UK drivers: a time to celebrate

 

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A time to celebrate

Drive To Work Day started as a protest against the war on the motorists. We felt we were being persecuted, driving becoming harder, more expensive, parking impossible in many town centres and priority on the roads slowly changing in favour of those poor people who use buses, bicycles and get around on foot. We’d seen a decline in people driving (peak car), and roads and neighborhoods closed for through traffic. Even recently, in Scotland where they have reduced the amount of alcohol allowed in a driver’s blood stream got us down.

Recently things are looking much better. We are getting back on track to restoring the UK as a proud nation of car drivers. It all began when the Department for Transport released its transport modeling data: (This is from 2011 and updated in 2013)

So the government says that the number of trips on foot, by bicycle, by bus and rail will all fall between now and 2040, they also suggest that the number of trips as a car passenger will drop.  Only trips by single occupancy car drivers is set to increase, and to increase significantly.

This is great news! And to accommodate more of us driving, the even better news is that the Government has announced that is is spending £15 billion on more roads. Which will, of course, help the government predictions to come true. (A little like unbuckling our trouser belt to tackle obesity)

We can all do our bit to help ensure that this prophesy comes true.

  • Refuse to carry passengers in your car. As soon as your children are old enough get them a car instead of ferrying them around
  • Never encourage anyone to cycle. Tell them how dangerous cycling is.
  • Campaign for increased rail and bus fares (to help fund the road building). Remember 80 individuals sitting on a bus could each be sitting in a car.
  • Scrap bus lanes so trips by bus are less attractive, longer so encourage people to get a car
  • Call for reduced bus and train services
  • Walking is for losers. Perhaps people who choose to walk should have to go on underground pavements. So there is more room for more drivers above ground

 

And as usual, on 11th December 2014, join us on Drive To Work Day, this year to celebrate the fact that we are winning the war against the motorist. 5 Days to go!

Space for walking

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 Where have all the railings gone?

At Drive to Work Day, we don’t normally worry about people who choose to get around outside of cars. Recently, while driving around town we have noticed more people jaywalking, crossing the road randomly in places where they shouldn’t.

Jaywalker

Since the likelihood of people crossing the road whenever they want has increased many drivers we have spoken to feel that they need to drive more slowly, be more careful, look out for these idiots. Because if we knocked one down, it’s the driver that would get fined and get points on their license, not the pedestrian ( who won’t even be insured).

Why is this happening?

It seems that all over London pedestrian guard railings have been stealthily removed.

Holloway Road then…

 Holloway Road today…

Surely proper segregation between pedestrians and drivers is crucial not just so we can drive around town faster and without having to pay so much attention, also for walkers own safety.

More railings on all A-roads would also prevent drivers mounting pavements and killing people. It seems from the information in the table below, (obtained from this FOI request), 100s of drivers mount the pavement and kill walkers each year.

 Number of deaths where a pedestrian was injured in collision with  a car mounting a pavement in England and Wales, 2006-2010

+————————————————————————+
| Deaths (persons) |
|————————————————————————|
| Year | (a) Pedestrian hit by | (b) Pedestrian hit by |
| | pedal cycle | car,
|——+——————————+———————————-|
| 2006 | 3 | 233 |
|——+——————————+———————————-|
| 2007 | 6 | 267 |
|——+——————————+———————————-|
| 2008 | 3 | 247 |
|——+——————————+———————————-|
| 2009 | 0 | 141 |
|——+——————————+———————————-|
| 2010 | 2 | 123 |
+————————————————————————+

(Also seems that as drivers we kill many more people on pavements than pavement riding cyclists, the bane of us all)

It’s not just guard railings we want put back along all major A roads. we also want the madness that is Shared Space to end.

Leonard Street in Shoreditch London

A place where walkers mix it with cement mixers. Where people queue on the road to buy Falafel, where we have to drive so slowly and so carefully we may as well walk ourselves.

Would you want your 8 year old or 80 year old granny to walk here!?

In addition to our usual reasons for driving to work on December 11th 2014 we would like much better segregation between walkers and drivers on all major A-roads and an end to this Shared Space madness.

Join our campaign use the hashtags: #drive2workday #space4walking

Please stop colliding with our cars!

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We at Drive to Work Day have been astonished by the number of people colliding with our cars. From a recent search we have found that the things that have crashed into our cars include:

Trains

Feral Deer

Cyclists crashing into our doors

A miniature train

collides with mini train

Professional cycle racers

A 3-wheeled bike

Pedestrians (many of these)

Motorbike riders and passengers

Snakes

snake roadkill

…and many more things

In fact we were on a train yesterday which was delayed outside Manningtree because a railway bridge had collided with a car!

