Friday, 26 July 2013

The Nostrodamus of Blogs strikes again

So as ever I write something and then a little later I pat myself on the back for looking into the crystal ball of cycling.

Regular readers will remember I wrote a post back on the 29/1/13 about how I think segregated cycle paths and me might not get on well together - you can read it HERE.

Well I read the first stirrings from Sustrans on the controlled (read eventual speed cameras) coming out way on cycle paths - read it HERE. It is the tip of the iceberg and more will follow (remember you read that here).

Government (read nanny state) are dying to get their hands on cyclists - for far too long we have been "sticking to the man" by being unregulated - read not so easy to fine. I fully expect the call for licensing of bikes that go on roads before too soon, in fact I was channel hoping and saw one of those "police stop camera" or whatever on TV. There the reporter did a bit on bikes and seem 100% confident that bikes would be regulated and licensed soon - of course he never thought about all the practical difficulties of it!

Another reason that Government (local, national and regional) will not cater for the current and confident cyclist is because they already know we are going to ride our bikes. If they are going to spend public funds on something they will have KPI's (key performance indicators) to judge the success of the policy, inevitable and obviously this will be the increase in number of cyclists - they will not go for average miles per cyclists as this a) far less sexy and b) very difficult to get an accurate figure on. How do you increase the number of cyclists on the road? Well obviously you have to make it feel safe for all those people who waiver on whether to do it or not - therefore you need safe and slow bike lanes - we all want safe but we don't necessarily want slow - this will leave current cyclists left out on all sides - drivers will expect and demand we are on the cycle lanes and new cyclists on the cycle lanes will want use to be as slow as them so they feel safe - this also will include pedestrians wandering all over them as they are convenient for them to push their prams on - the Government will do nothing to stop this as they will effectively be getting extras footpaths for their outlay.

As I stated before I am all for the introduction of safe bike lanes but really the way it is going it is not going to work unless you are a beardy, woolly jumper and sandal wearing, liberal on your cargo bike, doing your 4 miles a week on a bike exercise, just so you can look extra trim for you next naked bike ride protest.

I weep for my children and not only because they have me for a dad.

Edit: 30/7/13 - I see another thing about controlling bike lanes (well shared ones) has hit the press. Local authorities are now pushing for speed bumps / chicanes to be put on bike lanes to slow cyclists down. Read it HERE

I am going to offer up some free advice here - want to avoid bikes crashing into pedestrians? How about making them bike lanes for bikes only and have pavements for pedestrians? Surely if they are shared use then they should be called pavements and we all know cyclists aren't allowed on pavements.

There really is a need to understand by local authorities that cyclist don't want shared paths - they need dedicated lanes. Everyone one in all levels of Government seem to think that cyclists are wooly wearing bearded liberals who don't use the bike as a genuine and speedier form of transport (in heavily traffic towns at least). For us the bike is not a fun recreation on a nice sunny day, it is a way of life and we are the people who ride daily and need the help the most.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Lemming Pedestrians

Over the last few weeks - I have been assailed by Lemming Pedestrians from all directions.

Before proceeding, it is probably best that I describe this species of human I am calling the "lemming pedestrian". This less cuddly suicide hunter is a person who walks across the road without looking, or steps into the road right in front of a vehicle. I can only assume that the reason for this is because they want to end their dull miserable lives - it cannot be for reasons such as they are too busy worrying about being late for work, reading a text or that they only think cars are on the road (and we all know cars make a broom broom noise) because that would make them really stupid and it would be wrong for me to assume that a person is that thick, despite their obvious desire to end up literally brain dead.

All I am asking for that these pedestrian lemmings do this by sticking their head in an oven or shooting themselves, any other way in fact, that does not mean they endanger others who are quite happy to be alive and would like to continue doing so.

My route into work takes me up Tooley Street outside London Bridge station, here the Lemmings seem to mass regularly (though not exclusively) in great numbers. I can only guess that the large amount of aggression and tutting they endure from fellow train travellers when they try to throw themselves in front of trains (leading to major rail delays) has meant they have resorted to throwing themselves in front of cyclists (or maybe just me). I would like to point out that my 6.9kg push bike is nowhere near as effective as a 50 ton train (O.K. the train weight thing is a guess). Additionally  I am assuming that the train driver is going to get a lot less hurt that I am when you are hit.

