Wednesday, 30 July 2014

London is getting a cycle superhighway and it looks brilliant . . .

___________________________________________________________________

London is getting a cycle superhighway and it looks brilliant

Cited at:
http://metro.co.uk/2014/07/09/london-is-getting-a-cycle-superhighway-and-it-looks-brilliant-4792852/


How Vauxhall Bridge may look with central London’s first segregated cycle “superhighway”(Picture: PA)

Cyclists will be fully segregated from vehicles for the first time in London under plans for a new cycle superhighway at one of the city’s nastiest road junctions.

The two-way lanes are to be built from Kennington Oval to Pimlico – running through the Vauxhall gyratory system, where a cyclist died early last month.

Subject to a public consultation, work to build the route could begin in winter, separating tens of thousands of cyclists from buses, cars, lorries and pedestrians.

Yesterday, mayor Boris Johnson said: ‘In my cycling vision, I promised that the worst and most dangerous junctions would be safe for cyclists.

‘Vauxhall is the first. In the same week London hosted the Tour de France, I am perhaps even more excited by this plan, which will help cyclists every day for many years.’

Bike users at the Vauxhall gyratory system make up a quarter of rush-hour traffic.

Tafsir Butt, 52, was killed after an accident with a tipper truck at the junction. The security guard was the sixth person to die on the city’s roads this year – but the issue of safety came to the fore last autumn, when six cyclists died in a fortnight. Widespread protests followed.


How the Vauxhall gyratory may look with central London’s first segregated cycle “superhighway”(Picture: PA)

The east-west track will help create space for protected north-south lanes at the gyratory – the first of which will be installed later next year.

The Green Party’s Darren Johnson said efforts to improve safety around Vauxhall Bridge were a ‘major step forward when compared to dangerous plans the mayor put forward three years ago’.

But the London Assembly member is still concerned that Mr Johnson ‘won’t keep his promise to complete 12 cycling superhighways by the end of his term in office in 2016’.

Leon Daniels of TfL said: ‘These radical changes would provide a safe and direct route for people travelling through Vauxhall, whether they’re cycling to work, exercising or just enjoying being on two wheels.’

A consultation is now under way.


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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

London's black cabs may soon be forced to accept card payments . . .

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London's black cabs may soon be forced to accept card payments

Cited at:
http://www.engadget.com/2014/07/11/london-black-cabs-tfl-card-payments/?ncid=rss_truncated



Part of the reason app-based car services like Uber and Hailo have become so popular is their quick service and no-fuss payments. Hailo, in particular, has bridged the gap for London's black cabs, which have widely shunned card payments due to high setup and running costs. However, things could soon be made a lot easier for city commuters (and tourists) if new plans being considered by Transport for London (TfL) come into force.

The Evening Standard reports that TfL will soon launch a consultation on making debit and credit card payment facilities mandatory by 2016. Under the new proposals, the authority would scrap the surcharge currently levied against card payments, burying the average cost of a debit or credit transaction in the standard fare. That means you'd pay the same amount regardless of the payment method, and you'd no longer need to stop off at a cash machine in order to pay for your journey. Given the recent backlash over Hailo's decision to become a fully-fledged Uber rival, London's cabbies wouldn't have to rely on a third party (at least for cashless payments), ensuring that riders and drivers both enjoy small wins.


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Monday, 28 July 2014

Thousands of road incidents 'preventable'Last updated Wed 9 Jul 2014 . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Thousands of road incidents 'preventable'Last updated Wed 9 Jul 2014

Cited at:
http://www.itv.com/news/border/update/2014-07-09/thousands-of-road-incidents-preventable/

The Highways Agency are urging drivers to check their vehicles before hitting the roads this summer.

New figures show that 16,900 traffic incidents happened in the north west of England last year but, that more than 1,000 of them were preventable.

1,054 incidents were tyre-related breakdowns and 48 were the result of cars running out of fuel.


“It’s vital that people check and maintain their vehicles before setting off. A single preventable breakdown can cause chaos for thousands of people – and congestion costs the economy an estimated £3bn every year.

“Inevitably there will be times where routes become congested, and many people will be driving on unfamiliar roads, so we ask road users to help themselves by planning ahead to avoid peak times, using our journey planning tools and allowing enough time for their journeys.”


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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Vauxhall junction plans unveiled to make cycling safer . . .

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Vauxhall junction plans unveiled to make cycling safer

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-28232211


Plans to transform a road junction, described as the "nastiest in London" by the mayor's cycling commissioner Andrew Gilligan, have been unveiled by Transport for London.


The proposals are going out to consultation and would see the current Vauxhall one-way system removed and replaced with a new segregated cycle lane.

Tasfir Butt, a 52-year-old cyclist, died at the junction last month.

Transport Correspondent Tom Edwards spoke to Andrew Gilligan, cycling campaigner Danny Williams and Darren Johnson, Green Party member on the London Assembly.



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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Crash driver, 79, could not read number plate from distance . . .

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Crash driver, 79, could not read number plate from distance

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-28230961

A 79-year-old driver who crashed his 4x4 into a parked lorry could only read a number plate from one metre (39 in) away, police have revealed.

The man was driving a Mitsubishi Shogun when he drove into the lorry, on the A26 Eridge Road at Boarshead, near Crowborough in East Sussex, on 27 June.

Officers tested his sight by making him read a number plate at distance but were "shocked" by his poor eyesight.

The man has since had his driving licence revoked.

After the crash, the driver, from Eridge Green, had to be cut free from his vehicle and was taken to hospital with minor injuries. The lorry driver was uninjured.

Sussex Police said drivers must ensure their eyesight reaches the required standards.

Sgt Dan Pitcher said: "He was only able to clearly read a number plate at a distance of just one metre, or 39 inches.

"The law says you must be able to read a number plate at 20.5m for an old style plate, or 20m for a new style one.

"As a result, the gentleman's driving licence was immediately revoked by the DVLA and he is no longer allowed behind the wheel."


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Friday, 25 July 2014

Highways Agency helps road users have a happy holiday . . .

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Highways Agency helps road users have a happy holiday

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/highways-agency-helps-road-users-have-a-happy-holiday


With the school summer holidays almost upon us, and more drivers using its roads, the Highways Agency is asking road users to plan their journeys and check their vehicles before setting off.


The Agency is publishing a list of potential hotspots on its roads, which, along with its summer travel advice, will help people as they travel this summer.

The Agency has analysed traffic information from the last three years for two key summer periods – the first weekend of the school holidays for many areas (18 to 20 July) and the August bank holiday weekend (22 to 25 August). For each of these periods, they have identified routes that can become busy at specific peak times.

The type of information the Agency’s data shows is that, with ports and airports especially popular, routes to Manchester Airport, Dover and Folkestone were generally busy over the weekend of 18 to 20 July, especially around lunchtimes.

For the August bank holiday weekend, the data shows that the east and west coasts of England, along with Gatwick and Heathrow, were busy, especially at lunchtimes. The Agency will be suspending or completing the majority of its road works during the bank holiday period to help road users.

Simon Sheldon-Wilson, Director of Traffic Management, said:
We’ll be doing all we can during the summer to ensure road users get to their destinations smoothly and safely. Our traffic officers will also be on hand to clear incidents from the roads and get traffic moving as soon as possible.

Inevitably there will be times where routes become congested, and many people will be driving on unfamiliar roads, so we ask road users to help themselves by planning ahead to avoid peak times, using our journey planning tools and allowing enough time for their journeys.

It’s also vital that people check and maintain their vehicles before setting off. A single preventable breakdown can cause chaos for thousands of people – and congestion costs the economy an estimated £3bn every year.

The Agency is urging road users to properly check their vehicles before travelling – as new data shows that more than 9,000 of the incidents it deals with in the summer months are potentially preventable breakdowns.

The data shows that 9,300 of the 115,014 incidents on its network between July and September last year were potentially preventable: 8,712 were tyre-related breakdowns and 588 were out-of-fuel breakdowns.

Peter Rodger, Chief examiner of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said:
A major cause of breakdown is running out of fuel. Check that – and while you’re doing it, water, oil and tyres – and you will be well on the way to preventing a breakdown that could make your summer getaway an unpleasant experience instead of the brilliant one you hoped for.

Drivers can check planned road works on motorways and major A roads in advance on the Highways Agency’s website. Just before they set out they can get up-to-date information about incidents and congestion hotspots on the road network by calling the Agency’s helpline on 0300 123 5000 or checking Twitter.

Information about the Agency’s road network is available on the Traffic England website and drivers can download a live traffic info app to their smartphones on the iTunes website so they can check on current road and traffic conditions while enroute. But remember it is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving.

General enquiries
Members of the public should contact the Highways Agency Information Line on 0300 123 5000



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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Driving youngsters into a job . . .

