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Monday, 28 July 2008

Not enough cash to make a real difference

The city council plans to spend £180,000 over the next three years to improve cycling routes in Nottingham.

It’s not a lot of money. It might bring some small improvements for cyclists but it’s hardly likely to see a mass movement of people abandoning their cars and taking to two wheels.

Which is a shame because the city would benefit in so many ways.

I suspect the project is likely to produce a series of small improvement which cyclists will appreciate but fall short of the major new routes that are really needed.

Hopefully the money will not be spent on creating more ‘cycle paths’ like the ones in Netherfield, on the hill as you approach the railway crossing.

They appear out of nowhere at a couple of junctions, run for about 25ft and then end.
What is the point? They look like someone wanted to use up a barrow load of red Tarmac from another project

If you know of a dafter, or more dangerous path, please let me know by commenting below.

Safe riding

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Cyclists are not the enemy

Cyclists have enough dangers to contend with without other cyclists smashing into them.
But that’s what happened to one rider in Nottingham, who was using a cycle path when another cyclist rode off the pavement and hit her.
The result - the victim had to have her spleen removed.
Police are now clamping down on pavements cyclists, dishing our fines and stern warnings.
Anyone caught like this cannot moan - the law is clear, if you break it, you pay the price.
I have no sympathy for adults caught on the pavement, but many such riders are youngsters who have probably been encouraged to ride there by worried parents.
And fewer adults would be tempted into breaking the law if the roads were safer.
There seems to be an unwarranted backlash against cyclists following media coverage of a tragic accident. Indeed one national newspaper ran articles which painted cyclists as the scourge of the road (one, ironically, written by a taxi driver).
Cycling is healthy, low cost and environmentally friendly and now is the ideal time to be pushing it as an alternative form of commuter transport.
Clamp down on the lawbreakers, but provide proper facilities for those who stick to the rules of the road - and help the environment.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Respect is the route to safety

What a terrible tragedy that a young girl should die because a cyclist ran into her, having shouted at her to move when he could have swerved around her.
Her parents are angry the rider was only convicted of dangerous cycling and fined £2,200 - not even the maximum.
Who can blame them?
Another family is grieving; a lorry driver in Hampshire was fined £250 for careless driving after pulling out of a junction and killing a cyclist.
Both punishments seem paltry when put against the loss of a life, and the families deserve justice, but is that really the point of these two stories?
Surely the lesson to be learned is that everyone who uses the road should drive, and ride, with other people in mind.
Cyclists should not speed along pavements, jump lights and ride the wrong way down one-way streets.
And motorists should make it safer for cyclists to ride in the road - then more would do so.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

You'll find me .....down in the country

Long days, warm evenings - what finer time to get on your bike and head for the countryside.

A favourite ride takes me alongside the River Trent, where you can really enjoy the bucolic splendour of Nottinghamshire.

Head up the new section of Loop Road in Colwick (past Victoria retail park), turn right at the Stoke Lane junction and head for Stoke Bardolph.

Follow the river until you reach the railway crossing; go through the gate on the right, follow the road and enjoy the open countryside.

This ride can easily be extended to end at the teashop in Gunthorpe, a great stop for cyclists.

Have you got a favourite local ride you’d like to share with me - and anyone else who reads this column.

If you have, please let me know.

Enjoy the ride

Monday, 2 June 2008

Will scheme get city on two wheels?

Nottingham is shortlisted to get millions of pounds to turn it into a cycling city.

The plan is laudable but the city will need every penny - and many more besides - to realise that dream.

The council is talking about creating cycling corridors linking economically deprived areas with community facilities.

The hope is that the health of people will be improved, while congestion on the roads is reduced.

But if the council wants to see significant numbers of people sallying forth on two wheels for the first time it will have to raise its game - painting a white line down the side of a busy road and calling it a cycle path won’t do.

It must create routes that make a first-time rider feel safe.

And it will also need to provide somewhere secure for people to leave their bikes when they arrive at their destination - so they don’t have to walk home.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Beware Mr Angry on the road

I was cycling peacefully up Oakdale Road on the last leg of my journey home from work when two fools in a clapped out excuse for a car roared past, gesticulating and shouting abuse.

I maintained my dignity and resisted the urge to shout back – after all they were in the car, I was on the bike.

If only I knew a Q who could fit James Bond-style rocket launchers on the front of my bike.

Whoosh, bang! Bits of burning Nissan raining down over half of Bakersfield.

Ok, maybe I took their rudeness a little too much to heart.

I can only think the two gentlemen were angry because they had been forced to slow down before they passed me, probably adding a whole ten seconds to their journey time.

What makes people so impatient and aggressive? Both dangerous states of mind when behind the wheel.

Perhaps they could lower their blood pressure and calm their minds with a little exercise - cycling would be ideal.

They could also congratulate themselves on helping the environment.

And with a bit of luck, they might not have the breath to spare to shout at anyone

Friday, 9 May 2008

Beat the 'plugs' - get on your bikes

I see the good folk of Burton Joyce and parts thereabout are having another meeting to discuss the extension to the Loop Road and other changes to the highways which have ruined their lives.

The most wretched of all the changes is the introduction of the ill-named bus plugs on the A614, which mean only buses and cyclists can use the road.

While people in Burma cannot even see a road because they are under 20ft of flood water, some folk in BJ are furious because they have to take the long way round to get their children to Carlton le Willows School.

But fear not, I have a suggestion that could help many in their heroic struggle to get their offspring educated - make the kids walk.
It’s only a few hundred yards from the village to the school, it will provide them with some exercise and cut pollution.

Better still, buy them a bicycle - they’ll get there in five minutes, and be wide awake and invigorated when they get to their desks.