Monday, 1 December 2014

Big Splash!

Rejoice! It is as if Christmas is coming. Santa Osborne has been rummaging in his sack and has pulled out a shit load of roads. But we at Bum Splash don't feel this does enough for the Hard Pressed Motorist™. So here are some essential schemes we believe need funding yesterday if the Government is to End the War on the Motorist™:

    • M9 Far North Extension. Never mind that almost no-one lives north of Inverness. How is this country supposed to be great until you can drive on Blue signed roads from end to end? Surely what this landscape is crying out for is four wide lanes of traffic, two hard shoulders and a central reservation?
    • Solent Bridge. Some people suggest that a road and rail tunnel to connect the Isle of Wight to the mainland is a good idea. We at #bumsplash don't want to see roads hidden like this, and suggest that a bridge is the way forward. The Solent Bridge would be an Iconic™ structure acting as a Gateway™ to the UK for those arriving by ferry and a Landmark™ for those arriving at nearby Southampton Airport.
    • London Ringways. At #bumsplash we still hold a candle for the abandoned London Ringways project. That we have been denied the full glory of the massive Camden Interchange is one of the great crimes of the 20th Century. The prospect of pushing motorways through south London still excites us- and with TfL determined to build a bridge in East London, who knows, maybe this is back on the cards?

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them

With Twitterland still reeling from the ground breaking transport announcements coming from the Mayor of London's Future Streets Incubator Fund, I have decided to have a crack myself.

I am clearly in the minority for slagging off the idea of trampolines being a serious mode of transport for the Capital; so I am suspending my disbelief to give you 5 other ideas which could really shape the way we travel in the future. In no particular order;

North Circular Frogger Crossings
We all know that the North Circular Road is a real barrier to walking and cycling and so we bring you a new type of shared-use pedestrian/ cyclist crossing. Based on the popular 1980s computer game, the Frogger Crossings will use special studs set into the carriageway surface which will detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. The studs will show red, amber or green signals to pedestrians and cyclists where there is a gap in the traffic. Green will mean it is safe to cross the the next lane, red will mean do not move to the next lane and amber will mean hop to it, a lorry is coming. Showman designers will always get a green signal, regardless of the traffic conditions.

City Ropeway
The City of London has really congested streets and lots of tall buildings. So, rather than mix it with the buses, we propose a series of ziplines between the famous City buildings. They will have platforms built on their tops and all a passenger has to do is to take a lift to the top of the nearest building and grab a waiting handle from a docking station and off they go. Where someone needs to move from a lower building to a higher building, then the zipwire will be powered. The scheme will require a registration fee, but as long as you zip in 30 minute slots, it will be free. Showman Designers will need to use the power of their smugness on the up-zips.

Muswell Hill Bobsleigh Run
We will convert the A504, A1201 and A103 into a Europe's longest all-year, all-weather bobsleigh run. The route will provide a fast link between Muswell Hill and Highbury for the commuter in a hurry. The "Muswell Run" will be kept at a chilly -20 degrees Celsius by pumping vast quantities of heat into the conveniently placed Regent's Canal which will double up as the UK's longest continuous hot tub. Showman Designers will have to leave their bottles of turd polish on the side of the canal before they take a dip.

The Westminster Skid Pan
OK, I know this is not really a serious transport proposal, but it is nice to create something a little bit zany to provide a sense of place in a busy city. We will level the entire City of Westminster, using the rubble to construct a state of the art skid pan which promises to be the largest in Europe. Around the edge, we will build a 50 storey Colosseum so that tourists can be assured of a good seat to watch the fun. Kept wet by a gentle spray of depression, the WSP will allow landed gentry, government ministers and international tycoons to drive at speed before performing the most awesome of handbrake turns into specially reserved parking spaces. We will also build a 10 lane limo-superhighway between the WSP and Canary Wharf for that TfL board member in a hurry. Showman Designers will be given bicycles.

Lower Thames Trebuchet
Because of the shipping lanes in the Thames downstream of Tower Bridge, we either need to dig a tunnel or ensure there is sufficient clearance. This idea is basically two bastard great Middle Ages style siege engines which will sit on specially built platforms, each side of the river, just west of Crossness.

