Wednesday 30 September 2009

Light relief

Sometimes it's all too easy to get caught up in the stresses and strains of everyday life. We at Bristol Traffic want everyone to remember to make time for relaxation and fun. I personally find nothing helps me unwind better after a long days commute than kicking back and enjoying a bit of comedy. I particulary enjoy Australian comedy as not only is it funny, but it also comes from the other side of the world, which always helps remind me of the bigger picture and how much joy and possibility there is out there.

Please take time to enjoy these couple of pieces we're sure you'll find amusing.

The Brighton Bike problem

We are shocked and appalled to see that Brighton has seafront and pedestrian area cycling problems.

Brighton Aint Ready - Dakota Roche

We are hoping during the party conference season, that one party will come out and take a strong stance against bicycling and the causes of cycling, ideally with an "ASBO cycling" order that bans these criminals from using bicycles, but we fear the politicians have sold us out. Perhaps if they encounter such criminals at their conferences, they will see what Britain's true problems are -and act to fix them!

The students are back!

We know the students are back as they are taking away our parking places. You can recognise the student cars as they are smaller and full of junk. No child seats, no 4X4s. This space used to be one for residents and school dropoff

Here in Aberdeen road, one has taken the build-out by the school-keep-clear zone.

As it was 08:20, we were worried that some militant parent had left a stroppy note on the windshield of L301GYU

But all it says is "access is needed via these gates for refuse collection etc". If they backed up a bit closer to the bollards, then even the rubbish collection trucks could swing into the school without problems and the note author would be happy

Monday 28 September 2009

Radio4 on Cycling City

Many of the well known subversives have been given airtime on Radio 4, with a program on the Cycling City initiative.

We in Bristol Traffic are upset that the entire article discusses what is the best way to make cycling safe, rather than what punishment the legal system should apply for "cycling in a built up area"

We were not invited to place our views, those of the motorist. We are fully aligned with the AA's views that driving to school is what makes us British, and that encouraging walking and cycling is multicultural bollocks.

This is our city:

Having listened to the program, here are our observations:
  • The drivers are not looking at the reporter because he is talking to himself as he cycles along. They are looking at him for riding a bicycle and trying to decide what to do with him.
  • The person criticising the cyclists, "a load of flies" makes a valid point. Delivery vehicles are more important than commuters.
  • We are worried about Chris Hutt -we now have photographic evidence of him talking to recumbent riders.

It's OK, it's a green car

Look at this. A row of bicycles down by the Arches on a weekday evening, all taking up space without paying any road tax.

Interestingly, that car parked in the bus lane, LR57XYK is a Toyota Prius of which some models are also exempt from road tax.

Some cycling subversives may be wondering why is it that we think it wrong for bicycles and pedestrians to use our streets without being taxed, while cars like this hybrid get away with it?

We ask these idiots to think harder. If they think it acceptable for them to use a bus lane, ASLs and bike lanes -even though they don't pay road tax, then all other road-tax-exempt vehicles should be allowed into those same parts of the road. They could be the non-taxpayers corner of the city.

This prius is not simply parked in the bus lane because the driver needed to pop into the shops, it is parked in there because as a hybrid it should be allowed to use the lane however it sees fit.

By being a hybrid it means that amount of fuel and it consumed to get to and park in this bus lane is much less than the diesel buses that have to expend energy getting around the car, or indeed vehicles like the van DK57ECV also trying to drive down the bus lane and also having to swerve around it.

Got that? It's allowed to be there, you don't.

Sunday 27 September 2009

Topping out

There is a lovely video of a French comedian setting up a fake col summit race, then looping in everyone out for a Sunday hill climb and seeing how they react. It's spoof, but it makes us consider whether we should propose a hill summit event as part of a cycling city, somebody wearing nothing but a pair of underpants to greet people cycling up park street. That's during the day -a half-naked runner isn't that odd on a Friday night, the main issue being will they have any lane discipline.

The council could also put together some kind of logo'ed banner at the top, to congratulate those city cyclists who top out

Something to make them feel grateful and welcome, and reinforce how the city values their contribution.

Alternatively, just put a taxi in the way.

