Tag Archives: pedestrians

Puddles and splashes – poll

26 Nov

A quick poll. Do please response in the comments section below if you have either been splashed or nearly splashed by passing vehicles when walking. If you were splashed then did you think it was carelessness on the part of the motorist or possibly deliberate? I was very nearly caught recently when a motorist chose to keep going even though to do so would mean that he would drive straight through a puddle right where I was standing.

Also if you have experienced puddles that make it hard or inconvenient to cross the road? The first photo below shows a problem that it would be so easy for our council to avoid. Why on earth does the road have to dip down just at the point where people are expected to cross? Why was this not tested with the dropped kerb was installed? Why was it not fixed with the road was resurfaced? Grrrr


And then this one. Here a large puddle (and a stupidly parked car to make matters worse) creating significant risk of a major soaking for pedestrians including the two who are approaching.


Ok, so the questions again:

  • Have you been splashed or nearly splashed by passing cars when walking?
  • Do you think it was deliberate or carelessness?
  • Also.. are there places where standing water on roads and the pavement makes it difficult for you to walk in wet weather?

Please respond below in the comments field:

Cowbridge Road East, Cardiff

10 Jul

The police have just announced a crack-down on people cycling on the pavement on Cowbridge Road East in Cardiff. For sure, many pedestrians are concerned about cycling on the pavement which is also against the law (highway code rule 145). Personally I would prefer there to be legal dispensation for young children to cycle on the pavement, but in general let’s ensure that the roads are safe for cyclists and make sure they use them which is after all what many cyclists are asking for.

Needless to say, rule 145 also makes it illegal to drive on the pavement, but the police and newspapers prefer to ignore that irritating little detail. It is also illegal to stop within the controlled area on the approach to a Toucan crossing (Highway code Rule 240) and an Act of Parliament, which was passed in 2004, should also have made it illegal to park in mandatory cycle lanes except that in 2010 the DfT was still procrastinating and consulting on the subject. The Highway Code rule 243 also says “DO NOT stop or park within 10 meters of a junction” (but of course DO NOT only means “we would prefer it if you didn’t but can’t do anything about it really”).

So lets take a look at what is going on on Crowbridge Road East. This great way to get an idea of a place us using Google Streetview which gives a snap-shot of life in British cities on a random day and a random time of day. Sometimes it is 4am on a Sunday, but for this bit of Cardiff it seems to be a typical day.

This image from Google Streetview shows cars parked almost continuously along the cycle lanes. Note that these are only ‘advisory’ cycle lanes, which have dotted lines, so even if the DfT had completed their ‘consultation’ it would still not be illegal to park in these lanes. There are however also cars parked on the zig-zags of the approach to a crossing which is highly illegal. Get video evidence of who is driving and the police may even accept it and prosecute.

Parking in cycle lanes on Crowbridge Road East

And then this one a few meters down the road on a junction where a cyclist was seriously hurt recently. It shows a van clearly parked fully on the pavement, and a 4×4 across the cycle-lane with two wheels up on the pavement within 10 meters of a junction.

Parking on the pavement and in cycle lanes on Crowbridge Road East

The wonderful OpenStreetMap is a good way to confirm that the speed limit around here is 30 mph which in practice generally means 35mph at which speed most pedestrians and cyclists that are hit will die. So now lets look at the safety record. Here is a map showing reported road casualties on this road. The map shows that one 16 yo boy and a 45 yo man and a motorcyclist have all been killed on the road in the past 11 years (between 2000 and 2010) with over a dozen serious injuries, including at least seven pedestrians and two cyclists and numerous slight injuries.

Road injuries on Crowbridge Road East and the surrounding area

So… did Google Streetview show up a huge problem of pavement cycling? Not exactly, more a problem of vehicle owners behaving anti-socially making cycle lanes unusable pushing cyclists onto either the main road (where they occasionally get killed) or onto the pavement.

