Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another quick look at recent Cycling reports that have caught my eye

As is often the case I get behind on my posts - life is for cycling (and a lot of other nice things of course - oops my wife was reading over my shoulder ;-) and every now and then I write a bit for my blog about my cycling. Generally with each post I start with a bit of cycling-related Internet news - but when I am behind on my Posts the news tends to get left out. What this means is that over time my Browser acquires open windows over the various news items that have caught my eye, waiting to be blogged about and then closed and forgotten. There are now 8 windows open with things that caught my eye - so it is time for a "special" post - no pictures, no cycling routes - just a few bits and pieces of news.

Now I think that the Threat of Global Warming is real - I also think that we need to reduce our footprint and like the idea of re-cycling and also cycling along decent tracks. This report seems to tick quite a few of those boxes: "Old printer cartridges turned into bike path". (Perhaps the young printer cartridges turn onto the Motorways.) Now I have no idea quite how efficient it is to produce, or what the wear characteristics are like, or even what it is like in the rain and ice. what I do like is the idea that it is worth focusing on producing better bike paths in order to attract more people to the health and ecological benefits, to name but two, of cycling.

Unfortunately, with cycling there is nearly always some sad news to report as well. Actually I am not sure that this involves cyclists- just the cycle route - "Climber finds body in Bristol beauty spot". The body was found on the route of a charity cycle ride - but is not considered suspicious. I think that I am perhaps sensitised to reading stories that have a cycling link "Pensioner cyclist hurt in Lurgan attack". It appears a cyclist was mugged in the early hours of the morning - interesting to see how the BBC News start the headline with "Pensioner cyclist" - would it have been a 40-year-old man walking then would they have started with "Middle-aged pedestrian". Maybe, maybe not - I guess words are chosen for their news value, fewer cyclists get mugged than pedestrians - so it is news?

Although cyclists getting attacked seems to be happening more often, if my non-statistically sound look at the news is to be believed. In Cambridge: "Cyclist is injured after football fans ram bike". - although if you read the report it could have said "cyclist is injured after cyclist rams bike" - but that looks rather odd and anyway football is topical at the moment - or was, for England, when the article was written.

Despite the fact, or maybe because Cambridge is the "stolen bike capital" of the UK we do get regular reports on this issue: "More bikes are stolen in Summer". It also reported on a survey of the bleeding obvious percentage of cyclists that only cycle to work in the Summer. (32% if you were wondering and could not be bothered to click the link.) To be fair the report suggests that the increase is due to the increase in Summer cyclists along with a shortage of secure cycle parking. It would be interesting to know what those 32% don't cycle in the Winter - cold, wet, windy, dark, dangerous - maybe I know already.

So where might it be a secure place to lock up a bicycle, next to a Police Station maybe? Well the answer appears to be no - "Cycle taken at police station", and by the way the lock was also taken.

Talking of Police - it seems that a common "policing tactic" is to have a blitz on a problem, cyclists on pavements are a perennial favourite. "Police target level crossing to stop motorists running barriers" implies the Level crossing jumpers are next on the list. Frankly I am amazed that people do such a thing - trains can't swerve out of the way you know. Why is it happening more - the standard answer might be our roads are congested we need more roads - perhaps we ought to look at the other factor - there might just be too many motor vehicles using our roads?

Talking of roads: "Scottish road causalities 'lowest in 60 years'" looks to be good news - although it does not suggest that there are fewer accidents - just fewer deaths and casualties - so it might just be bigger beefier cars with airbags and the like. Less good was that situation with cycling casualties - 10% more were injured in '09 (just over 800) compared with '08. There was a drop in cycling deaths from 9 to 5 though. However without some background data these facts are a little difficult to analyse - had there been a change in traffic levels or a shift to different forms of transport. Motoring to cycling perhaps! Indeed the footnote suggests that cycling injuries are at a ten year high. I know lets ban cycling - that'll cut the number of casualties!

No I know it is not the right answer - it worries me that that is how some people think though.

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