Wednesday 19 June 2013

Cotham Brow Row XM08XMJ

The tax-dodger's rights group, Bristol Cycling Campaign, are campaigning against pinch points.

We actually agree with them. Yes, we do love to see new junction improvements adding gratuitous pinch points, such as on the top of Jacob's Wells Road -because that stops the cyclists sneaking up the inside and avoiding in queueing.

But at the same time, we suffer when we have to wait behind a cyclist that is blocking the way. Or, if we go past when there is plenty of room, we still have to deal with abuse.

Look at this video of Cotham Brow. It's a quieter Cotham Brow than normal -roadworks have isolated it from Gloucester Road at the bottom. Having less traffic, it should be better to drive up, as you don't have to negotiate a narrow route with oncoming vehicles. Yet all it takes is one selfish cyclist to get in the way and you are stuck going up a hill at under 10 mph.

Pinch points make this worse, by removing opportunities to pass.

Here in the video, one of the cyclists has dismounted and is pushing their bike up the 8-9% gradient hill, so allowing important people past. Yet the one with the camera does not -and they have the audacity to be abusive (swearing!) at the important people in the volvo XM08XMJ. Do you think the woman in the passenger seat wants to hear language like that? To see her face on you tube? We think not.

What is annoying is that the pinch point is entirely gratuitous. It's on a zebra crossing. They could take away the island and it would still be a zebra crossing. Even if in theory the island would let two-way traffic have to stop less often, it's too narrow a road for two-way traffic further down the hill, so entirely moot.

All this traffic island does is introduce conflict at a point where it is not needed. Removing it would not only benefit pedestrians and cyclists, it would help us driving by stopping us being held up by tax-dodging and abusive troublemakers.

In this video, the tax-dodging and abusive troublemaker actually adds insult to insult, by turning left down Freemantle Road, then left again to descent Nugent Hill at speed, then joining Arley Hill to get to Montpelier.

That means that they had no justification for going up the hill and getting in the way of the Volvo, they climbed up Cotham Brow at 8-9 mph purely to aggravate people in a hurry. Then, by bypassing the cars in the Arley Hill queue, they go on to aggravate people who have been waiting patiently.

Finally, they descended Nugent Hill at about 28 mph -even though you can clearly see lots of schoolchildren walking to school -families forced to walk as an anti-car council blocked up all the secret routes from Cheltenham Road to Kingsdown. The fact that they can get up to such dangerous speeds on a weekday morning shows how the removal of commuter parking actually endangers schoolchildren. Before the RPZ rollout, every road would have someone driving around looking for a space to park, every junction have someone pulling out as they went round the block again. These people performed the valuable role of traffic calming cyclists, who couldn't descend a hill like this without worrying about vehicles coming out of side roads. Now, with the exception of the one at the bottom, they don't have to do that.
Whereas before the cyclist was selfish by going up a hill at under 10 mph, now they are being selfish and dangerous by descending above 20 mph. There is no speed on our streets where they are safe -they are unwelcome at any speed!


o said...

Most cyclists don't seem to take hills properly anyway. They use too high a gear, it's no wonder you see them struggling. All they have to do is drop down a couple of gears and boom, they can get up the hills faster. You wouldn't take Park Street at 15mph in 5th gear, why do it on a bike?

The Ranty Highwayman said...

I don't know what the conditions are at busy times at this location, but islands within zebra crossings are sometimes a safety issue where traffic in one direction is slow and can mask a pedestrian crossing from the view of traffic flowing in the other direction. Additionally, even with the "protection" of a zebra crossing, some people are scared to cross a wide road. It is possible to put zebras on humps, but this doesn't always solve the problem - always a difficult one!