Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Bears Way / Milngavie Road signage

1)Burnbrae RBT - Main St
I'm not sure if pavement cycling is OK here

August 2015 - does TSRGD 956 refer to the side road or main road ?

By Oct 2015 the round sign on the lamp-post was turned round to face those entering Bears Way

Many bike+ped-safety signs (TSRGD 562, orange ground) have been turned round on Bears Way itself - see 3), 4), 5) below

2)Kelvin Timber
Bollard with no reflective sign ?

3)Reid Ave
2x Ped signs hidden to traffic!

4) Junction Kilmardinny Ave
1x Ped sign TSRGD 562 missing - an empty post !

1x other turned edge-to-cars

5) Mosshead Rd
1x Ped sign TSRGD 562 green with moss - not sure about the 'shared path' sign - it's new - side-road pavement? StreetView history implies they took out the red-brick shared use side-road crossing, but put in the shared-use sign !

1x other turned edge-to-cars

I'm not local so can only go by Google StreetView snapshots - things may have changed since !
Worth doing a thorough survey, comparing it to the definitive design ?
I believe I reported most of these via EDC website a year ago.
Is it possible bus/van drivers are worried about hitting the signs ?
Maybe drivers are offended - "Of course we're careful of pedestrians!"
Is it just malicious - involve 'beat bobby' ?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Bill

A Bill to make provision to strengthen penalties related to serious criminal driving offences that lead to serious injury or death; to redefine such offences and amend bail conditions for those charged with them; to enhance the standards of investigation, both by the police and in the Courts, into such offences; to improve the treatment of victims of such offences and their families within the justice system; and for connected purposes.
A call for tougher penalties for dangerous drivers - [ Hucknall Dispatch ]
Bill calls for tougher penalties for criminal driving offences and better treatment for victims - [ roadsafetygb ]
Brake backs new bill for Justice for Victims of Criminal Driving - [ Brake ]
Criminal Driving (Justice for Victims) Bill 2015-16 - [ UK Parliament ]
Greg Mulholland presents Bill demanding tougher criminal driving laws - [ Greg Mulholland ]
law that punishes dangerous drivers must be overhauled - [ keepmeontheroad.co.uk ]
Mulholland leads parliamentary launch of criminal driving manifesto - [ Greg Mulholland ] - Manifesto
Serious injuries and comical sentencing - [ CTC ]
House of Commons Hansard Debates for 03 Nov 2015 (pt 0001)
Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) (LD): I beg to move,

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to make provision to strengthen penalties related to serious criminal driving offences that lead to serious injury or death; to redefine such offences and amend bail conditions for those charged with them; to enhance the standards of investigation, both by the police and in the Courts, into such offences; to improve the treatment of victims of such offences and their families within the justice system; and for connected purposes.
In 2014-15, 389 people were killed in England and Wales alone due to dangerous driving. In too many of those cases—and in even more in which lesser charges have been brought—victims of those serious crimes and their families have been badly let down. We therefore need a number of changes to ensure that proper justice can be delivered in the future.
I was pleased to meet the Justice Secretary yesterday, along with 22 other colleagues. I also thank the Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, the right hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) for his personal interest in this matter. However, my colleagues and I were somewhat surprised and disappointed to be told that there is to be a further consultation which will not produce a document until later this year, given that the Minister had suggested in a previous answer that the consultation would be completed by spring 2015. The message today is to encourage them to continue to work with us to ensure that we get comprehensive legislation by 2017 at the latest.
I am today speaking on behalf of many families across the country. I have had two awful cases in my constituency: that of 16-year-old Jamie Still, who was killed by a reckless criminal driver on new year’s eve in 2010, and that of David and Dorothy Metcalf from Cookridge, who were killed in January 2012. I dedicate this Bill to the memories of Jamie, David and Dorothy, and all who have lost their lives as a result of these serious crimes. It is 18 years ago today that Livia Galli-Atkinson was killed in Enfield, and I wish to pay tribute to the tireless campaigning by her parents, George and Giulietta, as well as by Karen and Rebecca Strong, and Clive Metcalf and his family.
I also wish briefly to mention a number of hon. Members and cases that they have been involved in. Livia’s family have been supported by the hon. Members for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes), for Rugby (Mark Pawsey) and for Liverpool, West Derby (Stephen Twigg). In the awful case of what happened to Sean Morley, support has been given by the hon. Member for North Warwickshire (Craig Tracey) and his predecessor. The case of John Morland and Kris Jarvis has been supported by the hon. Member for Reading West (Alok Sharma). The case of Ross and Clare Simons has been supported by the hon. Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore). The case of Jamie Butcher has been supported by the hon. Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay). The case of Joseph Brown-Lartey has been supported by the hon. Member for Heywood and Middleton (Liz McInnes) and Manchester’s Key 103 radio station. The hon. Member for South Cambridgeshire (Heidi Allen) has supported the family of Alex Jeffery. 

