Nobody lives in remote places

In Cycling in Middle England, Mark mentioned that the transport minister responded to a question about policy outside of major cities by waffling about remote places where distances are impractical for cycling. If we’re not living in big cities, apparently we’re living in remote places. Except of course, by definition, nobody lives there. […]

Waterloo to Greenwich Quietways

I’ve not been keeping up with the consultations so much, but I found 5 minutes over lunch to glance at this https://consultations.tfl.gov.uk/cycling/tower-rothsay-webb and scribble the first things that came to mind… Andrew Gilligan said that things would be "done properly, or not at all." Unfortunately, while some aspects of this […]

Why are you still using URL shorteners?

Part of my job includes looking after social media. That means I can’t hide from the torrent of advice from Social Media Experts. It seems one of the standard lines is still “use bitly on twitter”. I’ve developed an excessive perhaps slightly irrational rage with that one.* It came up again at the […]

Alarming facts

A year ago I flagged something in feedly for a brief sarcastic comment, and never got around to it. Now that I’m having a clear out… “It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at […]

On Bill Hamilton

Flicking through a 10 year old notebook, one of those ones made from paper and everything, deciding whether to keep these things cluttering up the place or not. Friday 16 January 2004: Martin Birch reports that he met Bill one day in the department of zoology, and apologised for forgetting […]

Ten baby names to watch out for in 2014

Way back when I worked in academic publishing, assessing newly submitted papers and finding suitable people to peer review them, I encountered hundreds of weird and wonderful names every day. And kept a list of which most amused. Which never got published because, well, it would be mean. But… the […]

On the road haulage lobby

The road haulage lobby briefly grabbed a bit of attention last month when they blamed the victims killed by their industry: http://beyondthekerb.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/cyclists-go-truck-yourselves/ But really, the history of their practices is worth looking at. Mick Hamer (yes, this Mick Hamer) in Wheels Within Wheels reviews how the road freight industry has […]

Travel to work in Stevenage

Given that Stevenage seems to be the exemplar du jour of the UK’s unique culture, wedded to the motorcar and impossible to persuade to use a bicycle — a representative sample of the English attitude and environment, and definitely not just a self-selected population of suburbanites in an anomalistic mid-20th […]

The things the council have to put up with…

My father was a compulsive hoarder. Well… an enthusiastic collector of things, at least. Some of the things are quite amazing. Today I am flicking through the folders labelled “Weymouth Relief Road”, ahead of tomorrow’s seaside infrastructure safari along the new Relief Road Cycle Track, and was delighted by this […]

Free* 4 day weekend in the West Highlands

I have tickets for the Caledonian Sleeper. I don’t think I’m going to be able to use them. They are £39 advance "bargain berth" tickets — non refundable. Technically, they’re not transferable either, so they’re not for sale. But I could possibly aide somebody in their pretending to be me. […]

hierarchy of outcomes

I was at a thing with some people who thought that the Hierarchy of Provision was a good idea. Have campaigned for it, and had their campaign organisations push it.I’ve explained before why I think it’s worse than useless.In attempting to defend i…

the popularity paradox

Popped into town to see @mgtmccartney talk at Conway Hall about some of the reasons behind the paradox that screening a population for disease, if not properly thought through, can do more harm than good.I just wanted to make a note of one of the …

dead victims are easier to blame 1

Some amazing numbers about the response to deaths/injuries on London’s roads buried in a Robert Davis post caught my eye: Prosecutions: 7/216 deaths; 227/811 ???Serious/Life Changing??? (???Serious / Life Changing??? is an unofficial category Something li…


I was writing about the casual way we accept dangerous roads and streets, using a few case studies where deaths resulting from appalling careless and incompetent driving on badly designed roads have been dismissed as “accidents” — not just someth…