Wednesday 22 August 2012

#sharetheroad vs Drive a car and insure it with us

A end-of-career sports pundit joins up with a car insurance company trying to get some press coverage by pushing for a "share the road" campaign -one that by saying "compulsory training" means "compulsory licensing"

Yeah -and compulsory training and licensing means that every cyclist killed by an HGV this year was killed by an illegally unlicensed HGV driver? Does it mean that cyclist awareness of the left hook dangers will stop lorries of death -like the terrifying one Gaz just filmed- killing them?


It's not like its the cyclists who have problems with "sharing the roads", its the fuckwits who complain about cyclists "being there", it's the drivers who cut in fast after passing a bicycle to make it clear they are unwelcome, to "teach cyclists a lesson", it's the idiots who spout cyclist hate on twitter.

Bikeradar are backing off, Garry Lineker blaming it on "extremists".

As for the insurance company -what's their story? Twofold

1. It gets an insurance company nobody has ever heard of publicity, possibly in the national press and cycling press -a potentially new market for them.

2. It tries to portray them as cyclist friendly.

The latter is possibly a sign of changing demographics -a fundamental threat to "Imperial Car"

The fat surburbanites who own two cars and still drive everywere are still the bread and buttter of the car companies -and the insurers - but once the current batch die of heart attacks, where will the rest come from?

Because the kids are cycling, not driving.

That's the best part of that mad "Cycle Danger" letter:
What makes it worse is that both children are now begging us for bicycles for Christmas.
The people who complain about cyclists may write into the piss-poor local papers to get their whine out the way. But the kids, the kids want bicycles.

Which must fuck up youth-centric can insurance companies no end. If the educated, the new workforce of society prefer bikes to cars, anyone whose money depends on getting them in cars at the age of 18 are fucked.

All they have left as customers are fiesta and corsa-driving Chavs from the chav-towns of Yate, Swindon and the like -and car insurers do not want to touch 18 year old fiesta drivers from those places.

Sitting in some meeting room with posters showing happy people driving on empty roads, the insurance sales team must have stared at power-point presentations showing that not only was their market base dropping with population decline and falling incomes, but those people who had money and were considered low risk to insurers weren't buying cars.

That graph must have scared them -"percentage of under 25s who do not own a car". Silence. Then someone in the room must have said "if they are cycling -why don't we try and become a cycle-friendly insurer?"

Hence the happy friendly "Share the road" bollocks. Press coverage, warm fuzzy cyclist feelings, no actual outlay by anyone at all.

Gary Lineker is just the lightning rod here -some investor/stockholder in the company who could be relied on face up the campaign and use his 1M twitter followers as people to advertise to.

Now he's blaming "extremists". We are not the extremists. We are the people who want it to be safe for children to cycle to school. Is that so extreme?

Thursday 9 August 2012

A nation of fuckwits. Maybe soon: two nations.

A tragic death in London, and instead of the country's reporters asking "why are buses and bicycles mixed?", one of them goes to Bradley Wiggins, says "do you think cyclists should wear helmets", and the argument begins.

The fact that the national discussion is about whether or not to wear helmets shows how backward things are -the US is making the UK look lost in time.

The cycling campaigners try to use evidence-based arguments in the helmet debate -but miss a key point: the people they are trying to argue with are fuckwits.

Take the letter that Kim Harding reposted, High-viz vests a must for cyclists
Few will argue that helmets are not a good idea, but all roadway users – cyclists, walkers and runners – should be obliged to wear high-viz vests.
The law should be changed to make high-viz mandatory and the Scottish Government could win praise for common sense by handing out the vests free (buying them in big numbers will bring the cost down to pennies each).

That idiot isn't just saying cyclists should be forced to wear hi-viz, he says walkers and runners too. That is: everyone not driving a car.

How the fuck is that going to be enforced? Are you going have police (wearing hi-viz), stopping pedestrians in central Glasgow and issuing spot fines for anyone walking round without hi-viz tabards? Can you imagine that on an Old Firm match day? Or at 12 pm on a Friday night?

The fuckwit won't have even thought through whether or not it would be legal to between your house and your car, or your car and your destination. The letter writer's published address, 1 Alder Grove, Scone, has a garage and a driveway big enough for a car or two, so he's unlike to be fined for "walking on a public pavement without hi-viz" there, but what about at his destination? Is he one of those people who park half on the pavement so never have to cross a road? Or is the only place he visits some superstore off the Perth bypass?