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Driving youngsters into a job

Cited at:
http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2014/07/driving-youngsters-into-a-job/

Driving Test Success, provider of interactive learner driver training materials, has taken steps to get young people driving to beat unemployment. 

Students and young people will be able to take advantage of competitively priced electronic training products. To kick-start the campaign Driving Test Success is also giving away free copies of the Highway Code. 

Emma Bagnall, brand manager for Driving Test Success, says the campaign is a positive, engaging and thought-provoking way to get the younger generation looking at how they can improve their lives.

“With our generation, learning to drive was a given. It’s just what you did,” says Bagnall. 

“But these days it seems, whether due to the economic climate or changing attitudes the part in your life where you learn to drive is replaced with going straight to college or university – leaving a lot of young people, especially graduates, at the mercy of local transport and local jobs.”


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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Was M62 crash provoked by a 'tit for tat' braking incident? . . .

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Was M62 crash provoked by a 'tit for tat' braking incident?

Cited at:
http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/fridays-m62-crash-provoked-tit-7379954



Police are investigating if a crash on the M62 was the result of a ‘tit for tat’ braking incident.

A woman passenger was seriously injured and now police have revealed the car she was travelling in may be linked to an earlier incident involving another car.

Officers are investigating reports that while the occupants of an orange Polo had been travelling in lane three between junctions 24 and 25 at about 4.10pm, a silver Ford Focus approached from behind at speed and flashed its headlights.

It is believed the Polo pulled over into lane two and was then overtaken by the Focus, which pulled in front of the Polo and braked causing the driver to have to brake harshly.

As the Polo reached the exit slip road to Hartshead Moor services in lane two, the driver started to overtake a vehicle in lane one and realised it was the same Focus.

The driver of the Focus is then reported to have steered to the right and moved in to lane two in front of the Polo and then braked heavily, causing the Polo to also brake heavily to avoid colliding but resulting in the collision with the tanker.

The Focus then left the scene and was last seen exiting at junction 26 and driving up the M606.

A 51-year-old Bradford woman suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to hospital. She remains in hospital where her condition is described as serious but stable.

PC Peter Doyle, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “We would urge anyone who has witnessed any part of this incident or who believes they saw this Ford Focus and can provide any further detail about the vehicle to make contact. Similarly, we would ask the driver of the Ford Focus to contact police to give their account of this incident.”



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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Police arrest 150 for drink driving in summer crackdown . . .

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Police arrest 150 for drink driving in summer crackdown

Cited at:
http://www.gazetteseries.co.uk/news/11326699.Police_arrest_150_for_drink_driving_in_summer_crackdown/



Police arrest 150 for drink driving in summer crackdown

A SUMMER drink drive campaign has seen more than 150 motorists arrested in Avon and Somerset.

Police targeted football fans watching late-night World Cup matches during the month-long crackdown which took place throughout June.

In total 158 people were arrested on suspicion of drink driving and for the first time ever, Avon and Somerset Constabulary has released details of the time of day people were apprehended.

The figures show 131 arrests were made between 7pm and 6am, seven arrests were made between 6am and 9am and 17 arrests between 9am and 7pm.

Chief Supt Ian Smith said the times showed how motorists can still be over the limit the morning after.

“This year we have published figures for the times of day that arrests were made to highlight the fact that some drivers could still be over the limit the following morning and that we carry out stops throughout the day and evening,” he said.

"If you are out in the evening enjoying a few drinks this summer make sure you have arrangements in place for getting home, such as a taxi or a lift with friends, and ensure you leave plenty of time for the alcohol to leave your system if you are driving the next day.

"Drinking and driving can lead to collisions and cause serious injury or death and we will look to prosecute anyone found to be over the legal limit. The message is simple, don’t drink and drive.”

He added: “Tackling drink and drug driving will continue throughout the summer.

“Although we run a specific awareness campaign in June, as part of a wider national campaign, the work to prevent drink and drug drivers and help make our roads safer goes on all year round.

“Driving is a privilege not a right and those that abuse that privilege will be targeted.”


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Monday, 21 July 2014

Bristol City Council's £35million plan to get us cycling . . .

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Bristol City Council's £35million plan to get us cycling

Cited at:
http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-City-Council-s-pound-35million-plan/story-21341172-detail/story.html


A RADICAL £35 million plan to get a fifth of all commuters on their bikes by 2020 has been announced. The city council plans to increase the proportion of people cycling to work from the current nine per cent to 20 per cent through a raft of infrastructure improvements, including more segregated cycle paths.

Commuter "corridors" heading north, east, north-west and south will be the focus of the changes, funded by the council and a series of major grants.

