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Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 9:38pm
So are you riding in a state of mind where you will leap out of the way of any vehicle coming from behind that you think is going to hit you?

I can not tell which ones are going to hit me, none have so far so I would have wasted my time, every time that I took evasive action but I still could kid myself that I had saved my life by doing so.

Or the other option is that you are riding along assuming that there is nothing behind you and can move around as if you have the road to yourself, not an assumption that I make, I make the default assumption that something may be behind me and check visually before moving my road positioning.

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 9:29pm
beardy wrote: Actually even the fact that there is a vehicle in the vicinity is important information that helps us avoid an accident.

This seems obvious until you ask why this is so.
The clue is speed differential and a lack of enforcement of the law.
Which is why I have a rear view mirror on all my bikes,and never wear any kind of hearing impairment whilst riding.I can't find a single reason to,but lots of reasons not to.

Re: A-hole in a van.

22 July 2014 - 9:21pm
Flinders wrote:Just to take motorways as one example, round here, if there is an accident on the M6, it is closed for hours.

I could write an essay on this one. Most other countries design the central reservations to allow traffic to be turned round when something like that happens. If it's a problem to leave it open, it's gated, and emergency services all have keys. It's one that works both ways because it also allows emergency services better access to an accident. However, the problem that arises in the UK is partly due to infrastructure, and partly due to the coordination between emergency services, and partly due to the police being understaffed, and therefore not having the personnel to do traffic direction.

Any other place I've been, it would totally unacceptable to leave people sitting on a motorway for hours at a time, waiting for the accident to be cleared.

Re: A-hole in a van.

22 July 2014 - 8:54pm
I don't think traffic offences or incidents are being policed as well as they used to be, though being a layperson I don't know all the ins and outs.

Just to take motorways as one example, round here, if there is an accident on the M6, it is closed for hours. Now I've lost a family member in a traffic accident, I would always want everything possible to be done to help victims, and naturally there needs to be a proper investigation at the scene. But I don't understand why here it seems to take hours longer than the same sort of accident takes elsewhere, nor do I understand why here the whole M6 if often closed in one, or even both directions, when elsewhere some lanes aere let through, or at least the other carriageway is allowed to move, and here, nothing is done to direct the traffic left stranded. I got stuck for nearly six hours, and I was completely stationery for four hours last year here in raging heat, we were given no information on local radio, and nobody whatsoever came to check to see if there were any vulnerable people who could suffer from the heat. Had we even been told we'd be there for a couple of hours, we could have organised some of us to go to the nearby service station for water for people like the lady in the car in front of me, with two children and an infant. But we had no idea what was happening, so dare not leave our cars in case the motorway started to move and our cars were left blocking it. We were just left dumped. The police decided not to let people on at the junction I was very nearly at in the direction going away from the accident (which was in the next section in the opposite direction) which then gridlocked the motorway roundabout so even when the traffic was allowed off the closed section, we struggled to get onto the road network. There was a police car at the roundabout; the policeman had parked it with its back to the chaos and was sitting in it.

I'd just delivered two American friends to the airport, one of them a journalist (thank goodness I wasn't on my way there) and I must say I was glad they didn't experience it, I'd have been ashamed of the standard of policing and total lack of duty of care to the public that this exposed. There could easily have been more deaths in the queue from the heat than there had been in the initial accident.

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 8:36pm
So if you're hearing impaired you shouldn't ride a bicycle

Or walk

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 8:14pm
Ah, but they're much safer - they only put *others* at risk...

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 7:26pm
Lets go back to a basic assumption that a cyclist or pedestrian with earphones is putting themselves at risk.

Research shows that the reduction in teh ability to hear ambient noises is the same as closing the car windows.

Why on earth are motorists allowed to reduce their hearing in such a way... campaign for open vehicle windows I say!

Re: A-hole in a van.

22 July 2014 - 6:45pm
mjr wrote:thirdcrank wrote:One point I repeatedly make is that the full-blown all-the-king's-horses-and-all-the-king's-men approach isn't appropriate to a lot of relatively minor offences.
One point I make repeatedly is that the dividing line at the moment doesn't seem to be the severity of the offence or the danger it poses to other people, but it looks like some prejudice about the social standing of any parties involved.

