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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Location: Completely in the dark, thanks to me good mate Terry....
Robbied196 wrote:
highlandsflyer wrote:
Koupe wrote:
I detest many things about my hometown (Stevenage) but the one thing they got spot on when planning the new town areas, was a complete cycle track network - every single dual carriageway had a totally seperate, parallel track and every main roundabout had multiple underpasses and a sunken 'mini-junction'. I guess it would cost an obscene amount to overhaul existing road systems like that, but it does make me wonder why other suburban towns didn't implement that kind of thing at the planning stage.


My views have been unpopular on this subject before, but I feel there should be a network of cycle ways covering every major and minor destination. Totally set aside from vehicular traffic. Lots of people suggest this would lead to cars always assuming you should not be on shared roads, but my feeling is that the cyclist should have the choice.


Fortunately, someone had the immense foresight to build a complete cycle and pedestrian network in Shrewsbury, its been there for at least 30 years that I know of. It would be interesting to compare the pedestrian and cycle accident statistics to a similar size town with no network.


The Stevenage bike route network is pretty well known. It never really struck me, although I visit the place a fair bit for shopping whenever I go to see my parents up in the Midlands, that Shrewsbury had something similar, but now you mention it the penny's dropped - there are the mixed use paths by the Severn, etc. In fact the place would appear to be turning into the region's bike capital by stealth - decent bike path network, at least two seriously good LBSs, the Sundorne Sports Village complex and playing host to National Trophy CX races of late....what next?

David


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:54 pm 
Dirt Disciple

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Robbied196 wrote:
I still think its easy to point the finger and blame the judicial system. Its very emotive to select cases where the punishment definitely doesn't fit the crime. However, many judges are just as infuriated by the limited legal framework they sometimes have to work within.


Maybe I'm using the wrong terms. Judicial system, legislative system... whichever term represents the sum of statute, case, judge and jury. There are different flaws in different parts but the piece as a whole certainly falls way short of adequately aiding in road safety.


Robbied196 wrote:
Most people would assume if you run over and kill a cyclist you could expect a custodial sentence. The judicial system has limited resources ... If Petre Beiu's case was in court along with a random city center stabbing and you as the judge can only give one custodial sentence, which one do you give it to?


I don't personally believe that custodial sentences are generally appropriate for cases which are attributable to incompetence rather than malice, so I don't see the issue here. You've imagined a piece of the argument which I haven't made.


Robbied196 wrote:
I don't mean to sound like, 'its shit, so you just have to put up with it'.


It does very much come across as that :)


Robbied196 wrote:
I agree there are laws there which should protect vulnerable road users but the practicalities of implementing them nationally 24/7 are impossible. Which leaves us with the situation of taking every precaution you can to look after yourself.


You've missed one of my main points completely. Time and time again we see people mown down and the evidence is clear but they either aren't brought to court (for example Tim Sanders' killer was not prosecuted because of a malicious witness, something that would be addressed by presumed liability; William Honour was hit by three - three! - cars, with the first driver stating that he didn't see him until he heard the bang and looke din his mirror, on a clear stretch of straight road, and none were prosecuted because the coroner ruled it was accidental death) or they appear in court and are acquitted or are given derisory sentences.

This part, which is the main thing I was responding to last week, is nothing to do with practicalities. We're talking about cases where the facts are known, the investigation is done, the killers are in court, the whole due process is complete and the practicalities are done and dusted - and still they walk out with no punitive measures, little or no suspension from the roads, little or no requirement to undergo any additional training.

The Crown spends a whole heap of time and money dealing with these cases and the net value in terms of improving road safety is, at best, absolutely zero. It would be far cheaper to simply turn up at a crash, give the driver a cup of tea and say 'you must be feeling awful for killing someone, go home and put your feet up', kick the bicycle into the verge and forget the whole thing.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:15 pm 
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Bez wrote:
William Honour was hit by three - three! - cars, with the first driver stating that he didn't see him until he heard the bang and looke din his mirror, on a clear stretch of straight road, and none were prosecuted because the coroner ruled it was accidental death) or they appear in court and are acquitted or are given derisory sentences.

The Crown spends a whole heap of time and money dealing with these cases and the net value in terms of improving road safety is, at best, absolutely zero. It would be far cheaper to simply turn up at a crash, give the driver a cup of tea and say 'you must be feeling awful for killing someone, go home and put your feet up', kick the bicycle into the verge and forget the whole thing.


So what laws, rules, regulations, road alterations, driver training, cameras or whatever do you think need to be introduced so that a 79 year old man can cycle down a busy duel carriageway in safety?

Some of your ideas here: http://www.stewartpratt.com/?p=593 may improve safety for cyclists but I don't see anything that could have prevented William Honour's accident, or prevent it from happening again.

If it is simply, about common sense, I would say don't cycle down a duel carriageway.


Last edited by Robbied196 on Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:29 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:42 am
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Robbied196 wrote:
So what laws, rules, regulations, road alterations, driver training, cameras or whatever do you think need to be introduced so that a 79 year old man can cycle down a busy duel carriageway in safety?