Saturday 26 September 2009

Wheelbarrows - tax them too!

What do we see being pushed up a hill in Cotham one weekday? Someone with a wheelbarrow full of vegetables! On the road!

Now, they are using a bike lane, so not taking away space from our cars that wasn't already stolen, but the point is the same: this person is not paying any road tax to push a trolley full of market-garden vegetables round the city. And they should. Nor is he wearing a helmet or any hi-viz clothing. Criminal.

Sketchy Weekend

Three things this weekend so far:

1. Very sketchy Critical Mass.

Difficult to hold the road (not enough riders, really), but had to make sure my children survived the impatience of certain drivers.

Interestingly though, Friday's ride did prove that even very few road-users can take control of the entire infrastructure. We will be alerting our friends at the Association of British Drivers to see if they can help next month.

2. The students are back.

Careful out there, boy and girls.

Bristol seems to have filled-up this week (and last) with strange new number plates. And although they all have six A* A levels, their driving skills leave something to be desired... But they know how to hoot cyclists. Fantastic.

Maybe they will become educated in the ways of the 'Cycling City' before they leave for top jobs in the (other) City...

3. Redland Mums are out.

Ouch. Or nearly. Be careful, also, for the Redland Mums. They don't say sorry when they cut you up, and they don't like it when you swear at them in front of their children.

I apologise.

Cabot Circus is One!

We do not denounce Cabot Circus. Yes, it may contain the same featureless chainstores as broadmead used to have, but it keeps the rain out, and doesn't have the traffic jams to fear near Cribb's Causeway. Last week it celebrated it's first birthday. Despite some shops "going away" it has survived.

Time to get down there and celebrate. Except by the Harvey Nichol's Junction, where the memorial to Troy Atkinson reminds us that a road design that allows anyone to drive through the shopping area has cost the city one teenager already.

Further in to the area, you can see how the slightly narrowed pedestrian crossings provide somewhere for pedestrians and vans

There are designated parking areas for disabled drivers, taxi drivers and buses, as well as bike parking for tax-dodgers, but there is nowhere apart from these build-outs for vans. Further down. Direct to You Cleaning Services are taking advantage of this implicit facility.

Interesting. VA06DDN is a vehicle we've seen before. The longer Bristol Traffic stays up, the more data we have on who in our city is doing their best to challenge the greens-and-council anti-car conspiracy.

Bristol's secret chainsaw problem

There's a weapon in Bristol that nobody discusses: Chainsaws.

They're a useful tool, but in the wrong hands, danger. Thankfully, chainsaw-crime is fairly low level in the city -and mainstream media hasn't picked up on it. Attend a Police PACT meeting and in between the hippies ranting about cars, we tax-payers rightfully complaining about bicycles and skateboarders, someone stands up and complains about a neighbour cutting someone to pieces with a chainsaw. "We'll look into it", the police say, but nothing ever happens.

This week though, Chainsaw-rage surfaced, with an altercation behind parkway station between a taxi driver and a chainsaw-wielding pickup driver. On a weekday morning.

Having recently had to drive to parkway station and then back across Bristol at 5:20 pm, experiencing the full joy of the ring road at its most stationary, it's easy to understand why this part of the city is road-rage hotbed. But at 10:20 am? The mid-morning lull? Not a tense time at all. Whoever spin their chainsaw must have had a grudge against taxis.

And who do we think in the city has the biggest grudge against taxis? That's right, cyclists. Always getting upset about the revenue-earning tax-paying taxis in the ASLs, always getting upset about the taxis in the bus lanes sounding their horns to get the tax-dodging cyclists out of the way of the important paying customer. Those are the people most likely to go over the edge, get their chainsaw out and run amok round a taxi rank -be it at Parkway or Temple Meads.

Attached is a photograph of an out-of-city Bicycle and Chainsaw shop.

This is exactly the kind of crime-enabling one-stop-shop that should never be allowed. Bicycles are a crime, and a chainsaw in the hand of a cyclist -a crime in the making!

