Sunday 31 May 2009

The Must Overtake Syndrome

We've all experienced this one on UK motorways and doubtless it happens all over the world. You're a few hundred metres away from the slip road to leave the motorway when some lunatic overtakes everyone at high speed, only to swerve back from right to left across three lanes of traffic and shoot up the slip road. You always ask yourself this question: Why didn't you just stay in the slow lane for a few seconds more?. The answer is that some drivers are impatient and suffer from MOS or 'Must Overtake Syndrome' which, medically speaking, is an irrational and dangerous desire to get in front of everyone at all costs.

I witnessed it in action yesterday whilst quietly waiting to cross the road near Temple Meads station. A motorcyclist, coming up the far left lane (A4) at speed, swerved wildly across the other lanes to overtake everything before swerving back at the last minute into the A4. In short, there was absolutely no need for him to do this, as it was 10am on a saturday morning and there were no cars in front of him in his original lane!. The picture shows his route in yellow dots - pointless overtaking isn't it?. I'm the red dot, waiting at the crossing. The green dots are the correct route he should have taken. Of particular concern to me, is the red arrow which shows his path swerving back across the lanes. This is the route I normally cycle back home and I shudder to think of being whacked sideways by an aggressive biker hitting me from the right hand side.

Alas, this behaviour is classic MOS, coupled with male bravado and machines with far too much acceleration. Oh yes, before I forget, stupidity as well.

Breakdown on Hurlingham Road

Regular contributor KL sends in this photo of someone pushing their bike up the hill, past the car J417LFJ parked entirely on the pavement of Hurlingham Road, St Andrews, just off Ashley Down Road.
From the front of the vehicle, you see the sign "Sorry, broken down, "

KL asks "why is it more acceptable to block the pavement than to block the road? Or was the car already parked on the pavement when it broke down?"
Actually, that bit of Hurlingham Road is a pavement that the cars have to drive up and down to get past the cars in the other direction. It was probably driving up the hill when it broke down, much to the annoyance of all the cars driving up the pavement behind it.

Incidentally, we hear a rumour -just a rumour- that Hurlingham Road is likely to be closed to through traffic, and that the closure will be at the top of the hill, not the bottom -which must mean near the junction with Cromwell Road. More details on this would be welcome.

Saturday 30 May 2009

Probably didn't see the cones

Westfield Wanderer sends in this photo of someone not noticing the no-parking cones on a stretch of road to the South of the city

-If you look at the side of the road in question, the cones are not on the road, they are on the pavement. Is the car on the pavement? No, it is parked on the road. Therefore, the cones don't apply.

Friday 29 May 2009

Very Direct to you Cleaning Services on Nugent Hill direct

Since the island went in at the bottom of Nugent hill, we have had no submissions of photos of any cars driving the wrong way down the one-way section. Since we were getting one a week and the island has been up for four weeks, that was quite an improvement. Has it stopped cars trying to avoid Cotham Brow and most of the Arley Hill traffic jam? Yes -most cars.

But not, apparently, "Direct to you Cleaning Services", and their van VA06DDN

This is the first vehicle encountered doing the contraflow with the island in place. Interestingly, it does make it harder to pull out, because cars in the Arley Hill traffic jam can ignore you more easily -the contraflowing vehicle can't edge out and force its way in to the line of traffic. Now it has to rely on a vehicle coming down the hill to be generous.

If we have a reduction of one vehicle report every four weeks compared with one a week, that's a reasonable success, possibly a 25% reduction in the number of cars or vans completely ignoring no entry signs in this stretch of road. Progress!

Oddly enough, the driver of this vehicle, was not at all excited to be the first person to enter our database for this action since the road was changed. After congratulating him, instead of him saying "Thank you", he said "Fuck off and get a life". Which is a shame, as he has shown such dedication to shaving 30s off his journey that he really needs to be recognised, and he should be proud of the recognition.

We shall forward his photograph to the local PACT group in order for him to be more formally recognised.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Demi Demi

Deborah Harry may not live here, but ...

The 4x4 on the right of the photo is parked legally, wheels off the kerb.

The Kensington Arms is just a few metres away (sustainable destination).

And there's a song going around in my head, by Blondie. (OK, not Demis Demis, but Denis Denis - I'm sure you're humming it too by now).

Until now I thought demi-drives only existed for cars. But the owner of this bike proves that virtually anyone can take control of our pavements.


UPDATE - Lame post, sorry. Forgot I'd saved it, meant to add a bit more (worth saying), but I'm out of Bristol this week.

