Thursday 31 December 2009

BCC: Priorities

This is written on the anniversary of the 'Bristol Blizzard', exactly one week ago, here in Bristol on the 20th December 2009. A night that saw the snow fall, the council accused of not gritting roads, and the local blogosphere erupt with accusations of Bristol City Council's mis-management of winter.

Here's a photo of Zetland Road, taken in the early hours of Christmas Day. The road is clear, confirming that Bristol City Council are nowhere near as bad as they are painted by the bloggers.

Look at the road - cleared for cars and tax-dodging cyclists after only four days!

Pavement cyclists across Bristol, however, had to suffer for a further three days before their preferred routes were cleared by global warming.

Bristol Traffic says: HO HO HO!

(PS: and stuff you, pedestrians, you little people:

Wednesday 30 December 2009

Tax Dodgers in the Snow (2)

Further footage of the blizzard that hit Bristol just before Christmas.

Our intrepid reporters are out in the cold, fighting off youths, at 00:45 in the morning.

And why?

Well, as we all know, when it snows no gritting occurs, so tax-dodging cyclists make the most of it, whilst anyone without a 4x4 is forced to stay at home.

Yes, we at Bristol Traffic are morons, but we really need more facilities for cars in this city, not just playgrounds for badly dressed free-loaders out at all hours on their uninsured danger machines.

Especially in the snow.

Tuesday 29 December 2009

Measuring Bicycle Lane Use

One nice aspect of the snow is it gives us a good way of measuring bicycle lane use. No bike tracks: no cyclists. It therefore provides us with hard proof that money spent on the tax dodgers is wasted.

Here is the Cotham Hill bike lane off the St Michael's Hill Roundabout. No bike tracks, just car tracks

It is good that at least some tax-payers are using this, otherwise it would be entirely wasted.

Further down the hill, some bike tracks hint the tax dodgers have been using the motorists paid-for area, not the bike section to the left of the bollard.

Elsewhere, off Cotham Grove, a completely unused bike lane.

Why do we bother wasting any money on these people, when it is clear the facilities are not used?

Monday 28 December 2009

RNIB: Protection by cars

Snow. Frozen water. And as we are all aware, water has a memory.

Here we see it remembering that a car has been parked in the road.

And here, the view from the other direction, before the snow arrived.

In the foreground, the ubiquitous dimpled paving and dropped kerbs that do so much to help those with vision problems. Of course, in the snow, the dimples disappear, which is why that first photo is so shocking. The driver has departed the space, leaving the visually impaired vulnerable to stepping into the path of an oncoming car, without being aware of the tactile paving beneath. Push-chairs and even pavement cyclists are affected by this disgraceful behaviour.

The usual state of affairs in Manor Park, Redland, is normally much safer, as the self-less drivers of WR54ZDE,



and GD04SEF

all demonstrate.

By parking in front of the dimples they provide an excellent additional safety barrier by preventing cyclists getting onto the pavement, and acting as an excellent warning feature for anyone attempting to step off the kerb.

Of all the helpful residents of this corner of Redland, though, the owner of NA05CVX must be the most considerate, both night...

and day.

Unless, of course, it is their car that's left that nasty view of black tarmac in an otherwise perfect Bristol winter scene.

Sunday 27 December 2009

A hint of Dirac

The question "where do they worry about cryogenic fluid transportation processes" was guessed correctly by Chris Hutt: the University. In fact, the Physics, department, the big building at the top of the hill that looks like a castle. An interesting place to visit.

The follow-on question "why do they transport cryogenic fluids" wasn't picked up on, the answer being "a lot of physics experiments use it, often to keep the detectors supercool". We have no data on which specific experiment they were using, though our walkabout did turn up this room with a light on in front of the door, up on the top floor, with the tower in the background.

Let's take a closer look
"Positron Research", "Caution Radiation" and "No admittance". Not entering sounds good.

Positrons are the antimatter equivalent of electrons; they have the same mass, but carry a positive charge, and when they come into contact with normal matter they cease to exist in an event that yields more energy/gram than your basic fission or fusion processes (technically that's not true, it's just that in an matter/antimatter event everything ceases to exist, whereas both fission and fusion only use up a small fraction of the fuel.

Looking north from the facility, we see the top of St Michael's Hill, someone standing on some buildings in a hi-viz top, then Redland (church+school), and in the distance the hills of Wales. The two white dots in front of Wales are the peaks of the Second Severn Crossing.
This photo is appropriate, because it looks to where Dirac grew up: Bishopston. He and Higgs both went to Cotham School, which is just to the right the church in the foreground. Paul Dirac got a Nobel Prize for the work that proposed the existence of antimatter; the Dirac equations are apparently quite profound to those people that understand them.