The city centre and access to the new Enterprise Zone at Temple Meads will be transformed while key routes like Feeder Road and Gloucester Road will be made safer using Dutch-style lanes where possible.

The council also plans to appoint an independent 'cycling advocate' to act as a driving force.

The planned changes are detailed in a new Cycling Strategy document, launched yesterday, which commits the council for the first time to changing the city's commuting culture. Believed to be the only one of its kind outside of London, the council is now asking for the public's views as the document is put out to consultation.

Yesterday's announcements came just over a year since pressure group Bristol Cycling Campaign launched its Cycling Manifesto.

The manifesto, which includes 200 miles of cycle ways – some segregated – across the city, has now been adopted by the council officially.

In keeping the Cycling Manifesto, the council plans to spend £16 a year for every person in the city on improving cycleways.

The £35 million total over five years relies on funding which has already been secured and grants which the council is either applying for or has applied for already.

Projects which have already been secured include a safe cycling link from Crews Hole to Temple Meads via Feeder Road, a Lawrence Weston to Avonmouth 'cycle street' and an extension of the Whitchurch Railway Path.

Other improvements are planned for Gloucester Road, Church Road, Whiteladies Road and from the centre to the south.

Mark Bradshaw, assistant mayor for transport, rejected claims the new plan ignored the interests of drivers.

He said: "It's important to remember that a lot of people who drive also walk and cycle, so this is for the benefit of everyone. There is a huge public health benefit here which you can't put a value on.

"Changes to habits will also improve congestion.

"We can all be proud as a city that the number of people who cycle, either daily or less frequently, has greatly increased over the last ten years. I want to use this strategy to reach out to more groups who think cycling isn't yet for them.

"Bristol still faces challenges in persuading older people, children, women and disabled people that cycling can be part of their lives.

"This strategy sets out how we will work with residents, neighbourhoods, businesses, other public bodies and campaigning organisations to make a further step change in the numbers cycling – a better connected network of segregated, safer routes will be a priority."

The council is one of seven cities taking part in a project to provide comparable cycling statistics with national charity Sustrans.

Sustrans regional director Ian Barrett said: "We know there is massive demand for more people to be able to cycle their daily trips to school, work and other destinations and what's holding many people back is concerns about safety and the quality of routes.

"Bristol's commitment to build a cycle network that can be confidently navigated by children as well as adults will enable far more people to cycle regularly, with huge benefits for the city's health, environment and quality of life."

Of the cash already committed to projects under the cycling strategy, £5 million will come from the council's revenue budget.

The rest comes from central government grants such as the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, the Cycling Ambition fund and the Revolving Infrastructure Fund.

Eric Booth, chairman of Bristol Cycle Campaign, said: "Tens of thousands of ordinary people already enjoy cycling in Bristol.

"There are tens of thousands more who would like to join us, but they need to be confident that it's safe and easy. We warmly welcome this strategy which is in line with our Bristol Cycling Manifesto.

"We're looking forward to working with the council and local communities on making it happen."

Five big changes

Feeder road - A segregated cycle way from Crews Hole all the way to Temple Meads to give easy access for new Enterprise Zone commuters. Also links up with Clarence Road Dutch-style paths.

Temple Circus - The next major infrastructure project following the changes taking place at St James Barton roundabout. Will include easy access to Enterprise Zone.

Lawrence Weston - A 'cycle street' to connect Lawrence Weston to Avonmouth to handle increasing numbers of commuters.

Gloucester Road - A corridor heading north from the centre and including Gloucester Road will be subject to safety improvements for cyclists which are yet to be announced.

South Bristol - A safe cycling link from neighbourhoods in the south to the city centre will also be announced as the project gets going.


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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Man jailed for drink-driving after downing 'three litres of apple juice' . . .

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Man jailed for drink-driving after downing 'three litres of apple juice'

Cited at:
http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/387820/Man-jailed-for-6-months-for-drink-driving-after-claiming-to-drink-3-litres-of-apple-juice

A MOTORIST who was jailed for drink-driving told police he was over the limit because he had drunk three litres of APPLE JUICE.


JAILED: Mariuszk Kowolik was jailed after claiming he had only drunk three litres of apple juice.

Mariuszk Kowolik was being held by police after he smashed his Mercedes into a parked car on June 12.

The 40-year-old was charged with drink-driving but pleaded that it must have been because of the acidic soft drink.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "When he was arrested, Kowolik denied having been drinking but said he had drunk more than three litres of apple juice that day and said that must have put him over the limit."