Cyclist assaulted: can't be bothered to attend; but if your motor vehicle gets slightly damaged: double-crewed visit.

Block a busy A-road cycle lane: one PCSO arrives on foot long after the offender has left after blocking the lane for an hour; but if an all-traffic lane nearby on the same road is blocked: full-on blue light run to advise the driver, even though there's no rule against stopping there to unload.

And so on...
Double crewed? You'd be lucky.
Some exaggeration there methinks. It's that sort of attitude that contributes to the police leaving in droves. NHS workers suffer the same sort of attention when one of their numbers lets the profession down. Apart from the cycling bit the above reads like a Dail Mail comment.

Re: A-hole in a van.

22 July 2014 - 6:43pm
It's true that the system has always tended to assume that the criminal classes and the lower classes were synonymous and has, in consequence, struggled to come to terms with modern society where the baddies and the goodies are lee easy to separate. It's also true that once brake horsepower had replaced the horse as the daily transport of the well-to-do, a lot of people came into contact with the police who would never otherwise have done so. When I was a lad, there was a split between senior detectives and senior traffic officers over the consequences of upsetting the traditional police-supporting middle classes but that didn't get in the way of enforcement. Some of the older forum members have posted about a time when they would not wheel a pedal cycle on a pavement and spent ages on quiet Sunday mornings, jumping up and down on the rubber strips which activated traffic light. Mutatis mutandis the behaviour of most drivers was similar. Visible police patrolling combined with enforcement produced civilised standards from most road users. I'm not naïve and I know that there used to be some appalling crashes, excess alcohol being one obvious contributor. Indeed, the breathalyser is an example of what I'm saying: the police got stuck and levels of drink driving fell. By no means eliminated but the incidence of people who were otherwise a good D&I had they not been driving fell dramatically.

I'd reiterate that IMO traffic policing has collapsed. The numbers of specialist traffic patrols has fallen and the amount of time spent by non-specialist uniform patrol officers on dealing with traffic offences is now a tiny fraction of what was once the case. One area where the effort has increased is in the investigation of serious crashes ie detective rather than preventative policing.

I've pointed to various reasons for these trends. It seems to me, however, that one of the biggest threats to vulnerable road users, including cyclists, in all this is the emphasis on "casualty reduction." The threat is insidious. After all, what could be more laudable than reducing casualties? The problem is that it is little more than a form of victim-blaming and those who trumpet the UK's record of casualty reduction are less strident when it comes to levels of walking and cycling. I'm saying that casualties are reduced by vulnerable road users being frightened off the roads.

Ensuring an appropriate level of response to reports of incidents isn't easy, not least because the arrival of a car always seems more significant than the arrival of a police officer, whether they are in the car or on foot. It's also easy after the event to deem that the response should have been different, even though it was determined by what was known at the time and who was available to attend. There are cock-ups and I blush when I remember how many were down to me. I can only plead, as I usually did when Department Y called, that I was doing my best. Everybody has there own anecdote, often recycled, about armed men and helicopters arriving for a cat up a tree or nobody attending for days when something truly serious had happened. IME, cyclists are singled out in this respect.

Newsbeat article re conviction rates

22 July 2014 - 6:32pm
Here is the transcript of a radio 1 report into conviction rates for deaths of cyclists.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/28345522

I don't think there's anything in there that hasn't been discussed at length in this forum but it is interesting that radio 1 are covering it. Do they think their audience are most likely to be the driver or the cyclist in this sort of incident?

Personally, I don't think their headline reflects the nuances. I'm more concerned with how few driving bans are dished out and how many people escape any form of conviction than I am about prison sentences.

I was also rather dismayed by the quote half way down:
"I don't think it's fair because I wasn't driving dangerously, I wasn't driving erratically," he said. "I just failed to see someone who was on the road.
The article doesn't make the point that "seeing someone who is on the road" is a minimum standard for safe driving.

Re: E petition surfacing redressing

22 July 2014 - 5:40pm
After the initial surface dressing operation and first vacuum-sweep of loose chippings, the roads are swept at seven days and six-week intervals to ensure safety of all road users. Typically 10% of chippings are swept up over the six-week period and recycled for more surface dressing work on other less busy rural roads to ensure no materials are wasted.


