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.


Unknown said...

Love your articles and the "spin" you put in them. Keep up the good work.

As a cyclist who travels to and from work everyday and then who uses his bike to get to and from meetings during the day I wanted to put my own thoughts in writing.

The only thing that I strongly disagree with in terms of what the BEP said is that they should have put "some cyclists" in the headlines. The reason they didn't is I suspect that they take what ever stance they believe will result in them selling more papers.There are a number of cyclists who are rude and inconsiderate, but then of course the same could apply to any group of people. But of course taking that stance wouldn't result in the BEP selling more papers. I have vhad some very close enconters with cyclists on the pavement. I was able to jump out of the way. Of course not everyone is as agile as me.

There are some prominent cycle campaigners in Bristol who appear to give the impression that cyclists can do no harm. I am constantly amnazed at the crazy scary things that I see cyclists do on a daily basis. Last night I was out with my running club and some of us had a very close encounter with a cyclist who having turned right at a junction then proceeded to cycle on the wrong side of the road. He had no lights and wore very dark clothing. If we as pedestrians couldn't see him until the last moment, I was amazed that the motorsts were able to see him and avoid what could have been a very nasty accident.

I think that it could be within some peoples nature that they will only remenber what reinforces their opinions, ie they will only notice the cyclists who jump red lights and who cycle on pavements dangerously and who have no lights on at night.

As a side issue a motorists who nearlt hit me the other night told me that it was my own fault he said something along the lines of "to be honest mate, your lights were so bright they nearly blinded me and I didn't see you". There is some flawed logic in there somewhere.

Best wishes

Graham B

John R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John R said...

That story was the last I will ever read in the Evening Post, either in the paper or on the website. I'm just completely fed up (and bored) with the way they constantly whip up their anti-cyclist readership, and the inevitable slanging matches that result on the comments section. I follow the highway code, I try my hardest not to be rude or dangerous, yet according to the headline, I am both! I am no more responsible for the behaviour of other cyclists (and these cyclists ARE in a minority) than I am responsible for the behaviour or my fellow pedestrians or motorists (like a lot of cyclists, I also walk and drive too).

I know the Evening Post does this to increase website traffic and therefore advertising revenue, but I for one no longer wish to bolster their profits.

Finally, re Graham's point about 'prominent Bristol cycle campaigners' can you name some names please? I don't know of any that claim all cyclists are perfect. But i know of one newspaper that seems to believe that cyclists are responsible for all of the city's travel ills (imagine if those 14% that cycled into work drove instead?) and who's readers seem to think that I 'need to earn their respect.'

Actually, this is the finally bit... my favourite comment on the story was from one woman claiming that the liberal majority won't be happy until everyone in cycling.

Yours, a non-Guardian reading, red meat-eating, sandal hating (although admittedly lycra-clad) cyclist (called John)

M said...

Am I missing something here?
The example you're giving just highlights that bad drivers are forcing people on to the road. Not that bad cyclists are a danger to pedestrians, which they are.
Couldn't you find a picture of a cyclist on the pavement or were you too lazy to walk around to find some. You wouldn't have to walk far or are you like a lot of drivers who feel the need to clog up our roads just to make a journey that's a mile or less.
Yes cyclists need educating. So why don't we follow Westminster city councils' lead and employ people to fine cyclists who break the highway code?
It's a good start and it'll make bad cyclists think twice about being a danger to pedestrians.

SteveL said...

Excuse us? Are we not criticising the cyclists? When did we say otherwise? We think they are clearly too dangerous to be allowed on our roads and rather than just fined, beaten soundly with a big stick.

Unknown said...

John R

This is what I actually said "there are some prominent cycle camapigners in Bristol", this is what you quoted me as saying "there are some prominent Bristol cycle campaigners".

So please John, if you are going to quote me, or indeed anyone else in your reply in the future, make sure you get the bit you are quoting correct. Just by simply changing the order of my words you have completely changed what I was saying.

Graham B

alice said...

Good response Geebee. Great to se you put semantics aside and got straight to the point and answered the question. So now we all know who the "Prominent Cycling Bristol Campaigner" is, lets all get out our BMX bikes and go ride those Montpelier pavements that have been disguised as an assault course of parked cars. Anyone got Chris Akrigg's number?

SteveL said...

There are some people who say "It's OK to go through red lights, if done carefully"; if you look at Crap Cycling in Waltham Forest, they make a good case for it being safer in london than waiting in an ASL while a truck runs over you.

It does antagonise car drivers, but we already hate cyclists for (1) cycling on pavements, (2) cycling in roads in our way, (3) having bike lanes put in and (4) not staying in them. So running red lights is just another issue.

green tomato said...

great post, great photos.
shows perfectly the lengths to which physiotherapists go to create a realistic environment in which to learn to walk. There is no point learning to walk on a flat uninterrupted surface if the minute you resume normal life you have to readjust to the reality that the whole city is just one great car park.

SteveL said...

Have you ever considered a career in medicine?

Bristol Traffic said...

@M, these photos were taken on my morning's actions, tuesday Dec 01 2009. None of us go out of our way for pics. Trip the doctor, after he starts asking about whether my mobile phone no is on their records, whether I've been abroad recently or swimming in lakes, a blood test and I'm told to rush the sample myself down to the BRI, then a walk through the university quarter down clifton hill to sainsburys and back up past these cars. No bikes on pavement, not even one. A bike under a lorry. These cars completely blocking the pavement on the same road.

I was feeling pretty pissed off and phoned it in to Bristol Parking Services, swung by 3 hours later and the cars were still there, no tickets. So for 3+ hours, these vehicles were forcing all passing traffic into the road. From a risk perspective, that's probably more hazardous than any bike on the pavement- if you could actually fit a bike in here.

If you look at our vast dataset here, such as our coverage of build-outs, zig-zags, montpelier or double yellow lines, it should be clear that most of the parking decisions we document (admittedly: self-selected) treat pedestrians worse than anybody else.

Also, I'm undergoing Physiotherapy, knee-damage. Not at this building, they started talking too much about "long-term mitigation measures"; I am now visiting the university sports team instead. I can now walk for up to half an hour non-stop without experiencing pain, although I still have not been able to run since 2006. If you can't run round this city, you cannot cross a road, because every single car assumes you will run out of the way, even when you are on a zebra crossing or a pelican crossing where the lights go orange while you are half way across. As far as the drivers are concerned: slow pedestrians are expendable

John R said...

Apologies for misquoting you Graham, (and I really don't want to descend into some sort of BEP comments section slanging match - hence my orginal post) but I honestly don't think there's a great deal of difference between "there are some prominent cycle campaigners in Bristol" and "there are some prominent Bristol cycle campaigners." Both sentences suggest merely that, in Bristol, there are some prominent cycle campaigners. I'm asking who these people are exactly, as I've yet to hear from anyone who thinks all cyclists are perfect. If it's a reference to Cllr Jon Rogers, isn't he busy promoting cycle skills courses at the moment?

Bad road users wind me up full stop (as they do you). What I object to is our local paper singling cyclists out in particular, when as we can see from this website, all forms of transport have their fair share of numpties.

SteveL said...

1. I would single out train drivers as competent and attentive. I do have negative things to say about the FGW web site, the one that will happily sell you off peak tickets for trains that don't accept them, leaving you to argue at your destination with the ticket inspectors (they let me off with a warning)

2. Having just slid by this same roundabout on the school run, I am not surprised to see the fiat, RF04ZFW, in exactly the same place -but shocked to see it has a parking ticket. The photograph will be submitted for analysis

Unknown said...

Hi there John R

I am not talking about Cllr John Rogers. I have a great deal of respect for what he is trying to achieve and I hope that he makes a speedy recovery.

Best wishes

Graham B

Unknown said...

Seems the Mike Ford copycat article a few days later caused quite a stir too. Hi article for the following week has now had all comments mysteriously dissappear and comments are now disabled after people started posting about his alleged true identity. I have actually now had my account blocked by the BEP after I quoted a couple of people with the following:

"The Mike Ford article for the week following this one has had the comments removed and disabled following various people posting claims as to Mike ford's identity.

A couple of example comments that were removed were

"Trying again for the 5th time as this comment keeps being deleted / moderated for some reason although one of them has reappeared further down strangely: Anyone who has a moment, try putting the name "Robert" in a comment and see how it disappears. Why is this. Someone earlier said they thought Mike Ford's name is Robert and made a reference to Bracknell and the comment was deleted in under a minute. I then also made a comment abot the name and that disappeared too. Looks like someone is on to something.

Also numerous posts referencing the name Robert Green keep dissappearing very quickly."


"Why do people keep saying this. I think we should at least be told if it is true or not. The word is, the Evening Post's Mike Ford is 21 year old Robert Green from Bracknell. A recent Business Enterprise student from UWE who lives in Bedminster and worked on UWE's own radio station Hub Radio. Find him on you tube (mike green uwe hub). When not writing rubbish for the BEP he pulls pints for a living."

The removal of comments seems to suggest there is some truth in them."

It seems that people are posting these allegations on various other places around the internet too. Try mentioning any of this on the BEP site and see how quickly your comments are removed.

Rob Green said...

Hi all,

Rob Green here... you know the '21 year old Robert Green from Bracknell'. I am indeed a pint pulling Business Enterprise student from UWE, and you are ofcourse spot on in that I worked on UWE's own radio station Hub Radio. Unfortunately for you lot, thats where it ends.

I came across this rumour mill just this morning when a friend from Bristol contacted me, turns out there has been a gross case of mis-identity, mistaking myself for this Mike Ford chap, who has clearly touched a few raw nerves whilst perched on his anonymous BEP soap box.

Having a quick search, i've found countless forum comments / blogs / wikipedia entries and even petitions to try and oust Mike Ford as Rob Green, and frankly, I think its appalling that some of you have dug long and hard to find snips of my personal information to post in the public domain without thinking for a moment about your actions. I've recieved anonymous messages and even heard today that my contact details are posted somewhere on the bristol web, so I would just like to say now that anyone who has promoted this information publicly, please have the decency to remove it.

You are all clearly intelligent, media literate people - judging by how well you are networked into online Bristol. This rumour needs to be quashed now, and in future rather than letting coincidences and curiosity get the better of you, perhaps think about just how powerful the net is and what the consequences may be from flippant comments devoid of any fact.

Have a great Christmas, Bracknell ain't all that bad but its certainly not a winter wonderland ;)