Well, if you're using that specific example, I did say earlier that 50mph+ dual carriageways are the one place where I think it's inherent in the design that slow vehicles can't mix well with a heavy flow of motorised traffic. The tricky thing is that such roads can be quite safe at quiet times, but they are incredibly dangerous when busy, so I don't believe an outright "no cycles" restriction is the right answer (especially given current infrastructure). I think the best approach is good signposting of alternative cycle routes (most cycle routes are not signposted with destinations, and directional signposts are aimed primarily at motor vehicles), and - where possible - the provision of a parallel cycle-only path.

On the legal side, I posted this not long after the original letter: http://www.stewartpratt.com/?p=593

On the driver training side, again I said earlier that I think the test should be more stringent and should be retaken every 5 years. I also believe that it would be hugely beneficial for part of the text to include practical use of a slow/small vehicle, whether a bicycle, e-bike, tricycle or accessibility scooter (all candidate drivers should be able to operate at least one of those).

By the way, thanks for continuing to debate this. I hope it's constructive from your point of view; it certainly is from mine.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:03 pm 
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Bez wrote:
Robbied196 wrote:
So what laws, rules, regulations, road alterations, driver training, cameras or whatever do you think need to be introduced so that a 79 year old man can cycle down a busy duel carriageway in safety?


Well, if you're using that specific example, I did say earlier that 50mph+ dual carriageways are the one place where I think it's inherent in the design that slow vehicles can't mix well with a heavy flow of motorised traffic. The tricky thing is that such roads can be quite safe at quiet times, but they are incredibly dangerous when busy, so I don't believe an outright "no cycles" restriction is the right answer (especially given current infrastructure). I think the best approach is good signposting of alternative cycle routes (most cycle routes are not signposted with destinations, and directional signposts are aimed primarily at motor vehicles), and - where possible - the provision of a parallel cycle-only path.

On the legal side, I posted this not long after the original letter: http://www.stewartpratt.com/?p=593

On the driver training side, again I said earlier that I think the test should be more stringent and should be retaken every 5 years. I also believe that it would be hugely beneficial for part of the text to include practical use of a slow/small vehicle, whether a bicycle, e-bike, tricycle or accessibility scooter (all candidate drivers should be able to operate at least one of those).

By the way, thanks for continuing to debate this. I hope it's constructive from your point of view; it certainly is from mine.


Its good to have a good ole debate :)

You make some good safety points above, prevention is always better than cure. Its not very constructive to use one example but I just happened to pick that one and read the details of the accident. From a driving point of view that is a particularly narrow dual carriageway.

I think there is a good case for introducing tailgating as an offence, which I believe they have in Germany. However even with adequate gaps sometimes blind spots are created by vans and lorries moving ahead and a cyclist could be unseen until they are very close. Two vans or lorries side by side wouldn't have very much room to maneuver. It is one case and although no one should be run down, it looks a very dangerous place to be cycling. It does illustrate that sometimes cyclists make poor decisions as well.

I think there is a good case for having some form of teaching awareness of slow traffic and including a test. The best advice I ever got for using the road was to treat everybody like an idiot and with some luck as well you'll stay safe. With the growing use of bicycles some signs might help driver awareness, a bit like the 'Think Bike' signs you often see.

How about indicators? Bikes can have lights if they had indicators they can give advanced waring of their movements :)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 12:05 am 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 10:42 am
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Robbied196 wrote:
I think there is a good case for introducing tailgating as an offence, which I believe they have in Germany.


This is perhaps precisely one of the grey areas of the law that needs tightening up. I would - in the non-statutory sense - describe tailgating as dangerous. The aforementioned case demonstrates that. A law about "dangerous driving", to my mind, should cover that. But apparently not.

Robbied196 wrote:
However even with adequate gaps sometimes blind spots are created by vans and lorries moving ahead and a cyclist could be unseen until they are very close. Two vans or lorries side by side wouldn't have very much room to maneuver. It is one case and although no one should be run down, it looks a very dangerous place to be cycling. It does illustrate that sometimes cyclists make poor decisions as well.


Yes, agreed - these are the main reasons why I think 50mph+ dual carriageways are the one place where bicycles are inherently unable to mix with a significant level of motorised traffic with an acceptable level of safety.

Robbied196 wrote:
I think there is a good case for having some form of teaching awareness of slow traffic and including a test. The best advice I ever got for using the road was to treat everybody like an idiot and with some luck as well you'll stay safe.


Yes. And actually I think even better advice is to treat oneself like an idiot as well.

Robbied196 wrote:
How about indicators? Bikes can have lights if they had indicators they can give advanced waring of their movements :)


Aside from the impracticalities, the four cases I've mentioned were all cyclists going straight on at a junction or along the main road. They weren't turning - there was no movement to give advanced warning of. And none of them were seen by the drivers until either a collision was unavoidable or after they'd been hit. And there are plenty more similar examples. Indicators would, IMO, be counter-productive.


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