Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Product Placement: R.P. Glass of Bristol

It's notable that our denunciation of the 20 mph zones came out on November 17 -it was 24 hours after we broke the news that the Evening Post discovered the news.

As you may recall, we also complained that the so-called mainstream press would be seeking quotes from such organisations as the Association of British Drivers, and not us, Bristol's premier pro-car news organisation.

When will they realise: the ABD do not represent Bristol Drivers!

Look what they say about this proposal:
"It's difficult for drivers to stay at 20mph in modern cars, you have to keep it in third gear and keep your eyes on the speedometer. You could be skittling over pedestrians at 20mph that you would have seen if you were going 30mph.

It could make the situation worse."
See that? The ABD are worrying about the safety of pedestrians. When did we, the city's drivers care about that? We want them banned from the streets along with their bus using and cycling friends. There shouldn't be any pedestrians out there for us to worry about.

But what really hurts us is this claim that having to keep an eye on the speedo will cause drivers to take their eyes of the road. This shows us, sadly, how out of touch Captain Mainwaring and the rest of the ABD folk are. They may go out for "quick jaunts" in their beige Austin Allegros, taking care to top up the windscreen and radiator water levels, and wearing both driving gloves and a flat cap, but the rest of us have moved on. Driving round town is not about watching where you are going: it is about phoning ahead to your destination complaining that you will be late because there is another bastard cyclist in the way. You don't look down to see the speedo, you look up from the phone where you are trying to compose a text message.

These people have just lost touch. Pity. We could have made a great team.

Now, if you are going to use "safety" as a reason to argue for 30mph limits -you really need some good arguments that are up to date with modern driving techniques. For this end, we have co-opted the white van of R.P. Glass, on their way up Shaldon Road to Kellaway Building Supplies.

First, an apology not just for the sound but the placement of the camera, our unwitting cyclist is still trying to adjust it to get the "light" to work. If only only they knew.

As you can see, the cyclist is pootling up a hill at 10-15 mph, the van is coming up at 30+. As it passes the cyclist, it has its left turn indicator on, indicating it is about to swerve in front of the bicycle and enter the building supplies site.

The only way this operation can be accomplished safely, for the van to clear the bicycle, is at speeds of 30 mph or greater: proper speeds. At 20 mph the van isn't going to go fast enough to get past the cyclist, it's going to end up having to pull in right over the cyclist. Which will then be the fault of this cyclist, who is clearly guilty of not following Transport for London's Cycle/Lorry safety guidelines; guidelines which tell bicycles not to get on the left of left-turning lorries. But it will also be the fault of all those cycling campaigners who pushed for lower limits. Yet who will get the blame? That's right, van drivers like the one driving R.P. Glass of Bristol on Tuesday November 23.

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