Saturday 30 June 2012

Summer Motorbikes

Summer on the Railway Path brings out the local yoof on their bikes. Wrong kind of bikes though....(video contains profanities).

Secret parking by the Arches

"RP" -our Gloucester Road correspondent, shows us some secret parking places:

FV55 PYO has been parking on the footpath round the back of the shops next to the disused toilets under the arches on the Gloucester road on a daily basis for well over a year. To be precise, the practice started at the same time that "Do 'Lil Coffee" opened next just next to the disused toilets next to the arches on the Gloucester Road. Not that anything should be read into this of course.


Now this is a great example of resourcefulness. The footpath here is wide and although bollards suggest that cars are not welcome on this pedestrian cut through onto Cromwell road the driver is often able
to leave plenty of room for both the car and those on foot. On other occasions, FV55PYO is joined by a second car (peculiarly this seems to coincide with times when Do 'Lil Coffee is doing a lot of business --
Saturday mornings for example).

Then it becomes a little more awkward for pedestrians who have to decide whether to risk damaging parked cars as they squeeze pushchairs, bikes and shopping past the cars or, probably more easily, abandon the footpath and take to the road instead. Anyway, we digress.

To reward this feat of ingenuity and long-standing service to resourceful parking, Bristol City Council now routinely fix yellow stickers to the windscreen FV55PYO. Here is one example from a little while ago. This recognition of success has obviously not gone unnoticed as are now many other luxury cars who feel they don't want to be missed out.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Double discrimination

While looking for a pavement to park on by templemeads, this sign caught our eye:
Just beneath the advertisement for the bristol-bath cycling& walking route, on a pavement with signs saying pedestrians are allowed to walk on it, there are two other signs

  • A "no entry to bicycles sign"
  • A sign saying "cyclists dismount and give way to pedestrians"
The latter was our favourite. Think about what it means.

It means anyone who has dismounted and is now pushing their bicycle has to give way to pedestrians.

Clearly it means that cyclists pushing their bicycles are not yet pedestrians, they are still cyclists endangering pedestrians by their very insistence on walking their bicycle towards templemeads station -perhaps to get to the railway path, perhaps even to get on a train.

Either way, it's nice to see that whoever owns Templemeads Station hates cyclists whether on their bicycles or on foot.

Saturday 23 June 2012

The "moment of madness" defence crops up in London

We see that in London a lorry driver managed to avoid any penalty for reversing over someone in a lorry with the reverse beep disabled, the reversing camera broken and the mirrors set up wrong - by playing the "moment of madness" defence:
Defence counsel Matthew Hardyman told the court his client had suffered from a “moment of madness”
There must be some legal symposium we must attend on "effective use of the 'moment of madness' defence", with speakers discussing how they used to explain various celebrities about engaging in a bit of paid or consensual sex with strangers -which is a key part of Stokes Croft's nightlife- or how they used it to explain some road-rage incident.

I you search for "told the court" and "moment of madness", it does seem to crop up surprisingly often.

In this particular case, however, we have a question for the defence: how you explain the failure of three separate safety devices as "a moment of madness", We'd love to know that -so the next time we get pulled over on the M4 roadworks for having defective lights, brakes, rear tyres and wing mirrors that are montpelier-normal, but which the traffic officer considered "missing".

Can you imagine explaining to the officer asking "why is your vehicle so unsafe" that the decision to drive from Stokes Croft to Birmingham in a vehicle in that state was "a moment of madness"?

It just wouldn't work, would it? MoM is the excuse for "being caught in-flagrante", a bit of road-rage, or "stabbing a relative to death".

The correct response when asked by the police why your van or lorry is unsafe is "I am a donor to the Conservative party and a part time magistrate". Works every time.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Followup on the "R242AAC incident"

We've been keeping an eye on the Times's Cities Safe for Cycling campaign.

We weren't that worried, because their manifesto was all about infrastructure. Such projects take years and can be put off on the grounds of the "the economy is in crisis -all we can afford is more bypasses".

What they had left out was the one thing that could have made our life tangibly worse straight away -demanding anything resembling enforcement of traffic laws. Today we can drive into ASLs on the phone, speed around the city, park in bike lanes, sound our horn behind cyclists. The underpeople may view all this as harassment, but it is what we need to do to get by in our city. There isn't room in the city for bike lanes, not when short term parking is so critical; stopping behind ASLs costs us seconds when the lights change, and mobile phones reduce the cost of congestion.

