26 March 2009

The helmets debate

This is a written answer to a parliamentary question to the Transport secretary :

Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what timetable he has set for the publication of his Department's review of the wearing of cycle helmets. [261798]
9 Mar 2009 : Column 10W
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department has commissioned a research project looking at a range of road safety and cycling issues. This will examine the following topics:
Road user safety and cycling data;
Cycling infrastructure;
Attitudes and behaviours;
Bicycle helmets.
The project has been commissioned from a consortium led by the Transport Research Laboratory.
The contract began on 21 August 2008 and will run for 24 months. The Department expects to publish the final reports in autumn 2010.

So, there we are - watch this space and all that

25 March 2009

That fiscal year end

End of March: end of the fiscal, or financial year in the public sector. Link to cycling? All cycle lanes and road markings in Manchester city centre have had a shiny, new lick of paint. I'm sure it was planned months in advance, you understand.

18 March 2009

Half toe clips

I've just fitted a pair of half-toe clips I bought on ebay. I had had the full toe clips before, with straps n' all, but after a couple of almost-comic falls (comic to bystanders - I wasn't laughing!) I gave up. Great while touring, but not for city commuting. So far, so good with half-toe clips - they provide some of the grip while being easy to get out of.

I know some people will say 'but why not just get SPD?'. It's a matter of choice, I suppose - personally, I can't bring myself to the idea. Special shoes, for a start. And although I've seen 'dual' pedals, the whole point is that you have to wear special shoes - not for me! To cap it all, SPD cyclists always seem to prefer to hover on traffic lights - showing that clipping on and off the pedals can't be all that straightforward.

16 March 2009

Juu, Juu

A near miss - nearer than normal. On Princess St, just past the Princess Hotel, as I've cleared the set of traffic lights on Portland St, a car showed its nose on my left, ready to pounce onto Princess St when traffic was clear - which it was, except only for me...

Not for the first time, I thought that I'd made eye contact - the driver had definitely stopped and looked in my direction. Alas, she was one of those whose brain cannot fully process all the rich information her eyes convey - so, the road clear of cars she decided the coast was clear (never mind the pesky cyclist in bright reflective clothing!) and off she went - or nearly. Both my quick reaction - a stroke of the steering away from her path - and hers (she did manage to stop, just) prevented a tragedy - at my expense, it would have been.

I can't lip-read but she looked apologetic - I'd like to think she was actually saying 'sorry' and acknowledging we'd both had a lucky escape (hers from insurance complications, mine from ending with my bones in A&E).

The car in question was an acrylic green Ford Fiesta (or was it a small Focus?), last 3 letters of the number plate 'JUU'. The date was 16 Mar 09, time about 0940.