So having identified Tooley Street as London’s prime location for mass suicide attempts, I decided to be extra vigilant, keeping a wary eye out for these suicide loving critters. This initially led to me not using the bike lane and overtaking vehicles on the right. This cunning plan came to an end on day one; very quickly I learnt that cunning critters are not so easily fooled and in one traverse of Tooley Street I ended up doing 3 emergency stops to avoid hitting them as they jumped out in front of me from behind buses and lorries (or any other vehicle that they figured I would have no chance of seeing them behind).

Not to be outdone, I started using the bike lane on the left of the road (in itself no mean feat with all the taxis pulling over to the left with no warning or indication). Day one was fine – I had out foxed them – but by day two they had figured out my cunning ruse and two of them managed the most audacious jump in front of me, that were timed to perfection. As I sit here typing this I am still amazed at how I managed to stop in time and not kick their teeth out as I flew over the handlebars in a forward roll (no time to get my weight back on the saddle).

To further detail my study of the lesser spotted coffin chasers, I can confirm that they are an all female species and they make an "Oh eek" sound just before they think they are going to die. I am assuming the sound cannot be one of surprise for surely if you run out from in front of a bus into a cycle lane you cannot be over surprised if you meet an oncoming bike - now if I was a giraffe then I might expect an "Oh eek" sound, implying surprise at seeing me on a London street, but a bike in a bike lane is not a surprise.

Given their failure to kill themselves up until this point I am expecting more guile from these fluffy death lovers over the next few weeks - from now onwards I will keep a vary eye out for them jumping from the top of a bus or up out of a man hole cover - I really have no idea what pre-planed ruse they will try next in their determined push to reach Nirvana.

Writing all this, reminds me of the famous Petronella Wyatt in the Daily Fail and her mother who apparently gets hit by cyclists on a regular basis (or not as the case turns out to be) whilst we are on the subject of that lying (or more politely "extremely lazy") journalist, a new link has just occurred to me. In her column she stated (assuming she wrote it) that she had a thing against cyclists as she remembers her mum having an affair with one, she used to see his bike parked outside her mums house. I am assuming that it is the same mother who was also hit by the cyclist in the street (maybe the same one she was having an affair with in her younger days - that clue I give to the police for free). But isn't this the same Petronella Wyatt who had an affair with Boris Johnson, another person famous for being a cyclist? I can't be bothered to check out the facts - I am training to be a daily fail journalist, but if it is true, then what they say about the apple not falling far from the tree - seems to be a very real thing!

Anyway - back to the death loving pedestrians (whom I now am thinking are all controlled telepathically by Petronella Wyatt's mother). It must be the case that these people are either on drugs or being controlled telepathically by a sinister super brain - I swear to god people cannot be so thick as to cross a road without looking, so there must be another element to this? If we exclude Petronella Wyatt's mother and drugs (after all I see the programmes on telly where customs are catching all the drugs being brought into the country) then there must be something else - but what? ................ (this is me racking my brain for a reason)............ I give in - it is just going to have to be them being dumb twunks. Given this revelation - I shall now start to call them as such when they next throw themselves in front of me - it's not my anger but reasoned logic.

Me on my bike - can you take you cloak back please Harry?
I forgot to submit this post for a few days - but no fear it has allowed me another paragraph - yesterday evening whilst winding my way down Tooley street I was able to have a multi-muppet incident. As ever I stop at the red light at the pedestrian crossing, the lights went green, I started to set off only for 4 lemmings all at once to jump in front of me. I slammed on the brakes only for the idiot on a bike behind me to crash into my back (I don't think he has heard about covering his brakes when in traffic) after dislodging his handle bars from under me seat (no mean feet as I think he was still trying to pedal forwards and therefore took about 15 seconds) I set off again only for more lemmings to jump in front of me again - seriously this is a death wish of the highest order! Later on the same ride I rode through Lewisham on a busy dual carriage road (well one lane and a bus lane) so as I went down this wide fast road at about 25 mph a pedestrian walked right out in front of me, the whole road was clear except for me - seriously have I got an  invisibility cloak on?