And another fatality

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Anglian
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Re: And another fatality

Postby Anglian » 4 Jan 2013, 5:19pm

horizon wrote:Anglian: how do you feel they do react?


Firstly, I'm not the one casting aspersions about the callousness of the (people who work at the) Highway Authority without providing any evidence.

Generally I find that Highways Authorities are interested in reducing road casualties, and work in a professional manner to achieve this, within the constraints of what's financially and legally possible. Still, this (what I experience) is irrelevant, isn't it? You accused them of laughing at a death, and now you're failing to support your claim with some evidence.

So, do you have any, or are you going to apologize and withdraw your claim?

We cyclists need to work with Highways Authorities to get better cyclability; poisioning cyclists' attitudes towards them through lazy prejudice isn't going to help, is it?

Warmest regards,
Anglian.

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PaulCumbria
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Re: And another fatality

Postby PaulCumbria » 4 Jan 2013, 6:19pm

I've worked with many traffic engineers over the years, and I found them to be particularly aware of the tragedy of road deaths, whatever mode was used: car, bike or pedestrian.
Traffic engineers get to know the full details of each and every crash on 'their' roads, and many feel some degree of responsibility for them.

What we should never forget is that they are public servants who are required to do what they're told. Most engineers I know would be delighted to impose very significantly increased constraints on car use, if it was in their gift - but it's not. They are required to implement the policies of their political masters - which is why councils have transport policy documents filled with warm words about facilitating sustainable and vulnerable transport modes, but when it comes to implementation the politicians refuse to accept the car-restricting implications of those policies.

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horizon
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Re: And another fatality

Postby horizon » 4 Jan 2013, 6:20pm

Anglian wrote:Generally I find that Highways Authorities are interested in reducing road casualties, and work in a professional manner to achieve this


Thanks to the efforts of the Warrington Cycle Campaign

http://www.warringtoncyclecampaign.co.uk/

we can all share in the laughs.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

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horizon
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Re: And another fatality

Postby horizon » 4 Jan 2013, 6:24pm

PaulCumbria wrote:I've worked with many traffic engineers over the years, and I found them to be particularly aware of the tragedy of road deaths


Anglian/PaulCumbria: Just to be clear, I was actually referring to Highway Authorities.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

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PaulCumbria
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Re: And another fatality

Postby PaulCumbria » 4 Jan 2013, 7:56pm

Anglian/PaulCumbria: Just to be clear, I was actually referring to Highway Authorities.

If you say so - still seems to have been a pretty unconsidered remark that could do with a retraction, at least...

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horizon
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Re: And another fatality

Postby horizon » 4 Jan 2013, 9:24pm

PaulCumbria wrote:
Anglian/PaulCumbria: Just to be clear, I was actually referring to Highway Authorities.

If you say so - still seems to have been a pretty unconsidered remark that could do with a retraction, at least...


It wasn't unconsidered. It was the best way I could find to express what I thought. Leaving aside for a moment that it is obvious that I didn't believe they really laughed, I find it very hard to accept that the attitude of people involved in highway design represents anything other than a callous disregard for the needs of cyclists. When the dust settles on this case (in Southampton), little will have been said about the appalling design of this stretch of road, little about the design of the alternative route and very little about the role of traffic engineers and the highway authority. The driver(s) will either be prosecuted and punished or not. But an enquiry of some sort might well discover that the highway authority paid little regard to the likelihood that cyclists may use this road and, if they did so, would be responsible for their own safety. That, and the fact that they will do nothing now either, I regard as callous. In the event, the highway authority will be completely exonerated: that I regard as their laughing at this tragedy. If, on the other hand, they were to come forward, express concern and take action straightaway to put things right, I would happily retract my remark. So far, AFAIK, nothing has been done. Absolutely nothing.

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horizon
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Re: And another fatality

Postby horizon » 4 Jan 2013, 10:05pm

PaulCumbria wrote:What we should never forget is that they are public servants who are required to do what they're told. Most engineers I know would be delighted to impose very significantly increased constraints on car use, if it was in their gift - but it's not. They are required to implement the policies of their political masters - which is why councils have transport policy documents filled with warm words about facilitating sustainable and vulnerable transport modes, but when it comes to implementation the politicians refuse to accept the car-restricting implications of those policies.


PaulCumbria: just to say that I very much acknowledge what you say there. Perhaps if the coroner called an engineer to give evidence (under oath) a lot more may come out in public as to the extent to which their advice was unheeded. AFAIK that would also leave the Highway Authority and its members liable for prosecution for choosing to ignore professional advice.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

Flinders
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Re: And another fatality

Postby Flinders » 5 Jan 2013, 5:56pm

The cycle routes round here are in general more dangerous than the main road alternatives, so at least some of those involved in their design either don't care about safety, or are incompetent.
(When I say more dangerous, I mean that the routes are bad'y designed, with dangerously poor sight lines for both cyclists and drivers, are badly surfaced, and they force cyclists on them into multiple give way points at several junctions.)