After being released on bail, Kowolik, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was then caught again by police just days later.

“...only being in prison will stop Kowolik from putting more people in danger on the roads.”Jane Derrick, Sussex Police Superintendent

On July 1, he was found to be four times over the limit as Hastings Magistrates' Court heard how he ploughed his car into a row of shopping trolleys and attempted to flee the scene in the wrong gear.

Police then caught up with him and was found slumped at the wheel of the car as coolant poured from it's radiator.

Kowolik, who had already been banned from the roads for drink-driving in 2010, pleaded guilty to both drink-driving charges and was jailed for six months.

He was also banned from the roads for five years.

Speaking after the case, Superintendent Jane Derrick said: "Kowolik was well over the limit both times when he crashed. Who knows how many other times he had driven while drunk but had got away with it?

"It is only through luck that he has not seriously hurt or even killed someone before he has been jailed.

"It would appear that only being in prison will stop Kowolik from putting more people in danger on the roads."


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Saturday, 19 July 2014

60mph motorway speed limit plan shelved . . .

___________________________________________________________________

60mph motorway speed limit plan shelved

Cited at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-28210416


Plans to impose a 60mph speed limit on parts of the M3 and M1 motorways to cut air pollution have been put on hold.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has given the Highways Agency 18 months to devise alternative methods to tackle pollution on a 32 mile stretch of the M1 in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire and 2.8 miles of the M3 in Surrey.

If none can be found a 60mph limit could still be imposed at peak times.

But Mr McLoughlin has ruled out a blanket cut in the speed limit.

The Highways Agency has been asked to look at different ways of measuring local air quality.

'Smart highways'
It is also looking at alternative methods of cutting pollution, such as erecting high barriers along the relevant sections of the motorway to funnel fumes away from ground level. These have been found to cut pollution and noise in large-scale tests in Holland, where speed limits have also been reduced on busy trunk roads amid concern about air quality.

Another option might be banning heavily-polluting vehicles at certain times.
The air quality concern about the M1 and M3 focused on road-widening schemes aimed at cutting congestion.

Construction is about to begin on converting two sections of the M1, between junctions 28 and 31 in Derbyshire and junctions 32 and 35a in South Yorkshire, and on the M3, between junctions 2 and 4a to allow hard shoulder running either permanently or at busy periods.


Pollution from busy roads has sparked protests in Holland

The speed limit can be varied or lanes closed in emergencies through the use of overhead message signs.

The government claims these so-called "smart motorways" will increase capacity by a third and improve journey times up to 10% through the M1 schemes and 15% on the M3, where average speeds are currently 45mph during rush-hour.

But the Highways Agency is concerned that the extra traffic will mean they will break EU air quality rules, and harm the health of people living and working near the motorways. It consulted on proposals to limit speeds to 60mph between 7am and 7pm seven days a week to cut pollution.

'Strongly opposed'
But Mr McLoughlin has rejected this approach, saying the government was committed to maintaining the 70mph limit on motorways, particularly at weekends and other periods when traffic was lighter.

He said: "Let me be absolutely clear, I want all motorways to run at 70mph. While it sometimes makes sense to use variable limits to keep people moving, blanket reductions are not acceptable.

"Smart motorways are an effective and cost efficient way of increasing space on our roads, cutting jams and speeding up journey times and I am pleased to announce the start of work on these schemes."


Mr McLoughlin has ordered the Highways Agency to "rigorously investigate alternatives" to the blanket cut in the speed limit as work progresses on the schemes in the next 12 to 18 months.

In the meantime, the Highways Agency will take the legal powers it needs to reduce the speed limit from 70mph at certain times, the Transport department said.

The proposed cut to the speed limit on the M1 was rejected by 93% of people who took part in an online consultation - and it was also strongly opposed by businesses and local authorities. The M3 consultation has yet to be published.

'Health emergency'
RAC technical director David Bizley said he was pleased that Mr McLoughlin had "listened to road users and recognised that a 60mph limit on these stretches of the M1 and M3 is the thin end of the wedge".

"However, we also should be mindful that a solution that does not breach air quality limits and keeps traffic moving at 70mph may not be achievable. Let's hope, for the sake of motorists and businesses alike, that it is."

The AA said it was a "victory for common sense".
But the Green Party of England and Wales criticised the decision.

Local transport spokeswoman Caroline Russell said: "Air pollution is a public health emergency and seriously affects the health of those travelling in cars and those living nearby to busy roads.