What’s a driver to do with all these reckless animals, people and inanimate objects colliding with us? The least you can all do is wear a helmet when you hit us like Charlie here when he collided with one driver who sped round the corner while he was crossing the road:

helmet-large

 

 

London chokes as over a million people drive to work

It’s been a while since the last ‘pea-souper’ in London.

Today, because millions of drivers took to their cars for Drive to Work Day, the streets were filled with a thick dense smog.

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Good to see that the Met was taking our protest seriously and had sent traffic police and PCSOs to keep an eye on things at many junctions in the across the city:

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One again we’d like to thanks everyone who drove to work today creating such a lovely atmosphere across London and other parts of the country.

Tweet your pictures and stories using #dtwd @drivetoworkday

(Where were the bicyclers? We found only one on our drive, can you spot him?)

Drive

See you all on Thursday 11th December 2014

Have a lovely Drive to Work toDay!

 

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Here’s a quick reminder why we are driving to work today;

Worried by the war on the motorist?

Pissed off by the price of petrol?

Annoyed by the arrogance of cyclists and bus users?

Then leave your bike at home, your bus pass in the drawer, your walking shoes in the cupboard and join thousands of others on Wednesday 11th December for London’s second Drive to Work Day.

Experience the rush, the freedom of London streets empty of pesky cyclers and walkers. Laugh as you whizz by the empty buses and tubes.

We are also driving to work to:

We also welcome fellow supporters who, like us, are mad. Mad about driving and mad about the treatment of drivers.

The Driver’s Union    (@DriverUnion) and Drive East Midlands  (@EastMidsDrivers) will be joining us (as will Kieth Peat if his dog  @KeithPeatsDog lets him)

Ghost Cars?

Drivers kill other drivers (though we don’t kill as many fellow drivers as we do walkers and bikers)

While driving around London we notice the many roadside memorials marking places where people on bikes (Ghost bikes) and pedestrians (Remember Me memorials) have died. While this may help the family to mark and  to remember their loss, these roadside memorials also serve campaigners for cycling and walking since they point out the consequence of our behavior as drivers. While it is true that motorists are responsible for the majority of the killing and injuring (seems that despite the menace pavement cyclists pose they don’t kill many people), we are underrepresented when it comes to marking the road death of a brother or sister driver.

While I’m sure Roadpeace would be happy for us to mark places where drivers have died with Remember Me plaques, we ought to show the same respect and solidarity as the cycling community and mark the locations where fellow drivers died with Ghost Cars just to remind people that we drivers can also be victims and die in ‘accidents’

 

Scrap bus lanes for more space for driving

londonbus

Meet Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool and a motorists’ hero:

Our hero

Joe Our hero

Joe has scrapped all bus lanes in Liverpool  He said “Keeping the city moving for our motorists… is absolutely vital, … it’s important …”. He has rightly ignored objections from the cabbies, bus companies and cyclists. Those self interested groups would object. Where it is made harder to drive, people are more likely to get on buses or on bikes: (like the madness in London where in some places more people get to work out of their cars than in their cars as we reported in our last post). Whilst the Liverpool bus lane removal is a trial, we are sure that it will encourage people to get off the buses, off their bikes and back into their cars. If this gets more people driving we’ll judge this as a great success. (It’s a shame about Sheffield Council backing down from such a positive move that would help make driving easier.)

Fellow drivers, we need to lobby our town councils to do the same and scrap all bus lanes in the UK. Another reason to join in and drive to work on 11 December.

What’s wrong with bus lanes?

Why should bus passengers, cyclists, taxi passengers be given cyclinginbuslanespace and priority over drivers who pay tax and good money to run and maintain a car? Drivers in London who use a bus lane get fined £80. This is strictly enforced by cameras (unlike the good old days when we could drive in the bus lane and get away with it.) How often do drivers sit in a jam delayed while the bus lane is empty? Bus passengers get to use bus lanes, paying only a couple of quid for their bus trip and cyclists use it for free! Some taxis can use them and some can’t. (Famously Addison Lee boss attempted unsuccessfully, to invade bus lanes.)

Why should cyclists be allowed in bus lane?