Tonyf33
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Re: And another fatality

Postby Tonyf33 » 6 Jan 2013, 2:44am

I did an FOI request with regard to a pedestrian island put in place that narrowed the main carriageway from the A1 to the town where I live. It is a 40mph road with vehicles often in excess of that and with no speed camera/calming to slow them down.
It was stated that the engineer in question took it upon himself that there was no need for a safety audit because in his judged opinion there was no need for one...The fact the island is hardly ever used due to illogical location and better/safer options for pedestrians already in place failed to register. That vehicles are quite happy to run up my jacksie/swerve in at last minute despite me taking primary well in advance of such because of lack of width seems to me to warrant an audit yet he obviously knew better :roll:
Hertfordshire Highways are clearly not interested in road safety having ignored time and time again requests to repair the road that runs round the estate where i live that has being neglected for years, some of the holes run to 2 feet across by 4 inches deep for weeks at a time until they get their arris into gear. Many issues have been ongoing for years without any action.
They even identified holes back in May last year and only in October did some of those identified get fixed, leaving in many cases the worst to get worse.
Now tell me again that engineers and highway authoroties give a damn... :twisted:

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PaulCumbria
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Re: And another fatality

Postby PaulCumbria » 6 Jan 2013, 10:52am

I'm more than happy to tell you again that traffic engineers give a damn, Tony. Highways Authorities are organisations, so they don't have emotional responses I can comment on - the real culprits in this are ignorant, self-serving politicians - now there's a surprise!

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horizon
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Re: And another fatality

Postby horizon » 6 Jan 2013, 5:12pm

PaulCumbria (and Anglian): for the sake of argument I am going to accept that highway engineers are caring, thoughtful, skilled persons. I actually believe they are. Even the councillors aren't bad people. However, the evidence on the ground shows that they have, at least together, a blind spot when it comes to cyclists. Much of this is inevitable - it's a historic thing from when cycling almost disappeared. But they need to wake up to the fact that we have a legacy of car-centric infrastructure, some of which could be addressed through quick, imaginative, inexpensive schemes. What I would hope from an enquiry into this death is that the engineers would be given a strong lead to come up with something and the politicians would be given a public dressing down. Punishing the drivers is necessary but not sufficient.
The experience of travel is something that you have to pay for but can never buy. Ho Ri Zon Chinese philosopher

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: And another fatality

Postby [XAP]Bob » 6 Jan 2013, 5:19pm

2012 Bow Roundabout.

Ignored.afyer.one.death and a.significant protest about the design of the junctiin from cyclists. It took a second death to get any response...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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Tonyf33
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Re: And another fatality

Postby Tonyf33 » 6 Jan 2013, 6:11pm

PaulCumbria wrote:I'm more than happy to tell you again that traffic engineers give a damn, Tony. Highways Authorities are organisations, so they don't have emotional responses I can comment on - the real culprits in this are ignorant, self-serving politicians - now there's a surprise!

No, people have choices, in this case to ensure citizens under their juristiction are safe as the law (Highways Act 1980) states they must, or ignore the law and pay out for compensation claims/fight against compensation claims wasting the money that could be spent fixing the problems. If they actually had a system in place to check repairs done they'd see that the contracters don't do their job properly that would resolve a fair few of the problems that crop up also..
How can such a simple thing as narrowing of the carriageway on a fast(ish) road within a small town that is a main arterial route not flag up that it would cause a problem when non motorised road users decide to use it(daily).
Even a stupid engineer can see that, never mind everyone else, that only leaves negligence.
That engineers seem to think that spraying loose chippings onto a thin bit of tarmac improves a road surface (but actually makes it worse in many instances) then also don't consider the issues of build up of loose chippings that create a skid problem and the highway authrority won't sweep up despite being told time and time again. Again, not stupidty, negligence....I'll stick to what I know as facts thanks.
Last edited by Tonyf33 on 7 Jan 2013, 10:39pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PaulCumbria
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Re: And another fatality

Postby PaulCumbria » 6 Jan 2013, 7:41pm

Loads of what a highway engineer does balances different levels of risk for different road users, offset against perceived goals of "keeping the country moving". So putting in an urban roundabout instead of a light controlled crossing increases danger for pedestrians and cyclists but also increases a junction's capacity. Add in the requirement to satisfy the car-centric attitudes of politicians and work within a budget (set by the politicians) and it's no surprise that decisions are taken that are both stupid and negligent.

But it's not the engineers who are stupid and negligent - it's us for allowing politicians to get away with it for so long.

The Mechanic
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Re: And another fatality

Postby The Mechanic » 7 Jan 2013, 12:16pm

I can sympathise with both sides of this debate. However, it seems to be true that cyclist are the last thing on the minds of road planners. I live in Aberdeen where they are about to embark on building the Western Periferal Route. This is, in effect, a 28 mile bypass for Aberdeen. I will not go into the relative merits of the road per se. Suffice to say that there will be no provision for cyclists on the new road despite repeated requests for a cycle path running parallel to the route. Road planners say that there are already sufficient routes available to cyclists. NCN 1 goes right through the centre of Aberdeen along some very congested city centre roads. Incidentally, these roads will only enjoy a max 7% reduction in traffic as a result of the new road (Council and Scottish Office figures) with some routes into the centre of Aberdeen seeing increased traffic. With such a small reduction in traffic levels you might be tempted to ask why they are building a new road at all. Why, so they can open up a development corridor along the route of course. Hotly denied but building new industrial sites has already started in at least 2 places before even an inch of tarmac has been laid. Hey Ho!
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