Note to self: must try harder.../pay attention... (delete as appropriate).

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Watch for children

Here we are again in Alcove Road, , Fishponds, near where one of the recent hit-and-run incidents took place.

Today, we see that the ice cream van G984VFP has a sign on the back, "slow, watch for children"

This is to warn other vehicles about to park on the pavement that children may be running out of their houses to get to the ice cream van, so endangering your wing mirrors and paintwork.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

Bristol Cycling Chic on Cheltenham Road

Our last posting on Bristol Cycling Chic raised some excellent comments, including a personal denunciation from the Copenhagen team "you have a fetish for hi-viz clothing" and one from a local, mudpup, who says

There's loads of stylish people on nice bikes in Bristol. Maybe not as easy to snap them as in Copenhagen but they're out there. Search Bristol Cycle Chic on Flickr for a few. There is a growing cycle culture here and it's good to show the world, but if people are going to emulate sites like Copenhagen Cycle Chic and Amsterdamize then at least stick some decent photos on them!
Well, if we have to compete with the others, here goes. Here is a blonde-haired woman cycling down Cheltenham Road, normal clothes, normal sunglasses, road bike, no helmet.

Notice how she is cycling with the traffic, correctly positioned in the lane, ready to get over the next junction the "A&M Motors road-range junction" as we now call it.
Some people in the last posts comments blamed the council for not fully embracing cycling, but we think that is changing. We also see that a whole line of vehicles have recognised that this junction is not one where you want to be cycling in the far left lane. Selflessly risking their bodywork and wing mirrors, vehicles like the Renault V410GMW and Audi P846WAP have carefully placed their cars so as to entirely block out this bike lane. What's more, cars are parked here every day, sometimes the same ones, sometimes different ones-but all striving to keep this a cycling city.
All like the Corsa P95CFX are carefully positioned to ensure that cyclists occupy the whole of the innermost lane, and so get to line themselves up correctly at the lights. Leaving only the risk of A&M Motor van drivers to deal with.

Monday 25 May 2009

Play parking at the playspace

Contributor "A" sends in these photos with a superb commentary:

At first glance it does look like the driver of the silver Golf T813GLG is parked across the pavement, but on closer inspection it is clear that Playspace has gone the extra mile, not only providing facilities to encourage play and learning for children inside the centre, but also a space outdoors for the parents to gradually learn to park in car parks.
The driver of the Golf is actually making the transition from roadside parking to eventually being able to make the whole car fit in the carpark, hopefully one day without the help of any other grown ups! It's important to remember that this is a gradual process and although the car being on the pavement might cause minor disruption to pedestrians this driver has already made substantial progress over the last few visits as they are clearly already a long way beyond simple road parking. Next visit they are likely to be almost half way within the carpark and maybe with a bit more practise they could be completely within the carpark with only three or four more visits.

In the meantime at least they've had the common sense to put a "small dude on board" t-shirt sign and a "baby on board" tortoise toy sign in the back window to warn pedestrians with pushchairs of the danger they could pose if their pushchair hit the back of the car whilst trying to navigate the pavement and therefore pointing out the advantages for pedestrians and pushchairs to instead make their way around the car using the adjacent road. The driver is after all a considerate parent themselves with the safety concerns of children first and foremost in their minds.

Saturday 23 May 2009

Cheltenham Road

"dempster" sends in this photo of Uplands Mobile Multimedia, an in-vehicle entertainment service provider. That is, they specialise in adding electronics to your vehicle so that you don't have to look where you are going. As such, their business plan is built on:
  1. People who like satnav and in-car DVD to be retrofitted inside existing vehicles.
  2. Somewhere to park the vehicles during the retrofitting process
Here is one such vehicle. This photograph shocked us. Can you see why?

A pedestrian is walking down the bus lane. That lane is reserved for buses, bicycles, motorcycles and taxis. Not pedestrians. For someone to walk along here is irresponsible and inconsiderate.

Thank you, dempster, for bringing this person to our attention. We shall report them to the relevant authorities, including the FirstBus enforcement team.

Friday 22 May 2009

Skanska: Improving the Image of construction

The ongoing school development at the back of Cotham Grammar is causing much entertainment, and despair at the Bristol street trees group, who have seen some of the older trees cut down without the right paperwork being signed off.

The road-side of the work is also interesting, as it is one of the causes of our forthcoming "Mum-rage" video; 20 seconds in the life of a traffic warden at school dropoff time.