Friday 25 September 2009

Fixed and Single Speed in Bristol

Fixed Wheels bike. Now that mountain bikes have gone from being cool and radical to the mid-life-crisis toy of men getting tubby, rebels need a different form of rebellion for the run to Sainsbury's. And here it is: the fixie

With no gears, less to go wrong. And with a fixed rear wheel, you can brake by not pedalling, so no need for bike brakes to make the handlebars look cluttered. A very minimal alternative to the mountain bike with hydraulic disk brakes, 6 inch front and rear travel -accessories that can only get stolen. Without even quick release wheels, there is little to get stolen. Hence, no need to lock up the wheels, or even the premium brooks saddle.

Before everyone rushes out to buy one, know that its illegal to use a bike on roads without two independent braking systems -a front brake is actually needed. Also, the requirement to push down the hill too, means that these are the worse possible bicycle for knees. Those mountain bikes are not just mid-life crisis bikes, they have the low gears you need as you age. Bear that in mind.

Single speed bikes do work in the city, though perhaps as they become more popular, the council should give away a new bristol bike map -one that does not show Nine Tree Hill on it

Without such information, single speed cyclists such as this one, may suddenly discover there is a 1 in 4 hill on their journey, and so be forced to get off and walk.

Thursday 24 September 2009

The Incredible Vanishing Cycle Lane

York Road heading into Bedminster on my morning commute. Nice to see several weeks of roadworks are coming to an end with the road being widened. But hang on a minute - where's the cycle lane which should be where the plastic fencing is?. Have the workmen forgotten to put it back or will it be reinstated?. The double yellow lines are back. Technically, the Advance Stop Line should have a feeder lane so that you can ride into it. This is very inconvenient. How are motorcyclists supposed to get into the ASL without a feeder lane?. Honestly- it's bad enough for them when those pesky cyclists occupy the box. Now they'll have to ride all the way down the right hand side of the traffic jam and barge into the box, scattering those no-good, liberal, non-polluting tree hugging lazy hippy cyclists.


Do these subversives defacing billboards in St Werburgh's not realise how essential car sales are to the European economy?

They might think they are being witty and trying to improve the local environment, but it is at the expense of the rest of the continent.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Skateboarders: they dont pay road tax either

"Adam" sends us a link to a shock video showing skateboarders in the city -not just in their little skate parks, but out in the streets, the underpasses, the steps of offices.

They are not only holding up cars, they are endangering pedestrians, especially tax payers who work in the offices seen the photos. They should stop it at once.

Driving Standards

That prominent subversive, Chris Hutt, has been wondering whether people should be a higher standard of driving from professional drivers -buses, taxis -and if it is not met, have some way of complaining. Presumably he was thinking of taking photographs of buses and taxis parked in ASL lanes and such-like, and complaining to the council.

We in Bristol Traffic think such persecution would be needless. They are trying to make a living. It would not be fair to report this taxi, purely for parking over a build-out in front of Cotham Grammar school at 08:30 on a schoolday morning, to complain that the taxi WN57JZA was endangering schoolkids such as the one crossing the road.
Because it would not be fair. That schoolkid was actually dropped off by the car WM56FMP also on the buildout five seconds earlier.

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Transport options of old maids in the time of Orwell

Our recent coverage of Orwell's vision of the past, old maids making their way to holy communion, has caused dissent. We say: old maids hiking, others claim, mistakenly, that it was old maids biking.

That timely news outlet in our city, The Bristol Blogger, disagreed. Indeed, they said we were talking "bollocks" and challenging us to a duel. Furthermore, one of his on-line allies, BristleKRS, scanned in p75 of the 'Collected Essays, Journalism And Letters' volume 2 (first published 1968; Penguin edition 1970):-

However, that is the old version. It has been declared an unbook. Henceforth here is the new edition

Anyone with an existing paper copy is instructed to remove their old copy and insert a printed out version of our new version. We expect the known subversives in the city to comply.

On the topic of the duel, Captain Bikebeard has offered their homemade tallbikes for a duel. However, that would involve riding a bicycle, and that would be unacceptable.

Instead we have bought the Bristol Blogger a beer. One of the drinks on this table is our gift to them.