That's from my local council.

Although I know of roads which had piles of gravel for months.

Re: A-hole in a van.

22 July 2014 - 5:33pm
thirdcrank wrote:One point I repeatedly make is that the full-blown all-the-king's-horses-and-all-the-king's-men approach isn't appropriate to a lot of relatively minor offences.
One point I make repeatedly is that the dividing line at the moment doesn't seem to be the severity of the offence or the danger it poses to other people, but it looks like some prejudice about the social standing of any parties involved.

Cyclist assaulted: can't be bothered to attend; but if your motor vehicle gets slightly damaged: double-crewed visit.

Block a busy A-road cycle lane: one PCSO arrives on foot long after the offender has left after blocking the lane for an hour; but if an all-traffic lane nearby on the same road is blocked: full-on blue light run to advise the driver, even though there's no rule against stopping there to unload.

And so on...

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 5:15pm
kwackers wrote:RichardPH wrote:depriving yourself of the one sense that will warn you of the presence of 99.9% of motor vehicles does indeed seem Darwinian
Except it isn't 99.9%. If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction (particularly if you're wearing a helmet) then you'll be lucky to hear any.

There's no denying 50 years without an accident is impressive but I wonder under what conditions. How much of that is during rush hour on busy roads, what sort of mileage etc etc.

To be fair I could have avoided all of the above by riding on the pavement so rather than worry about listening to music perhaps the real question I should ask myself is where I should be doing my riding.

lots of questions.. regarding the wind preventing hearing the traffic, I just turn my head slightly to shield one ear from the wind, can easily hear what's behind then.

I started riding in London at about 11 years old including what passed for rush hour then, but it was a different world. I've since done quite a bit of city riding without contact, but not for the want of trying by [particularly City of London] buses, I simply assume drivers are going to behave badly and adjust my approach accordingly. Now my riding is mainly in the country, since I've never been hit I can't really say what's most dangerous. Most scary and worthy of caution are the farm machines, which get bigger every year, it's definitely worth knowing if that's the vehicle trying to pass, you get an inkling from the hard worked engine note, ears again.

Also found that recognising local driving norms is helpful, a recent example was Croatia. Don't try and take 'your space' on the road there, it'll be noisy at best [horns] and scary at worst with punishment passes. I don't subscribe to this riding style, but a mate on the same trip who continually rode a metre from the RHS white line whether there was a hard shoulder or not attracted a lot of abuse.

I've not done all that riding without accidents BTW, but they've been with pedestrians, other cyclists or ambition exceeding adhesion, just never with motorised traffic, that can kill you so I pay attention to what they are up to. If the traffic is too heavy and passing me would be risky, then I ride on the pavement, rare, but there are a couple of spots where I always do it, rather have a conversation with the law than a doctor.

Re: A-hole in a van.

22 July 2014 - 5:01pm
Wouldn't it be nice if we could count the crimes that have not been comitted or the amount of perpertators deterred from comitting a crime.
This IMO would require a more visible police prescence and an appropiate level of punishment.
I was once responsible for instigating a regular mounted police patrol on a small town shopping centre that was subject to a lot of daytime crime. Once the patrols started the crime disappeared. You can be seen and see a lot more from atop a large Police horse. Guess what? They are cutting the mounted police as well.
Criminals seem to view prison as a necessary risk of the job and come out more educated in criminal ways than when they went in.
Though, I have spoken to two people who had been 'guests' in Strangeways and they both said "never again".

Re: E petition surfacing redressing

22 July 2014 - 4:47pm
experience of working for a local authority for quite a while and observing the effects of several outsourced contracts.
My experience of a local authority is they have their favourites that constantly get the work. There is a list of preferred contractors but it seems to be a secret thing. I could never get a peep at it. I worked with local business and they constantly voiced their frustration at not being able to be included on "The List".

Re: A-hole in a van.

