Thursday, May 22, 2014

Some Appalling Motorists–and Appalling Video

Thursday, 17th April 2014:  I had to drive over to Bedford yesterday, I couldn’t make the timings work for cycling, although my speed has gotten faster after a bit of regular cycling this year I am not that fast.

My second approach would be to cycle – but there is not a direct railway route either (Time – 2 hours 35 minutes – two changes). There used to be – but it got the chop. There is talk of getting it reinstated, eve the director-general of the CBI is in support of the Varsity line between Oxford and Cambridge, but things are moving way to slowly for my needs.   Cycling would have been ideal – since it would have been a convenient way to get to and fro at either end as well.

So I drove instead. Now I am pleased to report that this year I have definitely cycled more miles than I have driven my car, I checked. What it means is that when I drive I pay attention to the way people drive and way they treat other roads users.

I headed out of Cambridge on the A14, past the Girton/Histon roadworks – despite the dire warnings as I was not driving through during the rush hour the traffic kept moving at a reasonable and even pace. I reckon the average speed cameras are a real benefit to the smooth and safe running of busy roads, compared with other forms of speed limit enforcement.  (Although trying to find comparative information on the web is not so easy.)

Apparently when they upgrade the A14 a cycle lane is also planned to build on the success of the Cambridgeshire Guided busway (CGB) route (and its cycle lane). I hope this doesn’t mean that they will be arranging for it to flood. Which is the major flaw of the cycleway alongside the CGB. I would also hope that some attempt is made to to create a noise barrier. I am not sure many people realise just how noisy motor traffic has become. I find that tyre noise creates a relatively high-volume, high-pitch sound. However most people (in their right minds) don’t walk alongside busy roads if they can help it, nor do they cycle along such roads either.

There have been a couple of cycle accidents reported in the last few days (of writing this post): “Cyclist taken to hospital after crash involving car near guided busway amid rush hour in Cambridge” and “Ambulance called to crash between cyclist and van in Cambridge”. Personally I don’t feel that some motorists take their duty of car for vulnerable road users seriously enough. A driving licence is not a licence to kill -  but too often we see cases where poor driving seems to be excused.

Anyways, I carried on along the road which becomes the A428, but remains a dual carriageway until Caxton Gibbet.  All good so far, at this point the dual carriageway becomes a normal road. I had not issues there – there were a few cars ahead of me and then a lorry, but it was moving at a reasonable speed. I maintained a reasonable distance from the car in front – the two second rule is a good guide.

There was a bend ahead, and so a van lurched out from the car behind me and struggled past us both and dived into the gap I had thoughtfully left – with an oncoming car flashing its lights. The idiot carried on recklessly (IMHO) opinion overtake until past the lorry.  No sooner was that over an then a small car proceeded to do the say.  I sat there wishing it had better acceleration as dived into spaces, gain as oncoming cars flashed.

It turns out that “over half of drivers tail-gate on motorways despite 95% of drivers admitting it is the thing they most worry about on the road”. Now if there had been a very-slow moving vehicle ahead, then maybe I could have understood the impatience, although not condoned the recklessness. But that lorry was moving at a reasonable pace.

Now the lorry seemed to be moving at 50mph – which is permissible on a single carriageway (not more the 7.5 tonnes max laden weight). So rounding up the distance of the stretch of road from rom Caxton Gibbet  to the A1 to 9 miles the lorry’s average speed would have been say 45mph (two roundabouts, bends etc) so it would take 12 minutes.  If the car had exceeded the speed limit and averages 60mph (a mile a minute) then the car might have been able to do the same stretch in 9 minutes. Mind you that van would have struggled.

So at very best the time-saving would have been only 3 minutes. I just don’t understand the stupidity.

There aren’t many pictures on this ride – it was grey and I was on a time limit. I did stop to take a picture of a helicopter – not one of the Emergency Helicopters though – at least that is what I thought at the time – it has a different shape.

Helicopter above the skies of Lodes Way

Someone has been out patching Split Drove (Lodes Way)

On the way home despite being on a time-limit, or perhaps because I headed down the old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line Quy. I am not quite sure why – but I took this  picture with my Samsung phone. N i didn’t have a flat battery in my GH-1.

Oil Seed Rape – Old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line – behind Anglesey Abbey

For the last bit of the rough stuff – a bridleway into Quy I have an attempt at videoing it. I used my Samsung phone again.  The film is silent, as all you could hear was wind and me puffing away. I also didn’t actually check the screen to ensure it was pointed where it should have been. I really should have used a landscape view which would have been more forgiving – but it is quite hard holding the phone with one hand and steering along the single-track with the other.

The biggest fudge – the film also runs at double speed – which is the real reason for cutting the sound.

If this were my entry for the Eurovision Film Contest then it would be nil point. I would like to film some of my rides – but I don’t really want to wear a helmet and I am not convinced mounting a camera on the handlebars would have the desired effect.

Single-track to Quy

And finally some retro pictures of places I sometimes cycle (Norfolk area).

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