Commuting

Will

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Recently, I've been commuting to work by bike. This has brought to my attention the silly amount of time that car drivers spend stuck in traffic, just waiting to move. I have been thinking about how congestion could be removed.

A) More Roads - This is a bit of a non-starter, more roads just get filled up, and you've got a bigger jam.

B) Discourage Car Use - Use a stick, rather than a carrot. More fuel tax, more bus lanes, toll roads, congestion charging.

C) Better / Cheaper Public Transport - free buses / trains, paid for with raised fuel tax and/or money current ear-mark for road improvements

D) Better Bicycle Facilities - Secure bicycle parking in towns, grants for showers in the workplace...not essential, but I'm adding my own bias here.

Feel free to pitch in with comments/suggestions/discussion...that's why I posted. :)
 

Tom

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Teach drivers to respect cyclists, fine drivers who park in cycle lanes.

Also, send all the MPs over to the Netherlands to see how traffic management should be done.
 

Talyn

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At my old workplace, when they moved to new offices, they asked the staff about what they would like in the new building. The most resounding noise was "showers".

Once it was built, in the space of 12 months, the showers were used about twice, and the 'management' had them removed for more office space!
 

xane

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One of the major contributors to urban traffic congestion is the "school run", parents taking kids to school and back in the SUV often in distances of under 3 miles. Ironically, the excuse given is its unsafe for them to walk as there's too much traffic on the roads !

My solution would be to (a) set up free American style School Buses doing regular trips at school travel times, and (b) introduce visible community officers on regular buses to put the smackdown on all the yobs.

London Transport have recently introduced a free fare for all under-11s, bet this wont make an ounce of difference though, basically because I often think twice risking my child on a bus full of loud and unruly yobs, the kind of which I see _every day_ on my bus to work (usually other schoolkids).

Not too mention the cnuts that drink booze and smoke (tobacco/dope) at bus stops in front of kids (and sometimes actually on the bus, but hey that £1000 fine is very convincing to a 14yo), and the intimidatory atmosphere created at the back of the bus that reduces capacity. I personally don't give in to the backseat bullies and regularly get threatened for my pains.
 

bigbb

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When I was last in Switzerland I discovered for the first time why bus drivers in some areas (Particularly around Lausanne) get stressed when I have to pay. Because everyone just walks on and off the bus as they please. It's run and paid for by local taxes. How fucking ideal, to be frank.

Here, I have to pay £1.95 (£1.15 one-way) to go about a mile down the road and back. Utterly disgraceful. It goes up 5pence nearly every other month.

Though I must admit, we are fairly pioneering here. We have electronic boards on some bus stops, which tell you when the next one is coming and where it's going etc. But on bus stops without this rather fancy feature, with no or out of date timetable you're left with phoning the helpline. Now, after a couple of Sherries on an evening out, or even getting home late on the train I find it baffling that this helpline closes at about 5pm. No answer machine, no automated service, no nothing. Just rings and rings. You're left debating whether the last bus has gone, whether to wait or take a 12 month finance package to pay for a taxi.

Hence, I go everywhere on bike or by walking. Which when I'm freezing and tired is really quite depressing.
 

Deadmanwalking

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Aye, we have the same here. Electronic boards saying when the buses will arrive etc. The bus tickets are £1.20 though.

And it's putting vast amounts of school kids on the buses that causes the whole 'backseat' problem.

Make em walk.
 

Will

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Edinburgh has a great bus service. Fares capped at £1 (all day ticket for £1.80), timetables at every bus stop, and I don't get any hassle on buses. Even when I have bright red hair.
 

Driwen

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Tom said:
Also, send all the MPs over to the Netherlands to see how traffic management should be done.
in netherlands only kids bike to stuff though. Most adults use bikes for shopping (unless its to much and you need a car to transport it) and other stuff thats nearby, but going to work is still done by car. Off course if the parents bringing their kids to school is causing problems, getting more people to bike might solve the problem (except it creates the problem of lots of kids biking with poor lighting :p).

