Yesterday I got a press release from TFL stating the priority junctions they will be looking into as part of the cycle safety review. Read the press release here >
I recall raising issues with regards to CS7 and several of the junctions, I wasn’t the only one. Oval, Stockwell and the left turn down Clapham common spring to mind. In fact I recall my concerns got the attraction of the project manager, who invited me to talk to him about CS7. We rode along sections of it and spoke about various things, I highlighted the issue with Oval and Stockwell but it got ignored.
Those of us using the routes long before the superhighways came into play knew exactly what was wrong. We knew exactly how poor the facilities where when they where first put in. It’s funny how those of us who use the roads daily are not asked for their opinion on potential changes that will affect us greatly or what we think the issues are.
An e-mail I got from TFL…
I am writing to both cyclists and drivers to remind them to take care on London’s roads.
Cyclists are reminded to:
- Be aware of blind spots all around large vehicles. It’s often safer to hang back
- Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they have seen you
- Not ride through red traffic lights. It’s dangerous and you can be fined £30
- Allow space between you and parked vehicles. Doors may be opened suddenly
No mention of what drivers are reminded to be aware of on the roads. Hopefully a bit of education about cyclists and their needs on the road but that is probably a long shot.
Yesterday TFL announced that motorcycles will now be allowed to use all bus lanes in London.
Previous to yesterdays announcement motorcycle use of bus lanes in London was on a trial basis, the second of its kind. Both trials lasting 18 months and on selected sections. This was to gain an understanding on the effect of allowing them to use the bus lane.
Collision rates in bus lanes in the second trial decreased by 5.8 per cent for motorcyclists and by 8.5 per cent for cyclists when compared with the first trial
Safety in numbers, as long as two wheelers stick together and don’t squabble about the space then I’m sure people will be more aware about us in the bus lanes.
In line with this increased enforcement, the average speed for motorcyclists in bus lanes reduced by 6.5 per cent during the trial, with the proportion of motorcyclists exceeding the speed limit decreasing by one fifth (51 per cent in September 2010 down to 41 per cent in September 2011).
41% of motorcyclists still speeding in the bus lanes? Seeing as how that was enforced by the Police, it shows just what sort of problem we have on our roads. People see speeding as acceptable even with the dangers of the bus lane.
Another study by TfL indicated that journeys made by motorcycles using bus lanes were, on average, more than 10 per cent quicker than those not using bus lanes and 36 per cent quicker than cars
It was quiet clear already to know that using the bus lanes is faster than sitting in a queue of cars. Seeing as how I can often keep up with a few motorbikes and mopeds over a few miles of bus lane and stop starts at traffic lights, 36% faster is a pretty good figure to hear. Now if only a bus lane went from my house to my work place.
As long as motorcyclists are aware that they need to share the bus lane with us (that is a two-way street) then I don’t have too much of a problem with the idea. But if they start behaving like the examples below, it is going to be a problem!
You can find out more information about the previous study here.
Ok I don’t really, the majority of my worst incidences have been with taxi drivers and they seem to be invincible! From my experience the police pass any reports to the PCO and the PCO hold their hands up and say it’s up to the police to sort it out.
The public carriage office in its current state is a bit of a shambles, I have been provided a small amount of inside knowledge from someone who was involved with the PCO from a day-to-day basis on a professional level. I won’t go into detail at present, it would be a very long post but the end result is taxi drivers in London are basically untouchable and a few of them act as if they know that.
I’ve reported various incidences of varying degrees to the PCO, in every case I’ve not had a positive response, most of them result in a ‘It’s not our job to the police the roads’ and a few result in ‘we can’t view youtube videos so it’s your word against theirs’. It normally ends there, they are very understaffed and just don’t have time to look into these cases in enough detail.
I’ve tried reporting it to the Police but the MET handed over regulation and licensing of hackney carriages to TFL in 2000 and they seem to try to push the reports on TFL/PCO.
So far I’ve gotten not a single result from anything that has happened with a black cab. If you follow what I’ve published on youtube then you will know there are some real shockers.
I have had a few incidences which I’ve been told will be put on the driver’s record, but note these where not confirmed and the information did not come from someone who worked at the PCO. So I have no way to be certain.
Transport for London have provided a handy document that outlines the laws which govern hackney carriages and it states
In this Abstract, ‘The Licensing Authority’ means Transport for London (TfL) which will exercise the duties imposed by the London Cab Order 1934 as amended by the Greater London Authority Act 1999.
So it is up to TFL/PCO to apply the laws in that document. In the document is the Standard Scale, which is the different fines that TFL/PCO are to apply to drivers when the break various laws, unfortunately the fines are maximum and do not have to be that exact amount.
- Level 1 = £200
- Level 2 = £500
- Level 3 = £1,000
- Level 4 = £2,500
- Level 5 = £5,000
Lets highlight a few of the laws and what fines should be applied to the drivers that break them.
39. Various acts of misbehaviour by taxi driver (Act of 1843 s28; Act of 1831 s 56)
(1) The following offences are punishable by penalty (Level 1) or two months imprisonment:
(a) Wanton or furious driving.
(b) Causing hurt or damage to any person by carelessness or wilful misbehaviour.
(c) Drunkenness during employment.
(d) Use of insulting or abusive language during employment.
(e) Use of insulting gestures during employment.
(f) Any misbehaviour during employment.
(2) The following offences are punishable by penalty (Level 1 )
(a) Injuring or endangering the life, limbs or property of any persons by intoxication, wanton or furious driving or any other wilful misconduct.
(b) Using abusive or insulting language or rude behaviour towards any person.
(c) Assaulting or obstructing any police officer in the execution of his duty.
(3) This type of behaviour is also contrary to laws of general application, for example the Public Order Act 1986, carrying where appropriate heavy fines and/or imprisonment.
So it is up to TFL/PCO to deal with drivers who; drive dangerously, injury someone, damage someones property, swear at someone, use insulting gestures.
In several case I have been sworn at, threatened and had people driving dangerously around me. So that would mean that several drivers should have gotten fines but instead they may have a mark on their record or they got away with it.
I guess I will have to push the PCO next time I have an incident with a taxi and get them to properly deal with the driver. At present it’s a joke and I get the feeling that taxi drivers are currently untouchable which is a problem when some of them think you shouldn’t be on the road and they are king.
Along with Recyclebank, TFL are planning a scheme where people will get rewards and discounts for making journeys in London on foot or by bicycle.
The idea is to get more people to walk and cycle in the capital to reduce pollution, boost fitness and ease congestion. Users will collect points for every journey they make and will be redeemable against a range of offers and discounts.
Launch is expected to take place in Spring 2012 and could be a massive hit with people who already walk and cycle in London. It is designed to work with your phone and GPS transmitter, with an app that logs your journey and rewards you from that.
Read More >
I could personally see this useful, depending on the amount of points you get per journey, it could potentially mean free lunches at Marks & Spencer or at least reduced costs.
This announcement comes only days after +2,000 cyclists and pedestrians took to Blackfriars Bridge in protest against TFL for not putting more thought into vulnerable road users in their re-designed Blackfriars Bridge.
It gives two pictures, one side TFL want to make the traffic flow for motorised vehicles as quick as possible but on the other side they want to get people out of their cars and onto the streets which they have just put fast-moving and dangerous traffic next to.