Thursday, 28 August 2014

Safety Theatre

No, I don't mean dramatic productions in schools to reduce risk to children , wonderful though that is !

I mean taking steps to make things look safe, but which have little or no beneficial effect in practice.

Googling "safety theatre" finds (mostly ? ) only the theatricals, but the American "safety theater" works.
The term Security Theater is wider-known, among conspiracy theorists at least.

It's questionable which things are effective and which not - the list below is neither definitive nor complete. It's part of the definition of 'Safety theatre' that we can't tell which measures are effective.

Obedience and Blame

The number of official contributory factors present in car-bike collisions are similar for cyclists and drivers.
Some factors are arguably bigger than others - I don't know if they were weighted.
The full report runs to 60 pages.
Slightly more contributory factors for cyclists, but I would guess it's not statistically significant.
Since the motorist is (almost?) never the fatality, that may introduce some bias. It would be interesting to exclude cases where the cyclist was unable to give a statement before dying.

Of course, risking your own life is not at all the same thing as risking anothers' !

The top factor was 'failed to look properly' for both sides, in about 30% of cases.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Martyrdom and Herd Immunity

Despite what Tom Stafford may say, cycling is not an inherently selfish activity.

For the bottle-carriers in the peloton, it is a team effort.

Personally, a large part of the reason I don't drive is to increase safety. To all those of you that like to argue whether cycling is nearly as safe as motoring (per hour) or thirty times more dangerous (per mile), that will sound a little crazy.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Overtaking - Roles and Responsibilities

Distance beside

Needs specific minimum space law ?

The Highway Code is not all enforced.
Lifting a finger - [ Pedaller ] asked police to discourage unsafe overtaking on bends.
"Rule 166 of the Highway Code states – DO NOT overtake if there is any doubt, or where you cannot see far enough ahead to be sure it is safe ... 
Accordingly the drivers overtaking you in contravention of this rule do not commit an offence per se and so it would not be a matter in which the police would intervene."
Perhaps that should be
"You MUST NOT overtake if there is any doubt ..."
 There was an ePetition
Clearly distinguish safe and unsafe overtaking of cyclists in law by establishing a 1.5m rule.
It only gained 231 signatures, I don't know how widely it was publicised.

Traffic Calming - Pedestrian Refuges

Motorists Please do not overtake cyclists through pedestrian refuge
You would think a council would re-think dangerous features, instead of erecting 9-word signs.

Pedestrian refuges are certainly an aggravating factor when motorists want to overtake cyclists.
I would be interested to know if they are actually useful to pedestrians, and whether they have a positive or negative effect on overall safety. I suspect that their only effect is to bring traffic speeds down, but at the cost of cyclists' safety.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Motorism and Hate Crime

Martin Porter QC on Twitter: "It's sort of annoying that he knows he can put up a video like that with absolutely no chance of the police taking any interest."

One for the Met's future "Online Hate Crime Hub" ?
London Police now use a very wide definition - 'any other actual or perceived difference' !

Why do people hate cyclists – I Pay Road Tax

Of course, not everyone sees it like this - more discussion can be found here :
The Only '-ism' in the Village ... - [ Motorism - a failure of democracy ! ]

The Highway Code in 100 words

The Highway Code in 100 words was an exercise in reducing the bloat and distilling the essential spirit of the Highway Code, when it was last published in 2007.
It came from a pro-speed, anti-camera motoring campaign group's forum, but is none the less interesting for that !

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Two Tribes Go To War (people, vehicles, modes)

Some people ask "Why can't we all just get along?"
This is the thinking behind 'Shared Spaces' and 'Share the Road'.
(not to be confused with 'shared space' - roads are shared space by default : exceptions include motorways and 'mandatory cycle lanes').

They generally object to the distinction between cyclists and motorists - "Sometimes I cycle, sometimes I drive, so the distinction is artificial - I am both".

If this approach really worked, there would be no problem.
There is a problem, so maybe it doesn't work ?
Am I missing something ?

The Only '-ism' in the Village ...

'Bloody hell. Really? You're cyclists. Not a persecuted ethnic group. Get a grip. Nobody is inflaming, apart from this "blogger" '
While Googling to see if this blog is being crawled by Google's spiders, I stumbled across a blog post presenting a viewpoint diametrically opposed to mine !

Yeah, “motorism” isn’t a thing… Reflections and Rants

I, for one, welcome our new Google overlords

more ...

Google's driverless cars have clocked up 700,000 miles around California by late April 2014 - with only two accidents : one occurring in 'manual' mode , one was rear-ended while stopped at lights.
I guess that puts the algorithm in the top 5% of good drivers, but doubt if accurate statistics for humans exist!