london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Orangey
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby Orangey » 25 Oct 2012, 9:56pm

kwackers wrote:As someone whose exit from a train has been brought to a premature halt by the insistence of a Brompton owner to unfold his bike immediately on vacating the train in the vicinity of the door it does occur to me that perhaps the train companies are simply responding to complaints?


I was told it was to do with complaints, but complaints about being bumped into by unfolded bicycles on crowded platforms. The manager I talked to didn't seem to accept my point that I was more likely to bump into someone whilst lugging a folded bike.

kwackers
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby kwackers » 25 Oct 2012, 10:03pm

Orangey wrote:I was told it was to do with complaints, but complaints about being bumped into by unfolded bicycles on crowded platforms. The manager I talked to didn't seem to accept my point that I was more likely to bump into someone whilst lugging a folded bike.

Tripping over suitcases on wheels seems to be my big thing...

Zigster
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby Zigster » 29 Oct 2012, 8:17am

This new rule is annoying me too - I had it a couple of times at London Bridge platforms 1-6 and they now seem to have rolled it out to the higher number platforms. There are some FAQs here: http://www.southernrailway.com/your-jou ... -questions - but I note they have omitted the most important question which is "Why?"

I think it's a pretty dumb rule for any number of reasons - as someone else said, 11kg of metal folded into a compact parcel and being carried feels like it will do a lot more damage than a very visible bike being wheeled. Doubtless it will be "careless bicycle owners" if someone does get injured that way.

I wouldn't have such a problem with it if it was communicated more pleasantly - at the moment you get some jobsworth barking an order at you at the end of a long-tiring day and the instinctive reaction is to challenge it, particularly as there is no evidence at the station of the new rules (despite Southern claiming it has been clearly announced). On Wednesday last week, one of the ticket gate guards told me brusqely to fold my bike, and then told me mid fold to move it as I was now causing an obstruction. A woman with a Brompton next to me was complaining about this at which point some man dressed in black and with a walkie-talkie came over and joined in the "debate". When I suggested that wheeling bikes was surely no more dangerous than wheeling other items (e.g. suitcases) he started accusing me of saying wheelchair users should be made to fold their chairs and walk!

Here's a response I got from SouthEastern earlier this year when I complained about a ticket gate guard being rude and insulting to me when I asked why I had to fold my bike. Note it avoids commenting on the guard's rudeness.

"I can confirm that this policy has been in place for some time, but it has been necessary to enforce this policy more rigidly recently due to accidents and injuries inflicted upon other passengers by careless bicycle owners. It should be noted that some train operators do not allow folding bicycles to be taken onto a train unless they are kept in a case for this reason. Whilst we have not taken this step, and whilst we do still permit folding bicycles on our trains, because bicycles have peddles and handlebars jutting out, when they fall over on a busy train or platform, they can easily bruise shins or cause other injuries. Due to the potential risks we are asking passengers with folding bicycles to fold their bicycle before attempting to enter a platform, in the interest of safety.

Whilst I can appreciate that this policy is inconvenient for many cyclists, we believe that it is in the interest of the majority of our passengers. We are not obliged to offer the facility to carry any bicycles free of charge, and should the issue of unfolding bicycles become a problem at our stations or on trains in the future, it may become necessary to charge passengers for the carriage of any bicycle, or refuse the carriage of these during peak times at all. However, currently the number of non-folding bicycles carried on trains at peak times is relatively low, and we hope that by working together with cyclists to reduce the hazards and inconvenience associated with carrying bicycles on trains, such action will not be necessary."

I didn't have the will to challenge the claim about accidents and injuries inflicted by careless bicycle owners, although I now wish I had. Given I live on the Brighton line, it's not folding bikes that cause inconvenience but the enormous suitcases people take to and from Gatwick!

Anyway, rant over - feels good to know I'm not the only one irritated by this. But I suspect we will have to put up with it.

Geriatrix
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby Geriatrix » 29 Oct 2012, 10:30am

dave holladay wrote:This information on Chiltern runs completely contra to the ATOC policy agreed with all operators for the information issued on folding bikes. There was an issue with FCC for a while where they specified wheel sizes but I understood that all operators had agreed NOT to specify wheel sizes.