12 Jan 2016 : Column 704
The hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr Turner) has supported the family of Evey Staley. There have been many other cases, including that of the right hon. Member for East Ham (Stephen Timms), whose own father was killed by a careless driver in 1991. I pay tribute to all the families who are campaigning tirelessly to try to get justice, and we will support them here until we get a change in the system.
The changes being proposed today come from a meeting of those families and fellow Members back in December 2014 and the manifesto we produced as a result, which has been backed by Brake, the road safety charity—I pay tribute to its amazing work. Our manifesto “Better Justice for Victims of Criminal Driving and Their Families” suggested a number of changes, which I will briefly list. First, the distinction between “careless” and “dangerous” driving is false and unhelpful, often coming down to the slight and subjective difference between someone’s driving falling below or well below what is expected of a careful and competent driver. The problem is that in too many cases people are simply given the lesser charge of causing death or injury by careless driving rather than by dangerous driving because it is easier for prosecutors to seek a conviction. The difference in penalties between these charges is huge: it is maximum of a five years for causing death by careless driving, compared with up to 14 years for causing death by dangerous driving.
The simple reality is that “careless” is an inappropriate and offensive term to use for criminally bad driving, particularly where it has resulted in horrendous suffering. Even driving that falls only slightly below the standards—a momentary lapse of concentration—may be careless, but it is still dangerous. Careless driving, a charge that was opposed by Brake in the first place, has institutionalised dishonesty in our justice system, and that needs to be rectified. The use of the term “careless” makes a value judgment about the intention of the perpetrator—it is not factual. Calling driving that falls below any standard “dangerous” is factual, because such driving is dangerous. The Bill is not calling for us to get rid of a lesser sentence only for a higher one; it is calling for us to scrap both charges for a system where all dangerous driving is regarded as a category of offence that can have the minimum or the maximum sentence. That would give judges the discretion; at the moment, their hands are tied once a lesser charge has been brought to the courts, and families are being failed up and down the country.
We also need to examine sentencing and the fact that too few high sentences are given out. Last year, the Government rightly introduced a new offence of causing serious injury while dangerous driving—in the past, that had been missed out—but this new charge should carry a maximum penalty of 14 years. The cost of care as well as the devastation for people who are seriously injured and can never work again, and in some cases can never speak or operate normally again, needs to be taken just as seriously as causing death by dangerous driving.
Drivers who kill while under the influence of drugs or drink can face up to 14 years in jail. However, there is a perversity, which is that if the driver flees a scene to sober up, that crime can be impossible to prove, leaving only a hit-and-run offence. That has the absurdity of incentivising drink and drug drivers to flee the scene and obstruct justice. Hit-and-run drivers should face 

