Monday, September 16, 2013

Sir Chris Hoy Fails

Reported in The Times, the government have turned down Sir Chris Hoy's offer to become a national cycling tzar.

A government spokesman commented, "Sir Chris is completely unsuitable as he has a long track record of delivery and success at a world-class level, and this is not aligned with our ambitions for cycling".

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Tale of Two Collisions

An interesting juxtaposition of stories in the Standard today.

First one: Nicole Kidman beeing "KO'd by a pavement cyclist" in New York. By which they mean knocked down - Kidman is not reported as sustaining any injury. She is reported as being "shaken up" by the experience. A 19-year-old cyclist had been issued with "three summonses for riding a bike on the sidewalk, riding a bike with no helmet and reckless endangerment".

Second one: Cyclist Chrishan Mathias, 28, was hit by a minicab. He "was pulled under the vehicle and had one of its wheels run over his head when it shot across a junction and veered into his path as he cycled home from work." He suffered suffered a dislocated ankle, broken sternum and ribs, bruised lung and lacerated liver, spent 5 weeks off work and is still undergoing physiotherapy. But for his helmet, which was broken in two in the collision, he might well have died. The report says (now get this), "police are due to decide in the New Year whether the minicab driver should be charged with a driving offence." The incident does not seem to have been reported at the time it happened in March, and it appears that it has been picked up by the Standard after being revealed by the London air ambulance team, who attended the stricken rider.

You might want to sign this.

UPDATE: Since I wrote this, it has been reported that the 'cyclist' in the Kidman story was actually a paparazzo photographer. Which makes the predictable anti-cyclist rants in the Standard troll-comments section seem a bit lame.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Speed Does Not Cause Accidents

This is the bombshell headline reported by the BBC in its report on  this debate on the Today progamme between Prof. Stephen Glaister of the RAC Foundation, a respected transport research organization, and Claire Armstrong, who does not represent a respected transport research organization - at least, not if your definition of "respected transport research organization" includes the willingness to subject your research to peer review by others in the field or get it published by relevant academic journals. She represents "Safe Speed", who are, it appears, an organization  representing people who simply don't want to believe that speed causes road collisions, makes them more likely and makes the consequences of them worse. According to George Monbiot, it is a "a lobby group claiming to stand for one thing [road safety], but in reality standing for its opposite [the removal of both speed limits and their means of enforcement]"

Such people, it seems, are prepared to indulge in all manner of cherry-picking of evidence and bad science to "prove" that "speed does not cause accidents", when there is a positive tsunami of evidence not just from this country but from all around the world that the opposite is the case. In the debate, Armstrong parroted "regression to the mean" as if this alone means that 2+2 actually equals 3. Glaister pointed out that the RAC's report does take account of regression to the mean (as you'd expect from any statistical analysis worth its salt).

Armstrong also suggested that speed was a factor in only 6% of accidents. The Transport Research Laboratory dispute this, according to this source:

"The factors involved [in collisions] include, as TRL have pointed out to ABD and others on numerous occasions, more than one causation which would relate to speed. For example, Loss of control of vehicle, Failed to avoid vehicle/object in carriageway, the top two 'precipitating factors', will both be strongly influenced by speed."

I deconstructed Safe Speed's website a couple of years ago in a series of posts:

If anyone at the BBC is reading this I suggest you take a look before you invite these people onto your programmes and give them equal billing with someone who has any more credibility on the subject of road safety than Donald Duck. How much is the license fee again?