The information provided by Dave appears to contradict the Southern Railways FAQ below on folder size. Does this mean that ATOC policy applies, except when it doesn't?
Zigster wrote:This new rule is annoying me too - I had it a couple of times at London Bridge platforms 1-6 and they now seem to have rolled it out to the higher number platforms. There are some FAQs here: http://www.southernrailway.com/your-jou ... -questions - but I note they have omitted the most important question which is "Why?"
...
"Due to the potential risks we are asking passengers with folding bicycles to fold their bicycle before attempting to enter a platform, in the interest of safety."

Being middle aged, having suffered two slipped discs, and a tendency for back muscle spasms (not exactly atypical of my age group) my question is in the interest of who's safety?
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

dave holladay
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 31 Oct 2012, 8:03am

I'll see what options there are to produce a card or printable sheet that states

1) The Manual Handling Regulations (1992) specify limits for safely carrying a loads over distances, and their assessment indicates that carrying a folded bike for a substantial distance exceeds those limits, and increases the risk from trips and falls.

2) In requiring me to fold and carry a folding cycle for the length of a train/through a station you are requiring the me to carry out a manual handling task which falls outside the limits set by the regulations

3) If I am injured or otherwise disabled temporarily or permanently because of this I shall hold your employer to be liable for a failure to deliver a duty of care to a non employee under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 Section 3

4) To mitigate against the possibility of liability indicated by 3) I require that you either provide me with assistance to carry the folded cycle over a distance exceeding that recommended, or provide a means for transporting the folded cycle, or allow me to wheel said cycle and fold it before boarding the train, an exercise requiring only a short lift and transfer to the train.

Anyone care to advise on this wording? It would be a pity if we need to go to this length, rather than sort out this attitude of mistrust emanating from the TOC staff, genrated by the poorly conceived rules, which in turn generates a matching response from the passengers

It would obviously hold things up a bit when a cyclist being stopped at the barrier line then handed over this note and the barrier line staff digested the content. Even worse if several folding bikes arrived at the same time.
Last edited by dave holladay on 31 Oct 2012, 9:04pm, edited 1 time in total.

Geriatrix
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby Geriatrix » 31 Oct 2012, 10:37am

dave holladay wrote:I'll see what options there are to produce a card or printable sheet that states...

That's an approach that can be taken but as you stated, there are disadvantages.
From previous posts its clear that some members have written letters of complaint to the management and have been fobbed off in the replies so this strategy hasn't worked.

Are there any other options of opening a dialogue with the station management? I would be quite prepared to get involved.

A bicycle is equipped with wheels. It seems nonsense to me to ignore the most obvious method of getting it to the point where it needs to be loaded onto the train.
They state that safety is an objective, so one of the questions I would pose to the station management is what assistance would they provide in the case of an injury to the cyclist. For anyone over a certain age carrying a heavy object raises the risk of inducing a slipped disc. Anyone who has experienced one will know that its a painful and immobilising experience, and one that could leave the recipient awkwardly stranded with a heavy object in a busy area. If it happened to me I honestly don't know how I would deal with it and that's not a comfortable prospect. One that's made worse by the fact that its caused by a badly thought through policy. Its a preventable accident and if your employer asked you to do it, would be held liable.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

dave holladay
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 31 Oct 2012, 1:17pm

Geriatrix

The very detail is that this option is not a complaint, it is a note to the front line staff, and back through them to the management, advising them politely that if you injure yourself through being forced to undertake an action which is outside the recommended safe limits set by law, they may find themselves liable. In these litigeous times, no one wants to lay themseleve open to a civil - or even criminal (HSAW) action. The detail is in getting the wording succinct and effective.

