When it comes to anyone broadcasting road safety messages to the public about the risks to people on bicycles, there’s a pattern of behaviour that’s been apparent for a long, long time.
Recently, Jersey voted overwhelmingly to make cycling helmets compulsory for under 14s. It turns out this was based on a report from the Transport Research Laboratory. Let’s take a look at it, then.
A new low in road safety films.
This article – bar a few changes – was originally published elsewhere in February 2012, in response to calls for the maximum jail term for causing death by dangerous/careless driving to be raised from 14 years to life, in line with other homicidal offences.
Another week, another road safety film. Step forward, please, the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland.
Some deaths are, whilst inherently no greater or lesser than others, more poignant than others from any given viewpoint. This weekend, one death happened to take me aback somewhat.
Oh, Top Gear did a thing.
Some days, things seem futile.
There is something that happens twice a day, every day. It has done so since before life existed on Earth and it will do so until the seas boil and life ceases to exits. So reliably does it happen that the very concept of a day is inherently bound to it. Twice a day, the sun is near the horizon.
Given the frequency and the fundamental constancy of this phenomenon, the way we treat it with regard to road collisions is quite remarkable.
Let’s take a look into the sun.
The Horse is dead. The Horse deserved to die, but not like this. And you should be very vocal about what killed it.
Why do people on bicycles get so agitated about close passes, when they’re happy passing other vehicles closely? Isaac Newton has the answer.
Pavement cycling is, rightly, a contentious issue. But are we seeing the problems or just the symptoms?
We would do well to remember that morals are not absolute, and that morality is not a measure of competence.
The government THINK! campaign is fairly unambiguously named. It implores us to do one thing: THINK!
But, to copy a set of decisions laid out before you; to take them at face value; is that to THINK?
What are we being taught to THINK? Are we even being taught to THINK! at all?
No, this isn’t really about sexism. But sexism shines a light on what this article is really about.
I’ve been party to The Great Helmet Debate for well over two decades now. You can’t ride bicycles regularly without numerous people – regardless of whether or not they ride a bicycle themselves – volunteering their opinion on helmets.
And it’s fine. I like debate. I like testing hypotheses. Rigorously. It’s how we make sure we get stuff right, or at the very least it’s how we make sure we’re offering coherent arguments rather than just opinions that you’re not even entitled to.
But there are many fascinating characteristics of The Great Helmet Debate, and one of them is this.
You know you should question everything, right?
There are plenty of insurance price comparison websites around. I’ve used several of them and I’m sure you have too.
But there’s one option which you never see listed, and I’m curious about it.
Time and again we’re shown who’s expected to take responsibility for road safety, and time and again it’s the people who don’t have the fast and massive piles of metal. Continue reading
Oh, look. A “share the road” campaign.
The recent spate of deaths of people on bikes and on foot in London has triggered a number of reactions. Whilst many of these involve people vomiting ill-informed opinion into newspapers and onto the Internet, one of the more interesting reactions – in that it’s action rather than words – is the apparently heavy deployment of traffic police in London. But what effect will this have? And could their time be better spent?
As more information emerges from the recent inquests into the deaths of Brian Dorling and Philippine de Gerin-Ricard, a disturbing pattern is forming.
Is the writing on the wall for the writing on the road?
Although I read a lot of news articles about injury and death on the road, many involving “cyclists” (they’re people who happen to be on bicycles, but the “cyclist” generalisation is pertinent to this article), I very rarely read or even see the comments.
But sometimes, I do read them.
Thus far, I’ve managed to resist ever posting a comment myself.
This post is hopefully the one comment I will ever need to make.
Question: If you’re not driving your car, are you driving?
Answer: It seems to depend on who gets killed.
Nearly a year ago I was furious at a legal system that completely failed to provide either protection for vulnerable road users or remotely appropriate punishment for people who kill on the roads.
That piece spurred a number of people into writing to their MPs to demand answers. And it’s time to be spurred into action now.
Because now, things are worse.
Things must change.
The appeal against Gary McCourt’s lenient sentence has been denied.
Time once more to take a look at some recent court decisions and draw some conclusions (as well as to stretch the definition of “this week”).
This week’s message, loud and clear: It’s not your fault.
“To promote the idea of sharing the streets more safely, we’ve made a fun film here in the City of London Corporation.“
No, you haven’t.
Thanks to a few things, I’m covering a couple of weeks here. But there have been several sentences passed on cases involving fatalities of pedestrians and cyclists during the past fortnight.
What a difference a day (and a bit) makes. From the Space for Cycling ride on Monday to another death and the Freight Transport Association’s kick in the teeth today.
This morning I had the misfortune to witness a car being driven into a cyclist (well, I at least had the fortune not to be that cyclist; the incident occurred on a route that until this week I’d been using daily).
Fortunately, although he hit the deck fairly hard and sustained some cuts and bruises, the rider was not seriously injured. But the design of the road at that point is very clearly dangerous, and it’s a design that is being planned elsewhere.
If The Nice Way Code did one thing, it at least focused a number of people’s minds on the issue that public perception doesn’t match up with facts.
Time, perhaps, to take a step back and view The Nice Way Code in the context of this, not to berate the Code itself (“see someone berating The Nice Way Code, think flogging a dead horse”, as they might themselves say), but to ask how its perfectly reasonable supposed aims of improving inter-modal relationships on shared roads could actually be achieved.
The law told us one thing this week: You’re really going to have to work hard if you want to get banned for life.
Shall I take a swing at the Nice Way Code’s bus ads?
Yeah, why not…
Every week the law – along with those who enforce and apply it – teaches us things about its attitude to roads, vehicles, and – most importantly – the people who use them.
So, provided I can muster sufficient time and energy on at least a semi-regular basis, this is the first in a series of digests about those things. I mostly won’t go into too much detail (anything that warrants it will get its own post) so consider it a whistlestop tour of what’s hot in the world of institutionalised and systemic crappy attitudes.
Ready? Let’s go.
I thought I’d make a home for the parody posters from the @NicewayCodeGB account. They’re appallingly-drawn three-minute doodles but hopefully they’re amusing and serve to satirise some of the flaws in The Nice Way Code.
I’m going to explain them as we go. I’d hope they don’t need explaining (you know what they say: if you have to explain it, it’s not funny) but occasionally I just have an urge to make sure a point is rammed home.
So, in chronological order, here we go.
Last week on the Nice Way Code website, in response to the bizarre half-launch, someone called Neil speculated that “it’s going to get even more patronising and even worse“; to which, someone on behalf of the campaign responded: “You’ll have to wait and see I suppose. Remember – you haven’t actually seen the campaign yet!“
Well, now we can see it (at least, we can see two TV ads; there may well be more to come). So let’s take a look.
This blog begins where something ended; specifically, a Twitter parody account: @NicewayCodeGB (which is still suspended at the time of writing; the real account, by the way, is @nicewaycode and I borrowed the name’s format from @HighwayCodeGB). I’m not sure what caused it to be taken down: I doubt 88 tweets in 24 hours was enough to hit the spam alarm, and The Nice Way Code claim that they had nothing to do with it, so I vaguely suspect that one of the people who mistook it for real (most of whom were put straight by other followers) dobbed it in. No matter; I think it’s probably served its purpose.
Anyway, this post explains the reasoning behind that account, and is interspersed with some of the tweets from it.