"Cutting the speed limit to 60mph is a sensible suggestion, it would cut pollution, cut fuel costs for motorists and increase road capacity as slower moving vehicles need shorter stopping distances.

"If Mr McLoughlin really wants to deliver smart motorways he should seize this opportunity to improve journey time reliability and protect our health with 60mph motorway limits."

The Transport department said pollution would be reduced as more low emission vehicles came into use, but progress on this had not been as fast as hoped.


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Friday, 18 July 2014

Faster journeys for Britain’s drivers as work starts on smart motorway . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Faster journeys for Britain’s drivers as work starts on smart motorway

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/faster-journeys-for-britains-drivers-as-work-starts-on-smart-motorway


Construction is going to start on the M1 and M3 as part of 3 major schemes to cut road congestion.


Three new major motorway schemes on the M1 and M3 will cut congestion and give Britain’s drivers smoother, quicker journeys Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced.

Construction will now start on the M1 junctions 28 to 31 in Derbyshire, M1 junctions 32 to 35a in South Yorkshire and on the M3 at junction 2 to 4a in Surrey.

The new schemes are central to the government’s long term economic plan and part of £24 billion of investment in the road network by 2021, which will see spending tripled to £3 billion each year on England’s key highways and motorways.

Smart motorways convert the hard shoulder to a running lane to boost capacity and smooth traffic, operating either permanently or during busy periods. Overhead variable message signs inform motorists of changes in speed limits, queuing and lane closures, while staff in regional control centres use CCTV to monitor incidents and keep motorists safe.

These schemes will boost capacity by a third and improve journey times up to 10% through the M1 schemes and 15% on the M3, where average speeds are currently 45mph during rush-hour. The national speed limit on these sections will remain at 70mph.

The Highways Agency previously consulted on proposals to limit speeds to60mph between 7am and 7pm 7 days a week because of the potential effect of the new schemes on local air quality.

However, the Transport Secretary has rejected this approach as the government’s preferred option for managing the problem and has instead asked the Highways Agency to rigorously investigate alternatives as work progresses on the schemes in the next 12 to 18 months. If any proposals continue to include varying speed limits, they must only apply when absolutely necessary. In particular, the Agency must look for alternatives that maintain the 70mph limit wherever possible, particularly when traffic tends to be lighter, such as at weekends and outside of peak commuting hours.

In the meantime, as with all smart motorways already in successful operation, the Highways Agency will take the necessary legal powers to enable them to vary the speed limit from the routine 70mph at certain times.

Patrick McLoughlin said:
Let me be absolutely clear, I want all motorways to run at 70mph. While it sometimes makes sense to use variable limits to keep people moving, blanket reductions are not acceptable.

Smart motorways are an effective and cost efficient way of increasing space on our roads, cutting jams and speeding up journey times and I am pleased to announce the start of work on these schemes.

These 3 schemes will be constructed as quickly as possible to reduce the impact on those who use the motorways and live near them. Drivers should see an improvement in their journeys when the M1 schemes commence operation from autumn 2015, and when the M3 scheme opens to traffic in 2016.


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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Letters sent to drivers after speedwatch event in Oxenhope. . . .

___________________________________________________________________

Letters sent to drivers after speedwatch event in Oxenhope.

Cited at:
http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/11324254.Letters_sent_to_drivers_after_speedwatch_event_in_Oxenhope_/?ref%3Drss


Letters sent to drivers after speedwatch event in Oxenhope.

POLICE advisory letters have been sent to speeding drivers after a speedwatch event in Oxenhope.

On Monday June 30, officers measured the speed of vehicles travelling down Station Road between 8.30 and 9.30am, timed to co-incide with the morning school run. In total 65 vehicles passed down the road, which has a 20mph limit. Of these six were caught speeding, with one doing 31mph. Letters have now been sent to the drivers of the speeding vehicles.


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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Official Highway Code: fitness to drive . . .

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The Official Highway Code: fitness to drive 

Fitness to drive 


The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone. 

Rule 91

Driving when you are tired greatly increases your risk of collision. To minimise this risk 
  • make sure you are fit to drive. Do not begin a journey if you are tired. Get a good night’s sleep before embarking on a long journey 
  • avoid undertaking long journeys between midnight and 6 am, when natural alertness is at a minimum 
  • plan your journey to take sufficient breaks. A minimum break of at least 15 minutes after every two hours of driving is recommended 
  • if you feel at all sleepy, stop in a safe place. Do not stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway 
  • the most effective ways to counter sleepiness are to drink, for example, two cups of caffeinated coffee and to take a short nap (at least 15 minutes) 


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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

'Slow zones are a bigger risk' fears are rubbished . . .

