Wednesday 29 February 2012

Not selfish: more important

One of the socialist papers has an article saying  "Higher social classes more likely to lie, cheat, cut up other road users and not stop at pedestrian crossings".

Looking at the study in more detail, they looked at the behaviour of drivers, and the so-called scientists ranked the driver's class on a scale of one to five according to the model, age and appearance of the car. They noted that people driving more important cars were less likely to give way to pedestrians or wait their turn at junctions. Then they made a wild inference -that the importance of the car was a metric of social class -and therefore that "Upper class people are more likely to behave selfishly".

That's what we want to critique. If look at our Range-Rover dataset, you can confirm that yes, range rover drivers do appear to park more selfishly than anyone else, putting BMW and yes, even Audi to shame, though Audi does seem to have the worst drivers.

What you can't do is jump from that fact to "social classes", whatever that means. All it says is "people with the money to own expensive cars drive and park selfishly". Or more precisely, as not everyone with the money may do so, "people with expensive cars drive and park selfishly".

Expensive cars are a visible display of wealth and hence success in our society. Owning one is measure of importance. Important people drive Range Rovers and Audis. Everyone else is unimportant. It doesn't matter whether you are a hereditary peer in the house of lords or as a schoolboy at Eton you lost your virginity to David Cameron -if you are waiting to cross a zebra crossing you are, by the very act of walking, showing that even you consider yourself unimportant -so of course everyone driving does to.

Value of car is only a metric of importance, and important people are in a hurry. That's all the study shows. And that's nothing to be ashamed of. Some of us are important. And you, the little people who read this site in an attempt to discover what it is like to be important -you aren't. We'd feel sorry for you -except we don't. Because you aren't important enough to feel sorry for. Sorry.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Slight correction to the post below

At the request of thisisbristol, I have amended the post below. Apparently, it's nothing to do with the newspaper, only the website.

Monday 27 February 2012

Dear ThisisBristol: It's not April 1st yet ....

Bristol's favourite tabloid website jumped the gun a bit tonight by letting their April Fools day 'joke' about a fake cycling story out of the bag a bit early:

Needless to say, in the digital world of the interweb, speed is everything and the offending boo-boo was quickly deleted. That's fast, but not as fast as this Bristol Traffic Blog correspondent's finger was in hitting Print Screen button for your enjoyment. Come to think of it, pretty unfunny 'joke' ?.

Saturday 25 February 2012

An exchange of views

Another snippet of Taypet21's photostream showing how abusive cyclists can be just because you swerve past them and then in without warning.

Some comments for the elusive Taypet, who, whether they intend it or not, is becoming our Fishponds correspondent.
  1. It's not clear that swearing helps you achieve your goal, unless being beaten up is your goal.
  2. Yes, you had an exit strategy -and we can see how V484ETF tried to swerve after you, but unless you could be confident that the driver would not catch up with you later, that wasn't a sustainable plan.
  3. Lodge Road, eh? You know that Kingswood is getting a bit of a reputation of a place where people on bicycles get beaten up? Just bear that in mind before being quite so abusive. It also doesn't help you if you wish to raise the issue with the polis, as they may have some paperwork for you too.
  4. At least he saw you. You weren't going to get Smidsy'd here, and he gave you lots of clearance for the first half of his overtake -right up to the moment he saw the traffic and decided to swing in rather than brake.
As for the driver
  1. The emergent ubiquity of cycle cameras means that your actions are more likely to be documented. When at 0:40 you swerved completely into the oncoming lane to pass the (electric) cycle doing approximate 15-20 mph, you should have indicated.
  2. Why did you swerve in before you'd actually passed him? There was no oncoming traffic, and if you'd gone past him and then pulled in followed by a full-ABS brake then you'd have stopped before going in to the van (not ours, it is new, clean and has all brake lights lit up), leaving the bicycle to deal with the problem that it was going to have to filter left rather than stop.
  3. Finally: why bother, really? You can see the van in front stopped, if your  V-reg doesn't have ABS then your stopping distance on bald tyres isn't going to be great, so look at the speed of the bicycle before trying to pass. 
  4. It's not worth the hassle of running them over, especially when the police get called out and those issues about insurance crop up.
We explicitly mention insurance because a quick check of askmid says:
NO V484ETF is NOT showing as insured on the Motor Insurance Database today.
That's despite the fact the DVLA site says the Lexus V484ETF has paid its road tax. 
You need to be glad that Taypet's video has him swearing enough it it that he can't forward it to the police and say "I have evidence that this car is being driven without insurance".

Friday 24 February 2012

Physical Geography 101: Erosion

The following course notes are for the level 3 students taking the Urban Decay module of the Physical Geography:The Human/Car/Tax Dodging Cyclist Inter-Relationship in the Outside World (year 2) course.

New research by a team from Bristol Traffic has identified the mysterious cause of cars getting stuck in mud around Bristol. Apparently, the interaction of water falling from the atmosphere on stuff called soil weakens it to such an extent that it simply can't bear the weight of a car and so leads to lots of slipping and skidding. In extreme cases, shown in photograph 1 above of a well-used vergeparking facility in Staple Hill, the local council has stepped in and erected some soil stabilisation bollards to warn motorists of the risks involved.

Photograph 2 shows the formation of more soil instability zones and may lead to the closure of the vergeparking facility with more soil stabilisation bollards.

Current research suggests that an asphalt build-out to replace the green grass stuff might increase subsoil stability and avoid the closure of important parking space.

Cycle path parking awards

It's about time that we here at the Bristol Traffic Blog saluted the drivers who, in the act of parking, took a small amount of time to consider other pavement users, the law and how much impact that dumping their vehicle wherever is convenient for them might actually have, and so have adjusted their parking habits to take all this into account. The first award should go to the driver of this vehicle, YG07 EVL, who obviously didn't want to inconvenience any cyclist, pedestrian or disabled wheelchair user etc, so went the extra foot and drove slightly off the asphalt so as to leave some space at the rear.

After all, since parallel parking with the other vehicles on this stretch of free parking...sorry.., cyclepath, would be clearly impossible due to the anti-vehicle bollards, the driver in this case has no option but to come in at an angle. However, it does mean that you can reverse out right into a busy road from the shopping centre providing that there aren't any pedestrians, cyclists or disabled people walking behind you as you pull away. However, the dropped kerb should provide a smooth transition from cyclepath to road without too much bouncing over kerbs.

As for the bollards, unfortunately Bristol City Council, according to many correspondents with the Daily-Mail offspring The Bristol Evening Post, are so anti-motorist that they use taxpayers money to put up bollards like this everywhere and reduce parking space. We would suggest that drivers should moan to the Post about this.

In the meantime, well done to this driver who wins our considerate parking award 2012. Unfortunately, in these times of austerity, we can't afford a prize or a little engraved cup. However, we do have a choccy bar left over from the Traffic Blog Christmas party that we found in the bottom of the desk drawer.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Effective Cornering

FE61TLK shows a lovely little bit of corner work on Lower Cheltenham Place.

Its not very obvious from this direction

Looking from the other side, the effort this driver went to becomes clear.
There isn't enough space between the wall and the car door to actually get out, so they had to climb out the passenger side.

Parking this way won't inconvenience anyone turning left as this is a one way street: nobody turns left.

Monday 20 February 2012

Charlotte Leslie MP - on the motorists side

We were starting to get worried…

When a right wing paper that has been a staunch champion of the hard pressed driver in the past dedicates considerable column inches to cyclist safety it may be the start of a real war on the motorist. You can see the details of this campaign here and gasp at the call for money specifically to be spent on the tax dodgers and fear at the impact to motorists. Even worse – they are actually explaining that there is no such thing as road tax and that cyclists have every right to be on the road.

Clearly we had to stop this madness and so wrote to our local MP – Charlotte Leslie for Bristol North West, asking if she was going to support this campaign and attend the MP debate. Reassuringly she is on the side of the motorist and chose to respond to our letter with a standard cut and paste conservative response. We are happy to assume that she has no intention of adding fuel to this socialist fire and will go on ignoring the Bristol Cycling City project as if it had never happened.

Just like the rest of us then.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Never park up the inside of an HGV

The militant cyclists are saying "It's not our fault that HGVs kill us -they shouldn't be there", and now they even have the Times on their side

We, and our sponsors, Tesco, say "HGVs are needed in our city to deliver an optimised supply chain, if anyone gets run over by one it is their own fault for being on the inside of the vehicle"

This is why a lot of cycle safety training in London is dedicated to make it clear to people on bikes that they are invisible from a cab of an HGV, so should never go up alongside them, or end up in an ASL in front of one.

We have another group of people who need to be better educated.

Take this road, St Werburgh's Road.

If you were in Montpelier, a car with its rear window replaced with cardboard and big scrapes down the side wouldn't get a second glance -but here we are in St Werburghs. What is up?
Apparently, the owner of this car dangerously parked their car on the inside of an HGV.

