The Times – Save our Cyclists

Yesterday The Times launched a campaign to make cycling in cities across England safer after one of the Times’ reports was struck by a lorry only yards away from her workplace in November last year, she has been a comma since.

I was asked to give my opinion on current road conditions for cyclists, and whilst I think the roads are a safe place, there is obviously an issue on our roads.

In the last quarter of 2011 we saw an 8% rise in cycling deaths or serious injuries in London over 2010’s last quarter whilst deaths and serious injuries of car drivers, motorcyclist’s and pedestrians continued to fall.

Compare Paris to London, a city which has 3,000,000 more people than us and is known for its crazy drivers. How many cycling related deaths where there in 2011?

The bike accident is not what concerns us most and in 2011, there were no death

Source >

There where 0 cycling deaths in Paris throughout 2011, where as in London, there where 16 deaths and many more seriously injured. Why do we allow these deaths to continue? It seems that the public think these sorts of deaths are acceptable, nothing happens to make cyclists safer on the roads!

In the past decade, cyclists killed on our roads outnumber servicemen killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by a factor of two.

Any sort of death of a person is a tragic incident, just think about how you would feel if a family member was suddenly no longer with you! We can do something about deaths on our roads, make them safer and all road users will have the benefit of being able to travel without the thought of it being there last.

The Times raise an 8 point manifesto of things they want changed, and whilst I don’t agree that every point is going to make a difference, they are certainly pointing in the right direction and having such a large newspaper behind us is a great thing.

In the first day of the campaign more than 5,000 people pledged their support with more than 300 writing to their MP’s and many more showing support on twitter.

Which taxi drivers are the worst?

I’ve had my fair share of incidences on the road, some of the worst have been from taxi drivers but out of those,most of them are public hire taxi’s. This could be down to the fact that they are essentially untouchable. The PCO in london licenses +60,000 taxi’s and from the response I have had from them, they do not care what their drivers get up to on the roads. And as I’ve said before, when drivers don’t get pulled up on their behaviour on the roads, it spirals out of control.

Cyclists aren’t allowed in the bus lane

At least that is what sparge2 thinks.

its a BUS LANE UM ITS FOR BUSSES SO GO AND FU CK OFF YOU PEOPLE ARE ARSHOLES STOP WASTING PEOPLES TIME AND GET A LIFE OH AND YES I DO LOTS OF MOUNTAIN BIKEING AND ON THE ROADS

Not every city or area lets cyclists use the bus lanes but in London we can, I understand that not everyone will be aware of this. But I have also been told to get out of the bus lane by a motorcyclist in London, haha!

London Skyride 2011

Yesterday saw over 55,000 cyclists ride along 7.2 miles of motorised vehicle free London roads. It’s a fantastic event that allows cyclists to see some of London’s greatest sites free from potentially dangerous traffic.

Since the Skyride started in 2009 (then known as the London Freewheel) the numbers have never dipped below 50,000 cyclists taking part. With the 2010 turnout of 85,000 being the largest so far.

The turnout of only 55,000 in 2011 seems small in comparison to the 2010 turnout. Could this be down to the great british weather? A shower of rain did hit London yesterday. It’s too hard to tell what caused the drop in 30,000 cyclists which is the lowest turnout since 2008, so many factors could have affect it, from advertising to bad weather.

It is a shame that the numbers didn’t increase on last year, the popularity of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme and the Barclays Superhighways has increased cycling in the capital a significant amount over the past few years and I think most of us where expecting more. 55,000 isn’t too be sniffed at, it is still a large number of cyclists taking advantage of the closed roads and enjoying the capital the way it should be.

The legailty of Camera use

I often get the internet lawyer telling me that I’m braking several laws by videoing vehicles and posting videos of them, the drivers and the vehicles number plates online.
As we all know, vehicle number plates are publicly viewable and identifies the car. We can use these to complain about the drivers behaviour. What we don’t know from the number plate is any information about the driver.

I know in the past, that magnatom asked the information commissioner of Scotland what the position was, legally, of him doing what he does. The response that he got, was that it’s fine for us to do and it’s not breaking any data protection laws.
Magnatom has always stated that he isn’t sure if this applies to the England as well.

So to confirm where i and other helmet camera users stand on the matter of legality of posting videos online, i contacted the information commissioner in England and asked the following questions;

  • Is recording bicycle journeys made in england and posting footage on youtube breaking any laws? This includes posting footage of number plates of dangerous drivers that put cyclists life in danger and in some cases the faces and conversations with these drivers.
  • are there any restrictions to it, such as is advertising that you have a camera against the law e.g. a sign saying ‘video recording in operation’ on the cyclists back.

A few weeks later i got a response and it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. As magnatom’s response, i was also told that the videoing and posting videos would fall under section 36 of the data protection act. Which states

Personal data processed by an individual only for the purposes of that individual’s personal, family or household affairs (including recreational purposes) are exempt from the data protection principles and the provisions of Parts II and III.

This exemption means that individuals do not have to provide fair processing information to data subjects and so signs will not be necessary in a situation such as the one described. Equally, however, it would not be illegal to display such signs that warn of a camera.

Apart from the data protection act, I don’t think there is any issue with filming, and if there was, I’m sure I would have been brought up on it by now. My footage has been passed to various police departments in London, and none of them have come back to me saying I’m braking any laws.