We need to break these outdated highway code laws to keep the city moving!

What's  concerned us recently is not just that the times is giving cyclists more publicity, but that they are slowly starting to look at enforcement:

That's a danger -a legal system that actually enforces the outdated rules. Of course, for that we will need judges that care about cyclists -which we are fortunately a long way off from having, and a police force that forwards cases to them.

The latter is something we all fear, obviously. Which is why it is so reassuring to look at the Cycling Silk's blog and see that in London, the police, sensibly, refuse to do anything. Indeed, the unit set to to focus on road safety, Roadpeace, are leading the way in this refusal to do anything.

Similarly, up in Glasgow, the one surviving cyclist, Magnatom, has actually been surprised to discover that the police won't do anything about HGVs nearly running him over at roundabouts.

It is critical that this unofficial policy remains. The growing popularity of helmet and handlebar cameras means that the things we used to do with impunity, now become videoed and stuck up online. If the police acted on these videos, then it would be worse than when the speed cameras were turned on.

Which is why today, we have some bad news for all important people in a hurry. Bristol Police do seem to care about the cyclists.

As regular readers may recall, last October we covered an incident where the car R242AAC nearly ran over a cyclist at a mini-roundabout.

The cyclist had complained to the police, who were trying to track the driver down. However, the driver had been successfully using the "don't reply to the letters" gambit, along with the "hide under the sofa when the police come by" tactic. It looked like they would get away with it.

Sadly for him, just before the time limit ran out, the police uploaded his registration number to the "cars to stop" list  on all the police cars, and within a week he'd been pulled over, forced to acknowledge he had been the driver, and pulled into court for "driving without due care and attention"

Now, at this point the normal my word vs their word argument would come out, and since the cyclist is trying to prove guilt, it's hard for them to make any defensible claims about our driving. And here is where those helmet cameras really hurt.

The driver had done what we'd do: deny all charges. But as soon as the video was shown to them, they realised that the usual denial tactic was doomed, and changed their plea to guilty.

We'll cover this in more detail shortly, but the key thing to bear in mind is this:

Not only are cyclists filming their journeys, the police in Bristol are acting on their complaints.

This is chilling. At least is hasn't got as far as London or Glasgow yet -maybe we should all move there.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

HGV vs Clifton Vale

While doing one of our regular clifton deliveries, a quick detour to check out the road where the HGV got wedged a while back.

Yes, there is a new HGV shaped dent on the house at the top of Clifton Vale.

Looking up, this is the view the drive would have had.

What's not clear is where was he going: left towards clifton, or bearing rightwards. The latter is possibly marked as a straight line on the satnav, which it is, provided your car is nimble enough to swerve round and through the oncoming lane. Hatchbacks can do this, but things like estate cars have trouble.
What the HGV driver was thinking we don't know, especially as the hill is about 20% all the way up. At what point did they start to have doubts -and yet still decide to continue.

This is just going to lead to street clutter as every road from Hotwells to Cliftonwood is now going to have a sign prohibiting lorries -which can only inconvenience those of us who do know how to get our toys through the rat-runs.

Monday 11 June 2012

sport: it's about sponsorship and consumption, not participation

While out looking for early evening customers of our "discreet adult entertainment" portfolio, we were disappointed to see that Ashton Court was "out of play" this weekend, on account of a 12 hour mountain bike race.

These people have to recognise that actually participating in sport is not what the sponsors of major events such as the Euro2012 cup or the london olympics actually want.
Every pair of buttocks on a saddle is one less arse in front of a TV, watching advertisers, getting ideas of which new consumer goods to buy.

Consumer purchases are the key to kickstarting the economy, and these people, by cycling for 12 hours a day, are not doing their bit

Hook work by N4CSP

A contributor "SP" sends us a video along with the commentary
The grey car, N4CSP, is clearly in a hurry to get to the Callington Road Hospital, adjacent to the Tesco in Brislington. Unfortunately, I am about to cross the junction they wish to turn into, and so like any right-minded person who wants to exterminate another useless tax dodger, they wait until the last second to accelerate past then cut across to make the left turn.

This impressive action saved them a whole 4 seconds on their journey time, enabling them to no doubt secure a much deserved parking spot.

Interestingly, Callington Road Hospital is for people with mental health issues (no, not cyclists, proper weirdos), although I was unable to tell if the driver of N4 CSP was a member of staff in a hurry to beat up some of the patients, or a patient desperate to secure a fresh supply of Prozac.
Parking in and near hospitals are a controversial issue -the EP recently printed a lovely letter by Brian Rogers of Kingsdown , which we have covered, in which the way that fit and healthy cyclists get in the way of people trying to get to hospital:
These tax-payer funded lycra clad louts have spent the last 14 years "saving" the planet by not using cars as they abuse anyone who must use a car for such essential travel as work or hospital visits.
Well, "SP, you may have met Mr Rogers himself. At least this time he wasn't held up.  As for the claim that cyclists aren't "proper wierdos", we would dispute that. Grown men do not normally dress in plastic bags.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Reader's letters

we are forwarded a letter from "luke".

From: luke
Date: 10 June 2012 11:18

what the deal with that blog?
is it written by sub-human Jeremy Clarkson wannabee's with sense of humour bypasses and a desire to kill people on bikes? I only read a few entries and came across 3 express wishes that people on bikes were run over. WTF?!!
sad sad fuckers

Luke, your opinions are noted. You may considers us cyclist-hating psychopaths but we try to be consistent with the rest of the local media. As for wannabes, yes it really frustrates us.

Look at this BBC report on cycling in London. Full of defensible data about how to improve cities. And who do they wheel out to explain why Britain's cities are going to stay the way they are? Jeremy C? Not worth his time? Us: we'd love to get the money from appearing plus the fame. No, they pull in Stirling Moss to patronise them.

If the BBC wanted ill-informed opinions by people who don't have a clue -we charge less than stirling moss and tell the hard truth in a far more entertaining way that Stirling M explaining to the cyclists that its time to grow up, put away the toys and buy a grown up car.

We'd have been far more controversial, and made sure that those campaigners and MP would never come on TV again. And afterwards we'd get the thank you call from Boris saying "thanks, now the elections over those troublemakers think I'd actually fulfil my promises. We need to start setting their expectations right".

But they didn't' come to us, so we are sulking. Your letter has shown us that at least one person appreciates us.

Thank you Luke!

FA54OEF -truly impressive parking

It's not often we have to call out someone in the Stokes Croft area for actually parking in a way that even we think is selfish and lazy, but today we have to say this little mini, FA54OEF, manages to pull off a parking option that overwhelms even us -and as a regular parker in the area, that's hard to do.

Notice the mini is parked vaguely near a corner -"cornerish-parking", on the wrong side of the road, here at the junction of Dove Street and Nine-tree hill

It's got its hazards on, though as it didn't move for the ten minute period needed to get through or Sunday morning breakfast (Breakfast at Cafe Kino washed down with some White Lightening at Turbo Island), this is more of a long-stay than a quick pause.

By parking with the lights on, it gives anyone cycling down ninetree that fear that the car is about to pull out and turn over them, especially with the position right on the corner.
For anyone heading up the hill, it's the same. This car looks like it's about to come out, and it also destroys all visibility of anything coming up. It's  a single parking decision that makes it tangibly more threatening to cyclists going up and down ninetree, which apparently is popular because the "safety" outweighs the 25% gradient. Lucky that FA54OEF is here to set the record straight.

One little complaint though. The way the car has parked makes it impossible for important people to get their car into Dove St without swerving into the opposite lane, a lane which has reduced visibility from the car itself, as all cars are of course approaching from downhill.

This is why we think the person who parked this car is, well, selfish and lazy. There's room behind the mini to reverse and park; there's room on the proper side of the road, there's an entire lane on the northern side of ninetree. It's a sunday -no parking will be enforced, so why park exactly on the corner?

On a weekday, we'd understand, but on a weekend? It doesn't make any sense and doesn't take the needs of other people in cars into account.

Impressive, but fundamentally stupid

Friday 8 June 2012

Planning the School Run

Driving our van around Bristol we've noticed that the biggest problem for school run mums is pesky cyclists jumping red lights and riding on pavements.

