Monday, 25 February 2008

Contrary road rules

The sequence of photos seen here illustrates one of my daily hazards. The cause of this hazard is parked cars. It shows the danger, road users, especially cyclists, are routinely exposed to as a result of contradictory policies and laws.

Here in the UK we have nearly enough cars to share one between two, and that includes people too old or young to drive! The side effect of having all these cars is many fold, from taking up all the extra space, to reducing road safety, even when not moving.

This wide road used to be an attractive boulevard with trams plying the route to Wilpshire. The idea of running trams again has recently been talked about, but the likelihood of them on this route is very low because of the number of cars. They are also
one of the reasons why Blackburn is unlikely to become one of Cycling England's Cycling Demonstration Towns.

Taken from the cyclist's eye view the three photos show how this increased parking near junctions is obscuring the view of drivers coming out of the junction.

From about 50 metres away, the junction on the left is barely visible, let alone any vehicles trying to come out of it. Nearer to the junction, at about 25 metres away, you can just see the nose of a car waiting to come into the main road.

The driver cannot possibly see traffic coming from the right, so cyclists coming down the hill, often at speeds in excess of 25 mph, will be unsighted. At 5 metres from the junction, the cyclist has to slow to a crawl to ensure the driver eventually sees him.

The latest revision of the highway code states 'a motorist must not park opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space'. Previous versions of the code stated a motorist should not park within 15m of a junction. Road safety policy has changed, allowing councils discretion to create parking bays right up to a junction thereby reducing road safety.

These pictures were taken on the A666 main road into Blackburn. Whilst I understand residents want to be able to park outside their houses, the effect, of lines of cars parked either side of this busy road, is worse visibility for both road users and pedestrians. It reduces the width to a narrow lane either way. Although this part of the road is straight, it is one of the more hazardous parts of my daily journey.

No comments: