Monday, 19 December 2011

Carnage on Cycling Supercrapway 7 tonight

I came as close to a collision as I have in a very long time tonight. A pedestrian ran into the centre of the road from behind some parked cars. She wasn't looking as she was running across the road. If she had looked before leaving the pavement she wouldn't have seen me as I couldn't see her because of the legally parked cars in the cycling superhighway blocking our view of each other. Thanks to my training I was well in the middle of the general traffic lane and had time to bellow nonsensically while doing an emergency stop.

If this was a proper cycling superhighway the problem wouldn't have occurred because the bloody cars wouldn't have been there.

On the cycle Bypass at E&C a motorist and a pedestrian crossing had collided. The car, which was on the pavement when I first saw it had been taken away but the damage remained. The crossing had been taped off to pedestrians and the lights were stuck on green for the motor traffic, meaning that pedestrians and cyclists on the superhighway had to gamble their way across the multiple traffic lanes. Why didn't the authorities put the motor traffic lane on red and force the motorists to decide when the way was clear? (By the way the light at the bottom of the traffic light in the picture above isn't a green light, it's TfL's sign, for cheapskate reasons, prohibiting cyclists from a desirable right turn into the bus and cycle lane).

Further up the road just before Southwark Bridge, under the railway bridge, roadworks are going on. Where are the signs telling the bloody motorists to get out of your car and push it, like the cyclists are asked to do for some lack of reason.

Finally, in the City of London, the cyclist push-and-wait traffic lights at the junction of Queen Street and Queen Victoria Street weren't working as has been the case for a good three weeks now. Clearly no-one in the City's highways department cycles over Southwark Bridge in a month of Sundays.

This kind of shit provision and consideration for cyclists and pedestrians is another reason why I'll be at the Vigil outside Kings Cross at 6pm this Tuesday.

If anyone from TfL or the City of London reads this, as well as everyone else, please go and see the wonderful film 'Urbanized' at the Barbican to the 23rd December, to see what changes are needed and why London's cycling and walking provision needs major improvement, not tinkering while smoothing the car carnage.


Paul M said...

Like your use of the word "collide". I suppose I am going to sound a bit anal but lately I have been getting quite cross about the misuse of this word. My local rag the Surrey Advertiser recently reported on a pedestrian who "collided with" a car at a pedestrian crossing near Guildford. The ES reports on cyclists "colliding with" motor vehicles.

I dusted off my "Shorter" Oxford English Dictionary which was not hugely helpful. (To collide is defined as to be in collision with, or two object to strike each other violently. Collision is defined as where moving objects (plural)collide, or come into violent contact with each other.) What can clearly be inferred however is that collision involves more than one object each of which strikes the other violently when they meet.

So, your use is obviously facetious - a stationary object cannot by definition collide so a moving object cannot by definition collide with it.

Similarly, while no doubt a pedestrian is capable of colliding, eg one rugby front-row with another, a pedestrian cannot by definition collide with 1.5 tonnes or more of fast-moving steel - there has to be force and violence from both sides, not just one. A cyclist is perhaps not quite so clear cut, but I think the same applies.

Why does it matter? Because the language softens and blurs the truth, which is that the pedestrian or cyclist is entirely a victim in this event and in no way a perpretator. It iw weasel wording, an attempt to deflect the responsibility and blame from where it belongs. I am tempted to write to the Surrey Ad to complain, just remembering not to use green ink this time.

Charlie Holland said...

Absolutely a facetious use of the word collide. I'm still trying to work out how the driver managed to hit the post.

Have you noticed how journaliste tend to write 'cyclist collided with car' rather than 'car collided with cyclist'. While neither determine blame it is difficult not to read it as the first named having greater responsibility.

sheridan said...

As a matter of interest, if 'accident' and 'collision' are out, what term should we use for such 'incident's?

Charlie Holland said...

A car and cycle collided / were in a collision today and xyz resulted


A motorist and cyclist collided / were in a collision....

dr2chase said...

"Crash". It's a noun, it's a verb, it's a floor wax.

Or perhaps, "drove". A car drove into a cyclist, who was badly injured in the resulting crash. Also "veer", "swerve", "run down".