

Friday, 11 November 2011

More RLJ work on Cheltenham Road

We're going to credit this cyclist coming up Bath buildings and crossing Cheltenham Road for actually looking and only going out when it is clear to do so, and waiting at the traffic island for a gap in the other lane.

Again, being a bit fitter and climbing up the mild incline on Bath Buildings would have saved time, and if you can't climb that when what faces you straight ahead, Arley Hill, is going to hurt. Looks more like this RLJ-er is going to right turn onto the Gloucester Road bus lane though.

Not so suicidal to be called a ghost-rider, just, well, pointless. The taxi in the ASL isn't going to run him over when the lights change as the cars blocking the hatched junction remove the option to pull out fast. Why then?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Now some Geister Fahrading on Cheltenham Road

Another RLJ-ing cyclist, here on Cheltenham Road

0:01 cars coming from Bath Buildings get to go left or right onto Cheltenham Road; cyclists can also go straight on for a contraflow.

0:12 Arley Hill gets green, cars and cyclists set off

0:14, A woman on a bicycle goes straight past the camera.

We are sure the tax dodging online press will be pleased at the gender balance of our RLJ footage, but can they at least tell the cyclists to look both ways when they run a red light? If your light is red, there are two meanings
  1. Everyone has red, it's pedestrians you are going to hit and other cyclists that will hit you.
  2. One or more lanes are green and you will become the statistic. 
Hypothesis #2 is the one they should worry about.  If our van had been in the Arley Hill ASL, our "launch on warning" system would have kicked in and we'd have pulled our foot off the clutch while texting the final message to our next delivery. Anyone cycling directly across our way, 14 seconds into her red light period is someone that the post mortem would say "she chose to die".

In Germany they have the phrase "Geister Fahrer" -Ghost Driver- to describe someone who chooses to commit suicide by driving the wrong way up an Autobahn. Here in Bristol we have the less well-off doing the same, the Geister Fahrader.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Unfit and bad judgement

We're always being accused of somehow presenting the cyclist point of view, rather than discuss the problems that RLJ-ing cyclists present. Good point. Lets run some of those videos. Before that, let's pre-empt the "when cyclists RLJ they don't endanger anyone" claim. Not so. When they run zebra crossings or pedestrian crossings they do endanger pedestrians. If they force pedestrians to hold back they may keep the pedestrians from crossing the road until the cars get a green light, so exposing them to more risk. And they completely destroy any moral high ground the tax dodgers claim to inhabit.

For the next few postings then, some RLJ-by-bike work. More than that though: some theories as to why. It can't be because they are important and in a hurry: as if they were they would be driving. There must be other reasons.

Let's start with this video at the Muller Road/Shaldon Road junction.

0:00 Filming begins on Station Lane, there are two tax dodgers here, cyclist #1 is female and in front of the filming one.
0:08 The woman on the bicycle (henceforth "cyclist #1") crosses Muller Road while the right hand approach lanes have green for both turning and going straight on. This is the 3rd or 4th set of red lights since the M32, and cars are still in speed mode and not used to red themselves. Yet she sets off, wobbling a bit, as she tries to get up the hill.

0:09-0:21 she's now got a line of cars going up the hill beside her, as she approaches a parked car she's going to have to pull out on.

0:22: now as she reaches the pullout point there's a supermarket delivery van to deal with.

0:28 Shaldon road gets its green for traffic going straight on or right (left turn has been green since 0:06)

0:40 Station Lane gets green, the other cyclist (henceforth "tax dodger #2") sets off

1:03 the woman who sets off at 0:08 gets passed by tax dodger #2.

Let's look at cyclist's #1's actions then. She set off through a red light, exposing her to risk to crossing traffic, reinforcing (clearly valid) perceptions about RLJing cyclists, and then making it harder to get up the hill because of the passing cars then the van making the pull-out that much harder.

And for what? Because tax dodger #2 reeled her in about 20 seconds. At that rate, if she was going up the hill towards UWE, what would be for tax dodger #2 a 15 minute hill climb will, for cyclist #1, be something more like a 45 minute crawl. At which rate the saving of 40s is absolutely negligible. Maybe running a red would make sense if it would save you time, but in this case it offered increase risk for no real benefit.

Why do it then? Why not just wait for green and pedal a bit harder when it arrives?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Crash by the pump house

video up on youtube; no more details yet. This is by the Cumberland Basin flyover; that right hand lane is how you get over the bridge; the straight on lane is to the portway. There is a newly painted bike lane up to the old bridge (leading you to the Nova Scotia pub), but no give way markings for the cause.

Hope all is well.