To get people to use bikes/public transport to get to work, you need to make that attractive as atleast in the netherlands people really dont want to leave their cars. Ow and getting your transport to run reliably is probably more important than getting it cheap (unless you make riding cars horribly expensive).
 

Cdr

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Tom said:
Teach drivers to respect cyclists, fine drivers who park in cycle lanes.

Also, send all the MPs over to the Netherlands to see how traffic management should be done.
Teach cyclists to use cycle lanes that the council has spent money on building instead of riding on the road or on the path. Fine all cyclists that dont use them.

Teach cyclists to wait at red lights, not to jump on the path to avoid waiting then jump back on the road after the traffic lights.

Teach cyclists that people waiting at zebra crossings mean that they have to stop aswell.

Teach cyclists that they have to abide by the rules of the road as much as car drivers. Use a stick, not a carrot - allow car drivers to run cyclists over who they see not following the law.
 

Will

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Cdr said:
Teach cyclists to use cycle lanes that the council has spent money on building instead of riding on the road or on the path. Fine all cyclists that dont use them.
I don't have to use a cyclepath if I don't want to. Some of them are in a terrible state, and they tend to be full of glass / potholes. Any cyclist needs to assert themselves on the road, including moving out to stop anyone overtaking where they might be tempted to squeeze past (traffic islands etc).

Agreed about the red lights and zebra crossings though. If I break them, I don't have a right to bitch about car drivers pissing me off.
 

Cdr

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Will said:
I don't have to use a cyclepath if I don't want to. Some of them are in a terrible state, and they tend to be full of glass / potholes. Any cyclist needs to assert themselves on the road, including moving out to stop anyone overtaking where they might be tempted to squeeze past (traffic islands etc).

Agreed about the red lights and zebra crossings though. If I break them, I don't have a right to bitch about car drivers pissing me off.
What gets me is, particularly about the riding on the path is cycle lane is right next to the path. The cyclist would only have to move a few inches to the right and he'd be in it - yet they insist on riding on the path.

I do however avoid overtaking cyclists next to traffic islands.
 

Will

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Riding on the pavement is illegal anyway, as well as more dangerous than cycling on the road proper.
 

Cdr

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Will said:
Riding on the pavement is illegal anyway, as well as more dangerous than cycling on the road proper.
Yup, but as long as the police are out fining car drivers for speeding, they can ignore the little offences.
 

Tom

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Not that I disagree in principle Cdr, but its really not quite that simple. Cycle lanes on the whole are in a poor state, often containing the detritus washed from the road by the rain. Mainly dirt, glass, twigs, bottles, and whatever else that won't fit down a drain. Also, many cycle lanes are blocked by parked cars.

I refuse to use a cycle lane that forces me to stop at a junction, to let cars onto the road I'm cycling along. I also refuse to use cycle lanes on roundabouts, as I think they're more dangerous. I tend to hog the entire lane, and let nobody overtake me, in these situations.

Regarding pavements, if I view it safe to do so, I'll quite happily jump onto a pavement, across the pelican crossing, and back onto the road on the other side.

This isn't aimed at anyone in particular, but whenever the old cyclists vs motorists argument arises, its the same old stereotypes that are brought to the fore. I would like to know how many of the 3500 deaths anually on the UK's roads are caused by cyclists.

BTW Xane, I'm trying to find the statistics, but I'm fairly certain that the roads are no less dangerous now then they were 10 or 20 years ago. Its all down to perception, and if I have kids they'll be walking to school, even if they have to cross 20 dual carriageways to get there.


/edit: found some statistics on road deaths
 

xane

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Cdr said:
Yup, but as long as the police are out fining car drivers for speeding, they can ignore the little offences.
I think you'll find the dangerous nature of the way bikes are ridden acts as a kind of prevention of it getting out of hand, the fact being if you ride like a twat you end up being a dead twat (the numerous bunches of flowers tied to railings along my bus route confirms this).