We're really pleased therefore, that the extension to St John's Primary School, using Redland Police Station as an Annex will stamp out these tax dodgers - well at least in one direction.
Bristol's PFI schools provider, Skanska, has submitted a fantastic planning application for the Annex which will eliminate the connection between Whiteladies Road and Elgin Park for cyclists travelling from East to West. We've been wondering for some time whether responsible, sustainably oriented international corporates such as Skanska read Bristol Traffic and take our comments to heart. Now we know. At last there is a scheme which will allow responsible urban four wheel drivers to take their children to school by car without even having to run a cyclist off the road - because there won't be any. Better still, there will be lots of space for lorries to get down past the school after making deliveries to Tesco and others on the corner of Whiteladies Road.
What is really interesting about this scheme is that by denying cyclists a sensible route from Redland to the main shopping area of Whiteladies Road, we could be taking them off the road for good. Then maybe they will see the light and buy proper cars and pay for the roads like the rest of us.

Any foolish cyclists that remain after these proposals are given planning permission will be forced to go up a very steep hill instead (that'll teach them), or negotiate some difficult right turns where we expect they will be knocked off their bikes. The exact proposals are below, but the planning application can also be can be viewed online
Skanska is proposing a brilliant solution for the motorist. We'll be recommending them to the Association of British Drivers if they ask us if we know a good builder.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Films@59 making Cotham Hill a Shared Space

It's lovely to see a company -here Films at 59- taking on an idea like "shared space" and embracing it.

Here on a weekday we can see them doing it perfectly.

The white van X548DJR over the yellow lines and the buildout mark the entry to the zone

Further on, the paveparked car LD07NYF, the van KU59DLJ that's claimed the driveway  and the white vanRD04NXU  half up on the pavement rounds it off -this area is shared with pedestrians and cyclists -we hope they appreciate this sharing!
The cycle logo on the floor shows this is national cycle route 4 -introducing cyclists to the shared space concept -and the forced swerve makes them slow down for the shared zone

The way they've managed to remove all visibility acts as a lovely piece of traffic calming, as even cars have to slow down.
Congratulations, Films at 59, for this selfless action.

The last time we had some coverage of this shared space area, there was a blip in traffic with a referrer of some server in the films at 59 domain -as if someone saw the coverage, agreed that having one van block the pavement made it harder for other vans to drive up it, and raised the issues with their colleagues.

Clearly the "shared space" approach is the solution to this problem.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Free Cabot Circus and Primark Parking

People are always hitting this site looking for free parking near Primark and Cabot Circus -here's a new one.
As this is in the centre of the bearpit roundabout, you will have to somehow sneak through the crash barriers to get in.

But how to get out?

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Street BBQ at Cotham Porter Stores

Readers may expect us to complain that some people on foot were taking up valuable parking spaces. by having an in-street barbecue outside a pub. Not so

  1. Cotham Porter Stores is a well known purvey of ciders at a very low price -£2.20 a pint at the right time of day.
  2. There's enough space left to pull the van up and have a couple of pints or more before carrying on with the day's deliveries.
Rather than complain, we joined in.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Silver on the Croft

Having heard rumours that one of our vehicles is silver, someone inquired as to whether the ford focus in the bike lake outside Pizza King in Stokes Croft is ours.

No. ours is the open topped toy on the other side of the road and slightly closer to town

It makes a much more positive statement there.
And there is nowhere better to spend a sunny afternoon than keeping an eye on your car from a street cafe in the croft.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Roundheads and Cavaliers

Over in Clifton, Leigh Road has been rebranded "jubileigh road"

No doubt they will having a street party.

We shall be down at Stokes Croft, obviously -though the exact festivities are not yet planned.

We do recall last year's impromptu street festival on Stokes Croft during the Royal Wedding.
The police closed the road to help people enjoy this national holiday, while they themselves were invited into one of the local households for a cup of tea -"Telepathic Heights", was its name.

The wearing of helmets, so as to give this, our New Model Army, "Round Heads", was clearly a conscious decision to refer to the battle over the nature of our country: one in which the king ruled by divine right vs one that belonged to the population.

The siege of Bristol took place in this very area -Cromwell Road in the far distance being where the original roundheads besieged the city, Priory Fort at the top of Ninetree Hill kept them out of Stokes Croft by way of its cannons, and Bristol remained a royalist stronghold.

That is, until it fell, and Cromwell went on to behead one of the ancestors of the crown -this led to the free and democratic society we have today, when anyone who went to either of the universities can become its leader.

Happy Jubilee! Celebrate!