There. No need for long-lasting literary feuds in this city. Not when they can be settled over a couple of beers in one of the many fine drinking establishments in the city.

Picton Street Roadworks

Picton Street has some roadworks going on -the footpath has been closed.

No diversion, no blocked off bit of road, just the stock "footpath closed" sign, forcing the pedestrians to walk down the middle of the street.

This insensitive and unacceptable behaviour for a building works contractor, needlessly interfering with the traditional right of Montpelier residents to walk along the pavement.

Monday 21 September 2009

Mum Rage

No video this time of the driver of WU57KJF, but you can be assured she gave a good rant about how her overtaking and pulling in while half-way past one on Cotham Road was fine because her husband is a cyclist.

Maybe he is, but we suspect that he waits until his wife has gone off on the school run before venturing out the door.

The fundamental problem here is that Cotham Road is narrower because of the building works, yet the drivers still think it is safe to pass bicycles while there is oncoming traffic. This is not the case. We understand that drivers may have been upset at having to wait 30 seconds for a large lorry delivering building materials, but a moment of patience and even the slow-moving tax-dodger can be passed safely, without them getting annoyed and sticking your photo and registration number up online. She was not happy.

Note in the background the small child on a scooter without any hi-viz clothing, and the teenager walking in on the left on their phone -again, no hi-viz. Without the proper clothing, these schoolchildren will never be safe from parents on the school-run

Sunday 20 September 2009

Lift? No -a chairlift!

Now we come to the climax of our Clifton Week, the real reason we spent time there. We were in fact being sponsored by the city to come up with a dramatic plan for Bristol

Following up our engineering proposals for Clifton, here is our big one. Rather than just propose a lift to bypass Park Street, we have something far more ambitious, which would also become a tourist attraction

It's for a chairlift from Southville up to the Promenade on Royal York Crescent -one that takes a bike on the side. Here is what it looks like from the passenger seat. Incidentally, this bike was stolen in 2007 -there is still an outstanding death penalty waiting to be applied to whoever is caught in possession of it.

Think about it. A single cable could run from Coronation Road, over the Avon and the harbour, and swoop up the hill to Clifton. Once your bike is up there, most of the city is a downhill. Even if your final destination is the centre or Gloucester Road, a lift up the hill, followed by a bit of a descent, is all you need. The lift would eliminate all the problems of negotiating hotwells or Prince Street Bridge -that could be given over to Bus Rapid Transit. Indeed, we estimate a new chair lift system would cost less than a new bridge. It's all electric, so with a good green source of energy, carbon neutral.

Furthermore, as it would help pedestrians get from Clifton to Ashton Gate, it would provide fast and easy way for pedestrian shoppers to get to and from the proposed Tesco Ashton Gate supermarket, a worthy proposal only resisted by a few subversives and their videos. We hope that this new city chairlift could be funded from Tesco's Section 106 levy.

There is one problem: bike panniers and tagalongs are both tricky. Panniers are uncool, upgrade to a satchel. As for the tagalongs, that's a problem the engineers can worry about.

Saturday 19 September 2009

Clifton's secret bike path

Another way Clifton resists joining the rest of the city, is that it remains happily free of bike lanes and bike paths. There are none. Not on the downs, not on the roads.
There is one place that would be a prestigious location for a cycling city path, but it is kept a secret.

It is course, the promenade on Royal York Crescent. It is wide, not very busy, and accessible on the flat from Regent Street. A lovely place for a kid to ride quietly, a resident to wash their bike in the September sun.
There is a small technical problem at the far end.
In one direction, you'd have to be good DH mountain biker, and on the other, fit and without a tagalong.
This is where we have a plan. In keeping with the idea of making bold suggestions for Cycling City engineering works, we propose a bicycle flyover from here, the under-exploited end of the promenade. This flyover would curve rightwards and provide an on ramp for bicycles heading onto the promenade from the north, and an exit route. It would join the promenade up with an approach to the suspension bridge.
Some people may worry about an anti-bicycle organisation such as ourselves proposing this, but we are not worried. Putting bicycles onto the promenade will keep them out of our way. Clifton is the neglected corner of Cycling City.

