Community Speedwatch in Bedminster 2015

There are a number of Community Speedwatch groups helping to make the 20mph areas in Bristol more effective. The group in Greater Bedminster is made up of BCyC members and they have shared the results of their observations. Figures from 2014 showed that 20mph limits were having an effect but with some specific problem areas. In 2015 over a thousand vehicles were checked with 14% going over 25mph (including one at 46mph!). There is a noticable improvement over 2014, however the threshold for recording has increased in 2015 from 24 to 26mph. The group is not going to monitor Raleigh Road any more…

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Where are bikes being nicked, and who by?

Between May 2013 and Feb 2015 there were 2976 cycle thefts in Bristol (LA area).  Only 3% of reported bicycle thefts resulted in a prosecution/caution/fine, so it was good to have news of the recent arrest of 5 people and recovery of £50,000 suspected stolen bikes. If you have ever wondered which areas are most vulnerable there’s a useful map attached covering 2013 to 2015. Further information at See more at: http://www.betterbybike.info/bike-security/ Our friends at Stolen Bikes have an interesting blog using information from London looking at Bike Thieves – Who Are They? Recommended reading. No surprises that the answer to why bicycle theft…

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Speed awareness courses for 20mph

News comes through that there are now speed awareness courses for those caught speeding in 20mph areas. Drivers speeding between 24 and 31mph can now be required to attend the 4 hour 20mph Speed Awareness Courses at 8 venues across Avon and Somerset, South Wales, North Wales and Gwent Police Authorities. This follows the adoption by the Police and Crime Commissioner of Road Safety as an additional priority (we prefer a Road Danger Reduction approach). The police are actively seeking to set up more Community Speedwatch schemes and their CSW June Newsletter is attached with details about how to…

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Car doors and cycling incidents – the need for action

In some areas of Bristol up to 20% of road traffic incidents resulting in injury to cyclists are the result of motorists carelessly opening vehicle doors. In the last five years for which figures are available, 128 cyclists were injured in this way, 17 of them seriously (defined as requiring a stay in hospital) [1], and due to underreporting these figures are likely to underestimate the extent of the problem [2]. Injuries from this type of incident are caused not only by impact with the vehicle but also, and often in the more serious and potentially fatal cases, when the cyclist is knocked into the carriageway and the path of following vehicles (see the case of Sam Harding in the compelling An Open Letter to the British Judicial System).

Safe cycling organisations recommend cycling “a door and a bit more” away from parked cars but there are situations where this is difficult or cyclists feel intimidated, say by fast moving traffic, into keeping closer to the side of the road. Cycle facilities are sometimes installed which encourage cyclists to cycle into the door zone and danger.

Also, a number of the incidents were caused by car passengers opening nearside doors to jump out of cars which had temporarily stopped in traffic. Whether carried out by a driver or a passenger, it is an offence under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to open “any door of a vehicle on a road so as to injure or endanger any person”.

So what are the police doing to deal with this issue?

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High profile raids snag bike thieves

Over 2,000 bicycles are reported stolen every year in the Bristol area and less than 5% are recovered. Avon and Somerset Police have recently targeted the problem with two high profile raids on what they believe to be gangs of cycle thieves and a push to get cyclists to protect their bikes. In July five people were arrested and £50,000 of suspected stolen bikes were seized as part the year-long Operation Talisman. Advice for cyclists on security from the police can be found in this useful summary Protect yourself from bike thieves…

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Police near-miss reporting system already proving useful

Near misses are a common experience in the UK and have a significant impact cycling experience and uptake (see the Essential Evidence summary, and the Near Miss Project study). Our Road Justice campaign has been working with the police and this is what they’ve been doing Update: Following representations from the Bristol Road Justice Group the police have amended their near-miss reporting form. Previously the form was just intended to give the police intelligence as to what types of incidents were occurring and where, so allowing them to target particular types of dangerous driving at certain locations. The form will now ask those reporting near miss incidents to include details of the vehicle involved. This will allow the police to follow up incidents of dangerous driving with identified drivers and fleet owners. The Road Justice Group will be pressing them to do just this. Members of our Road Justice Group recently met Inspector Andrew Gilbert from the Bristol East-Central Policing Area to discuss issues of common concern.  Inspector Gilbert reported that, after a slow start, the police’s near miss reporting system (see their web page) is now getting a significant number of hits and the information gathered is proving very useful in identifying problems that the police need to tackle. The Group had recently got the police to ask for more information identifying the driver / fleet involved in the incident and Gilbert expected this to further increase the usefulness of reports.

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New way to report ‘near misses’ to the police

Our Road Justice campaign team have been working with the police for some time on trying to get a better outcome for the most vulnerable road users, pedestrians and cyclists. At the moment there are between one and two people injured every week in Bristol on our streets. We believe that a stronger enforcement response to the sources of the danger, based on evidence, is needed. One way of doing this is to gather more information on the ‘near misses’ that make cyclists feel so uncomfortable. Some are careless, others are intimidatory ‘punishment passes’. The police need to know where these…

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Putting lives first on Bristol’s roads – A Safe Systems Approach

We warmly welcome the long awaited road danger reduction strategy from Bristol Council, A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol – A ten year plan 2015-2024 (document in link below). This is the Road Danger Reduction Strategy we’ve been calling for as part of our Road Justice campaign. We do feel there is too much emphasis on the ‘fatal four’ (speed, drink, mobile phones and seat belts, also the centre of the police strategy above), as the cause for deaths and injuries. Important though speed is for more vulnerable road users, none of these factors appeared to contribute to any of the incidents…

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Policing Bristol’s roads – two strategies and a damning critique

Three significant publications in the past few weeks will do much to decide how safe Bristol’s roads are for cycling in the coming years. Avon and Somerset police put out their Policing the Roads Strategy. Bristol Council issues their long awaited road danger reduction strategy A Safe Systems Approach to Road Safety in Bristol. Finally the prosecution service was heavily criticised in the Joint Inspection of the Investigation and Prosecution of Fatal Road Traffic Incidents. We discuss each of these and what they mean for Bristol.

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February update on work with police

We have had a further meeting with the police, along with CTC and RoadPeace as the ‘Road Justice Committee’, and raised the following issues: Near miss and dangerous driving reporting We are continuing to press the police to introduce a near miss/dangerous driving reporting system. They have agreed to do this but, as yet, have not started work on its introduction; however, they reported that they plan to appoint an officer to do so. We handed over information on existing schemes run elsewhere in the country and suggested that they need to talk to them about what works best. Casework One of the cases we have taken up demonstrates the need for such a scheme and its potential value. Dr B. was cycling down St Johns Lane, Totterdown when she had to jump out of the way of an Argos lorry which had decided to overtake her just where the road narrowed. She tried reporting the incident to the police but was told that since she escaped injury there was nothing to report.

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