Tuesday, 27 September 2011

EU agree on 20mph speed limit

After the disheartening response to the campaign to give Blackfriars Bridge a 20mph speed limit, it is great to read that the European Parliament has voted in favour of an EU-wide 30kph (18.6 mph) speed limit in residential areas. The resolution as it currently stands is not legally binding but indicates that the EU “strongly recommends the responsible authorities to introduce speed limits of 30 km/h in all residential areas and on single-lane roads in urban areas which have no separate cycle lanes.”

"Today marks a decisive day in making a 30kph speed limit an accepted practice throughout Europe," said a statement from the European Cyclists' Federation. But it is not just cyclists who are in favour of a 20mph speed limit. The Institute of Advanced Motorists released a poll last month in which two thirds of its members supported the adoption of a 20mph speed limit.

The EU are in support of the report of Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, which gave considerable mention to cyclists, as vulnerable road users. The Koch Report is now the European Parliament’s position on road safety and will have to be taken into consideration when the Commission puts forward proposals and initiatives.

The Koch Report states that vulnerable road users (such as riders of motorcycles, mopeds, cyclists and pedestrians) are significant, and their safety needs have not been addressed. In fact, accidents involving these road users are increasing and in 2008 they represented 45% of all road deaths and statistics.

Other ideas promoted by the report include increasing the data collection and analysis for accidents to aid the understanding of crashes and risks, such as by installing event data recorders (‘black boxes’), in professional vehicles.

Monday, 26 September 2011

As if 20 Tour stage wins (including three on the Champs-Elysées), the green jersey, stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España, the Vuelta's points jersey and victory in the Milan-San Remo classic two years ago were not enough, Cavendish still found himself, only a few weeks ago, sitting on a breakfast TV sofa and being asked if he rode his bike to the shops. They will have to take him seriously now.
Well said....and congratulations to Mark Cavendish and Team GB.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Paralympian on Road to Recovery

I am glad to read that Simon Richardson, the paralympian recently in a life threatening cycling accident, is on the road to recovery…although this is likely to take 2-3 years.

He suffered fractures to his spine, a broken pelvis, and a broken breast bone, in the accident, and will be missing the 2012 paralympics. This must be hugely disappointing for him, especially as he won two gold medals and a silver at Beijing in 2008. However, he has vowed to keep on cycling - a truly inspirational man.

Cardboard Cycle Helmet

I’ve been reading about the fascinating developments in the cardboard cycle helmet.
I am still not convinced that helmets should have so much focus, when they play such a small part in overall cycling safety….but this is still definitely one technological advance to keep an eye on:


Misleading article on cycling?

I enjoy reading how cycling is developing in different countries, and I today read this interesting article on cycling in the Waterloo region of Canada.

The headine of the article shouts “cyclists at fault in majority of bike-vehicle collisions”. This is a shame, because most people will stop reading there, with their prejudices against cyclists intact. The article actually goes on to tackle the more useful issue of why cyclists are on the sidewalks in the first place (which leads to the proloferation of accidents) as it not exactly the most convenient place for someone to choose to cycle.

Eleanor McMahon, founder of the Ontario Share the Road Coalition, says “do you know why they ride on the sidewalks? Because they don’t feel safe riding on the roads.” The discussion moves on to the important point of education for cyclists and drivers, which is clearly a good step, although perhaps there should be more emphasis placed on education for drivers.

The article finishes up with a “year-round cyclist” giving his views. Sadly, the blame still seems to be on changing how cyclists behave. He states that bikes needs to be sold with quality lighting, “as in Europe” (really?!) rather than as an add on and then he suggests that having more cycling infrastructure that separates vehicles and bicycles is the way forward.

However, he goes on to the stronger point that ”legislation is needed that requires cars to stay at least one metre away from bicycles when passing”. This may sound a bit far fetched in the UK, and its enforceability may be another thing, but it is actually already a law in Nova Scotia.

I would rather 1.5 metres clearance but it is a step in the right direction…..in fact, on a morning cummute in London, a metre clearance from passing cars would be a luxury!