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'Slow zones are a bigger risk' fears are rubbished

Cited at:
http://www.newsnorthwales.co.uk/news/135378/-slow-zones-are-a-bigger-risk-fears-are-rubbished.aspx



CONCERNS raised about the frequency of accidents on 20mph roads have been rebuffed.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has spoken out about speed limits being changed to 20mph on roads throughout the country.

The road safety organisation said serious accidents on 20mph roads had increased by more than a quarter in the last year.

The statement came after Flintshire Council announced plans to create 20mph zones outside every school in the county and council bosses said the national figures do represent the situation in current 20mph zones around schools here.

IAM said Government figures showed in 2013 serious accidents had increased by 26 per cent on 20mph roads compared with 2012 – from 333 to 420.

The data showed slight accidents on 20mph roads in Great Britain increased by 16 per cent in 2013.

There was, however, a 33 per cent reduction in the number of people killed on 20mph roads – from nine to six.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Recent advice, guidance and relaxation of regulations has all been about making it easier for councils to put 20mph limits in place. More and more roads are being given a 20mph limit but they don’t seem to deliver fewer casualties.”

However the claims were rebuffed by Neal Cockerton, chief officer of organisational change at Flintshire Council.

He said: “The data referred to by the IAM offers a general UK-wide perspective.

“Locally in Flintshire, there have been no recorded child pedestrian injuries around the 19 schools currently provided with advisory 20 mph signs, for the three-year period between December 2010 and December 2013.

“A Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) study in 2012 advised that speed significantly increases the chance of being injured in a collision.

“The installation of 20mph signs around all our schools will increase road safety and awareness and improve road conditions around our schools.”

Deputy leader of the local authority and cabinet member for environment, Cllr Bernie Attridge, has spearheaded the move to bring in 20mph zones.

When making the announcement last week, he said: “Delivering 20mph zones outside the county’s schools has been a priority for this administration.

“The new arrangements will improve road safety by making drivers aware of the school location which will help ensure they reduce their speed accordingly.

“Clearly speed is a key factor in road safety and this is a major step forward in protecting the safety of our children.”

According to the figures cited by AIG, casualties in 20mph zones in the UK as a whole also rose with “serious casualties” increasing by 29 per cent and “slight casualties” going up by 19 per cent.

The number of serious casualties increased from 339 in 2012 to 437 in 2013 while the number of slight casualties increasing from 2,286 to 2,721, the charity said.

In the same year there was a decrease in the number of serious and slight accidents on 30mph roads and 40 mph roads, according to the charity.

Serious accidents went down nine per cent on 30mph roads and seven per cent on 40 mph roads.

There was a five per cent reduction in slight accidents on 30 mph roads and a three per cent decrease on 40 mph roads.

Work to install advisory speed limits outside all Flintshire’s 84 primary and secondary schools will start in the next few days and should be completed before the end of the summer holidays.

The plan was announced by Flintshire Council last autumn, and was implemented at 19 schools before it was hit with delays while Welsh Government officials ensured proposed signs were fit for use.

Providing the signs is expected to cost about £50,000.

Road safety charity Brake also disputed the claims by the IAM.

In a statement, a Brake spokesman said: “We don’t accept the IAM’s interpretation of these figures. It’s our experience – and the evidence shows – that 20mph make our roads safer, reducing the number of crashes.

“The fact is, speed kills. We will continue to campaign for a change of the national, urban default speed limit, from 30 to 20mph.”


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Monday, 14 July 2014

Drivers who have epilepsy . . .

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Drivers who have epilepsy

Cited at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/drivers-who-suffer-from-epilepsy

DVLA want to support people to get back driving, but also have a responsibility to maintain UK road safety.


There are situations where DVLA revoke driver entitlements to ensure that the roads are safe for everyone - including you.

The Medical Standards around driving with epilepsy are very detailed and can be complicated. The following information provides the main facts and directs you to further information to help you understand how the standards apply to you.

Car drivers and motorcycle riders

Car drivers and motorcycle riders will usually be granted a 3-year licence as long as they:
have not had an epileptic attack in the last 12 months, unless they have seizures that fall under one of the concessions
comply with the advice of their doctor or consultant concerning treatment and check-ups

Once seizure free for 5 years, drivers will usually be issued a licence valid until they’re 70.