It's amusing that there is a branch of society that chooses to dispute some bits of science because they don't like the results: Evolution and Global Warming being the current conflict points, humanity having moved on from the argument about whether or not the Earth goes round the sun. The Dirac Equations, now their conclusions are quite clearly wrong, how could you have "negative particles" that cannot exist together with normal matter? Yet the unbelievers, be they the US religious right or the Daily Mail, they steer clear of the hard stuff, the stuff that really doesn't make sense, leaving the physicists undisturbed as they ship cryogenic fluid up to the positron experiments.

Friday 25 December 2009

Friday Quiz: Bristol's Hidden Cryogenic Fluid Problem

Based on the premise that signs telling you not to do something are a sign of people trying to do it, the fact that this one is telling you not to travel in a lift (that's "elevator" for people abroad) with cryogenic fluid is a clear sign that somewhere in the city there are people trying do exactly that.

As the sign says, "Do not travel in this lift with cryogenic fluid. It could kill you". It then documents the process for transporting cryogenic fluids in an unattended lift by having people at both ends. Presumably if you are on any intermediate floor, the site of a large container and some hi-viz tape will put you off. That is something to experiment with, possibly in the Trenchard Street car park.

For our special winter festival quiz on Bristol's Transport Issues:
  1. What is Cryogenic Fluid?
  2. What exactly is it for?
  3. Why would you want to transport it in a lift?
  4. Why could it kill you?
  5. Where in the city is this sign? [ no cheating by looking up phone numbers. Ill-informed guesswork for consistency with the rest of the site.]
Happy festival activities, be they human sacrifice in the tunnels under Kingsdown, or something bleaker like watching ITV4's entire Christmas schedule.

Thursday 24 December 2009

Castle Park - The clue is in the name

Now that The Horsefair and Penn Street have been made a no-go for through traffic it's becoming all the more important to make full use of the areas we can still drive to. And all the more important to commend those who are seeking out those new and secret places for driving and more importantly parking, that many of us are not yet aware of.

Bristol Evening Post van WV51 GPO was out doing just that today, Christmas Eve, December 24th 2009 at 12.24pm. A bit like an early Christmas present if you like. No doubt out and about spreading the newsprinted cheer and "good will to all men" that is almost synonymous with the Evening Post newspaper and website. Or as it would seem illogical for an evening newspaper to be delivered this early in the day, maybe just popping in to Wilko's for some last minute tinsel and wrapping paper.

And who better to forge forwards exploring exciting new possibilities of travel and parking than a newspaper that is way ahead of the rest of us in it's expert analysis, in-depth knowledge and balanced exploration of transport options in Bristol.

So Bristol Evening Post van WV51GPO , we commend you for your vision and forward thinking that lets you see beyond the facade of the "biggest city centre greenspace" label and pedestrianised areas, giving us a glimpse of how the future could be.

Tax Dodgers in the Snow (1)

The recent un-seasonal weather in Bristol has revealed some appalling behaviour on our roads.

Here at Bristol Traffic, we've sent our reporters out to capture some of the displays of stupidity, arrogance and generally selfish attitudes that cyclists exhibit when confronted by this sort of weather.

Study this photo.

During a recent Clayton Blizzard gig at the Left Bank down in Stokes Croft, there was literally a blizzard outside.

So what did the cycling tax dodgers do???

They only went and used the road instead of the pavements, that's what, and this photo is proof: only cars on the pavement, and no sign of bikes, except on the road. Outrageous.

Bristol Traffic asks: Who pays for their grit?

Wednesday 23 December 2009

The Christmas Bollards of Montpelier

We are disappointed by the absence of the kingsdown dark-winter-ritual-tree -we fear our publicity has made them more self conscious; that they will practise indoors, out of site of outsiders. This makes sense, most of Bristol views sacrificing goats and small children as excessive at this time of year, though given a choice between that and watching X-Factor, it's not that clear cut. Anyway, it means Kingsdown is looking a bit less seasonal.

Fortunately, over in Montpelier, other ancient rituals are being remembered, and coming out into the open. Here we see, in "Picton Square", the return of the traditional "Painted Christmas Bollard"

The tradition of bollards and bollard-painting may date from the Crimean War, when the great "Bollarda  Sebastopolnya" was one of the spoils of war, a giant iron obelisk brought back from the city of Sebastopol in the Crimea and dragged round the towns of England, before being stood up in Bristol docks, our equivalent of Cleopatra's Needle in London. Sadly the demand for iron in WWII meant that it was melted down, and all we have to remember it is the models, scattered round the city, where they serve a largely ceremonial role.

