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Thursday, December 6, 2012

War on Britains Roads

In the light of recent high profile cycle/car exchanges with Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish both coming into contact with motorised vehicles, the lovely BBC decided to highlight this issue in a documentary inappropriately titled 'War on Britains Roads'.

As a cyclist comuter and car driver I found it great entertainment, when really I should have seen it as thought provoking.
'BBC' - Thank you for entertaining me, whilist at the same time alienating me from my other road users.

British Cycling has described the BBC’s ‘War on Britain’s Roads’ programme, which aired on BBC1 on Wednesday evening, as a ‘missed opportunity’ to paint an accurate picture of what cycling is like on Britain’s roads; to publicise the work that is being done by government, cycling organisations and other concerned parties to improve conditions; and to take a look at European examples of how our roads could be.

The documentary told the story of an alleged ‘war’ between cyclists and motorists, through the lens of a number of cyclists using helmet-mounted cameras; interviews with cab drivers and lorry drivers and through a moving interview with Cynthia Barlow, Chair of Roadpeace, whose daughter Alex Jane McVitty was killed by a left turning cement lorry whilst cycling to work in London in June 2000.
British Cycling believes that the documentary failed to give a balanced picture of cycling on UK roads and distorted the relationship between cyclists and motorists, through its almost total concentration on accidents, near misses, violence and conflict between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.
“the overall tone and story of the programme is an inaccurate portrayal of how people cycle and drive on the roads. The majority of people who cycle or drive do so in a safe and careful manner."

Ruth Jackson, British Cycling Campaigns Manager said: “There were some good aspects to the programme, Cynthia Barlow’s story in particular was very moving and she made some excellent points on how cycle safety can and has been improved.
But the overall tone and story of the programme is an inaccurate portrayal of how people cycle and drive on the roads. The majority of people who cycle or drive do so in a safe and careful manner.”

Prior to the programme airing Chris Boardman joined many voices from the cycling world in criticising the programme’s sensationalist angle, Tweeting “Here's an idea, I'd like to make a program on what cycling CAN be in this country, any takers...?” on 4 December.

Jackson continued: “This was a missed opportunity and we join Chris Boardman in asking for a programme on what cycling can offer the country,” alluding to the examples of major European cycling centres such as Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Utrecht, with infrastructure and legislation which provides the ideal opportunity for cycling to flourish.

The programme portrayed cycling as a dangerous, stressful activity, concentrating solely on collisions, near misses and aggressive behaviour caught on camera and posted on YouTube. Jackson, however, point out that “statistically, cycling is much safer today than it was 20 years ago, and it is as safe as walking. There are so many benefits to cycling including improved health, improved environment, less congestion and great value for money.”

The programme concluded by attempting make its protagonists see things from each other’s perspective. However in its summing up, it failed to address the work of government, cycling organisations and other interested parties in improving conditions for cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Jackson concluded: “What would make the biggest difference for cycling, which the programme didn’t address, is strong leadership from government including putting cycling at the heart of policy.”

For me the highlight of the programme was Lewis the cycling Vigilante who was out there head camed upwatching the interaction
Whether it be a cyclist or motorist behaving like a prat he filmed you and told you about it.
Mostly in such an un offensive way that even the most ardent firebrand might listen.
His work can be seen on Youtube 'Tradffic Droid 360 News'
Maybe he should have produced the documentary

On the subject of Road Safety there is a new device on the block and I kinda like it
Its called Blaze which sounds a bit like some comic book hero.
If it can offer the same sort of protection.... I dont care what they cakk it.

The BLAZE Bike Light is a completely new innovation for urban cyclists. It’s a damn good bike light, but it also tackles one of the biggest causes of cycling fatalities - being caught in the blind spot and vehicles turning across an unseen bike. 
Statistics confirm that 79% of cyclists are hit when they’re travelling straight ahead and a vehicle maneuvers into them, largely due to their small footprint and position on the road. BLAZE tackles this.

BLAZE is a front light with super-bright LEDs, but it also projects the symbol of a bike down onto the road ahead of the cyclist. It’s adjustable, but ideally about 5m in front. It alerts road users ahead of the cyclist of their presence, helping to prevent them turning across their path (especially the big ones like buses and trucks!). Making the cyclist more visible and increasing their footprint on the road.

 Another common accident sees drivers pulling out of a side junction into the path of a cyclist, the bike can be right up close but overlooked due to its position; being tucked in closer to the curb.  BLAZE's flashing symbol ahead of the bike warns drivers (in time) that there's a cyclist approaching, and stops them pulling out.  The same applies to pedestrians, people often don't hear a cyclist coming and step out in front of the bike, warn them you're coming through!

Check Blaze Out

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