In situations like this a person actually at the barrier may well consider their position - especially if the managemnt has a reputation for not backing staff decisions or demanding religious application of the rules sent out from distant offices. Older members might recall the popular action of rail unions of Working to Rule, rather than going on strike, as quite simply if every rule was enforced to the letter you would be lucky to see any trains running, as effective as a strike but with employees all technically reporting for work and doing exactly what the management wanted them to do. Imagine the chaos if every folding bike user arrived at the barrier line and on every occasion made sure that the staff requiring the bike to be folded and carried signed that thay had required the passenger to carry the bike contra to the limits set by the Manual Handling Regulations (1995), and that they on behalf of the Train Operator accepted liability for any injury or distress arising from this.

I suspect that commonsense would rapidly prevail, and a sensible position of staff actually trusting passengers would result, and in response to this passengers would behave and be as co-operative as possible.

It reminds me of when may old boss at Scotrail* was faced with a dictat on restricting the number of bikes carried sent out from 222 Marylebone Road to all the regions. His trust in the staff and their regular passengers, to get on with making the railway work, happily saw up to 18 bikes going aboard the (2-coach) trains to Mallaig, by everyone working together and being sensibly far enough away from the had office to ensure the ripples did not rock the boat. * He clearly understood cycling as he cycled to Uddingston most days to catch his train to work.
Last edited by dave holladay on 31 Oct 2012, 1:22pm, edited 1 time in total.

Zigster
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby Zigster » 31 Oct 2012, 1:21pm

Another oddity about the policy at London Bridge is that they enforce it when going from the main concourse onto the platforms (to board a train), but don't enforce it when leaving the train. So on an evening there are lots of people carrying folded bikes to the trains; on a morning there are lots of people wheeling bikes from the trains. I feel like giving it a few months then asking Southern Rail to provide an analysis of morning and afternoon injuries "caused by careless bicycle owners" to see if there is any difference.

The downside, of course, is that will probably make them start enforcing it for people leaving the trains as well. Plus, I'm sceptical they keep detailed records of incidents despite the response I got from South Eastern earlier in the year.

Geriatrix
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby Geriatrix » 31 Oct 2012, 1:32pm

dave holladay wrote:Geriatrix

The very detail is that this option is not a complaint,

Dave,
Apologies, my paragraph was badly worded and linked other posts of complaints to you comment. Yes I understood it was an option but the disadvantage being the potential congestion at the barriers as you stated.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

dave holladay
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 31 Oct 2012, 1:33pm

Zigster

ORR has reviewed the under reporting of staff injuries with Network Rail and found that even there, with a high level of safety culture there were failings. Injuries and incidents with faulty cycle parking units at Sevenoaks also seem to be slow in reaching the incident book.

As you point out the whle pettiness of this 'rule' is a joke given that bikes are generally unfolded immediately the passengers hit the platform whern the trains arrive.

It gets even sillier for cyclists who have only 1 leg, who are patently unable to walk with their crutches and carry a bike, but benefit greatly from being able to sit on the saddle or crossbar and scoot.

fimm
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby fimm » 31 Oct 2012, 1:35pm

Would another option (a sort of work to rule) be to start putting your folded bike on a luggage trolley? You're not carrying it, it is folded, and you can be just as awkward with the trolley... :wink:

(I own a Brompton, but commute in the Edinburgh area and have never had this issue)
Of course it's a race...

dave holladay
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 31 Oct 2012, 1:56pm

Geriatrix

The very point indeed - congestion, and the hassle of signing up the liability clause should make local enforcement short lived, at most stations. Perhaps even at London Bridge if the rigmarole of getting the operator to accept liability for injuries and distress arising from carrying the bike begins to cause congestion.

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rootes
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby rootes » 10 Nov 2012, 9:03pm

As someone whose exit from a train has been brought to a premature halt by the insistence of a Brompton owner to unfold his bike immediately on vacating the train in the vicinity of the door it does occur to me that perhaps the train companies are simply responding to complaints?


Yep this occsaionally happens as do Bromptoneers who jump onto a busy train and then fold... As a fellow bromptoneer... this makes us all look bad..

also (some years ago) this - my brompton was foldered, I was standing, as were others yet the owner of this Brompton claims the bikes space... they could of course have folded and freed up 3 seats for those standing..