The HGV -entirely innocently, as the car was hiding in its blind spot- scraped down the side of the car, caught the rear bumper and pulled it off. It also clipped the rear hatch, pulling that up, bending it, and in the process shattering the window.

Why did this happen? Because the car driver, recklessly, parked their car on the inside of where an HGV would go past some ten hours later. For this reason, it is their own fault.

We say: people like this need to go on a "safe parking near HGVs" course, rather than complain about passing trucks from destroying their vehicles. At the very least, they could use that spare space to the right of the picture, the "pavement".

Saturday 18 February 2012

Eric Pickles declares war on infidels

There's been a lot of concern in the press recently about Militant Secularists, who are as despised as much as Militant Cyclists and feared as much as proponents of Sharia Law.

The cabinet has come up with a three pronged plan to encourage more prayer and religion in our streets
  1. George Osborne will encourage everyone in the country to pray that his austerity plan will actually work, despite evidence to the contrary.
  2. Andrew Lansley will be encourage people to pray for their friends and family to get better, and in fact this will become the primary front line medical care. When Britain was a Christian nation -right up until the militant secularists and their so-called Enlightenment brought evidence-driven medicine to the country, prayer was the only medicine people had. The NHS reforms will return Britain to its roots.
  3. Eric Pickles will do more to encourage prayer in our cities.
The last is what interests us, as he has come up with a plan to encourage prayer not only in our local councils, but in our city streets. 

In a special over-skype interview with us, Eric Pickles declared
For too long the militants -be they secularists or cyclists- have had free reign of our cities. I propose to correct this by encouraging cyclists to pray regularly. I have come up with a cost-effective plan to achieve this, which I call "doing absolutely nothing". This, combined with cost-cutting measures and the wrapping up of even half-arsed attempts to fund cycling in British cities -a European invention, I hasten to add- will make the cyclists less militant and more religious.
We are glad to agree with him, and include a video Eric was particularly proud of that shows how it only took one HGV at a roundabout to turn a Glaswegian cyclist back into a devout Glasweigan who now knows that cycling is not an acceptable form of transport.
Eric closed:
Having rediscovered God, we expect Magnatom to return to the traditions of this great country --going to Celtic and Rangers matches and paying for right to hate your fellow Christians. 
We hesitated about pointing out to Eric that Rangers FC is currently in administration, as it would have made him appear out of touch. Nor did we raise the fact that here in the south west, we follow Other Gods. While our Queen declared that she is a defender of all faiths, we are not convinced those that involve human sacrifice were on the list of "all faiths" that she imagined.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Moments of Madness

Last month we covered how the bus driver accused of deliberately running over a cyclist outside the magistrates court was in court over the incident.

The news is now out that he's been sentenced to 17 months in jail after pleading guilty to dangerous driving and GBH, which, given the video, was hard to defeat with the "I didn't see him" defence.

The video is pretty awful for anyone to watch: if you want to know what it looks like when a bus sideswipes someone on a bicycle -when the bus isn't even going that fast.

The evening post says that the bus driver, Gavin Hill, has been disqualified from driving for 30 months, and will have to take an extended driving test afterwards. Apparently the action was "a moment of madness".

Well, we hope that Phil isn't suffering long-term consequences, and that the outcome does provide some reassurance that society frowns on such explicit attempts to cause death and injury.

Now, let us turn to today's other "moment of madness", this time by one David Lowrey, of Kingsway, St George, where the Evening Post says:   A VIOLENT motorist beat up a cyclist by the side of the road before getting someone to lie for him as he tried to escape conviction..

When we heard the "someone to lie for him" phrase we checked to see if David Lowrey was on the coalition cabinet, but no, he was someone who started a fight with someone on a bicycle who had the audacity to make some kind of gesture to the car as the car encroached into the cycle lane.

Again, "a moment of madness", this time with four months jail; no mention of driving penalty or what penalty he or the "independent witness" get for trying to pervert the course of justice (*)

If these court cases weren't in the papers on the same day, the "moment of madness" defence might sound somewhat realistic. As it is, it comes out looking a contrived.

For that reason, we had a look around to see where else the "moment of madness" defence had cropped up.

  • Ron Davies, welsh secretary, robbed at knifepoint by a some people he went down to Clapham Common  with"a moment of madness"
  • Sir John Guielgud, set up by the police who actually had undercover police trying to entrap men seeking a bit of discreet consensual sex, again "a moment of madness".
  • Hugh Grant getting caught paying a prostitute for a bit of entertainment in a public lavatory while on a business trip without his wife.
There we have it then, two separate scenarios where defence lawyers recommend the "moment of madness" defence
  1. You've rammed or assaulted someone on a bicycle and want to make it clear that normally you are a safe and docile driver and suddenly "a moment of madness" came over you. You didn't mean to cause physical injury and hope to be let off lightly.
  2. You got caught by the police engaged in some outdoor sex act which the legal system at that time and place considered illegal. You want to imply that the fact the police caught you with your trousers down was not because you do it very often but because you "had a moment of madness" and you were very unlucky. You also don't want your political/acting/religious career ruined, so you have to pretend it was somehow an accident.
There you have it then, two situations where the "moment of madness" defence crops up. Can we note, then, that for the second of these sets of legal cases, nobody gets hurt. In fact, most of the participants in the situations seemed, at least to an extent, engaged in consensual acts. Whereas nobody volunteers to be run over by a bus at the bearpit, or head-butted by a complete stranger.

Either way, it's become a bit of a cliche. Please, defence lawyers, come up with some new phrase.

(*) On the topic of independent witnesses, can we remind everyone that not only do ex-spouses turn on you, but if you are having someone pretend to be a complete stranger so as to devalue the line up evidence, remember that as covered in Ugander et al., The Anatomy of the Facebook Social Graph, it's fairly easy to determine if the pairwise distance between you and the independent witness is only one or two hops, or the you are both parts of the same clique of acquaintances. Less formally: you can't say "I have never met this person" if you keep identifying each other as friends in facebook photos.

Update: for anyone in the mainstream media who is not actually appearing in the Leveson inquiry or in a 1:1 meeting with Don Murdoch, trying to contact us -please read more than one article on this site, especially the media corner, before emailing us. You will discover that you wouldn't consider us a serious and unbiased news outlet. Which, coincidentally, is exactly how we view the television and printed news outlets. 

Effective right turns

Taypet21's video collection now includes a nice one in Staple Hill showing how to deal with congestion when you have a right turn up ahead. The correct tactics are
  1. Drive up to the queue as fast as you can. This is why vehicles in the rear of a queue should always have their foot on the brake pedal, the red lights provide more warning notice to approaching vehicles.
  2. Swing right, around the gratuitous pedestrian crossing with a keep left sign.
  3. Carry on down that side of the road until you reach your destination road.

This shows another problem with pinch points: the audi driver who -was clearly important as (a) they drive an audi and (b) they are in a hurry- was held up by someone on a bicycle coming the other way. Yes, they had hi-viz and a helmet on, but they way they blocked the important person from cutting round the keep-left sign it was, well, as if they thought they owned the road.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Bike parking steals valuable retail space

The high streets are in trouble, and there is little that can be done.

The government has proposed making it easier to change retail outlets from one use to another without so much paperwork -something the Costa Coffee outlet in Whiteladies road has done pre-emptively.

Another area was improved parking, which the whiteladies showcase bus route promises -by converting whiteladies road to 1h short stay parking during the day. Which shows how naive the government high street survey was -where do they expect the staff to park now that there is no long stay parking in front of the shop?

What Whiteladies road does have is an overflowing bike parking area, which gets in the way of pedestrians.

It also fails to recognise the benefit to the high street were it converted into retail advertising space

Posted by Picasa

Monday 13 February 2012

Warning Signs

The Showcase Bus Route is being rolled out on Whiteladies Road, bringing chaos to motorists, buses and even cash4cars vans.

At least they provide some warning, "temporary road service", or "road closed from 20:00 to 06:00"

As usual, the tax-dodger and pedestrian groups will be complaining that the roadworks and signs only care about the needs of motorists.

We say, yes, because we need to be warned of dangers ahead that they will not, because of their lack of money, encounter
This sign on Aberdeen Road for example, brings fear to many motorists, yet the cyclists and the walkers will go past unawares:

Saturday 11 February 2012

The Trees have stolen Happy Lane

Happy Lane, off Ashley Down Road. A nice little buildout, ideal for parking - a fact we have celebrated in the past.

And what do we see today? A tree. With a fence round it. Where we park.

We know the evening post -rightfully- denounces the council for wasting taxpayers money on providing cycle parking and routes, because they take away the space we have paid for. Yet this, tree-planting frenzy does not get covered at all.

Why are they keeping it a secret. Only we, the Bristol Traffic site, remember and warn of this outrage

All over the city

the buildout parking spots are being taken out

We shall not see them free again  

in our time

Thursday 9 February 2012

Colston School declares more war on parents

No sooner had we issued a call for more low-quality pictures than one reaches our inbox from "M", showing how Colston's Primary School is persecuting parents.

It's bad enough they have bicycle parking in the playground, now they have a large sign in front of the keep clear zone.

Welcome to Colston's Primary School
Around our school please drive safely
The yellow lines protect our children. Stay off them!

Irresponsible parking endangers our
children's lives and is reported to the police.

Ignoring the fact that when you push your child out the door while keeping the engine on in neutral and not even bothering to put the handbrake on isn't technically parking -just unloading -it is needless persecution.

We look back fondly on how it used to be, when small children could get views of motor cars that they could aspire to own in later years.

It was only back in 2008 that we started documenting our city, and today we must mourn the many parking spaces removed for build-outs and bike parking -and now, even School Keep Clear zones are taken from us.

Wednesday 8 February 2012

What's wrong with this picture?

People are always criticising us for the low quality of our photographs, so it is good to see we are not alone

Remember, low quality photographs with on-message text should be sent to bristol.traffic at .

Tuesday 7 February 2012

The BBC is on our side!

It's been a bad week for us, what with the Times going over to "the other side"

Yet we are pleased to see that the BBC came out on our side, with a report on Bristol.

Yes, it lights our bollards up. We see someone wearing a helmet and hi-viz to cycle along the segregated bit of Prince Street Bridge, the one where the only vehicle likely to hit you is a boat if you ignore the "bridge swing" signs -although there is always the ice cream van at the end.

Later on, we see the BBC Bollard Man on Park Row, where he then faults someone for not having lights on as they approach the centre. At that point you can be sure the reporter isn't local -if he were he'd fault her for trying to cycle over the centre with the goal of reaching the other end alive, though she may be appearing to turn right to head towards the Watershed. Either way: in need of criticism.

We also liked the viewer's emails to back up the theme that the real problems are the people trying to cycle round our city, with both the classic evening post comment themes surfacing
  • Taxpayers money is wasted on cycle paths unless they are made to use them.
  • Why don't cyclists stop at crossings?
Congratulations to the BBC to standing up to this menance, not considering whether the infamous Magnatom did actually have a helmet, bright clothing and the right of way when that HGV lorry nearly ran him over.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Regarding a Grey Van on Romney Ave/Shaldon Road, Lockleaze

Some tax-dodger emails us:
"were you the idiot driver of the grey van who on Wed Feb 1 was swearing at me down at Muller Road because all the way down Romney Ave he hadn't been able to pass me, because I didn't get out of the way of traffic?"

"If you were, can I point out that I was doing 30 mph, so you had no justification to pass me, and as I was following a car doing the same speed about three bike lengths in front, you had nowhere to go anyway."

"I hope you enjoyed the long traffic jam on Muller Road with no bicycle in your way to get upset about"
We have looked at our van and no, it doesn't look grey, more a white with a brown layer on top, "dirty!" written on the back. (that's our brand, incidentally).

We understand the grey van driver. We don't think bicycles should be on the road, so the fact that you were there -and the fact that he couldn't get past- made it very frustrating. If you had cycled slower and stayed to one side he would still have hated you, but a bit less.

That's something the advocates of "vehicular cycling" don't understand. They think if you imagine that you are a car, and position yourself appropriately, you will recognised as a vehicle and made welcome. Not so: you will just become an arrogant cyclist who doesn't know their place -and deserves the abuse they get.

It is your very presence that is the issue, not just your positioning.

Thursday 2 February 2012

Selling your car?

Cycling City Bristol has been a success, as we all know, so now's the time to sell your car if you still have one.

Last summer, as the cycle scheme was just coming to a formal close, small adverts could be seen in Bristol, testing the water and gauging the reaction to the apparent increase in cycle use. In order to keep a low profile, pop-up vehicles like CT04FMP would park up on the grass between Eastgate Road and Muller Road. Waiting patiently for a newly converted cyclist who might sell their old car to them.

Recently, however, the adverts have become larger. 

They are still located out of the way of motorists, though, as they can often be seen on the double yellows in Stokes Croft. EJ55RCY illustrates their concern not to use up valuable parking spaces for those that still own cars.

Which makes us wonder whether, with the bigger presence, the cars4cash unit is:

A) doing well in acquiring cars for cash
B) aiming to get bigger cars for cash
C) a front for the squatting fraternity in the Emporium or Free Shop.

After all, there's plenty of space for a few mattresses in the back of that lorry. And a few bikes, too.