Most of the year, nobody knows what they do, but here, in the runup to Christmas, they have been painted in bright colours, to celebrate the Montpelier Double Parking area, here used by L008YXR and Y204HAE. Someone has also put a ceremonial traffic cone on the removable bollard. Normally these cones are worn by statues, but as the students have gone away for a few weeks, they have been moved to other parts of the city.

updated: LO08YXR

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Spring Hill

Some discussion on Springfield Road raises the question: is that water from the historical Ma Pugsley's Well?

Possibly. As well as Springfield road, there is a Spring Hill, which again, could refer to the time that there was a spring here.

Of course, now there is no spring in that road either. There is nothing left but a bit of history: cobbles, "pavé", as the french call it, a historial predecessor for tarmaced roads, and the bits to the side of the road "pavé-ment",early parking areas.

You can see that this road is old as there isn't enough room on this "pavé-ment" area to fit a big car, just the mini J007JAW, and even there they had to flip in the mirrors and get off the road carefully, so as not to scrape the paintwork on the wall. 

updated: that's JO07JAW -thank you claudia99!

Monday 21 December 2009

More snow chaos

Nobody has posted any photos in on a par with last year's Nine-Tree Hill disaster, so maybe things were less chaotic this year, what with everyone having experienced snow once in living memory. Also it being the school and university holidays, no students, no schookids, parent's having to handle small children somehow anyway.

One van, EY53LFL, out of control and up on the pavement on Cotham Hill

Another car, VK09KKJ this time going uphill, must have skidded onto the pavement outside the Homeopathic Hospital

And this taxi SF09BHU, taxi #8048 must have had to do an emergency halt in a bus stop

No major signs of damage, so all is well. Some of the team had to push a couple of cars in trouble. Remember, use second gear when the wheels start to spin, don't just push the accelerator harder.

To follow: the bicycles.

Bristol Snow Chaos

Snow on Sunday night brought Bristol to its knees on Monday. Here we can see Whiteladies Road, barely coping with the chaotic traffic

Looking in the other direction it's just as bad

On Cotham "Lorry" Hill, we see pedestrians gambling with their lives as they walk slowly across the road

And looking up the hill,we can see that one parked car has moved, leaving a row of spaces

-free for commuters who could not make it!

Like the AA and RAC, we must ask why our council did not have an emergency gritting/snowploughing infrastructure ready to ensure that all drivers in the city could get to work without them being forced to skive off and walk to nearby pubs to stay warm

Keeping the bike lanes clean: Environmental Waste Solutions

Who is this, Environmental Waste Solutions, on Cotham Hill, where we've been having a bit of lorry/bicycle problems recently?

Well, CN54EHH is collecting waste, this does keep the bike lanes cleaner

And while they are parked on the double yellows/bike lane on a weekday morning at school run time, forcing cycling traffic to swerve out onto the blind uphill lane, they are at least parked outside a hospital. Provided there is an A&E section in the homeopathic hospital, all will be well.

Sunday 20 December 2009

The water remembers

Sometimes placenames are the only trace that old rivers existed. Who, in London, knows that Kilburn, Westbourne and Bayswater are both named after the same river, "bourne/burn", to use the scottish/celtic name?

Here in Bristol, lots of places have "Vale", "Down" and "Wood" in their names, to remind us of the valleys, the grassy downs and the woods that once existed, where now we have roads.

But water, it remembers. And here, November 2009, it reminds us.

This is Springfield Road, Kingsdown. Not a field, not any more

But today, the spring is back.

The water, it remembers.

Saturday 19 December 2009

The RNIB/bicycle conflict: speaking the unspeakable

We are really enjoying the debate started by that the Evening Post's insightful article showing how cyclists endanger blind people on our pavements. Clearly it's something we agree with.

However, one of those cycling troublemakers, went out trying to get some photographs of the tax-dodging criminals, and failed miserably, picking up lots of photographs on cars on pavements and bus and bike lanes instead. Well yes, there were a lot of them in the photograph -and that's precisely why there were no bikes on the pavement. It was only the selfless effort by many of Bristol's car drivers that they managed to keep the areas that Dru cycled to free of bikes on the pavement. She should be grateful, rather than implying that the whole story was made up.

Question is, what about the RNIB, down by their offices on Boot Lane, Bedminster. What is their bike-on-pavement problem really like? We sent one of our reporters down there.

We can conclude that whatever the problem was, some selfless work by the drivers of vehicles like SA06YVJ keep bicycles away from blind and partially sighted people.