Then there is also the matter of the timing of exactly when deliveries come in. No doubt all the cars below feel somewhat aggrieved about the fact that a large crane is being dropped off at exactly 08:15 of a weekday, but then it is walk-to-school week, so everyone on a school run has no right to complain.
Furthermore, this traffic jam, combined with the closure of the downhill lane, eliminates all issues with any Turner Bus coaches overtaking for those parents doing the school-run on a bike, so all is well.

Councillor Neil Harrison has been pursuing the work -in particular the fact that they have stuck up a large steel fence over the only mildly-safe crossing at the top of the hill -this a road with two schools on it, one round the corner, and a university nearby, most of whose staff and students walk in.

Neil says
Met with roadworks expert this morning on-site and he agreed problem - helpfully illustrated by the arrival of two buses to take the kids to games.
Saw that -but are you sure that none of those vehicles were in fact building site vehicles? they were gone by lunchtime, so maybe it was the roadworks expert himself?
On the buses, he will be seeking to reduce the barriered off area and to extend the bays further down the road to accommodate at least two at a time.

On the crossing, the intention is that the 'pavement' will be moved out between the blue fences and the red-and-white barriers. He will be getting the bollards removed and ramps put in so that the crossing can continue to be used (inc. by buggies and wheelchairs). He will get the barriers moved out further into the road, both to slow traffic and to give pedestrians more space. He will also get "Slow - Pedestrians Crossing" signs at either end.

He is happy with the blue fences regardless of the presence of huts. He wants to make sure that pedestrians are kept well away from the crane that will be active in the area, especially after a recent accident elsewhere.

He also feels that there is scope to put in a zebra crossing on an experimental basis to upgrade the safety there, especially if the rear entrance is to be used more by the school. I have started the process of formally asking for this. It won't happen overnight, but experimental schemes can happen quicker than permanent ones.
That's interesting, and good to see that the interests of pedestrians are being looked after, especially in comparison to the past Tyndall's Park work by Bristol Water. It is nice to see a company caring for their needs.

As you can see, the barriers are ensuring that children can walk to school without them coming into contact with the building workers cars and motorbikes parked on the pavement, such as the car GF55VHC. This ensures a safe journey for students at the nearby schools, without depriving the builders of the opportunity to drive into the city, park on the pavement and cut down trees for their portakabins. It also ensures their wing mirrors don't get bashed by small children on scooters.

Product Placement: Turner Buses

Normally when this site covers school coaches, we feel sorry for them. It's not their fault, for example, that people have parked vehicles like in the coaches-only bit of Cotham Road, and so they are forced to double park to let schoolkids on and off safely.
No, it is the councils fault for failing to provide designated parent parking zone outside the school across the road -more on that another day, with the "Mum Rage" video.

But today, a bit of a focus on one vehicle, particularly this Turner Bus we see some distance ahead of our parent-and-child bicycle
But which we soon catch up with, giving us the photo that includes the registration number and the telephone number to call to raise a bug report against their understanding of the "When it is safe to overtake" rules.

In particular, if you are a bus only doing 12 mph up a hill, and there is a bicycle doing 10mph up a hill, then you should not attempt to pass the aforementioned bicycle while there is an oncoming car. fortunately, the oncoming car and the bus both agreed to slow down, and the bus could then wait to pass the bicycle safely, but for a moment it felt that there was a bus that wished to occupy the space currently used by a bike.

This is very inconvenient to the parent, as one does not want to teach the child about swearing, and yet with actions like this, well, they get to learn.

It is time to call Turners on 955 9086 -providers of school buses to council and independent schools in the city, and ask them exactly WTF the bus 3138DP was doing at 08:22 this morning.

Updated: phoned up, reported, they will tell the driver off, the office apologised. Probably on the Colston's school run, apparently. This is a reminder why a camera is so handy on your bike, keep it on a handlebar bag. Get one that powers up fast, and which lets you take pics one handed while your son goes "daddy, what did those words you said mean?"

Update 2: forgot to put the reg# of the landrover in the posting. M525YPX. With the hi-viz gear in the back, they are probably part of the sanska "Caring constructors" team rebuilding the school here. More on them another day.


Bristol is a Cycling City success - here's the proof.

Drivers and Cyclists have finally come together in a dream of properly shared space.

No matter where you look there are places to leave your cycles. And where you can park a bike, you can park a car. Especially at grocery stores with 'limited' parking.

Such as here, at Waitrose in Henleaze.