On excursion – pavement parking Ha Noi style

9 Mar

This blog is very much about highlighting the need for action on pavement parking issues in the UK, however the Google alert I have set up for ‘pavement parking’ has been throwing up various article about a saga playing out in Ha Noi, Vietnam at present.

The current situation was summed up by one recent visitor who said: ‘Hanoi has great pavements, but they are useless as they are full of motorbikes‘ and the newspaper article announcing the ban this February explains: ‘The ban was brought in to try and ease traffic chaos and create more rooms for pedestrians, who are forced to climb over vehicles or walk on the roads to avoid parked vehicles‘.

When reading the article it becomes clear that there is also a well developed system of charging people to use these pavement ‘parking lots’: ‘One worker named Huong at a parking lot run by Hanh Ly Trading and Service Co Ltd in Nguyen Xi Street told the Viet Nam News she knew about the ban, but the local authority had issued no notices. Le Ngoc Anh, a resident in the Old Quarter’s Hang Chieu Street, said the ban should be carried out immediately as parking lots in the Old Quarters usually occupied all the pavements and encroached on the roads.

I like the way the article goes on to talk about people driving ‘huge slow cars’ with one occupant: ‘Ha Noi is home to about 3.8 millions of motorbikes and almost 400,000 huge, slow moving cars that often carried a single passenger. Among them, about 184,000 cars and 2.3 millions motorbikes are operating in inner city.‘ The population of the Metropolitan Area is 6.5 million so over half of the population appear to have a motorbike and under 10% have a car.

However…. there was clearly been a bit of a political backlash, and Vietnam News reported today that the ban is to be ‘eased’ stating that ‘Ha Noi has approved a Transport Department proposal to lift the ban on parking by all vehicles on the pavements of some streets in the inner city to meet the overwhelming demand for parking spaces‘. The article then explains that any parking: ‘would have to meet requirements including leaving at least 1.5 metres for pedestrians and not blocking the entire pavement‘. The 1.5 m bit sounds sensible, however if that is the case then why the need to say ‘not blocking the entire pavement‘ in the same sentence? Is there already an acceptance that the 1.5 meters is not going to be met?

In other parts of the city, however. there are moves to impose a ban on parking: ‘The HCM City People’s Committee has asked authorities in districts to take drastic measures to stop pavements being used for parking as well as for commercial purposes. Nguyen Trung Tin, deputy chairman of the city’s People’s Committee, said that districts should strictly impose fines so that pavements could remain clear. He asked that the city to revoke the licences of shops that used pavements for parking vehicles. “Each district had to impose a deadline for pavement clearance and ensure that deadlines were met,” Tin said.’

Finally, here are a couple of youtube clips of traffic in the city, not for the faint-hearted, but it seems to function in a crazy sort of way! You can see how the pavements are completely blocked by motorbikes at one point in the first video.

Think pedestrian, especially when it snows!

5 Feb

Ipswich hospital did an excellent job clearing snow from its service roads today, but unfortunately failed to clear its pavements effectively, which is a shame, given the considerable workload that slips on snow and ice create for the NHS.

Some of their pavements had been dressed with salt but there was then too much snow for that and the paths were soon covered in slush and will probably freeze solid tonight. It’s a good job that emergency services are just round the corner! All of the following pictures were taken on busy routes on hospital grounds.

‘Critical care this way’, but no effort to clear the path to it.

Road cleared, path covered in slushy snow, now freezing

Nice pedestrian crossing, road cleared of ice, path has not been.

For anyone who is still in doubt, residents are encouraged to clear pavements and business owners are at risk of prosecution if they fail to clear snow effectively. The ‘Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957’ states that a business must “take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that the visitor will be reasonably safe in using the premises for the purposes for which he is invited or permitted by the occupier to be there“. (Section 2.2) Lots of occurrences of the term ‘reasonable’, but personally I think it is reasonable to expect a large hospital with thousands of staff and visitors arriving each day to take a bit more care to keep their primary pedestrian routes clear of snow and ice. It would certainly set a good example for others to follow if nothing else!