We have an even more cunning plan for this promenade, which will be covered tomorrow. The thing to know is that from here, most of the city is downhill. If you could get your bike up here, everything else is easy.

Friday 18 September 2009

Students have stolen our parking!

Days after the banksy-takes-our-parking debacle, now woodland road is closed to cars

There are pedestrians, but few are walking round in hi-viz

And the banksy ice cream van has moved

What is up? Students have arrived. The university is giving them a false sense of security by closing the roads. Better to give them each a hi-viz top and show them how to cross the city.

The problems of Royal York Crescent

As we've been exploring, there is no bike parking in Clifton. There is too much demand for car parking to waste any space on bicycles.

This is Royal York Crescent. It's unusual for the city in that cars park "echelon style". Here they are, in front of the "please park parallel to the kerb" sign.

If they parked parallel, parking capacity would drop significantly. Yes, there may be more space for bicycles, but the road would not be wide enough for cars to pass, so there is no point.

The other way they may effective use of available space is using the build out, here with three cars on it. Together LS51YWD and W359YBW and the car opposite ensure that no small children run out onto the road at this point.

That's important, as there is some steps down from the raised promenade here -this is the highest risk area, so it's good that someone is being conscientious.

There is a little note on that car, CP54PLZ, perhaps a polite message from a neighbour?

No, it's from "Mr Ahmadou". this sounds like one of those names used in the  "business opportunity" emails that come in so often, but no, this man is a professional problem solver
Results are Quick and Guaranteed

No matter how difficult your problem is, there is a solution to it.
Problems regarding black magic, love, sexual impotency, business
transactions, exams and court cases etc. I can help you reunite with
your loved ones, split unwanted relationships and gambling.
For all your problems Mr Ahmadou is the answer.

So there you go, now we get a hint of what the issues in this part of Clifton really are. But even there, you have to conclude that Clifton is still playing catch-up, they saw those flyers in Stokes Croft back in April.

Thursday 17 September 2009

Clifton -no need for bike parking

We have done some research, and have concluded that there is no need for bike parking in Regent Street. The primary short-stay shopping outlet is Bargain Booze/Post Office, it has signs up on the pavement showing cars where to stop outside, an option exercised by WR57BBV

And shortly thereafter by the Saab RJ53MXW.

Further up the road, a mini-Tesco provides somewhere to lean kid's bikes against the railings.

If there was any need for bicycle parking in this street, you would expect to see bicycles. As there are none -no demand.

Wednesday 16 September 2009


We hear a rumour that the council has got the signoff for FirstBus bus cameras to be able to take enforceable photographs of cars in bus lanes -and are rolling this out across the city.

This must only be a rumour, as it if were true, the entire white-van economy of Bristol is doomed. Given the perilous state of the economy, removing the only place in the city to park such vans as WU55NYM, here making use of the Whiteladies Road bus lane, would be devastating.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Inheritance laws

It's Belgian, but funny.

We wonders what a Bristol version would look like.

Monday 14 September 2009

The Polis on Cotham Road

Bristol Traffic has developed a little rule, which is "always treat any crash with sympathy"; it's always a mess, nobody is happy. The only exception is when its one of us doing the crashing -scanning in some old photos on that theme is on our todo list. But if it is not us, then sympathy.

We also try and balance out coverage of the city, though for some reason there is a bit of a skew towards Cotham, Redland, Kingsdown and Montpelier. It's started that way, and becomes self-reinforcing. Though commute routes for some of the contributors also has something to do with it.

Here, at 17:58 on a weekday, we are at Cotham Road -again. Covering a crash, the third in this street, after a probable drunk-driving incident, and a car not looking where it was going. Today, a Fiat Bravo/Brava has taken a pretty harsh bash to the side of the car -but only to the door. It's stopped in front of a driveway, so probably hasn't been parked here. No other vehicle in sight, no bicycle or pedestrian.

Some people are talking to the police. This is just above the big zebra crossing BTW, you can see the zig zags in front of the policeman giving our cameraman a hard stare

You can just see, to the left foreground of the photo, a hint bit of this policeman's colleague, coming over for a quiet word with the cameraman. Which we have on video, obviously. A nice feature of the old Canon Ixus cameras is that you can flick them from photo to film with your thumb, and then record conversations while trying to film what's going on.