Or here, by Sainsbury's in Whiteladies Road, Clifton

Or here at Tesco in the Gloucester Road.

It's heart-warming to witness such harmony.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Bath Buildings -gateway to Montpelier

Here in Bath Buildings, a car is completely blocking the pavement alongside Kwik-Fit: the dropped kerb here must have convinced the owner that they can park here when Kwik-Fit is closed.
With the roadworks on the other side of the road, there is no way to walk into Montpelier without going on the road.

This may seem an inconvenience, but the driver of PKA3A10 has deliberately parked here to make it clear to pedestrians that they are in Montpelier, and it is socially acceptable to walk down the middle of the road.

This is to make clear the contrast between Monty and the Nugent Hill area of Cotham, where the pavements are kept clear, but pedestrians are positively discouraged from using the road.

Vehicles like YN52NNU selflessly park across corners and dropped kerbs to ensure that pedestrians stay in their part of the street, and do not interfere with passing cars.

Fixies? Fit or optimistic

We've heard of fixies before -fixed wheel bikes, courier kit turned into fashion items in London and NY. But those cities are mostly flat. you can get away with a single speed bike with no brakes other than your own two legs. To ride fixie in BRS, now that would take someone with serious hill climbing thighs, or they would have to commit to only visiting one part of the city.

This fixie rider was spotted making his way towards Cotham Hill, that is, a bit of the uphill. "It gets a bit hard sometimes" he says
As he rides off.

Leaving us behind.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

The footwear debate

These two gentlemen are wearing helmets, as they wait at the bottom of Arley Hill for the lights to change. But that is because they have to set an example for their children.

What does interest is something else: the footwear. Has the open-toed sandal season arrived already? Peter W. on on the right has gone for shorts and no-socks, while the unknown cyclist on the left is in long trousers and socks, but he's still gone for the open sandals.

Summer must be approaching

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Breaking News: the Farm Pub Path from muller road to St Werburgh is open

we got an email at 1700 today from "TG" who tells us that the Cycle City "Farm Pub Path" from St Werburgh's to Muller Road is now open!

And yes it is. It isn't even raining on the path. Here is the zig-zag by the underpass
Looking along
Looking down, the railway is on the left
Here is how the wall has been fixed up.

There will be a video to follow later on -but for now, get down there, check it out, have some beer at the Farm Pub.

Best place to pick up pedestrians

If you are taxi, you make a living by picking up pedestrians. People walking. And where's the best place to find pedestrians? That's right.
On the pavement. Here taxi PK55JWC, taxi #2127 is doing exactly that on Commercial Road, leading up to the Bedminster Bridge Roundabout.

Monty Corner Work

"D" from Montpelier drops us a note pointing out this car on Richmond Avenue, a "classic" piece of parking

Apart from the way the wheels of the car R338KJT were not aligned, we couldn't see much wrong with it at first. But when we noticed. The letter box! By parking exactly where it has, nobody will be able to send a letter here.

Given there is clear demand for parking on this corner, the obvious solution would be to move the letter box.

Notice to readers: We do accept content from other than Montpelier and Kingsdown, it just happens to be so, well, easy to find amusing content there. Contributions from any part of the city to bristol.traffic at, please.

Monday 18 May 2009

Police over Lockleaze

For anyone wondering why the Avon and Somerset Police Helicopter was doing the rounds of Purdown and Stoke Park at 17:40, this is the reason. A motorbike lying on its side on the secret road that UWE students park on, the one with three footpaths running off -to Stoke Park behind the bike, UWE on the left, and Lockleaze behind the camera.

The police didn't quite know the area, so they were very grateful of a donation of a 2008 Bristol Bicycle map, which shows these paths. The ground forces were cornering bikes coming off the different paths and asking if they'd seen anyone, and before long the 'copter was overhead, scanning the woods.

The kids at the Lockleaze play area were amused by this story -presumably this wasn't one of that lot, who all know well that you need better tyres to take a moto cross-country towards Purdown, especially after the last couple of day's rain.

Black Box

One aspect of improving vehicle safety would be to record all the actions of a car to a "black box" in the car itself. Most of the data is being collected, just not being preserved: acceleration, braking and steering decisions, whether they are using the integrated hands-free phone, pressing buttons on the music player, lighting/indicator status, etc. All known, but discarded. A car could collect this and automatically preserve it whenever an emergency braking situation (ABS event) was detected, or an air-bag event occurred. and you could keep a 24-48 hour rolling log which the police could take with a warrant. The data is there, just not being retained. there

We don't just want black boxes for cars though. We want them for pedestrians, recording their iPod tracks and where they were looking, and phone usage. By strapping their iPhone to their forehead they could record this and have a head mounted camera at the same time.