Similarly another car SJ04WDB? selfless endangers its wing mirrors to ensure that no bicycles can even consider coming down this pavement at speed.

Such selfless actions by the community show how, given the complete failure of the police to enforce the cycling rules, locals are forced to take actions into their own hands.

Returning to the debate, things have moved on. The Bristol Cycling Campaign wrote a letter to the paper, complaining about their persecution in the paper. Not once did the tax dodgers complain about the wrongs their members may have done, such as cycling on the pavement or going past the ASL stop lines. Instead they whine that the reporting by ourselves and the evening post are encouraging anti-cycling feelings. Fortunately, the readers of the paper see through this, as can be seen by the many comments. The most seminal has to be from, apparently, one James Carmichael of Highridge:
We've spent years rationally asking cyclists to behave better, and to indicate they're not welcome on our roads, but like all vermin that are left unchecked they continue to multiply.

So, maybe now is the time to get a bit more 'direct' in our action. I am not condoning breaking the laws, or doing anything that endangers life. However, maybe a little more assertive driving around cyclists or some 'verbal feedback' is the only way to get the message through. I for one, will continue to make my point to the cyclists that get in my way.

We hope he's using an assumed name, because James has come out and spoken the truth they dare not print. The issue here isn't really bikes on pavement, that's just an excuse we use to make them look worse. The real issue is this: bikes on the road. And there isn't (yet) anything we can legally do about that. Instead we have to complain about the pavement cycling, or drive more aggressively. Just a bit of "verbal feedback", nothing illegal. Or "assertive driving". You know the sort. Drive at speed right behind the bike, or on a narrow road, pull out wider when coming towards them. When passing, cut in early. Nothing illegal, just enough to make them feel threatened, to feel unwelcome. To know the truth: they don't belong in Britain.

Friday 18 December 2009

Friday Brain Teaser (3)

An interesting sight - the panorama that is Bristol's Watershed, and in the background, the new Radisson Hotel.

For today's Brain teaser, however, a simple question:

Yes, the photo is awful... but, is it just us, or is there something amiss with this view?

(Comments about cycle lanes will be deleted as they only inspire the BEP to heights of journalistic expertise not generally seen outside London or New York).

Thursday 17 December 2009

Ideas from Oxford: treating pedestrians badly

We like to keep up on what is bleeding edge in pedestrian maltreatment, to make them feel less worthy. It makes us car drivers feel better.

Here is one from Oxford, by the entrance to their bus station. A dropped kerb, to enable easy pedestrian access, right next to a sign telling pedestrians to take some detour to get across the road. That's pedestrians, as in "the people who may soon be or have just been bus passengers"

This not only absolves the bus station company and council of any pedestrian deaths, but makes the pedestrians feel as if Highway Code rule 170, right of way over turning vehicles, doesn't apply.

Some people might question the value in treating your own customers that badly, but there is no reason why users of the inter-city bus services could not use a local bus once they have arrived, so bringing in extra revenue to the bus companies. To walk, once you reach a destination, is to deprive the companies of money, and slow down the buses by being in their way.

We have some useless pedestrian crossings near our bus station too, but not with such excellent signage!

Wednesday 16 December 2009

International Persecution

Interesting scene in Alma Vale Road, Clifton, one foggy December morning: a DVLA-clamped car.

Nothing unusual people think -we've seen them before. Which is true, but what is interesting here is that this is not a UK car. Looks like an Italian or Spanish plate, left hand drive.

Either it isn't up to date with respect to its homeland's taxes, or the DVLA have clamped it on the belief that it has not been back to the homeland within the last six months or whatever. If it's the latter: how can they tell? You'd need ANPR number plate logging at every port of entry/exit to the country, and some way for a DVLA clamping van to enter the registration number (again, ANPR without human intervention? ) into some database lookup that scans through all that data and says whether or not this car passed through any of the ports in the last six months.

Interesting indeed...

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Survey Work

More people surveying Cheltenham Road, here on a weekday evening

You know they are on official business as (a) they are parked on the pavement, where they don't interfere with passing traffic and (b) the hi-viz clothing.

There's an interesting question there: you can see from this photo how reflective clothing makes car drivers and passengers more visible, even inside the vehicle. Should we therefore demand that not only are hi-viz tops mandatory on cyclists and pedestrians, should we demand it in car drivers and passengers too?

Monday 14 December 2009

G827YLA: redland mum

Hello, this is a note to the man driving the car G827YLA down Cotham Road at 08:48 on Monday December 14.

I don't think you read this blog. In fact, I don't think you pay any attention to anything other than the little bluetooth headset you had in your ear as you sat at the zebra crossing at the bottom, trying hard not to to make contact with a cyclist. Me.

