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Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Chance of being killed on the road?

Just like their 'Speed kills' soundbite here is another from the DfT. You have a very high 200 to 1 chance of being killed on Britain's roads. 

How do they arrive at this? In the small print it is over a lifetime based on between 75 and 100 years which defeats their own point. 

How soon will the time frame get lost so it becomes a given that the death odds are 200 to 1? 

A more realistic time frame is in any hour. This lessens the odds to a massive 175 Million to one.

 So the odds of being killed in a road accident, on an hour to hour basis, is only 175 Million to 1 folks. Sleep easy.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Letter in Sunday Express 13/10/13

The following letter was published in response to a very shrill article and demands from BRAKE for longer sentencing of drivers who've had an accident. I highlight the published sections.
I am appalled that The Sunday Express is prepared to publish the unchallenged views of the ladies of BRAKE, a charity who have no qualification in road safety, expert driving, or prosecution and sentencing, on the serious issue of jailing drivers.

Allowing human beings to mingle with large essential machinery on the move, operated by people of very varied ability and skill, from sheer economic expediency, is bound to be risky, accident prone and fatal in some cases. Drivers are having to cope with children, adults, cyclists, animals, opposing traffic all in a manner that wouldn’t be tolerated for train drivers and airline pilots who are very highly trained and constantly monitored. So society, having set up this dangerous scenario, wants to jail people when it goes wrong? The numbers may sound shocking but the fact is that, after 300 billion driver miles a year, there’s less death on the road from all causes than from accidents in the home, and about five times less than from NHS failure and the many more from smoking related diseases too but how many NHS staff or tobacconists do we jail?

How can we jail people for an accident where, if it had not been for the horrid coincidence that human flesh intervened, the police wouldn’t have even attended let alone prosecuted for exactly the same action? So BRAKE’s assertion that death means, by definition, intentional dangerous driving is very wide of the mark and evidence that BRAKE should stick to victim support; a subject they at least know about and so far less of a threat to sanity of the road.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Another council seeing road sense. This time 20 zones

From Local Transport Today

Area-wide 20mph limits are not for us – Norfolk

Norfolk County Council has ruled out introducing area-wide 20mph speed limits in its urban areas, saying they deliver little benefit in terms of accident reduction.  The DfT published a new speed limit circular in January,  which supports the implementation of area-wide 20mph speed limits, something the previous 2006 circular advised against (LTT25 Jan).


But Norfolk’s director of environment, transport and development, Mike Jackson, told councillors last week: “Within Norfolk at present, the commitment of funds to the implementation of ‘blanket’ 20mph schemes would not offer good value for money compared to other measures to reduce casualties.”  He added: “The council should continue to prioritise schemes that target reductions in killed and serious injuries and should not divert resources to area-wide 20mph speed restrictions, which offer little benefit in this regard.”


Norfolk is interested in the DfT’s invitation for councils to come forward with applications for 40mph zonal rural speed limits. “There is scope within Norfolk to identify a rural zonal speed limit trial area,” said Jackson. He said the most suitable area would be within the North Norfolk coastal area and that a study would be needed to determine the “extent, costs and benefits”.


Norfolk has just updated its speed management strategy in association with Norfolk Constabulary. References to Home Zones and Quiet Lanes have been deleted in line with their removal from the DfT’s own circular. Norfolk says Home Zones are “principally an issue for new development and are covered in the council’s guidance to developers”.



Drivers must back Pickles. Of course he's right.

From: Local Transport Today

Ban on CCTV enforcement tops Pickles’ list of parking reforms

Andrew Forster

The Government is to ban the use of mobile and static CCTV cameras for enforcing parking rules in England, claiming councils are using the technology to raise revenues.  Communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles announced that the ban would come in early next year, once secondary legislation has been passed.


The Local Government Association has criticised the plans. Tony Ball, vice chairman of the LGA’s economy and transport board, said: “Camera cars have been instrumental in keeping children from being hurt or killed on the way to school and CCTV plays an important role elsewhere in monitoring traffic flow and keeping cars moving.”


Explaining his proposals to the BBC, Pickles disputed the suggestion that the cameras were primarily being used for road safety purposes. “It’s okay for local authorities to say: ‘Oh, it’s all to save the children’,” he said. “No it isn’t. What this is about is raking in pretty large sums of money to fill the council’s coffers. The law is pretty clear, it says you’re not allowed to do that.”


Pickles said councils could continue to enforce parking restrictions in other ways. “How about a traffic warden with a camera? That might work.”


Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Pickles teamed up last week to announce a package of parking reforms would be published in due course including:

  • stopping CCTV being used for on-street parking enforcement
  • new open data on parking to allow the public to ‘go compare’

There will also be proposals for consultation on:

  • updating parking enforcement guidance to support local shops
  • tackling wrongly-issued fines
  • stopping unacceptable parking fine collection practices
  • reviewing unnecessary yellow lines and the scope for residents’ reviews
  • reviewing the grace period for parking offences
  • clamping down on anti-social driving and encouraging social responsibility
  • spreading best practice on supporting town centres and tackling illegal parking
  • analysis of the impact of different transport policies on town centre vitality

“Previously ill thought-out policies have led to an increase in congestion and parking problems on our streets,” said McLoughlin. “By making sensible changes such as providing more parking spaces for local shoppers we can help ease traffic flow whilst supporting our vibrant high streets. Arbitrary parking rules force shoppers online or to out-of-town stores, causing lasting damage to local firms and small shops.”


Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Stephen Joseph this week criticised the plans. In a letter to LTT he says Pickles’ belief that relaxations to parking policies will help struggling high streets is flawed. “It is a plan based on populist anecdote and an imagined past rather than evidence or planning for the high streets that people really want.  Trying to give cars further dominion over our high streets will not change this, nor will it create the kind of environment which will attract shoppers back.”
We say:

Of course Pickles is right. For a start on plain yellow lines parked vehicles must be timed and drivers given time. It's kerb stripes that ban stopping at all for a start.


CCTV cannot do times or see details and faults or even disabled badges. Tickets on windscreens are essential to allow drivers to see what they have done there and then, and take notes or photos and check timings and so on for a defence. CCTV prevents drivers from defending against the ticket which arrives weeks later and so is totally wrong.



Well done Liverpool. Baker shows his anti car credentials for profiteers.

Copied from Local Transport Today
Norman Baker is getting heavy with Liverpool about plans to suspend bus lanes, in case it sets a precedent:

Drop bus lane suspension plan, Baker urges Liverpool’s mayor

Transport Minister Norman Baker this week put pressure on Liverpool’s directly elected mayor, Joe Anderson, to drop a trial suspension of every bus lane in the city.  In a letter to the Labour mayor, Baker says the plan is not “just a matter of local interest” and that suspending the bus lanes will “send out a worrying signal nationally about the importance of excellent public transport, especially in large city areas”.


Liverpool’s cabinet approved plans last week for a nine-month trial suspension of all 24 of the city’s bus lanes, which have been implemented over the last 20 years. The trial is due to come into effect on 21 October. Bus lane signs will be covered up and bus lane enforcement cameras will be switched off or removed and used for other activities, such as monitoring anti-social behaviour.  Council officers say the bus lanes have led to “no clear change in modal shift” towards buses but have worsened traffic congestion and, possibly, air pollution.


Baker this week urged the mayor, who is the driving force behind the plans, to think again.  “I would be concerned if decisions about changes to bus lanes, such as you may wish to take, were taken without the fullest regard to the implications,” he said.   Bus lanes boosted bus punctuality, encouraged modal shift and eased congestion, he added. In addition, “once bus passengers are lost as a result of falling punctuality and reliability, experience suggests they would be hard to win back”.


Baker went on: “If the issue in Liverpool is actually about the effectiveness of specific bus lanes – and I understand that bus operators in Liverpool accept that some work less well than others – can I suggest that a more targeted approach might be appropriate rather than the blanket suspension proposed, including a prior analysis before any suspension is enacted.” 


He said that if the mayor chose to proceed with a trial then it should be conducted together with bus operators and Merseytravel.  Phil Stone, regional managing director, Arriva North West and Wales said: “We are disappointed that the mayor is recommending that Liverpool’s bus lanes are to be removed without any meaningful consultation on the issue.  Any decision that has the potential to result in such a negative impact on city centre traffic, especially in the busy build-up to Christmas, should not be based on ‘gut feeling’, but instead should be as a result of serious, professional investigation and discussion regarding the possible outcomes.”


A Stagecoach spokesman told LTT: “This is a backward step and will have a negative impact on the mode of travel relied on by people on the lowest incomes in Liverpool. We believe the focus for Liverpool should be on more bus priority measures to help drive increased use of public transport – that is the most effective way to reduce pollution and congestion in the city.”


Ron Abbey, Merseytravel’s lead member for buses and a Wirral Labour councillor, told LTT:  “We have to respect the mayor and his wishes. [But] We have the right to try and convince him it’s the wrong decision.”


In recent years Merseytravel has drawn up proposals for a series of Statutory Bus Quality Partnerships (SQBP) for particular bus routes in the conurbation. These would prevent councils from removing bus lanes during the life of the partnership. Liverpool, however, has refused to sign  the SQBP agreements. 


The council says some of the city’s bus lanes force drivers to make a one-mile detour through some of the city’s busiest junctions and that many drivers stay out of the bus lanes even when they’re not operating, thereby worsening congestion.


“Monitoring has identified that some of the bus lanes are underutilised,” the council adds. It says Merseytravel has identified four lanes in the city that are of little value to buses.  “Many other local authorities have suspended of removed bus lanes from their highway networks,” Andy Barr, Liverpool’s divisional manager for highways and transportation told the cabinet. He cited Bristol, Ealing, Birmingham, Derby and Wigan.


The council will study the effect the suspension has on congestion and consider whether any or all of the lanes should be reinstated. It will also consider the conversion of lanes to High Occupancy Vehicle lanes or the implementation of Red Routes, though such measures could only be implemented in the “longer term”.


Phil Stone said Arriva would be happy to work with the city council to develop a city centre movement strategy and investigate how journeys would be affected by the removal of bus lanes.  “We would welcome the opportunity to discuss these issues with the decision-makers within Liverpool City Council, we have written to the mayor’s office and made our views clear but have not, as yet, received a response.”
Our comment.
So when it comes to 20 Zones, a blanket is OK Norman? As is bus companies being allowed to profit from road space owned by all ratepayers and tax payers too? When you half a road, what do you get? Congestion!!