You’d think bicycle riders should steer clear of bus lanes. You’d think bikes and buses shouldn’t mix as do we. (We’ve already written about where cyclists belong: off the roads and in bike lanes out of driver’s way).

bus driver training

We were shocked to learn that London bus drivers have training on bicycles, where they learn how to share a bus lane with a person on a bike, they learn to hang back, pass cyclists wide and slowly and learn to be patient. What an outrageous waste of taxpayers money which encourages cycling on our roads. We have also learnt that some bus drivers take up cycling after this training.

We really don’t need more people on bikes!

Maybe we should campaign to scrap all buses, not just the bus lanes. There would be so much more space for motoring on our roads if we got rid of them; many more people would take up driving.

Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?

olympicbus

 

 

 

Hackney, London: the worst place for driving?

Kingsland HighstreeAfter reading in the Evening Standard that more people cycle than drive to work in Hackney we went for a drive there to see why people hardly use cars in that inner London Borough.

We knew we were off to a bad start when the only map we could find marked all the bike shops in that Borough. It got much worse very quickly.

We started our drive at 10am from the North Western point of Hackney near Finsbury Park. Planning to head South we turned off the A503 to get to Stoke Newington. We were thwarted by a road block (which annoyingly allowed bicyclists through).

We made a u-turn back to the A503 and traveled the long way round. We drove along the A105 (Green Lanes) and attempted to head back into Hackney.

We saw this sign:

Not only was there no through route for drivers just access for the local residents of those streets and bicyclists, the speed limit was only 20mph. We began to notice that there was hardly anyone driving at all. Lots of space for cycling and walking.

We decided to head to the A10, the Kingsland High road. Surely there we will get back to the normal driving nirvana that is usual in British towns. We turned onto Stoke Newington Church Street (B104) to more disappointment, there were people on foot on bikes and on the bus but hardly anyone driving a car!

Driving along the B104 was fine though pretty slow. Not only was there a 20mph speed limit and many places for people to cross, there were many people crossing randomly on their phones and people cycling in the middle of the lane. What happened to the guard railings to keep people out of the way? Why aren’t there separate bike lanes to keep the cyclists out our path (We didn’t see even one separate bike lane  during the whole trip, just whole roads turned into cycle roads)

Turning left off the B104 we drove down a narrow road with road humps moving at about 8mph and to our extreme annoyance we came across another of those road blocks, a short cut for bicyclers.

And to add insult to injury there was a group of school pupils and some teachers riding through the road block laughing (at us it seemed). They weren’t even wearing helmets! We headed to the A10 planning to drive through little road we know of old, John Campbell Road.

Past the Rio Cinema leading to the A10. We couldn’t drive through. It was a space for people of all ages standing chatting, people parking bikes, even people cycling through encouraged by a dropped kerb, but no space for cars.

After another U-turn we reached the A10. It was a nightmare. Almost no one driving, the pedestrian guard rails replaced by cycle racks. People walking riding shopping or just hanging-out chatting in the quiet street. We missed the reassuring buzz of car engines and the slight sulfurous scent of exhaust fumes. It was especially galling to encounter the Hackney equivalent of the lovable white van man. The cargo-bike man (and woman as we later discovered). The local baker delivers bread across Hackney on a cargo bike! (We saw him 3 times that morning and later a woman delivering her 3 children from school in a similar bike). Wishing to escape to normality we headed to Mare Street planning a cheeky short cut through Ashwin Street to the A104 at Dalston Junction. And guess what … another blocked road (for cars) with people sitting drinking coffee, sneering and laughing as we u-turned again. Totally humiliating especially as the cyclers swanned past.

At last Mare Street. It was a ‘mare’  To the North, the Narrow Way, once a mecca of engine noise, buses fumes, cars and their drivers with occasional pedestrian or bicyclists squeezing by had become a place for walking.

And what of Mare Street itself, the heart of Hackney, the Town Hall and municiple centre at midday bathed in Autumn sunlight. Would we find some respite, a little traffic, some va va vroom, a break from this people friendly slowed down Borough where there is more space for cycling and walking than for driving?

Mare Street had been narrowed, tamed, the pedestrian railings removed, the speed limit lowered, the pavement widened. Street life and cafe culture springing up where once we drivers had been king. It was all so depressing. There was something in the air in Hackney quite distasteful  to old petrol-heads like us.

In fact there was really something in the air, a strange smell we couldn’t place, not the usual farty fumey piney car smell we love, something altogether different. We paid the extortionate parking fee left the car and followed our noses heading to London Fields and came upon this smelly wild flower meadow (that would make fine car park):

So fellow drivers take our advice and steer clear of the London Borough of Hackney if you are looking for some  clear space for driving.