Same for bikes: they could record what they were up to just before the crash.

Here then is an experimental black box recording of someone doing the Ashton Court quarry route and getting things wrong.

They make two mistakes. First, too slow. Second, failing to avoid the vegetation. That green stuff, it is meant to go to either side of the camera.

Sunday 17 May 2009

New Harbour Path feature

Despite the fact that the Rownham Mead Residents Association has fought hard for a barrier across the harbour bike path, here to stop cyclists getting past. Unfortunately, they still do -they do not take the hint. One barrier and a cyclists dismount sign is not enough to counter all that state-funded propaganda, those Bristol-cycling maps, that show this as a safe way to avoid the Hotwells roundabout and therefore get into town alive. Sterner Measures are called for.

Here are the new measures. Starting at the Hotwells Bridge and the Pump House Pub, there are some new grooves running over the path, just the right size and position to catch bicycles and drop them.
If they make it past this part, the path does a sharp left turn to ensure that there is no way to avoid the feature, therefore no way to avoid falling off.
If there is one complaint we in Bristol Traffic could make about this, there seems little effort underway to measure the effectiveness of the design. If the residents really want to stop cyclists, they need some defensible data collection to go along with the experiments. Either sensors to measure the number of cyclists falling off, or just some bluetooth loggers to detect a reduction in the volume of cyclists. Yet they have not approached us to get recommendations for hardware or software for such an experiment -which implies to us that they are not being scientific.

Bristolized? Or is that brizzlized??

Keeping track of what is happening in city transport, there is a new city cycling blog, Bristolized. It's goal is to be a local version of the copehagenize and amsterdamize sites -to evangelise that city's transport solutions to the rest of the world.

Some flaws exist with this idea

1. According to the Urban Dictionary, to bristolize is already a slang verb in the US, to mean "to get as destroyed as race cars at the Bristol Speedway" -that is Bristol #2, somewhere in the US.

2. Bristol's transport policy exists of a motorway to the centre of town, splitting the city, drivers parking where is most convenient for them, and a public transport system that everyone except FirstBus management hates.

In this context then, we are pleased to see Amsterdam being Bristolized, here with a taxi waiting across a bike lane and a side road. Because taxis come first, you know.

3. The other thing to consider is that Bristol Palin is now making appearances in the US as an advocate of abstinence as the sole form of contraception to for youth to consider. In this context, to bristolize means to have sex with someone under 18 without adequate anti-baby preparations, and so is to be whispered amongst sixth-formers "did you bristolize er?". "Not yet".

We wish the new Bristolize blog well then, and hope to see all forms of the verb in use in it, and may even contribute some photographs. We ourselves shall use meaning number two: to export selfish driving and parking and FirstBus as a substitute for a functional public transport infrastructure. But we think Brizzlize would be the correct spelling, and lack so many meanings.

Saturday 16 May 2009

We are a Bike-It School - Join the movement

Christchurch School, Clifton, Now has a sign up in front of the keep clear zone,
We are a Bike-It School - Join the movement
Presumably it is at that exact height so as to catch the eye of parents parking here, such as the Saab T423RMW
To be fair, those parents have a good reason to not be walking in -they really do have no choice.
Not with this mini HD03WXL blocking the entire pavement for anyone trying to walk round to the school's other entrance

Incidentally, the local PACT meeting minutes state the new priorities include this school:
Agreed 26th March 2009

1. Driving offences around education establishments, with specific reference to speeding and inconsiderate parking. Two highlighted areas are:
A: Clifton College, namely College Road, Guthrie Road and The Avenue.
B: Christchurch Primary School, namely Royal Park.
Driving offences around educational establishments

Updated 6 May 2009:
So far there have been six patrols conducted around our local schools. During these patrols there have been:
12 motorists stopped and issued words of advice.
10 cars issued with warning leaflet
6 fixed penalty notices issued.
What is interesting here is that there are no complaints about people cycling on pavements. Perhaps you need a certain amount of free pavement before that to become an issue. By that measure, Bishopston must be ahead of Clifton. But if there have six penalties issued on six patrols, that means every patrol is finding one vehicle that merits not a warning or a word of advice, but a penalty ticket. Perhaps school parking is an issue here after all.

