Sunday, April 15, 2012

Parking on Pavements, peat and other matters!

Stuff is piling up on my Browser window and although I can park it that kind of defeats the object. I hang on to things that catch my eye in order to mention them in my Blog. So I thought rather than wait for posts where they fit I would write a post and deal with them in one go.

So where to start, well here is one that I picked up from another Blogger/Twitter, but my apologies to that person because I have forgotten who it was and a quick web search doesn’t help. This was created by Lothian Buses plc and shows both bus drivers and cyclists where there interactions might be problematic. I think it provides good food for thought.

A bus and a cyclist–how they interact.

As for the next item – well here in Cambridgeshire we have that old chestnut of those that should know better not setting a good example with Probe into police car parked on pavement in Cottenham. It shows a police car obstructing a pavement and has various quotes regarding the issue.  There can be valid reasons, however this is symptomatic of the whole issue of how when we are drivers we try not to impede other drivers. Of course in the meantime we compromise the route for pedestrians and accelerate wear and tear on the pavement.

The issue is we are just not consistent about these issues.

Various examples of cars parking on pavements in Cambridgeshire

The odd one out – well the last one – when there is not enough space for all the cars then the clear message is stuff the pedestrians (and the pavements). To make it clear I do not take pictures of every car/van parked on the pavement that I see – but a quick trawl through old posts on my Blog has thrown up these.

Perhaps that is why the Cambridgeshire Police Helicopter will have flown its last flight – they could no longer afford the parking! I suppose that means I will no longer need this picture.

The Cambridgeshire Police Helicopter of yesteryear

Talking about parking it would seem that the idea of a levy on car parking at work of £288 a year is being launched by Nottingham City Council.  We do seem to love our bureacraptic approach to life here in the UK.  we seem to invent all sorts of weird and wonderful ways of raising money for the “state” or “local states” but can’t seem to work out what it is we are trying to achieve. The result is that money is raised and spent administering the charges – personally I am in favour of reducing the dependence of our Society on cars – they are noisy, and come with all sorts of stealth costs. (Downfader estimates) However let’s do it as a society not as stealth tax.  I wonder how this might work for “public car parks – would station car parks have to pay the levy?

Assuming that a station gets 200 days of parking per year from a space (out of 365) then that is another £2.88 per da on the cost of parking.

Cambridge Railway Station Car Parking

talking about levies Home Improvements might also trigger a 10% levy? Now that is a random tax – can I really believe what I am reading? Why are we doing this – well apparently to reduce our carbon footprint as a nation – what happens if you don’t have the cash – you have to borrow it. Phew imagine having clocked up a student loan, then bought a house on a mortgage and then being told that when you renovate the property you will have to take out a further loan.

House improvements anyone?

What to blog about next – how about Highway Code rule 56!

Dogs. Do not let a dog out on the road on its own. Keep it on a short lead when walking on the pavement, road or path shared with cyclists or horse riders.

I was horrified to read this piece in the Telegraph – “Menacing dogs put an end to my rides”. I meet horse riders quite a lot when out cycling – probably because I like to cycle along quiet tracks I also meet dogs and have been bitten twice in the last year. Now it is pretty bad falling of a bike – but at least my bike doesn’t have a mind of its own and my legs can virtually touch the ground from the saddle. I suppose just as there are irresponsible cyclists and drivers there are also irresponsible dog owners – but surely responsibility should scale with the potential damage you can cause.

A Horse rider leaving the CGB near Over (a fine filly?)

Apparently it turns out that there as not been a single fine for dog fouling over last 5 years in Cambridge. Well I can assure our good councillors that there is still dog crap out there on the cycleways. There are also some responsible dog owners, there are also some dog owners who bag it but then hang the bag on the nearest fence – you quite often see the bags hanging on the fence along the Lodes Way – delightful.

Back to horses – cyclists aren’t the only ones who get bullied by road rage drivers. It must have been a terrifying experience for the rider.  The driver did not get off with the “moment of madness” excuse though, he got jailed. The SMISDY excuse when in an accident with a cyclist still seems to have some benefit though  - Man (with motor) v horse v bike.

Perhaps there needs to be an accident levy – regardless of fault the fact is motor vehicles are larger and so potentially far more dangerous and so all collision between vulnerable road users and motor vehicles should trigger a levy?

Mind you in car versus train I would have to say that the car is probably quite vulnerable – but that doesn’t seem to stop level crossing lunacy.It seems amazing but motorists use the SMIDSTS defence when passing through level crossings when the barriers are closing and the lights are flashing and the warning sirens are sounding.

An old fashioned crossing a Westley Bottom

On a completely different topic – peat an unsustainable natural resource. Apparently B&Q have come in for criticism as one of their topsoil products contains two-fifths of peat matter. When peat bogs are drained it also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere apparently. The article does indicate that the Government plans to phase out the use of peat in gardens by 2020!  I wonder if that means that we will have to guard the Fens from peat rustlers.

A peaty field on the way to Upware

Mind you with the demise of Britain’s bees we might also need to guard against bee rustling. A study indicates that hand pollination would cost Britain £1.8bn.

Although we are in a drought situation, water and flooding is still an issue in these parts – particularly up at Welney. The washes close the A1101 from time to time, I have found myself blocked by the floods when out cycling a few years ago. So it is not surprising that the RSPB’s call for the wash land to be flooded for longer has not been well received and a Causeway should be built if that is to happen (funded by Europe?)

Railway line – near the Welney Washes

On a slightly less reassuring note SMIDSYs seem to happen to professional cyclists as well – Levi Leipheimer hit by car on training ride. Fortunately he had no broken bones – but found it “super scary”. Fabian Cancellera was not quite so lucky in the Tour of Flanders and ended up with a quadruple collar bone fracture – his x-ray looked much worse than mine did – I just had one break. His accident was a racing incident though.

And finally – a rather nice web site for checking out what pictures exist of an area from a map – geolocation and and excellent Gallery of Everyday Cycling in Cambridge.

No comments:

Post a Comment