Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The CGB–not so good news

The Cambridge News has a report that: “A cyclist hit by a guided bus suffered serious injuries”.  The report suggests that the “cyclist was on the opposite guideway” and that the "bus driver slowed to “around ten miles per hour” and “sounded their horn” to warn the cyclist.  A “ferry lift” was required to raise the bus to free the cyclist. I am not quite sure what a ferry lift is though and a Google search doesn’t immediately throw up an answer. Note: None of these pictures are associated with the accident, they are pictures I have taken during the development of the CGB.

UPDATE: The BBC News report on this suggests that the cyclist accidentally fell in front of the bus from the other side. That seems to make sense although as you can see from this picture there is a reasonable gap between the two sides. I wonder if the chap’s pedal clipped the edge of the concrete and that started his tumble. It can’t have been that pleasant for the bus driver to see someone tumble in front of him. I wonder if he tried to steer the bus as a reflex reaction? I do wonder why the cyclist was on the concrete rather than the excellent tarmac surface (except for the bit near St Ives).

This raises several questions, I suppose the first is why was the cyclist on the concrete tracks when there is a really wide and smooth tarmac to cycle along?  Cycling along the concrete tracks (when buses weren't running) took a lot of my concentration and was even more difficult in the wind. When I tried it I found I had to devote most of my concentration to cycling and almost none to looking at the scenery around me.

It also seems strange that the cyclist was on the opposite guideway. One explanation is that the cyclist and Bus were on different guideways but that the cyclist was on the concrete track nearest the bus. As the bus and cyclist got closer perhaps the cyclist tumbled of his bike and over onto the other guideway and into the bus. Since the report suggests that the bus driver did slow down, then he would have hardly run into the cyclist just because he refused to get out of the way.

The report also led to other questions. The first being if a bus has some form of breakdown or accident and say loses a wheel and cannot be towed then what happens. Would they try to lift it off the guideway onto the cycle track and repair it. Or it it possible to get a flatbed truck up the Guideway. Whilst the cycle path is wide the barriers at each road intersection are not that wide. What if a bus caught fire, how would it be retrieved?

I also wonder what, if any traffic laws apply.The Guideway is more like a railway track as opposed to a road so does it have legal speed limits? In the event of an accident who has jurisdiction?

There is a chance to win VIP tickets for the first trip on a guided bus in the Cambridge News, so perhaps I should apply and then I could go along and ask my questions. Apparently “Cambridge’s guided busway ‘no comparison with A14’”. Although the report didn’t quite say which one was actually better and in what way it implied the CGB was smooth and presumably traffic free.

And finally on a slightly odd not here is a news item in the Daily Mail about a 16-year old cyclist crossing Lake Buttermere by cycling across on his bike!

Oops another bit of CGB news has just appeared. There is a “rush to end repairs to guided bus car park”. Here are the trenches mentioned in the news item.

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