22 July 2014 - 4:17pm
One point I repeatedly make is that the full-blown all-the-king's-horses-and-all-the-king's-men approach isn't appropriate to a lot of relatively minor offences. It's taking a hydraulic press to crack a nut. For all sorts of reasons the CPS decided from the creation of the organisation that it wasn't in the public interest and, unless successive DPP's have been lobbying behind the scenes, they didn't offer an alternative. Some stuff has been taken outside the CJ system altogether, but not much eg yellow line parking. Fixed penalties have been introduced but a recipient can still insist on a trial if they like. All manner of court diversion schemes have been introduced, but whatever the declared intention in terms of reform, the net result has been avoiding the cost of prosecutions. Every so often, some party politician gets self-righteous over the numbers of cases being cautioned, but this is with the connivance of the authorities. Ironically, as public confidence in the system falls and fewer people bother to report what's happening, so it can be dressed up as a reduction in offending.

It's government by spin.

Re: E petition surfacing redressing

22 July 2014 - 4:13pm
bigjim wrote:Got me thinking readin this. There is a constant plethora of roadworks around here. I can't remember ever seeing a steamroller. Yea I know they aren't steam anymore [mores the pity]. I may have seen one of those tiny hand roller things but not the proper jobbie. Does the real thing exist any more or do they not roll these days?

In the case of surface dressing the wheels of the traffic do the job of the road roller over a period of time. That's why there's always a gap between doing the initial treatment and re-applying the road markings some time later. Cheap and really a little bit nasty all round, but the money only goes so far.

Machine laid tarmac presumably has a roller in the leviathan somewhere.

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 4:06pm
beardy wrote: However have you actually ever tried riding with a walkman on?
Do you ever wear a walkman?

Perceptive questions, in order, no, but you probably realise this from my stance on the subject and rarely. I'm one of the people who regard music as just another aspect of life, to be taken in moderation, not an evangelical calling.

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 4:03pm
RichardPH wrote:depriving yourself of the one sense that will warn you of the presence of 99.9% of motor vehicles does indeed seem Darwinian
Except it isn't 99.9%. If the wind is blowing in the wrong direction (particularly if you're wearing a helmet) then you'll be lucky to hear any.
Not only that but for most of my riding I'm being overtaken continually by nose to tail cars - what benefit is there in hearing them coming? I already know there's another one on the way.
Personally for the most part I rely on my mirrors but even then in heavy traffic they're not really that much use, eyes are usually better off looking ahead to see what the idiot who's just overtaken is up to.

There's no denying 50 years without an accident is impressive but I wonder under what conditions. How much of that is during rush hour on busy roads, what sort of mileage etc etc.
IME riding on busy roads during rush hour you'd really be relying on luck to do any real mileage and never have at least the occasional minor incident.

RichardPH wrote:Or fiddling with their infotainment systems, my car has one and I've taken to stopping to do anything complicated/new with it. Have to comment that if you think a car accelerating hard behind isn't reason for you to be alert, then you may be in for a shock one day.
Nobody accelerates hard whilst tuning their radio. When someone decides to cane it their attention becomes focuses forward. In all the years I've been riding I've never even had a close pass by someone nailing it - they've always left loads of space.
When I have made contact it's usually by people who knew I was there and conversely who I knew were there. Like the guy that cut me up on a roundabout and knocked me off claiming he thought my flashing rear light meant I was turning off or the woman who started overtaking and then moved left knocking me off coming up to some lights because 'I was in the middle of the road', or the guy who happily sailed onto the island as I passed the entrance he was on.

To be fair I could have avoided all of the above by riding on the pavement so rather than worry about listening to music perhaps the real question I should ask myself is where I should be doing my riding.

Re: Wearing earphones

22 July 2014 - 3:57pm
I've always described the fact that a vehicle has never so much as touched me on the road as luck, but over 50 years of riding that can't be the whole story can it?

No it isnt just luck (though of course there is always some luck involved of not being totally in the wrong place at the wrong time) you obviously know how to keep your wits about you and avoid accidents.

However have you actually ever tried riding with a walkman on?
Do you ever wear a walkman?

Obviously nobody can come and type that they have 50 years of accident free riding while wearing a walkman.

There are plenty of things that others can tolerate or get benefit from that distract or incapacitate me.

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