Friday, August 9, 2013

60MPH Rural Tracks

Joe Wilkins was a family man, a firefighter, a father of two, and by all accounts a universally well-liked man.

He was killed on his bike, by a Ford Focus travelling at 60MPH, on an unrestricted (60MPH) road, Eaton Road, near Appleton in Oxfordshire.

Here is an image of the road:

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As you can see this is a narrow country road. The collision happened at 9:20PM on May 24th 2012. Sunset would have been at 9PM, so there would likely still have been some natural light. It appears Wilkins' bike had no lights or reflectors. The exact point the collision occurred isn't stated in the reports I've seen.

At 60MPH, things happen pretty quickly. You do not have much time to see and react to any hazards, such as pedestrians or cyclists, who may be hidden temporarily from view. For example, in the image above, there is a slight right-hand deviation in the road that limits visibility. It is roughly 350 feet from the speed limit sign to the limit of visibility. The stopping distance for a car in the dry from 60MPH is 240 feet. So that leaves 110 feet - that's just over a second at 60MPH - spare. With a typical flashing cycle light, it will probably take a couple of flashes for even an alert driver to register the presence of a cyclist, so there really is very little margin for error, even under ideal conditions. Now consider that these figures may be optimistic. If a cyclist is travelling towards the driver at 20MPH, not unlikely with a fit rider on a level road, the distance in which a driver would have to react and stop is significantly reduced.

It seems pretty clear to me that driving at 60MPH on this type of road even on a well-lit day is not safe. At night, while eating a sandwich, that's got to qualify as dangerous, doesn't it? Well, in the UK justice system, apparently not.

In 2010, 49% of UK road deaths took place on single-carriageway rural roads with a 60MPH limit. According to Ralph Smyth, chair of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, "It seems strange that you've got minor roads, often that are just tarmaced tracks, that have a speed limit of 60mph - just 10mph less than the motorways."

We agree.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Half of Londoners say Roads are Too Dangerous

According to a survey for London Councils reported by London24, half of Londoners would cycle more if road safety were improved.

In other news, bears crap in the woods, the Pope is a Catholic, and Eric Pickles enjoys the occasional pie.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Gospel

1. In the beginning there were Roads, and there were Bicycles. And the Bicycles dwelt on the Roads. And there was peace in the land.

2. Then unto the Land came Motor Vehicles. They went forth and multiplied, and became strong in number, and mighty, and spread throughout the Land.

3. And the anger of the Motor Vehicles was terrible to behold. The Motor Vehicles slew many men, and the women and children were sore afraid.

4. The people did hunger and thirst after justice.

5. There came forth into the land Prophets, who did offer to banish the evil of Cycle-Death from the land. They painted Lines upon the Road. But the people saw the paint did not protect them.

6. There came forth into the Land other Prophets, and counselled the People to disguise themselves in silken raiments of many colours and ride amongst the Motor Vehicles. But the worshippers of the Motor Vehicles mocked the people, and drove them from the land.

7. Still the women and children were sore afraid, and the people did hunger and thirst after justice.

8. There came forth a Prophet named Boris. He promised to lead the People upon a True Path called Superhighway.

9. Boris declared that the colour of the Superhighway should be blue and would have great powers of healing and protection between the hours of 7AM and 10AM and between 4PM and 7PM excluding the Sabbath, which should be a day of rest.

10. Boris addressed the people. "Cycle in Numbers and in thy Numbers, there shall be Safety. Be not afraid, and keep thy wits about thee!"

11. But the people, especially the women and children, saw the power of the Motor Vehicles was still great in the land, and was not diminished, and they were still sore afraid, and they saw the blue paint did not protect them.

12. There came forth into the Land many Wise Bloggers. The Wise Bloggers wrote many scriptures about the promised land of Holland, and they called Boris a false prophet. They commanded that the people no longer worship painted idols.

13. The people gathered in great numbers, in the place that is called Embankment, and spake unto Boris. "Lead us to the promised land of Holland, if you are a true Prophet." Boris saw that the Wise Bloggers spoke the truth, and he again addressed the people. "I will lead you to the promised land of Holland, where possible".

14. Boris did summon Andrew of the tribe of Gilligan. On the first day, Andrew spoke with many powerful men. On the second day, Andrew made many plans. On the third, fourth and fifth day, he rested.

15. Er, that's it. We're still waiting...