12 Jan 2016 : Column 705
the same maximum penalties as other drivers who kill and seriously injure, with an assumption that if they flee the scene they must have a reason to do so, which suggests guilt.
We also need to look at the automatic suspension of a driving licence—or, at the very least, a presumption of suspension of a driving licence—as a condition of bail in cases of dangerous and careless drivers who seriously injure or kill. In the case of Jamie Still, the perpetrator of that crime was driving for nine months in the very town in which he killed the 16-year-old. What must it have felt like for the family to see him driving along the same road on which Jamie was killed? That is happening in too many cases.
In cases where charges of criminal driving are brought, the victims must be treated by all parts of the judicial system as victims of crime. Currently, that is not the case, and they are often not given the same support as victims of other crimes, even though the devastation is exactly the same as that of any case of manslaughter.
More work needs to be done in a number of areas. I understand that this can be complicated, and I ask the Minister to work with his former colleagues in the Department for Transport to improve the system. For example, we need to have more appropriate investigation of collisions, better guidance and better advice in terms of releasing evidence to victims’ families. That has not happened adequately in a number of cases that I have mentioned. Victims and their families are not always given access to all the evidence and end up having to trust the Crown Prosecution Service to do its job properly, but I am afraid that too many cases show that they cannot always do so.
The Department for Transport must, in all cases, stop describing as “accidents” incidents of criminal driving where someone has been killed or seriously injured. The CPS and traffic police already do not use the word “accident” to refer to criminal driving offences, but the Department for Transport continues to do so. That is yet another way of exacerbating the suffering of victims and their families. There is a sense that somehow these are not real or serious crimes, despite the devastation that they have caused.
We need changes throughout the system—from investigations through to prosecutions, sentencing and to the very charges themselves—to give justice to families who suffer from these awful crimes, and also to deter people from behaving so recklessly behind the wheel of a vehicle. I welcome the attention of the Secretary of State. I will work with him and his Department on this matter. If they wish to support this Bill, we can talk about its content. In the end, we must see, by next year, a change across the board so that we can at last deliver justice for victims and their families.
Question put and agreed to.
That Greg Mulholland, John Pugh, Ian C. Lucas, Jason McCartney, Susan Elan Jones, Liz Mclnnes, Heidi Allen, Hywel Williams, Mr Andrew Turner, Ms Margaret Ritchie, Dr Sarah Wollaston and Sammy Wilson present the Bill.
Greg Mulholland accordingly presented the Bill.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 11 March, and to be printed (Bill 117).

Monday, 16 November 2015

When is a crime not a crime ?

When it's a 'Road Crime' !
But why ?
Imagine if 'Firearms Offences' were not counted as 'Criminal Offences' : compare and contrast !

"The Other Idiot ..."

Most of the rules in the Highway Code are written to leave a margin of error, so that there is a clear 'no-mans-land' between potentially conflicting parties. If a collision occurs in this 'buffer zone', it is because both parties are at fault. If one party makes a momentary mistake, the 'buffer zone' protects both parties.

I remember reading about someone ( probably one of James Thurber's aunts or maids ? ) who just knew that it was always perfectly safe for her to blast across junctions at full speed, because everyone else had been taught to proceed with caution, and give way if necessary.

Monday, 22 June 2015

"... The oppression inherent in the system ..."

Much has been said in the press about cyclists' alleged poor compliance with traffic lights.
There is a systematic problem, in that many lights fail to change when a cyclist is waiting.
Usually there is a metal detector in the road, whose sensitivity is adjusted to be too low to detect a bicycle.

I have complained to Street Doctor about one set of lights at a renovated junction, to be met with the response "The lights meet the requirements !"

If the standard for traffic lights is to ignore cyclists, is it surprising if cyclists sometimes ignore lights ?
This is institutional discrimination openly applied at a hardware level ! Motorism !

The Highway Code has a get-out clause
176 You MUST NOT move forward over the white line when the red light is showing. Only go forward when the traffic lights are green if there is room for you to clear the junction safely or you are taking up a position to turn right. If the traffic lights are not working, treat the situation as you would an unmarked junction and proceed with great care.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10 & 36

Monday, 9 March 2015

Here's a good idea to save lives

This is a mirror of http://rabbit2020.blogspot.com/2014/10/heres-good-idea.html, which is partly pasted from Wikipedia !
It's from this guy

Which is the prequel to "cyclists are their own worst enemy" (South Kensington, 20th Feb 2015) - YouTube.

The 'Blog that scored in the hundreds' is archived on Imgur, even though it's not in Google cache.
And a Google Plus posting.
His 'Foodie Blog' is still up - if 'Toasted Sandwich and Crisps' counts as foodie ?
It's Damien Trench ! Perhaps this a new kind of reality-satire ?
Or perhaps he just has some medical issues ?


The use of the word "Cycle-proofing" to imply "considering cyclists when designing roads" alarms me.
There are two similies that spring to mind:

  • 'fool-proof' implying cyclists are fools - perhaps they need not aspire to the lofty heights of intelligence and competence that we see displayed by 'professional drivers' on a daily basis, but considering that children are often cyclists might be beneficial.
  • 'water-proofing' - impermeability - cyclists cannot pass through here ?

See also

Monday, 9 February 2015

UN + WHO - Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020

"British Prime Minister David Cameron, joins Formula One drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button on the steps of 10 Downing Street on May 11, 2011 in London, England.The two McLaren drivers came to Downing Street to help launch the UN's 'Decade of Action for Road Safety' campaign, which aims to reduce fatal road crashes."
After a third of the decade, what has it achieved ?
Who is to achieve it ?

Thursday, 15 January 2015


"Many of the rules in The Highway Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’."... 
"Although failure to comply with the other rules of The Highway Code will not, in itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, The Highway Code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings under the Traffic Acts (see The road user and the law) to establish liability. This includes rules which use advisory wording such as ‘SHOULD/SHOULD NOT’ or ‘DO/DO NOT’."
(The capitalisation in the last sentence is mine - it really should be added to the Highway Code !)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

'False Flag' Operations !

Thought: if drivers lose their licences - how many become "I'm a cyclist myself" ? Or concern trolls ?
Does it explain the 'person-on-a-bike' 'No True Scotsman' thing ?

A motorist pretending to be a cyclist, making a spoof helmet-cam video, to discredit the real ones !

Note that the YouTube user's other videos are of him on a moped, and the branding at the end is MVAR - MotoVlogsAndRants.

Role-playing childish fantasies ?

Monday, 5 January 2015

Sidelights or Dipped Headlights ?

This is part of  General rules, techniques and advice for all drivers and riders (103 to 158)

There seems to be a fine distinction just for roads with lighting, outside of built-up areas !
You must use headlights at night, except on a road which has lit street lighting ... you should use dipped headlights ... at night in built-up areas.
Surely that is unnecessary ?
slow down, and if necessary stop, if you are dazzled by oncoming headlights
I doubt that ever happens - a judge told a jury to disregard the Highway Code's 'stop if dazzled by the sun' - R v Petterson
I would certainly not remove these so that motorists are permitted to drive while blinded. They need to be publicised and enforced.

Polaroid Eliminates Headlamp Dazzle

In 1929 Edwin H. Land patented plastic film that could polarise light.

If headlights are polarised \\\\\ and the windscreen or driver's glasses are polarised /////, then direct light is absorbed.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Crossings - Level, Zebras, Pelicans, Toucans, Puffins and Pegasus

There is a discrepancy between the Highway Code and the Law here !
The Highway Code could clarify whether it forbids cycles overtaking or being overtaken on crossings, by using the distinction between 'vehicle' and 'motor vehicle' precisely.

Actually, I would play safe, and leave the Highway Code as-is, for safety's sake.
It will be safer if cyclists neither overtake, nor are overtaken.

But we should definitely educate Driving Instructors, and also those who train and assess Driving Instructors, to err on the side of safety, instead of nit-picking about what are probably unintended loopholes in the Law !

Pedestrian crossings overtaking a cyclist ? - [ adiforum.co.uk ]

Highway Code 191
You MUST NOT park on a crossing or in the area covered by the zig-zag lines. You MUST NOT overtake the moving vehicle nearest the crossing or the vehicle nearest the crossing which has stopped to give way to pedestrians.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Dazzled by Headlights or the Sun ? Stop !

There have been many recent cases where drivers that drive while blinded by low sun have been acquitted of dangerous or even careless driving. Judges are ignoring the Highway Code when sentencing, and instructing juries to ignore it when deliberating the verdict.
If nothing else, this is unnecessary tautological duplication.
93 Slow down, and if necessary stop, if you are dazzled by bright sunlight.
6. Hot weather ...
237 ... If you are dazzled by bright sunlight, slow down and if necessary, stop.
It seems that we have no protection when on east-west roads after dawn or before dusk under UK case law. Perhaps there should be a curfew ?

Fog is already an accepted excuse for bad driving, so I wonder which universally-encountered weather conditions will be blamed for bad driving next ? Ice, Snow, Rain, Wind, Night, Cloud ?

The principle used to be Highway Code 126
Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.
Pro Tip : If a car's number plate appears to be lit up, you are directly between them and the sun, so you are invisible.

Really, I would advise not using the roads when the sun is low. Extreme but safe !

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Space Lemmings - Peer Pressure - Race to the Bottom

Space Lemming courtesy of lemnet.tripod.com
There are two tribes of road users, each of which thinks the other is dangerous - the fast and the slow.

Slow motorists often say they feel pressured to drive badly (eg speeding) by other motorists, specifically the one behind them.
  • Fast motorists say it is the slow motorists (not just cyclists) that are dangerous, because they get in the way, and even get them angry, 'forcing' them to drive badly.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

There's more to life than not being dead ...