Perhaps he expected a special case of "walking to your car" - people who do that are sensible, not like the crazed maniacs who cross zebra crossings in dark clothes, the cyclists he keeps nearly missing as he drives from his featureless cul-de-sac to the bland superstore.

Whatever -these are the people who would back any mandatory helmet law, the people who would have bicycles taxed, MOTs, banned from the both roads and the pavements. They are not capable of holding two rational thoughts in their head -you can't argue with fuckwits like this -it's like trying teach a cat to leave a plate of raw meat alone. You will lose.

The worrying thing -out in the suburbs, these idiots could well form the majority of the population.

Saturday 4 August 2012

Freewheeler has returned!

The People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire extends its black kevlar-backed glove towards Freewheeler, as Crap Walking and Cycling in Waltham Forest is back again!

Waltham Forest and S Gloucs. both represent "lost" areas in cycling -places where the cycling percentage has not undergone the (small but tangible) increase in cycling that the inner cities have undergone.

The reasons why they have not done so is different.

Waltham Forest has much of the inner city demographics, including large areas of urban deprivation. This would be ideal for encouraging cycling, except that the council actively works against this -the Cycle Superhighway Obstruction being the key example, something which has entered the national stage with the Olympics. With only TfL to provide some form of leadership, Waltham Forest council can get away with this.

S Gloucs doesn't have quite the poverty levels, though parts of bristol on the border do (Southmead, Brentry, L-dub). Instead it has a population that has embraced driving as the way to get to the shops and the city, and view the resulting congestion as an anti-car conspiracy by the council, high fuel prices as an attempt to rob motorists, and anything Bristol does to reduce car dependence as the war on motorists. Nobody appears to have correlated the increased in car use as a factor in congestion, fuel demand (hence increase market prices of crude oil), difficulties in parking in the city, and the need of the inner city to come up with alternative transport policies.

This puts S Gloucs and its sibling rural suburb to the south, North Somerset, into effective conflict with Bristol.

Bristol: a safe and healthy environment for its population. Pollution and speeding cars are obstacles to this.

S Gloucs and N Somerset: fast journeys to work, school and shops by car, with free parking at all destinations.

What these areas do have in common with Waltham Forest is

  1. A complete failure of leadership in the council
  2. An unwillingness to recognise that attempting to satisfy demands for driving through more roadbuilding will only create more demand. 
  3. A failure to recognise that adding more parking will not revitialise dying high streets
  4. A refusal to invest trivial amounts of money and political capital through funding quality dutch-standard cycle routes, so effecting tangible transport shift.
  5. Unquestioning adherence to the "war on motorists" bollocks pushed out by the daily mail and other press outlets.

Which is also something they hold in common with central government.

Thursday 2 August 2012

A survey on soft measures? How does "fucking waste of money" sound?

In the inbox, an email from someone who is clearly a member of the Popular Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire:

Dear Bristol cyclist, 
  My name is Adam Banting and I am a postgraduate MSc student at the University of the West of England. I’m contacting you because your unique cycling experiences and knowledge of cycling in Bristol have the potential to increase the uptake of cycling amongst non-cyclists in Bristol. The comments you made on the cycle city layer on the Bristol Streets* website picked out the types of cycling infrastructure improvements you, as cyclists, would like to see in Bristol. This study wants to gather your ideas and understand your thoughts on the development of ‘soft measures’ that might encourage more people to cycle. The link below explains the background to the study and takes you to the questionnaire which will take no more than 5 minutes to complete. The ideas you produce will be presented to SUSTRANS, Better By Bike and Bristol City Council cycling team who will consider the best ideas. Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:  (deleted)Those of you taking part please complete the questionnaire by the 21st August, 3 weeks from today. Feel free to email me with any questions you may have. (email at Kind regards, Adam Banting Faculty of Environment and Technology (FET) MSc Environmental ConsultancyFollow this link to the Survey: (waste of fucking time)

Not once did any of our members add a comment saying 

"The A4174/M32 junction is a bit scary. If some people went on cycle training courses, they would soon realise that there is nothing to fear from trying to sprint across three lanes of traffic trying to get onto the M32 and up to speed to pull out onto it using a junction that doesn't have any lights to let bicycles over and instead relies on your reflexes and speed"

If they are did then they are a clearly an infiltrator from the Popular Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire who shall be expelled from the People's Cycling front at the next committee meeting -after they have paid their monthly dues and bought the committee a round of drinks.

The stance of the People's Cycling Front of South Gloucestershire towards "Soft Measures" is clearly stated.