Thursday, February 21, 2013

Pavements are for Parking, Bikes give way to cars

Sunday, 17th February 2013: I have just used the Living Streets “Say no to pavement parking” to write to my Councillor to deplore the selfish activity of motorists who park on pavements. (Here is the Living Streets briefing document.)

Why should it irritate me so, well for one if reinforces selfish behaviour by motorists on the roads. I feel that selfish behaviour is arrogant and that leads to danger. Even worse pavement parking increases the danger for the vulnerable road users -  cyclists and pedestrians. Which according to the Stats are seeing a rise in the accident statistics and need protecting more than ever.( – DfT stats.)

The other problem is that pavements were not built for parking and so get damaged – which also increases the danger to vulnerable road users.

Why do drivers do it, well for their convenience. To shorten their walk to the shops to buy cigarettes maybe. The NT’s Anglesey Abbey is famous for its snowdrops. Apparently they have over 240 different varieties and now is the time of year to see them. As you can imagine as one of the only “shows in town” at this time of years so they tend to get loads of visitors particularly at the weekend.

They get more visitors than can park in their own extended car park and so provide an over-spill car parking in Lode. The trouble is lots of their visitors just don’t give a toss about the residents of Lode and seem to park in all sorts of spaces including along Lode Road and as you can see here they are shy about parking on the pavement. Now the legality of pavement parking is a little less clear than you might hope (Highway code 238 to 252 – Waiting and parking). Certainly less clear than the law about cycling on the pavement. The Highway code rule 244 say YOU MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it.

How thoughtful of the driver of this car to have pulled the door mirrors in to make it easier for pedestrians to squeeze past. Or was it more a case of wanting to minimise any risk of damage to the car?  I am not sure who the bloke in red is, he did seem to look in the boot of the car though.

Whilst on the subject of cars – “Government invests another £37million in electric cars… despite only 2,000 being sold last year”. Apparently the problem with uptake is due to lack of suitable charging points rather than the cost and limited lifespan of the batteries and limited range of the vehicles. Apparently the electric cars can depreciate by 90% in five years, the same article suggests that the batteries might last 8 years and then require £8,000 to replace. I hope the batteries are recyclable.

And – whilst on the subject of energy – Fuel bills will keep soaring warns energy watchdog. Energy is not free.  The trouble is I worry that the reports of Shale Oil reserves for the UK will lead our politicians to believe that have a free “get out of jail card”. That is not so – Shale Oil – Good News?

Pavement Parking – Lode

Small wonder that I like to cycle away from traffic – all this ranting is bad for my blood pressure. Now one way of reducing blood pressure is through regular exercise. I stopped at the Lode end of White Fen Drove and took this picture of a couple of cyclists ahead.

Two Cyclists on Lodes Way (White Fen Drove)

Whilst there I noticed a cyclist turning around in the road along Lug Fen Droveway. I wonder if he thinks that the missing link to Waterbeach is complete? Those undulations are typical of small roads in the fens.

Lug Fen Droveway

And I am pleased to report that I overtook those two cyclists and reached the other end of White Fen in time to take a picture of them.

Cyclists on Lodes Way (White Fen)

There were a couple more cyclists on their Folders at the picnic tables on White Fen.  They look like a brace of Bromptons.

A Brace of Bromptons on White Fen

For a change I didn’t carry along the Lodes Way, instead I cycled along  Great Drove to Upware. I did see a couple of cyclists in the distance heading back along the Lodes Way in the bit of Headlake Drove just after Split Drove. Perhaps I ought to mention that I was using my long lens (100mm – 300mm – ~ 200mm – 600mm in 35mm terms).

Cyclists in the distance on Headlake Drove

This is what Great Drove looks like, being a Sunday there were more cars than usual along this bit of road. The car occupants look a little serious – perhaps wondering what I was doing – a speed gun perhaps?

As you can see this road undulates and most drivers tend to stick to a moderate speed – well if they are driving their own vehicles they do.

Great Drove

After Upware the soil changes colour to a more reddy-brown hue. This kite of prey was keeping watch over the newly drilled field.

Bird Scaring Kite (Near Upware)

I didn’t intend to take a picture of the kite again, but it snuck in. It was the clump of tree in the distance that interested me. For some reason I associated this with Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album, it should have been Bare Trees. You can see the soil is redder.

Bare Trees

I checked out the Docking’s Lane byway, it was way too muddy so I cycled along to Way Lane and into Wicken along Lower Road. As expected the car park at Wicken Fen was packed. I assume most visitors use the board walk route. The paths are pretty muddy in Wicken Fen at the moment.

There were cars parked alongside Burwell Lode in the car park built for workers who did the ground works for the planned but unfunded bridge for animals and people.

The fine weather certainly had brought out a lot of people. There were people walking along the banks of Burwell Lode and a boat heading down towards Burwell.

Boat on Burwell Lode

With my long lens you can get quite a reasonable picture of the Reach lode Bridge. There were some complaints about it being larger than it needed to be. As far as I am concerned it looks pretty good. The extra railings don’t help, but it is the Pylons in the background and the poles along the Lode there that are the real eyesores.

Reach Lode Bridge (as seen from Burwell Lode Footbridge)

Here is Burwell Fen Farm – or rather the old tin hut – although it has an interesting construction and was recently cleaned up.

Burwell Fen Farm barn

That boat on Burwell Lode is getting closer. More people walking on the banks.

