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The War on Britain’s Roads

November 20, 2012 — 5 Comments

The War on Britain’s Roads combines footage captured by cyclists through helmet-mounted cameras, with interviews from cyclists, drivers and those affected by incidents on our roads. Viewers are parachuted into the middle of the battle that is raging between two-wheeled road users and their four-wheeled counterparts.

The documentary airs on Wednesday the 5th of December at 9pm on BBC1 but is there really a war on the roads?

War is a strong word, one that suggests a them vs us and that there is daily conflict on the road. There is obviously some concern coming from the cycling community about this. As what better way to make cycling look dangerous than to convey the roads as a war zone and to show countless videos of dangerous driving.

And whilst this may have a negative affect, this has all come around because of the poor driving that some of us have received over the years. If the documentary can get through to people about how vulnerable we are and how much space we require, then surely it must be a good thing.

Those of us that film will be the first ones to admit how safe it is on the roads. Whilst watching my youtube videos may seem like I run in with a lot of lunatics, you have to take into consideration how many miles I travel and under what traffic conditions.
Most of my riding is done in central London during rush hour traffic, I can do anything from 120miles – 300 miles in a week in those conditions and average over 6,000 miles a year. On average I probably pass and get passed by 4,500 vehicles a week, lets say 250,000 vehicles a year. For the past 3 years that would make 18,000 miles covered and 750,000 vehicles passed. I would say that I have had no more than 50 bad interactions with vehicles in that time. That means I’ll have an incident every 15,000 vehicles or 360 miles.
Considering that I spend most of my time cycling in rush hour traffic, where people just want to get home or into the office on time. I don’t think that is too bad.

So is it a war? It could be described as such. I wouldn’t say it was cyclists vs motorists though, more good road users vs bad road users. It’s not just cyclists who are using cameras, motorcyclists, horse riders and motorists use them to record what they experience on the roads.

I’ve had some involvement with the documentary and whilst they are advertising it as a war (hopefully to gain attention), I don’t think that is the way they program is going, more raising awareness of the issues that we experience on the roads.

Hope Vision 1 Review

September 19, 2011 — 4 Comments

The Hope Vision 1 bicycle light is Hope’s bottom of the range bicycle light but don’t let that put you off. The CNC machined case makes the light full water proof and the Vision 1 puts out over 200 lumens from only four AA batteries, something not achieved by many other lights.

Hope Vision 1 Beam

The Vision 1 has 4 light modes, 1 flash and 3 steady ones. Making it a perfect commuting light, especially if you travel through multiple types of roads (lit vs unlit). The Hope Vision 1 is often praised by its quality, Hope certainly is traditionally british as the make good quality parts and offer a fantastic service. The whole product is well thought out and well designed.

Due to the narrow beam a single Vision 1 is not enough for cycling off-road or on unlit roads at night-time in my opinion, two Vision 1’s are enough. Whilst the narrow beam does have that disadvantage, it has an advantage when using it in other traffic. Pointing the beam on the road in front of you means you don’t blind other road users, you light the road up in front of you and you are made visible!

Something which crops up in other lights of similar target market is how you turn it off and change modes. For a light which is used in the dark and potentially off-road it is important how it handles this. The Hope Vision one can only be turned off by the user if the battery is removed or if you hold the power button. Pressing the button cycles through the light modes and this is how it should be.
Other models of lights have the off mode in the button cycle, which means if you want to change back to the first mode you must turn the light off first which either means crashing or stopping your ride.

Hope Vision 1

The only downside to using a light with 4x AA batteries is that the light really does chew through them, using regular Duracell batteries will be expensive and small capacity rechargeable batteries just don’t last long enough. High capacity rechargeable batteries are a good value purchase but you still need to work out a good recharging scheme so you don’t get caught out. At least you can rest in the fact that if you do run out of juice whilst on the road you can at least pop into a petrol station or corner shop and buy some batteries which will get you home, unlike the lights which use special battery packs.

The major downside of the hope vision one is the lack of power indicator, it is one often brought up by people who have bought one and is a real problem with its hunger for battery power. You can get around it with good battery management but be warned, when the power levels get too low the light will suddenly switch off and you will only get a few more minutes on the lowest power setting.

All in all it’s one of the best and brightest lights on the market for commuters, it’s at the higher end of the scale for most commuters but it’s reliability (as long as you manage the batteries) and power more than out weighs the price you have to pay, this light will last you years!

Where to buy one from?

Prices range from £70 – £90 so make sure you shop around