Speeding car drivers often cause accidents that they are not necessarily involved in, there is no real self-preservation going on and no incentive to stop doing it, most boy racers are already at the top end of their insurance claims anyway, why should they give a fuck if they dent someone elses car ?

Lots of jaywalkers cause accidents too, but then again, it normally becomes their final accident in life, problem solved.
 

Will

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I'm not in charge of the police. *shrugs*

Though they should beat up cyclists without lights imho.
 

xane

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Tom said:
BTW Xane, I'm trying to find the statistics, but I'm fairly certain that the roads are no less dangerous now then they were 10 or 20 years ago. Its all down to perception,
I was just quoting the normal excuse, and I agree it is down to perception as the amount of cars travelling along the pavement is exactly the same :)

Don't forget the millions of kiddie fiddlers who regularly drive about in those cars either !
 

Cdr

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Tom said:
This isn't aimed at anyone in particular, but whenever the old cyclists vs motorists argument arises, its the same old stereotypes that are brought to the fore. I would like to know how many of the 3500 deaths anually on the UK's roads are caused by cyclists.
Thats a no-brainer.

There's far more cars on the road than cyclists, so obviously the percentage of car accidents to cycle ones is gonna be much higher. Its like comparing apples and pears. You're going to get injured much more by a car than you ever will by a bicycle, so regardless of the speed or the type of accident you're more likely to be killed by getting hit by a car than you are a bicycle.

And from what I've seen around my area, the cycle lanes are perfectly maintained - infact, they're better maintained than the actual roads.
 

Tom

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I think if you broke down those statistics proportionately, you'd still find that cyclists were responsible for almost zero road deaths, even if you took an average over 10 years or so.

This is why it is more important to penalise drivers than cyclists for traffic offenses. And I'm not some new-age hippy who doesn't drive, I drive about 20k a year, most cyclists also drive a car, so we can see both sides of the argument.

In the end, drivers (even I'm guilty of this) see a car as an extension of their private space, and rue giving up an inch of that privilige, to anybody.
 

Cdr

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Tom said:
I think if you broke down those statistics proportionately, you'd still find that cyclists were responsible for almost zero road deaths, even if you took an average over 10 years or so.
Like I say, you can't compare cars to bicycles - you get hit by a car you've got a higher chance of being killed than you are getting hit by a bicycle.

xane said:
I think you'll find the dangerous nature of the way bikes are ridden acts as a kind of prevention of it getting out of hand, the fact being if you ride like a twat you end up being a dead twat (the numerous bunches of flowers tied to railings along my bus route confirms this).
I dont see how people riding on paths would cause the cyclist to die, which is what we are talking about here and was what my statement was in relation to. Riding on paths is illegal (as Will pointed out), but how many cyclists do you see being fined for doing that? Almost 0 I'm guessing.

Yes, people who cycle dangerously will be wiped out, but riding on paths *isn't* dangerous.
 

Will

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How many people do you see fined for driving with the fog-lights on, or for an illegal font on their number plates? None, I'll bet. You can't hold it against the majority of cyclists because a few break the law, and the police decide they have better things to do with their time.
 

Cdr

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Will said:
How many people do you see fined for driving with the fog-lights on, or for an illegal font on their number plates? None, I'll bet. You can't hold it against the majority of cyclists because a few break the law, and the police decide they have better things to do with their time.
Obviously, I can only speak from what I've seen. And from my experience the people riding on paths are in the majority. Like I've said, this is from what I've seen, and my not be indicative of cyclists across the country.

And if all the cyclists who use FH ride on the road / cycle lanes then all credit to you.

I'm not going to get into an argument over which camp is better, I originally put the cyclists wrong doings down to give a more balanced view, and it isnt just the car drivers in the wrong all the time.
 

Will

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Fair enough. I get annoyed at lack of lights, or cycling on the pavement, just the same as I get annoyed at fog-lights without fog. I'm of the opinion that cycling on the pavement is for children under 12 (local by-law), not for everyone.