Passengers and freight will be loaded into specially padded containers and then flung into huge nets on the opposite site of the river and then lowered to ground level to make the scheme fully accessible. Showmen Designers get to ride for free, but without nets.

So there you have it, a little bit edgy I know, but 5 solutions to London's future transport needs. If you see Boris, tell him to send a cheque for £1.8m to the usual address. If there are any budding artists out there, we could do with some promotional sketches as I am a bit crap at drawing.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The ABD Survey By Their Members About Their Views

The membership of the Alliance of British Drivers (formerly Association of British Drivers) are currently suffering from a mass case of Vigintiphobia; that is an irrational fear of the number 20 - speed limits in this case.

This post was going to look at one of The ABD's recent press releases on the subject, but since the Bicycle User Movement #BUM was set up last week as a bit of a joke, we have been blessed with two.

First, is a survey they went and done on their members which enlightened us with the following opinions masquerading as facts;

  • 95% of Alliance of British Drivers' members believe that the roll out of 20mph zones and limits should be halted pending Government research into increased casualty statistics in current zones.
  • 56% of respondents have had a 20mph zone introduced in their locality
  • 98% of drivers thought that observation and adjusting your speed to the conditions was a more important aspect of safe driving the obeying a 20mph limit.
  • 77% thought that educating all road users on their responsibility under the Highway Code would make the biggest contribution to road safety in built up areas.
  • Only 3.8% thought that 20mph advocates had made a credible case.

Well, I suppose the "facts" are the reporting of the views of their members, but unlike any research undertaken by serious academia and learned societies (with Royal charters and whatnot), The ABD neglected to give us any data on the sample size (i.e. how many members do they have or did they ask) and they don't share the questions asked.

So, let me simply answer each bullet point;

1) Cobbers. 20's Plenty For Us has dealt with this here.

2) And? What does that show exactly? How many people answered this question?

3) No. 98% of your members who answered this question (however it was phrased) think this.

4) 77% of your members who answered that question to be precise. Also, 23% of your members who answered the question don't seem to agree with you. What did they say?

5) Define 20mph advocate? What was the question? What data is it based on?

Actually, we already know that The ABD dislikes 20mph speed limits, so what does this survey actually tell us? Nothing, other than not all of the membership (who responded) are 100% solid against 20mph. It adds nothing to the data pool, it does not help us understand what vexes the membership (who responded). The survey was basically an irrelevance and not even worth me posting about. Damn.

Next, we have another press release which turns out to be the second part of their survey "data" which they are using to counter the "spurious 20mph Quality of life claims". The enlightenment continues;

  • 94.4% of respondents did not believe that 20mph limits or zones would increase quality of life and improve health.
  • 96% of respondents stated that 20mph limits or zones would not make them likely to cycle.
  • 97.7% of respondents said that 20mph limits or zones would not make them walk more often.
  • 54.9% of those respondents now live in or near 20mph zones or limits.

This is getting serious, we have gone to one decimal point now. So, what is my considered, professional* response to the latest revelations?

6) Believe. Opinion, not fact.

7) Really? I am shocked. Hang on, if you belong (i.e. pay a membership fee to) to an organisation "whose aim is to provide an active, responsible voice to lobby for Britain's beleaguered drivers", then why the hell would you cycle anyway? Encouragingly, it would appear that 4% of your members should save themselves £25 and come and join #BUM for free ;)

8) See above. I bet they drive down to the paper shop to by the Daily Whatever as is their right.

9) Well, that is just the same as the second revelation from the first press release. Pity the numbers are different.

So there you have it. Turkeys don't vote for Christmas; bears open their bowels in the forest; the leader of a major world religion follows the religion that he is head of; and most of an undisclosed number of members of The ABD don't much like 20mph speed limits (although some seem tempted to the dark side of feet and pedals).

* My credentials are here on my own blog. I suggest that I may have a vague understanding of the subject matter.

Friday, 5 September 2014

#BUM Splash

Welcome to #BUM Splash, the official home of the Bicycle Users Movement!!! This will be your one stop shop for all #BUM related activity, surveys and more!