Image


also saw this sign up at one london station... the 'full size bike' is clearly a big wheeled folder (swissbike)

Image



They state that safety is an objective, so one of the questions I would pose to the station management is what assistance would they provide in the case of an injury to the cyclist. For anyone over a certain age carrying a heavy object raises the risk of inducing a slipped disc.


Their point is obviously safety to others, I would image that they would feel it is your choice to take/use a folding bike in the same way some choose to walk, take heavy bags, push chairs, the tube a bus? And that nobody is forcing you to use a folding bike so why should they take your safety into account?

Still very silly as wheeling a bike is easier and takes up less space. Really what we need is trains that can just deal with bikes

dave holladay
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby dave holladay » 10 Nov 2012, 10:43pm

I've had some discussions with Southern on this. Those back in the 'Croydon Towers' were aware that people were wheeling bikes through the barriers, and then folding before boarding a train, and presumably did not expect this effect of enforcement to the letter, when the new policy was circulated to front line staff. Perhaps an unfortunate slip in failing to have a form of words for a set of rules that reflects the practice which works (perhaps an analogy with riding contra-flow on a 1-way street... it works but is often against the rules). My understanding is that there has been an instruction to use some sensible discretion about the fold & carry issue but do keep that feedback coming.

Still a deal of shaking down with the bike ban too. At East Croydon for example you can get trains South during the morning peak, as long as they are heading for anywhere BUT Brighton (ie Hove is OK - hint!). However I doubt that you will be popular in the current conditions, with construction work taking place and the normal rammed state of the main gateline at the main peak times, and you may have to negotiate in a very pressurised situation to prove you are getting the Coastway service.

Oh well its a start, and I have an offer to discuss matters further in a few weeks time, so feedback on train loadings and % of passengers travelling with bikes outside peak times, are welcomed. In 2005 a website was set up to collate detail of the bike and rail passengers who were being excluded by rigorous enforcement of the full periods of the Southern bike ban - sometimes on trains at the start & finish of the periods with less than 5% of the seats filled leaving London or Brighton. It may be useful to revive that website (although I haven't the time or resources to get it set up and maintained - I recall that in 2005 the website had several hundred season ticket commuters listed, and an average revenue per cycle using passenger of around £2000/year, with several pushing over the £4000 mark. Putting that sort of evidence on the table - cycle using commuters worth £xm, and potentially worth £ym, and similar detail for leisure cycling, could help in shaping what can be secured.

Next year it will be a decade since we did a cycle parking survey for the SRA with DETR support, perhapos the time is now ripe for a parking and use survey, and that is very likely to produce results which will shock the TOC's given that on average the onward travel by cycle from London stations has gone up 400% according to the TfL survey published this year. At Waterloo, with over 1000 bikes/hour passing through at peak times, and 60% of them compact folding bikes (in spot counts by CTC staff & members waiting for trains to Guildford), an average fare of £2000/year makes that over £2m in revenue, awheel. But those passengers may well be saving the £1000+ cost of London Zones card, and the cost of a car park space, and even the cost of running that second car to leave at the station - savings ranging up to £8500/year, which then becomes potential disposable income, something that Messrs Osborne and Cable would like to see released in to the economy. Now if we can collate a picture of several '000 commuters converting to cycle-rail-cycle and saving on average say £3500/year on their commuting costs, that unlocks £ millions of spending potential for Southern alone. Where's our resident economist?

We do have delivery of 1000 more cycle parking places than the 1500 called for by the franchise, and plans being considerd for bike hubs at Brighton, E Croydon, and other, and it would be preferable to get these better located than the facility at Haywards Heath, with its long hike to reach the trains. So in my book its keep a dialogue going, but with a big file of proofs to back the case that we have a lot of cycle users out there who want to ride to & from their train, where possible take the bike with them, and have a reliable and convenient means of doing this.

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rootes
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Re: london stations' policy to carry folded bikes

Postby rootes » 11 Nov 2012, 9:41am

i think on 8 car trains and longer that 1/2 a carriage should be converted to carry bikes and then make sure all cyclists know where to wait for the train, like the old guards vavn but with out the hassle of awaiting a guard to open etc.