For a first unprovoked epileptic seizure, drivers must take 6 months off driving from the date of the seizure unless there is high risk of further seizures, which would stop a driver from driving for 1 year. DVLA must be informed of any seizure.

Lorry and bus drivers

Lorry and bus drivers will be given a driving licence if they remain seizure free for 10 years and without taking any anti epilepsy medication. The duration of the licence will depend on the individual medical details of the driver.

After a first unprovoked epileptic seizure, lorry and bus drivers must take 5 years off driving from the date of the seizure. They must also undergo an assessment by a neurologist and show no indication that the risk of a further seizure is greater than 2% per annum. The driver should have taken no anti-epilepsy medication throughout the 5-year period before getting a licence.DVLA must be informed of any seizure.



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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Uber app ruled legal by London transport authority despite black cab protests Not only is it legal, it's Uber legal . . .

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Uber app ruled legal by London transport authority despite black cab protests Not only is it legal, it's Uber legal

Cited at:
http://www.techradar.com/news/software/applications/uber-app-ruled-legal-by-london-transport-authority-despite-black-cab-protests-1256119


Uber drivers are free to go about their business in London

Transport for London is satisfied that the Uber taxi app is operating within the law, despite protests from legions of the city's black cab drivers.

The mobile ride-sharing app is free to continue operating within the city, according to TfL which rejected cabbies' claims the app's driver's should be licensed because of the way they calculate fees.

In a statement to the TFL board, MD of Surface Transport Leon Daniels said: "In relation to the way Uber operates in London, TfL is satisfied that based upon our understanding of the relationship between passenger and Uber London, and between Uber London and Uber BV, registered in Holland, that it is operating lawfully under the terms of the 1988 PHV(L) Act."

Drivers use smartphones to meter fares rather than traditional taximeters and as a result "have no operational or physical connection with the vehicles, and [so] … are not taximeters within the meaning of the legislation," Daniels said.

Standstill
The ruling comes after London black cab drivers brought attempted to bring the capital to a standstill with a strike last month.

TFL's decision isn't the end of the matter. Whether smartphones can be classed as taximeters will be decided in a British court next month.

For now, Uber drivers are free to go about their business.


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Monday, 7 July 2014

The Official Highway Code: cyclists . . .

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The Official Highway Code: cyclists 

Cyclists 

The Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales and is essential reading for everyone. 

Rule 80

Toucan crossings. These are light-controlled crossings which allow cyclists and pedestrians to share crossing space and cross at the same time. 

They are push-button operated. Pedestrians and cyclists will see the green signal together. Cyclists are permitted to ride across. 



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Driving test superstitions revealed: Did you have a lucky charm? . . .

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Driving test superstitions revealed: Did you have a lucky charm?

Cited at:
http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/driving-test-superstitions-revealed-you-7381281

Nerves can have a crippling effect on learner drivers once they get to test day.

Here, instructors with the AA Driving School recall particularly superstitious students whose desire to get their full licence resulted in carrying out unusual rituals:

  • One pupil wore the T-shirt she had on when she gave birth to her daughter (now seven years old) and the trousers she was wearing before she conceived.
  • A learner had failed three times due to nerves. On her fourth attempt she had read that bananas were key to alertness so she ate two bananas just before her test and passed. She also swapped her lucky cowboy boots that she had worn on her other attempts for her trainers.
  • A learner bought a car shortly before she took her test. For good luck her mum cracked an egg on each tyre and bought her an "evil eye" toy to ward off people's envy and jealousy. She passed her test.
  • On the lesson before her test, a pupil wanted to stop and park (safely) whenever she saw two drains so she could get out and stand on them. She passed her test first time with only two minor faults.
  • Just before her lessons one learner used to play with her Nintendo Wii - Mario Kart. She had the steering wheel controller and felt it helped with steering on the actual lessons.
  • One learner had a lucky Italian Job T-shirt that they wore for all their school exams. They would not take their driving test unless they wore that particular T-shirt. They passed second time (wearing the garment on both attempts).
  • A student's mother gave his dad a particular brand of chocolate bar when he first took his HGV 1 test. He passed and it is now something that all the family does when someone has a driving test. The young student, his brother and cousins all followed this ritual, and all passed first time.
  • Several students follow the superstition of saluting magpies, avoiding certain dates like Friday 13, or refuse to cross the path of a black cat.
  • Some learners carry favourite soft toys, a lucky champagne cork or aromatherapy oil to sooth the nerves while others wear lucky underwear, socks, shoes or jewellery.

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