Category Archives: Children

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

The role of children in designing good cycle networks

Children cycling on a city’s roads and paths are the canary in the coal mine. Without overthinking this too much, a parent won’t let a child out to play on a bike unless that parent can perceive that the child can make mistakes and not be run over.

And this gets to the premise that Cycle Bath campaigns on:

To enable everyone to cycle in comfort we need high quality space for cycling, inclusive for all ages and abilities, connecting communities with schools and centres of employment. Routes must be direct and cohesive, with space on main roads re-allocated from the general carriageway, not the footway.

So when Peter Walker writes in the Guardian:

In countries where decades of investment in bike routes has made cycling safer and more everyday, the reverse is true. Almost 40% of Dutch children go to and from school by bike.

We need to understand how you achieve that level of cycling and for that we can look at Public Highways England IAN 195

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Continue reading The role of children in designing good cycle networks