Friday, 16 December 2011

Broken Legs and Pavement Clutter

The story of Sienna Barnett who suffered a broken leg after being hit by a pavement cyclist has, as we now come to expect, unleashed a tirade of abuse. Once again, even though this is an ongoing Police investigation, comments have been allowed on the several articles published by the Echo. The first was a front page headline accompanied by a full page spread. Each article carries the emotive picture of the girl and family.

Her mother, who owns the shop outside which it happened, said  “He came tearing down the pavement really fast and Sienna had only taken one step from the shop doorway when he hit her” 

I decided to take a look at the incident site and found the following example of pavement clutter...

This wall of trees has been put out by the shop itself. We have to ask ourselves whether it was present when the accident happened? If it was, and the girl ran out from behind it, would even a responsible, diligent cyclist be able to avoid a collision? Suppose it had been a mobility scooter? Or even an OAP who could easily be put off balance and suffer a fractured hip in a fall.

Yes, pavements are supposed to be safe for children, but we all have a responsibility to act with care for others, even as pedestrians.

If, as it was closing time, the obstructions were not there, can anyone who cycles even contemplate going 'really fast' only 2 feet from these doorways when there's a wide pavement? We only have the mother's report of the accident - yet once again this chap has been found guilty before the fact.

Is it any co-incidence that the 2 most serious pavement cyclist accidents recently reported have both involved serious pavement clutter? According to John Satchwell, Bournemouth Council's Road Safety Manager: "In my view accidents are normally caused by error of judgement and or inappropriate behaviour under the prevailing circumstances. I think it highly unlikely that inanimate objects will have caused a cyclist to collide with a pedestrian"

I'm not convinced.

We finish today with Tesco's latest contribution to road safety. The new Tesco Express on Holdenhurst Rd has this inflatable advert outside. When the picture was taken there were 4 people on the pavement behind it level with the 2 you can see at the cashpoint. Mind you, there probably won't be any cyclists visiting as the 4m+ wide pavement has no bike stands.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Cycle Lanes and Pavements = Mobile Workshops & Parking

As I cycle around it seems that the risible cycling facilities and ever-marginalised pavements have a special purpose for builders. Take the following...
Here we see S&L Construction of Poole using a cycle lane as a temporary workshop for cutting bricks. This pic was taken on a Wednesday. I first saw the pallets of bricks and sand on the Monday morning so they would have blocked this for at least 5 days. Here's the lane from the other side on Google Street View... Gordon Rd cycle entry

This lane allows bikes to cut up through Gordon Rd keeping them away from busy rat-runs. Blocking the lane like this prevents cyclists from legally using Gordon Rd. I did report the matter to the Police on the Monday morning stressing the extent of the problem but as you can see they didn't think it was worth doing anything about.

The next 2 pics show the road outside a Tayfield Homes construction project that has been running for months just NW of the Wessex Way underpass on Wellington Rd. The workers on the site use the cycle lanes and pavements for parking all day on a daily basis. The bottom picture shows the other side of the road. There is plenty of daytime parking available in nearby roads. Parking is prohibited on these stretches during the day.

This is the back of a council vehicle parked in Exeter Crescent. This stretch of road is part of the cycle route between the Square and the beach. They have decided to stop opposite some parked vans and made it very difficult to cycle past them. They were having lunch.

The problem isn't confined to vehicles. Many times signs are put on cycle ways as the example below illustrates. The cycle lane is completely blocked and forces cyclists onto the pedestrian 'side' just next to a nursery school. The sign is kind enough to tell us that it's going to be there for several months.

 Now on to Motorbitz in Winton. Not content with telling their customers to hop onto the pavement outside while they carry out oil checks, wiper replacements etc, they use the space for loading their van even though they have a perfectly serviceable loading area at the rear of the shop. Combine this with their signs, it has to be a record for %age pavement reduction.

A little further up the road, Roadways Container Logistics show how bad they can be at logic.

...and finally... another Council Van (number 029 pic taken on 16 Nov) in front  of STB Electricals. Mind you, ALL their customers seem to park here so who cares, eh?