However, at some point in the future, unless they destroy that car under the scrappage scheme, you are going to try selling that vehicle, and when it happens, whoever is thinking of buying it is going to type in the registration number into google, possibly with spaces, "G827 YLA" . And you know what's going to turn up? This article. The one that accuses you of being a redland mum.

As background, here is our definition of a redland mum: a parent who is in such a hurry to get their children to school that the lives of of any person on the road are unimportant. If there is a choice between the death of a pedestrian or a cyclist and pulling up on the "school no parking" area after 09:00, then somebody has to die.

I know this, because I am the cyclist you nearly ran over, the one who had stopped to let a mother and two children cross the road. I'm sorry I had to slow you down to let a family get to school, but since they were walking, they rely on generosity to get to school on time, and I was feeling generous. This area, outside Cotham Grammar, is a marked "please drive at 20" area, and those buildouts are to make it slightly easier to cross, to avoid having to run through parked cars. But the pedestrians still have to rely on vehicles stopping to let them across. Back when the build-outs were put in some people did ask for a zebra crossing, but it was turned down "nobody has died here yet". Well, you almost managed to get the criteria met today, didn't you, my little redland mum, the man driving the 1989 Toyota G827YLA.

I guess you were a bit surprised that after swerving round to overtake all us (without signalling, we note) and sprinting off down the hill, I did actually catch up with you. For some reason you didn't want to wind down the window, you just sat their looking surprised, muttering something into your phone, and unhappy at having to stop for all the students. No need to fear - we Bristol Cyclists don't believe in violence. It doesn't fix problems, it only creates more animosity. And we come out worse. I was just planning to get a video of you to stick up on the web site for what we do instead: public humiliation. But you got away, even as you went down Cotham Brow, trying to work out where you could go that the cyclist wouldn't catch up with you. To let you into a secret, I'd memorised your number at that point, there was nothing else to do. I let you go down Arley Hill. There you are, thinking "Oooh I got away from the angry cyclist", when in fact my goal had been achieved: you were now heading away from whichever school you were trying to get to, you would be stuck in the 9am Arley Hill traffic queue, and your children would be late. Your initial goal: get to school on time at the expense of a family and a cyclist would not be met.

Oh, and you are in the database. Forever. That's Google's BigTable, which, as they say themselves "is a distributed storage system for managing structured data that is designed to scale to a very large size: petabytes of data across thousands of commodity servers." By replicating facts "G827YLA is driven by a redland mum" across multiple datacentres, each with thousands of "commodity" x86 servers with IDE or SATA hard drives, BigTable's storage capacity is bigger than any database ever built before. By distributing those datacentres round the world: Mountain View, California, The Dalles, Oregon, Dublin, Singapore, BigTable won't just cope with an earthquake scale disaster, they'd even cope with something more dramatic, like a small Tunguska-class asteroid. It would take something big like another K/T Boundary Event or an accidental or intentional exchange of strategic armaments to take your registration number offline.

Which means when someone looks up the car registration, this article pops up. It could be you, it could be a friend, it could even be one of the kids you had in the back of the car who will then start snickering and call you a "redland mum" behind your back. It could maybe be the police if you try something like this again and it goes wrong, someone does end up injured, and they decide to do a checkup to see what anyone knows about the vehicle. Which means that this posting, accusing you of dangerous driving -not just to cyclists, but to pedestrians- will show up. You now, as they say "have a history."

Goodbye, or is it just au-revoir?

University Discrimination!

Seen on Tyndall Avenue, the university heartland.

Apparently at the  "Hawthorns", which is the restaurant building at the far end of this road, they are doing free bike maintenance sessions from 13:00 to 16:00 on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.

This discriminates against those students, who, through no fault of their own, have to drive in. It's bad enough they have to pay tax and insurance, fuel and short-stay parking -now the university is helping to keep cyclists on the road, yet not providing a similar service to students who have to drive. This is unfair!

To add insult to injury, these sessions are being held in the car park. See that? "car park". As in "place for cars to park". Not bicycles, cars!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Tip to Tip in Picton Street

When looking at road conditions near the bus station, a commentator said "On a more serious point, when I overtake a cyclist I give them plenty of room but when I pass them in the opposite direction I don't see why I should - I trust other motorists are like minded - see 12 secs in!"

Whoever wrote this does not do any driving round Bristol. Otherwise, they would have realised that the oncoming car gave the cyclist exactly as much room as they would any oncoming car. Bristol's streets are narrow, and the easiest way to ensure that you don't bash your car against parked vehicles is simple: drive as close as you can to the oncoming vehicle. That usually works. The only time it does not is when there isn't room for two vehicles to pass. And then? Negotiation time. The Nash Equilibrium: whoever has the least to lose wins. Sometime's that's hidden in phrases like "Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement", but what it comes down to is if you value the extremities of your vehicle, there are some parts of the city you should not go.