Unfortunately, our camera crews do need to learn how to make videos, a key trick being "point the camera at something interesting" -the hard part in this context being trying to do this while talking to the police.

Anyway, anyone sitting through to the end will notice that they are in fact quite happy to let us take pictures, even if they don't see why anyone claiming to be from the Bristol Cycling Campaign should have any interest in road safety. Perhaps next time one of our reporters gets stopped, they should say "press" and measure the reaction then. The key thing is that the police agree that it is perfectly legal to take photographs of pretty much anything, and that we can can carry on. Which perhaps shows the difference between Bristol and London.

Over in Croydon, the local MP got stopped and searched for photographing a bike lane, an event which provided much entertainment to Crap Cycle Lanes of Croydon. Over in Waltham Forest, their Crap Cycling and Walking team got told to delete all their photographs of a bus crash. London? Even MPs get pulled over for looking at a bike lane. In Bristol? Subversives are allowed to carry on, without being arrested and soundly beaten.

This is unacceptable.

Lane Markings

Following on with the thought that bike lane markings are bad as they create unrealistic expectations in bicycle riders, can we also complain about that other bit of road that is taken away from us road-tax-payers, the pavement? Again, there are subtle cues - raised kerbs, the texture of broken paving stones underneath- that create the belief amongst tax dodging walkers that the pavement is for them.
Which it isn't. Not here in Cotham Hill. Here it belongs to the vehicles that pay for it -car CW55EUA and van HV53SFE

In the Avenue, Clifton, at school pickup time. It belongs to the parent's whose cars pay for it.
Elsewhere in Clifton, the pavement is shared by the cars LS51YWD and W359YBW.
While on the fringes of town, out near UWE, the pavement provides the ideal space for a small car  like WR03HXU. At least in the new developments they drop the kerb to make its role for cars more obvious.
If the pavement wasn't available for the car owners to use, they woudln't be able to commute by car -so generating tax revenue for government, and it would be much harder to pick up children.
Yet there are activists out there, Living Streets Bristol, who are trying to take away our right to park where we need to, saying the pavements belong to pedestrians, and streets are to be lived in! This is nonsense! Roads are to drive along, pavements let you park near to your home or destination without walking. These people are only whining because they can't afford a car. They are jealous.

There is a living streets meeting on September 14. We need to infiltrate it. They are our streets, and the pavements are for our cars. Here is what we know so far.
14th September 2009 7.30pm
Stag and Hounds upstairs room - Old Market/ Temple Way Junction (next to Evening Post)
Neil Harrison will be coming to talk about the forthcoming Council's draft walking strategy.

Anyone who wants to preserve Bristol's way of life needs to get down there and stop it before it gets out of hand.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Bike Lanes considered harmful

There's been some new report published about bike lanes. Here is one of Bristols, underused by bicycles despite all the money put on a stretch between the building works on Dighton Street

And the junction with Marlborough Street. Despite all the money put in to supporting these tax-dodgers, for some reason, they don't use them. That really annoys us.
This new paper claims that cars drive closer to bicycles when there is a bike lane, as it creates a clear expectation in the driver that the bicycle will stay in the bike lane, regardless of its width or quality, while when they are not in lane, the driver has to make their own decision as to how to pass them, and they get more room. For cycling campaigners, it is an argument against bike lanes, the other being these lane's tendancy to vanish when the road gets complicated.
We in Bristol Traffic are against bike lanes for another reason. They create unrealistic expectations in the cyclists -that there are bits of the road there for them, and advertises to pedestrians and morally weak car drivers that there is some alternative to driving.

This is of course untrue. There is no bit of the road "for them". It is all for us, the road tax payer. We paid for it, so we can use it when we need it. That includes the bike lane and the pavements.
Take this contraflow on Cotham Hill. There is a delivery vehicle WU58OVZ doing something important. Does the cyclist stop and wait patiently? No they do not! They swerve into the oncoming lane. This bicycle is now illegally going down a one-way street. How can such criminals deserve respect?