Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Brighten up your bike this Friday in Durham

This Friday (29th November 2013) sees a bike festival aimed at promoting being seen and therefore being safe when riding at night. The event takes place in Durham city centre, specifically starting at 3:30pm in the market place. The idea is you turn up on your bike, having decorated it beforehand with as many fancy lights as you can. There is then a guided ride around Durham starting at 4:30pm. You will need to book your place by 4pm on 27th November for this. There are plenty of other activities also on going to keep you interested - read the full press release below.

I would really like to go to this; I think it would be a great spectacle to see a whole load of bright bikes going through the city. I'd also take advantage of the bike marking on offer too.

However, I'll be up at Glentress when this starts, so I'll have to miss out. If you go, leave a comment on this post, or use one of the social links in the right hand pane of this page and let me know how it was.

Decorative bike lights! Image taken from christmasx.wordpress.com

Read the full press release below, or click here.

"Hot on the heels of the Lumiere festival, residents of County Durham will be able to enjoy another, smaller light festival when BicycleBright takes place on 29 November. Cyclists are being asked to ‘bling their bikes’ by decorating them with lights and all manner of sparkly things before joining a guided ride around Durham City. The event, a collaboration between Durham County Council, Durham University, Local Motion, Sustrans, Durham Constabulary and Breeze, will see prizes handed out for the best blinged-up bikes. Before the ride gets underway, there’ll be free security marking on offer from Durham Constabulary, information on bike safety and security, help from Dr Bike and other freebies and giveaways. The cyclists will also hear from Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration Cllr Neil Foster and Durham University’s dean for environmental sustainability Professor Tim Burt. Cllr Foster, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming cyclists to what promises to be a unique and fun experience. We hope that seeing blinged bikes cycling round Durham City will remind everyone of the importance of being visible when cycling during the dark winter nights. We would also love to see more people getting excited about cycling and taking up a healthier and greener way of travelling after seeing a pack of brightly decorated bikes touring Durham.” Professor Burt, said: “This is a good opportunity for us to promote and raise awareness regarding safe cycling to all our students and, at the same time, take part in such an exciting event. This also assists the university to promote alternative modes of transport and helps meet Green Travel Plan targets benefiting both the University and the local community.” The event will start at 3.30pm in Durham market place before the 3.5 mile guided ride around the city gets under way at 4.30pm. Cyclists who would like to take part in the ride are asked to book their place by emailing pedalpower@durham.gov.uk by 4.00pm on Wednesday 27 November."

via Durham County Council Press Releases

Friday, 15 November 2013

Dark week for cyclists in the capital

5 cyclists in the past 9 days have been killed in collisions with heavy vehicles in London.

This is an abysmal statistic, but from reading several stories and comments posted on them, it seems that a lot of people unfortunately aren't surprised, especially at the scene of one of the accidents, Bow roundabout. Read this post from the As Easy As Riding A Bike blog and tell me you know what is going on. After reading that, I can understand why people aren't surprised.

Of course it is a terrible tragedy for all concerned. A lot of questions need to be asked to determine what happened in each case. When I've been thinking about it, I've asked:

  • Was the cyclist taking a risk?
  • Were they using lights? (most accidents have happened at night)
  • Was the driver concentrating properly?
  • Was anybody confused by the traffic signals?
  • Is the cycling infrastructure at fault?
There's many more and if you're a cyclist, you'll have probably been thinking your own questions.

The last one is the one that is causing the most controversy at the moment. The fact is, cycling infrastructure is particularly poor. I mean, go back to that link and have a look again, or visit this link.

Infrastructure on Cycle Superhighway 2 (Image taken from Cyclists in the City)
Today everybody's favourite bumbling buffoon of a politician, Boris Johnson has gone some way to upset many cyclists. Normally an advocate of cycling, Johnson has been quoted in the news as saying "there's no amount of traffic engineering that we invest in that is going to save people's lives", hinting that unless people obeyed the laws of the road, this would continue to happen. So far there isn't anything released to say why the accidents occurred, so these comments are extremely ill-judged.

At the end of it all, this problem will not be easily solved. To put proper infrastructure in place will take billions of pounds, years and years of road works. In that time, more cyclists will, unfortunately, be killed. The only thing that can help at the moment, in the present time, the next time you are riding your bike or driving your car is to be vigilant. Don't take risks. Be seen when riding at night. Be patient, a few seconds longer will not hurt.

EDIT:

Just flicking through Twitter, seeing reports that ANOTHER cyclist is reported to be killed:
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