Saturday 19 March 2011

Cycling City: pavements and 20 mph zones

Milverton Gardens, off Ashley Hill. Jon R's constituency. Do you think these voters will be supportive of the cycle city plans? we suspect not.

On the far side of the road, there's not much pavement, and someone must have bashed the (defunct) sign. Will the council pay for the damage? we suspect not. On this side, the ford focus CV05WVC has managed to get its entire bodywork off road, so it will be safe from damage provided nobody is walking nearby. This is why we want to ban pushchairs from our pavements unless the parents have third party insurance.

Fortunately, there is no bike parking to take away space from motorists, which as Councillor Gollop points out, is a key reason for the Cycling City program's failure.

What they have done, though, is dropped the speed limit to 20 mph. The goal here, "supposedly" was to make it safer for pedestrians and cyclists. The ABD oppose it because, they claim that it will force drivers to look at their speedometers all the time. This is a bogus argument, because the same rule would apply to 30 and 70 limits, yet they don't complain about that. It's also bogus because the ABD don't realise that busy people are too busy texting to look up at road, let alone the speedo.

No, the real issue with 20 mph zones is this: it slows down people in a hurry just as much as if there was a bicycle in front. It may be designed to make people on the bicycle feel safer, but even there are only one or two bicycles an hour going up or down this road, it slows everyone down all the time, so imposing external costs on the entire city. It may not be explicitly removing road space, but it is removing fast road space, which is the real problem

One or two people are bold enough to fight back. As our van was up on the pavement we caught one who is best appreciated in the sound of this video.

You can hear the motorbike engine revving up as they go past the slow-moving cars, cars forced to slow down by anti-car speed limits. You can also hear the 4x4 revving its diesel engine as it slowly accelerates out of the 20 mph zone, as the 30 mph sign is in sight. And you know the rule of speed signs: if you can see a faster one in the distance you can speed up to it. It's not clear this car is doing over 20, it may just be working overhard in a low gear. This is a steepish hill.

We thought this was one of those videos was going be something we could resell to the Daily Mail "how a 20mph zone forced this motorbike into a head on collision with a 4x4", and so provide a compelling argument against more 20 mph zones in the city. But the motorbike eventually noticed the vehicle coming up the hill and pulled in.


Unknown said...

A pedant writes: MPs have constituencies, councillors have wards; and rumour has it that Cllr. Jon R has ambitions...

Unknown said...

A pedant writes:

MPs have constituencies; councillors have wards.

Rumour has it that Cllr Jon R has ambitions of sitting on green leather benches...

Jon Rogers said...

Ron, you got it right first time!