PS: Walk to School week, may 18-22. Watch out for pedestrians!

Friday 15 May 2009

Product Placement: DHL

We are pleased to see that the DHL deliveries company is able to successfully deliver packages to people cycling to work or school down the Cotham Hill contraflow at 08:42 on a weekday morning.
Clearly there is no other reason why the DHL lorry reg # FJ05XEH would cross a solid white line and park on double yellow lines, not just preventing downhill cycle traffic but removing all visibility for passing on this road, not during the peak traffic period.

This integrated on-line shopping/delivery on the school-run/commute will increase the value of cycling-city initiatives, as it provides extra value from bike lanes.

Hopefully the cyclist they were waiting for came along, picked up their package and the lorry could then go off to block another bike lane.

Build outs

Some people view build outs on bike lanes as inconvenient and dangerous.

On Jamaica Street, for example, the buildout contains a tree, which forces you to be even further out -beyond the designated bike area.

Yet greenery in the city is to be cherished, and by pushing bicycles out of the bike lane, they are out of car door range of the Ford Ka W947MCU
And later on, this BMW YK52BPP, a car that its positioned carefully to stop the small child from running off the dropped kerb and into any bicycle that has swerved back in to lane

The buildout and tree is therefore protecting the pedestrians, the cyclists and the paintwork of the cars.

Update 19-may-2009: Ian W says "Those 2 pictures are on Dighton Street....It's becomes Jamaica Street at Kings Square." Thank you!

Thursday 14 May 2009

It's OK, I'm with the council

The SmartCar BJ03NFU caught our eye at 17:51 on a weekday, nestling under the trees on the yellow-lined build-out where Arley Hill meets Gloucester Road. Parking Services will have knocked off for the evening, but we should still add it to the dataset

Except look -whoever is driving it is still there, and wearing genuine Bristol Traffic Hi-viz clothing, for safe car driving. A closer look is needed.

After a quick discussion, it's clear that the car is apparently parked on the pavement with the permission of the police, and it has a piece of A4 paper in the windscreen to prove it.

Well, if all it takes is a hi-viz top and access to a colour printer to park on the pavement, we have just solved the parking problems of Bristol. Or at least Bristol Traffic!

Insensitive bike parking

The way this bike is parked, it is blocking all access to the pavement alongside the Scotsman pub. At the very least, this will inconvenience the driver of the Mercedes W679PBD

The vehicle to its left, is the Easy Runner store van, who are based across the road.
This shop, which proudly sports a "Say no to CPZ" sign, is the premier running shop in Bristol -the best place to by high visibility clothing to ensure that you are not run down by a car when running round the city streets.
Some people may feel there is something wrong with a running shop trying to enhance runner safety yet against plans to control city parking, and seemingly willing to park on the pavements themselves, but that is missing the point. Hi-Viz clothing is more than a defence against being run-over, it is a fashion statement!

Wednesday 13 May 2009

On the gentrification of Stokes Croft

Stokes Croft is in transition.

The PRSC are doing their best, but various other interests are at work. The Council have produced Planning Guidance, and the big boys have moved in. In the rush to 'improve' the area there will be many casualties...

This photo is of The Junction, sadly unmentioned as of cultural importance by the Council in their document, but a vital and lively venue. After a long struggle to survive it's about to close, which will be a great loss to the area, and to Bristol. Anyone got a slush fund for a good cause?

(Aside: For anyone reading this who hasn't been there, it has big black doors and inside it can be very loud. They're the sort of doors that most people would never push open without about 20 mates in tow. The patrons can appear rather intimidating, so it's not really on the tourist agenda. However, push the door, pay a couple quid for a gig and it's one of the most friendly of places you can visit. Anyone is accepted, respected and welcomed - even me. The music is great.)

But what has this to do with traffic?

Well, there have been recent 'improvements' to the Jamaica Street and City Road junctions.

Do they actually make things better? As a law-abiding citizen I can't now get to Brunswick Square from Stokes Croft unless I take a much longer route (2 wheels or 4). A minor inconvenience, perhaps, but a larger carbon footprint (with 4 wheels) or larger thighs (with 2 wheels). I can probably live with this in the name of 'Health and Safety', though.

The real downside, however, is the loss of The Junction. Could it be that by removing the railings - which were the only secure cycle parking in the area - and not replacing them with even one Sheffield stand as part of the 'junction improvement', Bristol's Traffic Engineers are putting The Junction out of business?

As all Traders Associations will tell you: No parking = no trade.