Boat on Burwell Lode

The left bank (of Burwell Lode) wasn’t quite so busy.

Left Bank of Burwell Lode

This is Reach Lode – more people out enjoying the sunshine. Shame about the pylons!

Reach Lode

Reach Lode bridge is another vantage point and so with my long lens – a picture of a car heading down the rather lumpy and bumpy Split Drove. I have driven along there once (there and back) in the Winter when there was snow on the roads. It is pretty lumpy and I was in my 4x4 and had switched on the snow program. Personally I prefer to cycle along it.

The road heads left – along the line of small trees in the mid-ground. The cyclists in the sixth picture were heading along there.

Car driving along Split drove

It was not quite so warm, although still sunny. It was also somewhat misty – hence the atmospheric picture of more trees taken from Reach Lode Bridge.

Trees in the Misty Fens

I stuck to the Lodes Way for my route back. Yesterday’s ride had tired me out with all the mud. This road doesn’t seem to have a name and using this website, if you select the bigger map and the 19th C map the likelihood is that the farm used the track alongside Swaffham Bulbeck Lode for access. In fact the 20th C map also shows no road. (Nor does the 1930s map on WTP). The farm is called Slades Farm – that much I know.

This car drove down to the bridge, turned around then then came back again!

Car heading towards Swaffham Bulbeck Lode Bridge (Lodes Way)

I had to wait for the car to reverse before taking the picture I stopped for – the trees. Shame about the pylons.

The road to Swaffham Bulbeck Lode Bridge (Lodes Way)

As I made my way back through Lode again, my lane was clear and the other side of the road had a load of parked cars. Some of the parked cars had gone so there were gaps. As I cycled up with, the right of way, a fat Merc Estate driver coming the other way (alright I couldn’t tell whether he was fat) decided, rather than let me go by pulling into a gap instead put his foot down and headed towards me, forcing me to pull into the kerb and stop.

What a tosser, a chap on the pavement even commented that was a close thing. When I was younger cars always tended to give way to other vehicles, and such courtesy was rewarded with a wave. Nowadays that courtesy is sadly missing. Unfortunately it has increased the danger for vulnerable road users. What is annoying is that such behaviour is so common that most motorists probably don’t thing anything of it. After all cars trump bicycles every time!

I reckon that we have all been infected by the idea that the only goal on the roads is to maximise the flow of people. So he probably reckoned that it was better for him and his car load of fat b*ggers passengers to force me to stop for a short time, rather than wait for me to slowly pedal past on my bicycle. Hey. that approach is probably less polluting as well.

Cars are now so important that they are allowed to park in bus stops – as you see here on, just after the crossroads on the road towards Bottisham. Yes that is a bus stop, the shelter is partly hidden by the bushes.  Hey, they run so few bus services on a Sunday they felt that they were making much better use of the space. Lazy motorists.

Cars parked in the Bus stop area along by the Lode crossroad

I must admit, I did feel slightly smug as I cycled past a broken-down car being lifted onto a truck. Although that was making it even more difficult for the inhabitants of Lode to get home.

Broken Down Car being picked up in Lode

There were still cyclists about though.  I am not sure where these were heading. I was taking the long way back.

Cyclists – Lode Crossroads

As I cycled into Bottisham there is a lane obstruction, not the technical term I know.  Whilst parking there might not be illegal, it shows very little consideration for cyclists as it brings a cyclist back into conflict with traffic heading in either direction.

Whilst I am ranting – the general Highway Code advice is: Rule 201

Do not reverse from a side road into a main road. When using a driveway, reverse in and drive out if you can.

This driver must find reversing into a drive tricky.

Parking – lack on consideration for others

So for those who can’t get to see the snowdrops here are some.





I wonder if there is just a total lack of awareness about how dangerous cars can be –

Women spared jail after driving car at group of children with special needs what they threw snowballs at her vehicle.

Moment bus passengers saw women killed … cash for crash plot.


  1. Swaffham Bulbeck CyclistFebruary 21, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    I must have just missed you on both Saturday and Sunday as I recognise the horse and rider from Saturday in your last post - they passed by while I was in the hide on Tubney Fen wathching grass and water but sadly no birds. I also saw the Brompton guys as well as that 4x4 thing on Split Drove on Sunday. The driver seemed to feel I should be in the verge as he whooshed by with inches to spare - perhaps keen to keep his wheels clean!

    Lode was chaos on Sunday, though I had a happier experience than you approaching the cross roads where a driver waited a long time for me to puff past the selfishly parked cars! I saw the shocking bus stop parking too - the NT really need to get a grip on this, the residents of Lode must be absolutely fed up. There is an amusing website where you can see and post examples of just such very bad parking. It is very, very sweary though so I won't post a link here! I'll mention it next time our paths cross.

    Sunday in particular was a fantastic day to be cycling- I went up into the hills around Wooditton, Ashley, Moulton then Newmarket and back along the Lodes Way. From the hills near near Ashley you could see as far as Downham Market. I had not been cycling for two weeks or so due to health problems so it was brilliant to be back in the saddle again.

    1. Sorry to hear you have been off your bike. It was certainly a lovely weekend to get out again and I was surprised to see so many people out and about over the weekend.

      I haven't been out Moulton way for a while - that's a good idea. I'll be glad when the byways and bridleways have dried up a bit and I can spread my wheels.