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.

Nominations for the best town for driving award 2014

Our first nomination for this award goes to Stone in Staffordshire

What makes Stone such a great place great to drive?

  • Stone has lots of parking spaces

We visited Stone Staying at the excellent Stone House Hotel 


Note the limited parking space in this old picture. Now the excellent hotel has removed the lawn to make place for many more cars to park

There’s not even one cycle rack.

(This poor cyclists struggled to get his bike through the warren of passages in this quaint hotel to his room

                    

Hehe)

You can park on the pedestrian precinct

You can park behind most shops and banks on the high street.

  • In Stone parking is free or cheap

£3 a day to park in town

Parking is free if you drive to health centre

  • Stone has clear separate space for driving

Barriers help prevent walkers from getting in the way and those pavements make it difficult to walk. Walkers are safely behind barriers decorated with flowers that can best be seen from a car. It maybe hard to cross the road on foot but no-one really needs to walk anywhere. Restaurants and pubs all have good sized car parks.

Most of the space in town is given to people who choose to drive. Locals would rather drive the short distance to work in town rather than walk or cycle since driving is so easy. The town centre is surrounded by a multi-lane gyratory which makes passing through Stone easy for people driving from Stafford to Stoke-On-Trent. Some people would rather drive through Stone than use the motorway (see map below).

There are some problems with this as noted on a local website A Little Bit of Stone. It seems that people who work within the ring road gyratory can’t get their cars out of the centre car parks after work because all the other drivers enjoying the space for driving.

  • Stone has great views for drivers passing through

The pretty town centre looks best through the windscreen of a car. The railing by the road are decorated with flowers as part of Stone on Bloom. So beautiful we’d rather spend the day riding round the ring road than walking round a National Trust garden

  • In Stone you can drive anywhere

Driving along the pedestrian precinct is fine. You can’t cycle there, (note the ‘cyclists dismount’ sign) and no one seems (needs) to walk there.

You can drive on the grass in the recreational spaces around the town

  • Stone people tolerate a little collateral damage

 

A little pollution, noise,occasional congestion, obesity, heart disease and the occasional injury or death are a small price to pay for the freedom to drive

Stone is only 3 miles across


View Larger Map

Which is why we nominate Stone, Staffordshire

for Best Town For Motoring Award 2014

Which town will you nominate?

Great plan from Boris

Not ‘Bonkers’

Roger Lawson of the Alliance of British Drivers is wrong when he objected to £913m being spent on a scheme that favours cyclists over other road users in London. (As reported by the BBC)

The Mayors vision For Cycling pdf available here

It is self evident from the picture on the front of his cycling plan that London Mayor Boris Johnson, and his sidekick cycling Czar Andrew Gilligan are doing a great service to London’s ‘beleaguered drivers’. By promising to build separated cycle lanes all over London. (And from that artists impression it looks like the cyclers won’t be able to leave their little lane)

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Drive along the Victoria Embankment today, you’ll encounter cyclists all over the road

Not for long, once that segregated cycle East-West cycle lane gets built they’ll be out of our way. A small tweak in the law could then ban them from riding on our roads.

Another reason Mr. Lawson is wrong is that these lanes may well encourage some ‘drivers’, who would like to cycle but are scared to because of… er, drivers, to give cycling a go which will leave more room on the roads for the rest of us.

As to Boris’ plan to “de-Lycrafy cycling” making it look like a normal activity. That would do everyone a favour.