Category Archives: Call To Action

Why we need all professional drivers to pass Bikeability Level 3 training

This morning I was walking along Chaucer Road towards Beechen Cliff and observed a mini-bus driver overtake a Beechen Cliff Pupil riding his bike to school. Chaucer Road is a typical Bath residential road with cars parked either side and about 3m of width between. The driver chose to pass the kid at less than 0.5m.

I lost my cool. Stopped the driver, told him in no uncertain terms that that was a dangerous close pass and then called up his company to lodge a complaint.

I later had a call back from the company, where the manager initially apologised and then started to go into a story about how a cyclist up at the top of Wellsway didn’t ride properly across a roundabout. An 11 year old boy was placed in a phenomenally dangerous situation because a professional driver could not wait 10 seconds and his manager tries to use collective responsibility and blame “cyclists”.

W T F?

He did say he would have words with him.

This is where it gets interesting

I suggested that a better solution would be to ensure he gets Bikeability Level 3 training from the council so he understands how bad what he did was. The manager stated that he couldn’t ‘punish’ him that much as bus drivers are quite rare and he would leave to work for somebody else.

All professional drivers must have Bikeability training

The reality is, within a gig economy, we must ensure that the companies that hire these drivers take responsibility for their behaviour. Requiring companies to only be able to hire drivers that have had Bikeability Level 3 training would be a simple step in ensuring the safety of people choosing to cycle to school or work or the shops or just for fun.

I think, particularly taxi and bus companies need to ensure all their drivers have Bikeability training.

Bad driving should require a Bikeability Refresher Course

Let’s be real, there are economic and time pressures on drivers to deliver goods/people as quick as possible. Having to wait for an annoying cyclist can cost them money. However they should realise that the company they work for will put them on Bikeability Training if complaints are received about their driving around vulnerable road users. Evidence of the training should be published.

Driving is what they do

Professional drivers spend their lives on the road and should be held to a high standard. Ideally I’d like to see Bikeability Training as part of passing your driving test, but with a significant number of KSIs related to HGVs, maybe, just maybe, getting those drivers that spend all day on the road trained up as cyclists, we will save lives.

One more thing…

The school drop off at Beechen Cliff has to be seen to be believed and the reality is that closing Chaucer Road at Kipling Avenue to vehicular traffic using bollards would create a quieter, safer residential area and control the speeding traffic that piles along Chaucer on a regular basis. Each resident would still have 3 exits onto Wellsway. A modal filter cell here would have huge benefits to the community and to the safety of children.

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Day commuters and the school run are the real problems in Bath

I have sent this letter to the Bath Chronicle in response to the council’s “Our plan to get Bath moving” . It’s a bit long so unsure if they will print it. The key problems within Bath come down to two ‘actors’.

Day Commuters

28,000 people drive by car and park somewhere in the city. We currently provide 7,000 car parking spaces and most Park and Rides are only a 3rd full by 9am. Day commuters use free parking available on Bath’s residential roads.

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You need to remove the ‘free’ bit through the use of parking control in the form of ‘soft’ Resident Parking Zones across the whole of Bath. This ensures all Park and Ride sites are fully utilised and justifies expansion, and yes, an East Park and Ride solution will be needed, say a Link and Ride using existing brownfield sites.

 

The School Run

Transport for London brought out an interesting statistic. 50% of traffic is the School Run.

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The Council has absolutely no handle on this figure for Bath or even other towns. Priority number one for Highways should be the development of good walking and cycling routes to schools. We need to kill the school run and we need to kill it fast.

Obesity, not Air Pollution is the problem

Let’s be clear, if you focus on Air Pollution, you end up throwing money at Electric Vehicles that still suffer from brake and tyre pollution, but more importantly take up the same space as an internal combustion vehicle.

Air pollution kills 40,000 people a year, Obesity kills 84,000. 88 people each year in BaNES die from Obesity related diseases below the age of 75.

We’re currently at 27.5% obesity, whereas a country that has focused on “Stop de Kindermoord” now has a envious 10% obesity rating. Extrapolating this, 63% of obesity is down to our transport systems. 55 BaNES residents die because of the political decisions your councillors and highways officers make each year.

If we truly want to tackle the health crisis in our transport systems, we need to focus on creating healthy streets and we start with children. We tackle Air Pollution and Obesity through this approach.

We need our own “Stop the child murder”.

We need councillors and councils delivering safe routes to school that enable kids to be able to safely cycle to school. The evidence is though that our council simply does not get the need for this as shown by the up and coming Weston route.

The Letter

Continue reading Day commuters and the school run are the real problems in Bath

CWIS and not getting a fair crack of the LCWIP

Something profound has happened to the way councils will be able to access money for walking and cycling. Chief Executives of Councils, Councillors, City Mayors, and Metro-Mayors really need to get a handle on this fast because they are about to lose out massively in ways that will only become apparent about a year from now.

The Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) published April 21st 2017, has within it a requirement for councils to prepare Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIPs). Without these in place, councils and regional areas will have no ability to bid for any central government pots of money to improve cycling and walking networks.

Continue reading CWIS and not getting a fair crack of the LCWIP

Bad Road Users and the Law as it Stands

An open letter to Bath’s MP Wera Hobhouse and Avon & Somerset Police Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens:

Dear Sue and Wera,
I am writing to you as I think in the coming weeks and months there is going to be a concerted effort to start legislating against dangerous cycling behaviour. To put this in perspective, last year 1 pedestrian was killed by a cyclist and 399 were killed by drivers.
I am not trying to excuse what Charlie Alliston did and this article I think sums up my thoughts around his court case:
However there is a need to re-address the way we deal with the bad road users. A significant number of whom get away with manslaughter due to failures in process as well as failures within the law:
I would like, as stated within the above article, the following to come into place:
  1. The current guidance regarding referral of fatal road collision cases to CPS for charging decisions needs to become a requirement, a rule which police forces can’t simply ignore as they did in this case;
  2. Collision investigation standards are urgently needed, with accreditation and increased transparency as called for by RoadPeace through their collision investigation campaign.
  3. The current classification of careless and dangerous driving offences, how driving standards are assessed, and charging standards, are simply not fit for purpose. They must be changed, with the standard of driving required being more objectively determined. Currently, the law requires jurors to consider whether another driver’s standard of driving fell “below”, or “far below” the standard which they believe would be expected of “a careful and competent driver”, whatever that standard might be. One person might well think they’re a careful and competent driver as they overtake a cyclist whilst speeding, leaving a 30 cm gap. I would disagree, so our perspectives on what falls “below the competent and careful driver” test will be irreconcilable. We are asking jurors to apply a standard that few understand, and which is far too subjective.
There have been similar calls from Road Justice and Brake. The recommendations from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group also reflect similar demands:
We have a problem on our roads and the way cases involving Killed or Seriously Injured are dealt with by the police and the law. We are failing the victims of road violence, particularly the vulnerable road users.
This is being played by certain groups as a problem between pedestrians and cyclists when fundamentally, both these vulnerable road user groups are disproportionately affected by the bad behaviour of drivers.
New York City has found that the provision of segregated cycle lanes has reduced the number of pedestrian casualties:
Using cycle infrastructure to protect vulnerable pedestrians is enabling cities and even countries to achieve a Vision Zero approach to road safety:
We need to ensure that the conversation is not about the problem of dangerous cyclists and their impact on pedestrians, but that there are bad road users and how we fix the legislation and operational procedures of our police to ensure justice is done.
I hope you can convey that message in the coming weeks and months, and support working towards a better approach to road justice.
Regards,
Adam Reynolds
Cycle Bath Chair

The problem is not us, it’s them!

When we ask ourselves how we address the transport problems in Bath, and particularly the air pollution that Bath suffers from, the language that organisations use gives you an idea about the direction in which those organisations are looking.

Reading both the statement put forward by BaNES  and the letter from FoBRA published in the Chronicle, it is pretty clear that the problem is the 12% through traffic ( 8760 drivers) and the naughty 900 HGVs. (FoBRA in their defence did list a few other things.)

What seems to have been ignored is that WE are the 88%. We are the 64240 people that drive into and around the city each day. Yet the answer lies with the 12%.

Let’s be clear. The A36/A46 bypass will ONLY remove 2000 cars form London Road and is 15 years in the making. Within the last 12 years we’ve already lost nearly 5,000 cars from London Road yet the bypass has been on the cards for 30+ years.

We need to be absolutely honest about what’s going on here and we need radical solutions and we need them now.

We need strong parking control across the whole city to keep Park and Ride sites fully utilised. The council can sell day time passes to commuters in areas where space is available if P&R sites get too full (but not for diesel). Call it the Bath RPZ+ if you like.

We need to prioritise separate space for walking, cycling, and driving on our major arterial roads over on-street parking.

We need better, smoother junctions using Poyntonesque style roundabouts with cycle bypasses (Poynton is horrible to cycle. I tried.).

We need a Link and Ride on the east side of the city using brownfield land between the A46 and the railway at Bathampon Junction, ready for when you implement the RPZ+.

We should be implementing some of the phases from the New Phased Delivery of the Bath ‘Living Heart’ Transport Plan making the city centre access only.

We need to kill the school run. Build School Streets. Fine parents for dropping their kids off outside schools as 5,000 of them do each day. LOOK AROUND YOU RIGHT NOW. Go outside tomorrow at 8:30am. Where’s all the traffic?

We need to ask why 10,000 people living in Bath, drive 2 miles or less to work in Bath each day.

What we don’t need to be doing is blaming the 12% or those naughty HGVs.

WE ARE THE 88%. WE ARE THE PROBLEM.

1u92eq

 

Mobility and bikes

I do not want to take anything away from this article, so here it is

http://wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk/mobility-and-my-bike/

What I will say is that the BaNES council utterly fails to recognise that electric bicycles and particularly electric tricycles enable many people with sever walking issues the freedom to live easily within cities and towns. Many find that this form of transport has a positive impact on their health and wellbeing.

Yet for years we have asked the council to remove bollard formations that limit access. Currently if you are using a wider eTrike, the Two Tunnels and the Bath To Bristol Cycle Path are off limits.

Spacing is important. Any barrier must enable a 1.2m wide x 2.8m long mobility vehicle through.

ian195

That includes wheelchair trikes:

nihola_flex_wheelchair

Cycle Bath even went to the trouble of identifying the points where problems exist (the connections marked with a red dot) on the Bath Cycle Map

Bath Cycle Network Quality Map

Many of the issues on the Two Tunnels Linear Park are simply a padlock key and removal of a couple of bollards away from being accessible.

Read the article, understand that putting barriers in to ‘slow down cyclists’ probably goes against the 2010 Equalities act. You might as well put up signs “No Disabled Access” signs all over the place.

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Keynsham High Street One Way Trial

Keynsham is trying something rather new and you should visit it by bike if you can.

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There are issues with it, for example they have put the contraflow next to the carriageway and used planters to protect the footpath from people cycling. Around Gregg’s this causes problems as drivers just park up on the double yellow and force other drivers into the cycle contraflow.

I have raised and discussed issues here, BUT the real question is, is the new scheme better than what was previously there? I think it works a lot better for people walking and cycling and creates a better less traffic filled High Street but without YOUR support this scheme will be scrapped and reverted back.

Go try it out. Email your support for the scheme to  transportation@bathnes.gov.uk otherwise we lose it. Don’t just read this and ignore it. Email now or lose one of the better schemes we’ve seen from BaNES for some time.

Share this with your friends.

 

Metro Mayor – Why you should vote this Thursday (May 4th)

When trying to understand what the Metro Mayor does, it’s important to understand that Transport is a key aspect of his/her responsibility. So when you think Metro Mayor, think Transport For London for the West of England.

The focus of many of the transport hustings has been on buses and trains, however I think the biggest responsibility is that the Metro Mayor also gets ownership of some roads. This ownership confers similar powers over those roads as TfL has over their road network.

This power has demonstrably shown how to transform the City of London, with people cycling now outnumbering the number of people driving.

So although all you hear about is how the mayor will improve public transport through oyster cards/new train stations etc., THE absolute KEY point that they all seem to have missed is that the mayor has an immense opportunity to redefine how we use our road space.

Taking a standard road layout with a capacity of 22,000 people per hour:

  • footpath – 9000 pph
  • on street parking – 0pph
  • two lanes – 4000pph
  • on street parking – 0pph
  • footpath – 9000pph

You can increase capacity from 22,000 to 36,000 simply by replacing the on-street parking with cycle lanes. This is a 63% increase in capacity. Maximising road capacity rather than the age old maximising motorised vehicle traffic flow will deliver the solution to congestion in Bristol and Bath and the Metro Mayor has the ability to make this happen.

There are 129,000 people that commute to Bristol to work each day. Of those 25,000 drive to work within a 20 minute walking distance (2km). 57,000 drive to work within a 20 minute cycling distance (5km).

There are 28,000 people that commute to Bath to work each day. Of those 4,700 drive to work within a 20 minute walking distance (2km). 8,600 drive to work within a 20 minute cycling distance (5km).

Focusing on maximising road capacity and balancing roads to provide for all forms of travel, that is the provision of dedicated space for walking, cycling, and driving, will have a profound impact on congestion.

Implementing protected safe cycle lanes will provide people of all ages and all cycling abilities with real choice in how they get around our cities. This is a real game changer that not only tackles congestion and air pollution but also reduces the incidence of heart disease and cancer by 50%.  Good, visibly safe cycle networks give children their travel indepence back. They are fantastic for businesses along the routes.

It is absolutely key that the mayor you vote for understands the role the roads have in delivering a healthier, less polluted, and less congested transport system.

To that aim, Bristol Cycle Campaign and Cycle Bath asked each candidate to sign up to three asks:

  1. Champion the West of England’s cycling and walking culture
    By planning a high quality and coherent network of core cycle routes across the West of England for commuting and local trips that meets the needs of all levels of cyclist. Aim to double the number of trips made by cycle in the West of England area by 2025 while upholding the target of 20% of trips to made by cycle in Bristol city by 2020.
  2. Seek the funding to achieve your aims
    Create a dedicated budget for cycling and actively seek enough funding to build your network to a high standard
  3. Establish MetroCycle on an equal footing with MetroRail and MetroBus
    Set up and chair a steering group that brings together councils, business groups, universities, advocates and transport businesses.

Only Darren Hall (Greens), John Savage (Independent), Lesley Mansell (Labour), Stephen Williams (Liberal Democrats), and Aaron Foot (UKIP) signed up to these asks. More telling are the responses from the candidates.

If you want to see cycling supported and grow in the next 5 years, use your two votes to vote bike. (Remember your 2nd vote only counts after the top 2 candidates get through to the 2nd round.)

Vote-Bike-Banner

13:00 Ferry Lane, Today, 14th of March – Photo of us angrily pointing at kerb for Bath Chronicle

Title says it all. Be there at 13:00 Ferry Lane, Today, 14th of March – Photo of us angrily pointing at kerb for Bath Chronicle. If you know anyone in the area that uses that route, you might also want to get them there if you can.

Do not turn up late. The photographer will be there for about 5 minutes.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.3796811,-2.3546571,19.5z

 

COMMUNITY OPINIONS – WALKING & CYCLING IN BATHWICK FRIDAY 3rd of March 3-6pm Sydney Gardens

Sustrans are working with Bath and North East Somerset Council as part of the Cycling Ambitions Fund 2 (CAF) to consider how walking and cycling in several areas throughout Bath could be improved. We have been engaging directly with local communities in order to understand the needs and aspirations of those living and working within the project areas.
As part of this process, Sustrans and BANES have been holding a number on-street events and running online interactive maps, giving people the opportunity to tell us what is currently stopping them from walking and cycling and which routes they use at the moment.
We have already ran on-street events in Bear Flat and Larkhall, the next on-street event will be held in the Bathwick area.
It will take place on Friday 3rd March from 3-6pm at the entrance to Sydney Gardens, as with previous events, anyone unable to attend can provide us with their comments online,
http://www.sustrans.org.uk/bathwick this link will go live on Monday (20th Feb)
We would value your input into this process so please do come along to the events or log onto the online mapping tool and record your views.
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