Now, back on topic, bitches.:eek:
 

GekuL

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Very unlikely to see any such thing in my lifetime, but a seperate network of cyclepaths that are longer than 100 metres would be nice. Most routes in my area are just signposts on normal roads. What's the point in that?
 

RandomBastard

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Putting up tax on fuel is just a crap idea, its already some ridiculous figure like 80% tax. It doesnt stop people who own cars from using them as a lot of them can afford it. Making public transport better is what needs to be done, but everyone says that and nothing happens. Here in sheffield we have trams which are great compared to busses, but they dont extend far enough, if they did id prolly buy some sort of tram pass.
 

Will

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But even if buses were free, people probably would still choose to use their cars. People are like that. You need a stick and a carrot. Otherwise they either ignore the carrot, or complain about the stick.
 

xane

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Cdr said:
I dont see how people riding on paths would cause the cyclist to die, ... but riding on paths *isn't* dangerous
You obviously have never cycled into a pedestrian, I have (inadvertantly*) and I can certainly tell you I've suffered enough injuries to learn to avoid them, what makes you think a cyclist will ever come out of such a collision unharmed ?

Maybe I wont die from it, but it hurts a lot when you come off, even at low speeds, that's an incentive not to do it.

Compare that to zero injuries sustained when you are in a car colliding with a bike or pedestrian, no real incentive to avoid them really.

* disclaimer; the pedestrian was actually a pissed-up idiot thinking that jumping out in front of me would be a bit of a laugh, I was actually on the road at the time, I don't make a habit of riding on pavements if I can help it.
 

KevinUK

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Public transport sucks, a car is the only way to get about. The few times I have used a bus were rubbish, they dont stop unless its their 'designated stop' so they drove past where I would have liked to have got off and carried on driving for 2 miles meaning I HAD to walk back 2 miles from where the bus had just been! :(

Dont get me started on how long I waited at the bus stop too. :twak:
 

Chameleon

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Will said:
B) Discourage Car Use - Use a stick, rather than a carrot. More fuel tax, more bus lanes, toll roads, congestion charging.

C) Better / Cheaper Public Transport - free buses / trains, paid for with raised fuel tax and/or money current ear-mark for road improvements

D) Better Bicycle Facilities - Secure bicycle parking in towns, grants for showers in the workplace...not essential, but I'm adding my own bias here.
... just about has it covered imo .... or that's a least where it has to start.

I commute to work by bicycle, but I also do about 12k per annum in the car. However I do still think that the government has got to tax/charge people off the roads/out of their cars and into other forms of transport. It's the only way. Same as reducing smoking - tax it till they can't afford it imo (and I felt the same 8 months ago when I was a smoker too).
Our local authority is in the early stages of a 'bendy-bus' initiative, which should offer rapid transport throughout the city, hopefully negating the need for people to bring their cars. This should reduce the working week commuter traffic, if nothing else.
My place of work has both a locking cycle cage and shower facilities and is half waythrough building a new shower block now. The amount of people cycling to work has simply exploded in the last year or so and can only increase once the new facilities are built and made more widely known about. There is still a problem with public facilities though. You just can't leave your bike anywhere in public, even if it's locked up ..... but then if cycling became more commonplace, I'm sure it would follow that either a) it would be safer to leave your bike in public or b) bikes would be so common that we'd all just ride generic crappy old 'through away' bikes that didn't matter, such as seems to be the case in places like Amsterdam.

One problem still remains though ..... people are lazy basts generally. You can't have missed all the statistics about the rise in obesity in this country. The thought occurs that unless people take proper responsibility of their lives and their health, it doesn't matter what better alternative transport options or facilities were offerred, people would go for the easy 'fat bast' option anyway.

Ewwwww the old cyclists vs motorists thing ..... well, I both cycle and drive regularly and so know full well that the usual arguments from the motorists perspective can 99% of the time be put down to the "I own the road, get out of my way, I'm in a hurry here!" attitude. The trouble is, you dent your car, the cyclist gets killed. Simple as that. We've all done it before and I can see it on the faces on the drivers who do it to me.

/rant over, flame away!
 

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