Some people with 4X4s often fall for the belief that their vehicles are more robust, that they should automatically get through first. But that's a lie, made worse by the way the raised seating position makes it harder to see where the ends of their vehicles lie. No, the driver who gets the right of way is the one driving the 1970s volvo: indestructible and fully depreciated, or the battered ex-minicab: nothing left to lose.

Accordingly cyclists are in trouble. Their body parts are where wing mirrors go, so their cue that something has gone wrong is not a noise from their car, more sharp pains in their hands. Which is why we think they should be banned from Montpelier. It's too narrow, and the Nash Equilibrium ends up with them in Accident and Emergency, rather than the usual scene of us drivers shouting at each other, flipping back or picking up their mirrors, and driving off.

Look at the video of Picton Street. There isn't room for the bicycle to pass the oncoming car just where one of the residents has parked up on the pavement with the double yellow lines. Both parked car and oncoming car are vehicles their owners don't value much, and their wing mirrors are stronger than the cyclists hands. Fortunately, the driver is paying attention -Montpelier is to narrow for phone conversations- and the negotiation is completed quickly and safely.

But the bicyclist is at a disadvantage: they rely on the voluntary goodwill of the car drivers. Normal wingmirror negotiations are between near-equals, and now there are these bicycle people demanding more rights. It isn't going to work

Saturday 12 December 2009

Safe Lorry Reversing

The Cotham Hill incident has brought home to all the cyclists how important it is to avoid trying to "sneak past" lorries. You cannot predict which way they will go -you can only guess, and guessing wrong can kill you.

Here are pleased to see one of our cyclists-under-observation not trying to get past this lorry in Saint Andrews. There is no easy way to predict which way round the blind corner the lorry is going to go as it reversed round the blind corner on Derby Road, and again, reverses blind from Derby Road onto Sommerville Road, just near the park and the zebra crossing.

Now, theoretically reversing from a side road onto a main road is a highway code no-no, rule 201, "Do not reverse from a side road into a main road. When using a driveway, reverse in and drive out if you can." That's for cars, as well as lorries. But the Keyline Building Materials lorry had no choice: with only one driver there was no way a spotter could walk out a clear the way, so it had to do next best thing: put on its flashing lights.

Remember: with your hazard lights on, it's OK to reverse large vehicles round blind corners.

update: video is now visible

Friday 11 December 2009

Warning: Bicycles are not just for Christmas!

This is the time of year when parents start thinking what Santa is going to bring their little ones; what gifts will lighten up their childrens' eyes. Sometimes this turns to bicycles. We in Bristol Traffic strongly urge parents not to do this!

Yes their eyes will light up with joy at the fun and freedom it delivers, but there is a risk they will not put their toys away when they grow up, and your small child will become yet another tax-dodging, pavement-cycling adult, getting in the way of us car drivers or those pedestrian people who should stay on the pavement, where they belong. Get them something they will really value, like their first Quad Bike. We look forward to seeing everyone out on the railway path on Boxing Day with their childrens' first motor vehicles

Thursday 10 December 2009

Cyclists interfering with residents parking

More breaking news, the local cycling campaign is getting involved in the Kingsdown Resident Parking Proposals.

Look at their ten page document!

Not only do they support this plan, they have recommendations which shock us
  1. Parking must remain restricted on Nine Tree Hill -to do otherwise is to create danger for pedestrians and cyclists where there is none today.
  2. Enforcement of blatantly dangerous parking -on zebra crossings, completely on pavements, blocking bike lanes- should commence today, so that such restrictions are not associated with the eventual RPZ rollout.
  3. Zebra crossing safety on Cotham Road south is unlikely to be addressed by these proposals; we advocate the installation of a pair of in-road sheffield racks, to remove the zig-zag area as a parking option for delivery vehicles.
  4. We have made some suggestions on assessing traffic within the city; these should be considered. In particular, RFID-tagged resident/disabled parking permits would prevent permit forgery/theft as well as enabling data collection and reducing future data collection costs

You see that? Not only are they pushing for existing double yellow lines on Nine-Tree Hill to be retained purely for the benefit of tax-dodgers walking and cycling to Cotham Grammar or Bristol University, they are advocating that existing rules about parking on double yellow lines or zebra crossings are enforced! In Bristol! Then they come up with some ideas to make it harder to create resident or disable parking permits, and to measure traffic flow in the area.

They are even asking that their campaign members send emails to supporting their proposals and referring to "Proposed Kingsdown RPZ"

This is shocking, and we hope that no readers of this, Bristol's Premier Anti-Cycling web site (despite how hard the Evening Post is trying to copy is), follows the cycling campaign's suggestions and writes in.

And again, those subversives, to add insult to injury, use our photographs! What do they think we are? Some kind of city-wide database of what actually happens on our streets, to be used to generate defensible data to support the cycling campaign? This a fundamental abuse of our goal, which is to celebrate the everyday solutions that drivers have to come up with to cope in an anti-car city.

Bus Passengers cost shops money

We are shocked to see that bus passengers are damaging the economy in Bedminster.

This is the sign on the bus shelter

Passenger Notice
Please queue to the left
of the shelter when
waiting for buses

Please do not obstruct
the frontages of local
businesses when
waiting for buses

This selfish behaviour of bus passengers is destroying the local economy

Not only do they not shop in the Sextons' car audio showroom or motaman car parts, they block sight of Star News and Booze from passing cars.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Breaking news: anti-car crackdown in Bristol

Over in Westminster, the council are advocating that their enforcement officers have the right to issue spot fines for cyclists breaking the highway code. Although we think this isn't enough: bicycles should be banned for adults; using them should merit spot fines. we have been giving this idea some consideration.

In the end, we're against it. Why? The Highway Code. In particular, the entire section on road junctions.

Rule 170: crossing pedestrians have right of way over turning vehicles. See that? the highway code claims that pedestrians have right of way over cars. Anyone who tried to walk across a road in Bristol believing that would not only die immediately, they would slow down somebody important who had just run them over.

Rule 172: You must give way to traffic if there is a give-way sign at the junction. All traffic, including bicycles. Bollocks.

Rule 174: Do not enter box junctions marked with yellow hashes unless you can exit. Bollocks.

Rule 178. Do not enter ASL boxes on red; allow cyclists time to clear when the lights change. Bollocks to that too.

Rule 182. Do not cut on in cyclists. Missing the point. We do that to make cycling more miserable.

Rule 183: When turning left "give way to any vehicles using a bus lane, cycle lane or tramway from either direction". This is some kind of joke, right?

You see our concern. If people get out there and start enforcing what are technically the legal traffic laws in this country, not the de-facto ones, then the resulting crack down on the things we need to do to get round our city would make driving round Bristol worse than it is today. That would be unacceptable. The satisfaction of seeing a bicycle fined for cycling through a pedestrian crossing would be offset by the tickets we would get ourselves.

The worst one is rule 170, the one that implies that pedestrians crossing the road at any junction have the right of way over turning vehicles. That is simply untrue. It is a good thing it is never mentioned to pedestrians, as even more people would die.

In the US, the country where, gloriously, jaywalking is a crime, they actually enforce that give way to pedestrians rule. Could you imagine if they started doing that in Britain? We would be stuffed.

No, no need to have the council enforce rules against bicycles. We drivers will make them suffer, and there is no point giving anyone in the council ideas, like letting them read the details of highway code.

On that topic, we have some sad news of the new Cotham Martyrs. Here is the summit of Cotham Hill, at the far end of where a woman cyclist ended up under a lorry last week. In the background, a traffic jam of cars on the school run. That church was set up to remember the Maryan Martyrs; the people burned alive for their religious beliefs at this very spot in the time of Queen Mary. This hill, no doubt to be full of whining tax-dodgers on their Bastard Hills of North Bristol ride, represents a key conflict point in the city over historical timescales, where people suffer due to state oppression of fundamental freedoms. Yesterday: religion. Today: parking.

Cars have always parked here; when the council made the road one-way at the top and added a build-out, this added room for another row of cars on the pavement. We celebrated this only yesterday! Yet today, what do we see? One of the same cars, RF04ZFW parked precisely where it has been free to park in the past. Only today: a ticket! A ticket! Yet there is enough room for a pedestrian to get past on the build-out, so why the fuss?

When you look from the side, you can see precisely how uncalled for it is. You cannot even accuse this car of parking on the pavement by double yellow lines, because where the pavement drops down to make it easier for parents to get their push chair onto the bicycle contraflow and so past the cars -there isn't any double yellow lines! Therefore parking on this buildout by the dropped kerb should not be illegal! We hope this car driver appeals.

This is why we are against Bristol copying the Westminster Council "give our enforcement officers the right to fine bicycles" proposal: we think enforcement officers themselves are a sign of an anti-car city.