In safety statistics, analysts often use KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) statistics.
Main reasons :
  1. Numbers killed often are, thankfully, too low for any statistically-significant conclusions to be drawn until many years have passed.
  2. Serious Injuries are usually about ten times more frequent, and often life-changing. So taking measures to reduce them is arguably just as important as reducing fatalities.
  3. Many other factors affect whether a casualty dies :
    • Vehicle engineering - crumple zones, airbags, seat-belts, safety glass
    • Emergency service response, particularly Air Ambulances
    • Medical care in hospital
Further than that, there are many 'Quality of Life' issues that are worth considering.
  • Perceived Safety
  • Improved lifestyle
  • Community well-being
  • Stress and Mental Health

Crossing the Line

Many motorists are scared of crossing the central white line.

Early (<1980?) versions of Roadcraft, the police motorcyclists' manual, encouraged riders to use the full width of the road to see further round corners : recent ones just use the width of one lane, not the 'wrong side of the road'.

The Advertising Standards Authority, ASA, ruled this ad unsafe because of helmets, but also
"we were concerned that whilst the cyclist was more than 0.5 metres from the kerb, they appeared to be located more in the centre of the lane when the car behind overtook them and the car almost had to enter the right lane of traffic" 
The ruling was withdrawn and overturned following independent review, but it is surprising that they didn't consult the Highway Code.

I don't see why the Highway Code doesn't state overtake
in a different lane where possible

Monday, 22 September 2014

Weaving all over the road ...

When I was a Sea Scout (1973-7 Hi to the 1st Scrabster troop!), Dick Message aka 'Skip' taught us how to tell if two vessels were on collision course. There are two equivalent methods:
  1. With a compass take a bearing on the other vessel, wait a minute and take another.
    If the bearing hasn't changed, you are on collision course. Change course. Repeat.
    Obviously, if both vessels change course and are still on a different collision course, slowing down can help, too !
  2. If there is land on the distant horizon, (or stars above it) see if the other vessel is moving fore or aft relative to the distant land or stars. If neither, ie the vessel is stationary with respect to a distant landscape, you are on collision course. Of course, it won't hold true for a nearby coastline, or if you watch for hours because the stars 'move' (relatively speaking).

    "All our eyes on the distant horizon" Join in, everybody !
What does that have to do with cyclists 'weaving all over the road', you ask ? Patience !

Friday, 19 September 2014

Obstruction ?

In the early days of motoring, there was a law that every vehicle had to be preceded by a man walking with a red flag, and the vehicle had to stop when he waved it, to let horse-drawn traffic past safely.

One father has tried using his car to make it safe for his son to walk to school, as part of a campaign for a footway.
Could be a useful tactic for a Critical Mass ride ?

'Police advised him against this course of action for safety reasons.
'Officers have advised him that he is at risk of causing an unlawful or wilful obstruction should he continue to do this.'

Note that the police are fearful that other motorists might overtake unsafely. Pandering to the lowest level of incompetence can only encourage bad drivers.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Counter-CounterMeasures - Glasses, Goggles, Face-Mask

Things are moving too fast for me here - I have started several 'Countermeasures' posts-in-draft, but it feels more important to post about Counter-CounterMeasures first !

If motorists have reached the stage of squirting liquids in cyclists' faces, then that is another good reason to consider wearing Glasses, Goggles or Face-Mask.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Safety Theatre

No, I don't mean dramatic productions in schools to reduce risk to children , wonderful though that is !

I mean taking steps to make things look safe, but which have little or no beneficial effect in practice.

Googling "safety theatre" finds (mostly ? ) only the theatricals, but the American "safety theater" works.
The term Security Theater is wider-known, among conspiracy theorists at least.

It's questionable which things are effective and which not - the list below is neither definitive nor complete. It's part of the definition of 'Safety theatre' that we can't tell which measures are effective.

Obedience and Blame

The number of official contributory factors present in car-bike collisions are similar for cyclists and drivers.
Some factors are arguably bigger than others - I don't know if they were weighted.
The full report runs to 60 pages.
Slightly more contributory factors for cyclists, but I would guess it's not statistically significant.
Since the motorist is (almost?) never the fatality, that may introduce some bias. It would be interesting to exclude cases where the cyclist was unable to give a statement before dying.

Of course, risking your own life is not at all the same thing as risking anothers' !

The top factor was 'failed to look properly' for both sides, in about 30% of cases.