Monthly Archives: January 2009

Boris wants to increase cycle parking


From the Mayor of London site via Twitter:-

“Investigation into cycle parking spaces in London underway

Despite a recent increase in new cycle parking spaces, research shows that the availability of cycle parking and the security of parked bikes remain the two biggest cycling-related concerns – which may be holding Londoners back from making their journey by bike.

To assess ways of improving the situation, the London Assembly Transport Committee has launched an investigation – led by Joanne McCartney AM – to identify ways of increasing the provision of good quality cycle parking.

Transport for London (TfL) has installed more than 53,000 new cycle parking spaces since 2000, but the number of cycle journeys has almost doubled over the same period. With around half a million journeys now made by bike in London every day, competition for available spaces is already high.

The Mayor of London has now indicated he wants to see the proportion of cycle journeys increase even further – from the current rate of 1.6 per cent of trips made in London, to 5 per cent2 – and the provision of suitable parking facilities will be critical to achieving this aim.

The Transport Committee’s investigation will look at the role of all the organisations involved in providing cycle parking – including TfL, the boroughs, employers, train operating companies, Network Rail and retail centres – and make recommendations on improving the availability of good quality facilities.

Joanne McCartney AM, who is leading the investigation on behalf of the Transport Committee, said:

“If the Mayor wants to encourage more Londoners to enjoy the health and environmental benefits of cycling, the capital’s cyclists need to know they can park their bikes safely and securely”

Let’s hope that they get strong cycle racks that won’t get sawn in half like some do!

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Design Awards


Further to Crap Waltham’s Forest’s blog on a new design for bikes – being hoisted on buildings to avoid thieves getting at them (see my link Cycling in Waltham Forest for the photo).

Firstly, I have to say it was a beautiful photograph but I do have some misgivings:

1) I don’t feel safe with those bikes hanging down on buildings
2) What if the bike thief lives on the first floor, wouldn’t they find ways of nicking them?
3) How do women and elderly hoist the bikes up?

Are these things considered when people with this design awards? It is just for looks isn’t it?!

Figures show that pedestrians should fear the motorist more (we knew that anyway)


CTC have posted stats that show motorists (as we all know) causing more accidents and deaths than cyclists to pedestrians:-

“Cyclists or drivers? If you believe the tabloid press, it’s often the former. But the statistics tell a different tale. According to figures released this week there have been 364,082 pedestrians injured by drivers over the last ten years, compared with 2,623 injured by cyclists. The same data shows that, as a pedestrian, you are 263 times more likely to be killed by a driver than a cyclist – this despite the fact that cyclists and pedestrians often share the same space and much of motor vehicle mileage is made on motorways, where pedestrians are prohibited”

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090126/text/90126w0003.htm#column_14W

Tabloid Media Bias is costing lives by misreporting the news

If this link does not work I have added it to my links under Websites I like

Has air pollution actually got cleaner in London?


From the Observer in 2001:-

“The Skeptical Environmentalist by Professor Bjørn Lomborg draws on a range of different sources to show that the level of smoke particles – the most dangerous pollutant – and sulphur dioxide has fallen by more than 95 per cent since their peak in the nineteenth century. The last time there was such little air pollution in the capital was 1585. His findings challenge the long-held assumption that London’s air quality has been deteriorating for years. ‘London air has not been as clean as it is today since the Middle Ages. Almost all the modern period has been more polluted with smoke than it is today,’ said Lomborg, professor of statistics at Aarhus University in Denmark.

Figures from coal production show that smoke pollution increased dramatically over 300 years to reach a peak in around 1900. Emissions of sulphur dioxide reached a peak around 1850, with concentrations in the air of about 900 microgrammes per cubic metre, worse than even today’s Third World mega-cities. However, pollution fell sharply as dirty coal was phased out and gas and electricity became more popular. Coal-powered trains were replaced by electric ones. Pollution dropped more dramatically after the Clean Air Act of 1956 banned the burning of all dirty fuels, putting an end to ‘pea-soup’ smogs. Crackdowns on emissions from cars and lorries, including the introduction of lead-free fuel and catalytic converters, have meant that the air has continued getting purer.

‘Air pollution is not a new problem getting worse, but an old problem getting ever better,’ said Lomborg.

London’s air pollution problems started at least a thousand years ago. In 1285 King Edward I set up the world’s first air pollution commission and banned the burning of coal. It didn’t last long. As the area around London became deforested and the wood was all burnt, households increasingly turned to the burning of cheap dirty coal, high in sulphur. Elizabeth I was ‘greatly grieved and annoyed with the taste and smoke’ and banned coal-burning in London, but only when Parliament was sitting. The seven teenth-century diarist, John Evelyn, fumed against the ‘filthy vapour’ and ‘thick mist’ which made ‘catharrs, phthisicks, coughs and consumptions rage more in this one City than in the whole Earth besides’.