We are also concerned that this anti-car theme appears to be getting worse. The question is, how to measure it? We have a plan.
We can assess the official anti-car resentment in the city by reporting "illegally" parked cars to the BPS control room, and seeing if they respond, and how long it takes. 

This does not mean that we do not think that cars should not be free to park where they like, and that the whole idea of yellow lines were invented to bring in revenues to councils. Only that we can measure whether or not the council feels such actions are an issue by measuring their response time to calls. Which we can only do by reporting the vehicles themselves, by dialling the control 0117 903 8070 and reporting what may be perceived as "incidents" but which are in fact attempts by us Bristolians to stand up to an oppressive regime. The response time to the calls will be our way of formally assessing the oppressiveness of the regime. If we, say, report a row of lorries parked on the Stokes Croft bike lane, as we know there will be right now, without even having to bother to go over there, and then later, we do drop by and the vehicles have tickets: Bristol is getting more anti car. Yet if we report them and later on: no tickets, Bristol is resisting attempts by the cyclists to take over the city.

How you can help

For this to work, we need people all over the city reporting cars parked on pavements by double yellow lines, or on double yellow lines, such as those under bike lanes. Remember, we aren't being anti-car here, we want the council to ignore the calls and let Bristol's car and van drivers carry on as we have always done -but we want to make sure. We need to be sure that there isn't secretly a bit of the council cracking down on the cars and vans that keep the city moving. And the only way we can do that is by making the calls, and seeing what happens.

January, that is when the experiment begins. This month is the "before"; the baseline dataset. Nobody should report vehicles parked outside Hampton House, on Cotham Hill, on the bike lanes of Stokes Croft or Cheltenham Road. We must start by assessing what happens without interference. Look at your streets, take photographs, note if any tickets are issued.

[This experiment is supported by the NERC and ESRC funding bodies.] 

Bastard Hills of North Bristol? Bastard Cyclists more like

We have another web site of those bicycle under-people to criticise: Bristol by Bicycle.

Clearly they have plans to encourage more people to get in our way, to deny FirstBus revenue, to slow down important car drivers and taxi passengers. We shall keep an eye on them.

Their current coverage is about a forthcoming Bristol Cycling Campaign ride, The Bastard Hills of North Bristol. This is apparently a tour of the steep road climbs north of the river, from Montpelier to Clifton by way of Kingsdown and Cliftonwood.

Well, you would have to enjoy suffering to cycle round BRS: the hills, the rain, the wind, the abuse. The fact that these people are celebrating the harsh bits of the city just shows how strange they are. They will probably spend Christmas training, rather than drinking beer and watching Eastenders.

Whoever these subversives are, they are keeping an eye on us. We know that. How? All the photographs they are currently using in their coverage of their route are ours. Pro-car, anti-bicycle photographs. Yet these troublemakers are using the same photographs to actually encourage people to come out on a bicycle -and are trying to pretend that it will be fun.

We despair.

Some of us are debating attending the route and hurling abuse at the cyclists, but as the route will go through central Bristol, there will be other people doing that anyway, usually from the comfort of a minicab.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

You're dangerous, rude and need educating, Bristol cyclists told

There was an article in the Evening Post this week, You're dangerous, rude and need educating, Bristol cyclists told, in which the danger that cyclists pose to pedestrians is discussed. We agree.

Look at this scene here. There is a risk that cyclists coming down the hill could run straight into this mother with a push chair. Do you think the cyclists will care? No, they will probably shout at her to get out of the way -yet they pay no more road tax than her, why should she not have equal right to the bike lane?

At the time these photos were taken, the far end of this road, Cotham Hill, is cordoned off while police investigate precisely how a bicycle ended up under a lorry. The cyclist is at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, at the bottom of St Michael's Hill. This is the junction between the roads. Do you think cyclists are going round here with caution, with care? Or are they sprinting around, some of them without helmets or hi-viz clothing, expecting pedestrians to jump out their way, for cars at junctions to give way to them?

That building to the side is of course the Hampton House; the student health centre on the ground floor and on the upper floor the UBHT Physiotherapy Department. This building exists to help people to learn to walk, run and even cycle again. You cannot expect the staff at such an important institution to walk or use public transport to get there, yet there is nowhere but the buildout for WJ59CJU, LD02URP and RF04ZFW to park. They may be patients, yet if you look at the travel directions, there is no on-site or disabled parking. These people have no choice, the fact that parents with push chairs are forced into the road is not something they can do anything about. It is perfectly safe for parents to take their push chairs into the bike lane -provided those tax-dodging criminal cyclists look where they are going.

We should ban all cyclists from our streets until they do some kind of test. Then they will follow the highway code, as we car drivers are forced to.