In the eighteenth century ditches were often used as toilets, butchers threw offal into the street, and dead animals were left to rot where they lay. Before the Victorians built a sewage system, people would throw their ablutions into the street at night. In 1742 Dr Samuel Johnson described London as a city which ‘abounds with such heaps of filth as a savage would look on in amazement’.

Visitors to the city were forced to block up their noses to survive the foul smell. It was so dirty that Shelley wrote: ‘That Hell must be much like London, a smoky and populous city.’ Pollution and soot from coal was so intense that buildings were almost instantly blackened. London fogs rose from 20 days a year in the eighteenth century to 60 days a year in the nineteenth. The National Society for Clean Air is one of Britain’s oldest environmental pressure groups, founded 100 years ago.

The pea-soup smogs had a calamitous impact. Bronchitis was known as the ‘British disease’.”

My colleagues remember The Smog – it was not just in London but in major towns too. I wonder if the pollution we have now, with all the chemicals, is a lot worse? They are often ‘invisible’. I know that I still get cataahh(sp?), coughs and a sore throat after a visit in London, after a cycle along Bow and Stepney.

Should I sue the council for my punctures?


I’ve just got a puncture after cycling and surely, if the Council, don’t clean up the cycle paths, they should be liable under Health and Safety and negligence? They have ‘damaged’ my bike. It is not a slow puncture, so perhaps it is glass, from all the accidents and loonies who drop bottles.

I am going to the bike shop tomorrow, and get ‘evidence’ and a receipt. Why should I pay for it when is their fault. My tyres are regularly serviced.

Maybe if more cyclists did the same, they would clean up the borough better. I suppose most cyclists repair their own bikes but I don’t. I have googled this but I can’t seem to find any info (as yet).

Update: Other people said ‘you’ll be lucky’, and ‘you have to get more evidence’ but another person said it was ‘easier’ with a ‘pothole’ incident.

This annoys me as the council could cover the place with glass and cr*p from chopped up hawthorn branches and I could have an accident or be killed because of their ‘negligence’. But then what is ‘reasonable cleaning’? The cycle paths are often not cleaned. That’s another problem. Roads are probably cleaned more frequently, perhaps once a day? Is that enough for the council ‘to get away with it?’. How often should councils clean the cycle paths? And why are some not cleaning the paths?

What are the rules?

Media Bias over Rape Allegation


As you may have read in the papers, footballer Robinho has been the subject of a rape allegation with the headline in one newspaper saying ‘Why is she saying these things?’

The exclusive report is written by a man and the newspaper, is called the ‘Daily Star’ so you can guess the bias, even though they employ models, one of course, is on their front page. The report is quite insensitive to the claim and of course, there is only side to the story featured in the paper, and you can imagine it is hard for the woman to bare all about this ‘private issue’.

As a woman, perhaps going through dodgy areas of London (luckily I cycle) it could be a risk, though generally, it happens to people you know. The police always advise you to visit them and go to the doctor. It is a standard procedure and often done in a very sensitive way, with female staff present. You are made to feel it is not your fault and you’re right to report it.

But the sexist and insensitive tabloid newspaper goes on about how he claims he is innocent and how his team is supporting him (without even knowing the full facts!). (What about female fans?). Even with the DNA present, I don’t expect it is easy to convict a rapist as I have heard that many still go ‘free’.

With lots of money to get a good barrister he may be better protected than most.

He makes it look that every woman who cries is making it up? What?! Well, what about those ones who have to take a morning after pill after the offence?

Here is a post from a Rape Advice site, just to show you how this subject should be treated sensitively by the media, the victim should not be made to feel guilty for reporting this and made to feel a fool. Suppose his own wife got raped? Wouldn’t he be angry and want her to report it?

“Dealing With Feelings
Rape isn’t just physically damaging, it can be emotionally traumatic as well. The right emotional attention, care, and support can help a person begin the healing process and prevent lingering problems later on.

Someone who has been raped might feel a lot of things: angry, degraded, frightened, numb, or confused. It’s also normal for someone who has been raped to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Some people withdraw from friends and family. Others don’t want to be alone. Some feel depressed, anxious, or nervous.

Sometimes the feelings surrounding rape may show up in physical ways, such as trouble sleeping or eating. It may be hard to concentrate in school or to participate in everyday activities. Sometimes it may feel like you’ll never get over the trauma of the rape. Experts often refer to these emotions — and their physical side effects — as rape trauma syndrome. The best way to work through them is with professional help.

It can be hard to think or talk about a frightening experience, especially something as personal as rape. People who have been raped sometimes avoid seeking help because they’re afraid that talking about it will bring back memories or feelings that are too painful. But this can actually do more harm than good.”

How much was he paid for the article?

To email the reporter just email john.mahoney@dailystar.co.uk

Women’s Cycling Blogs


I’ve created a new blog on WordPress ‘www.womenscyclingblogs.wordpress.com’ as it is a bit hard finding them online. I’ve only just created the link at the moment and will work on finding more in the future.

There seem to be a lot in the US but hardly any, it appears, in the UK, saying that, you never know what I may find over the coming weeks.