I know an old lady who swallowed a fly

6TH OF JANUARY 2013 · 04:27

Source: Department for Transport

Department for Transport Banner

Department for Transport Banner

I don’t know why she swallowed a fly.
Perhaps she’ll die.

I know of a country which painted a line.
do know why they painted the line!

It was an attempt at getting infrastructure on the cheap. Bike lanes are simply painted lines at the edge of the road, creating a lane for bike riders which is very often narrow and dangerous. One of the problems with these lanes is that they funnel bikes down the near-side of motor vehicles, meaning any bikes going straight on are in conflict with motor vehicles turning left.

People have died.

I know of a country which painted a box.
What a pox, this ‘safety’ box!

To solve the problem of bike lanes at junctions, we could have given bikes proper physical separation and a separate traffic light phase. But that would slow down car journeys by several seconds! So, continuing the cheap pseudo-engineering which the UK now excels at, we devised ASLs – advanced stop lines (or “bike boxes” to some of you).

They painted a box which sent bike riders 
right into the blind-spot of HGV drivers.

People have died.

I know of a country which thought that a mirror 
would be the solution to carnage and horror.

I know that it’s better than nothing given the current appalling design, but let’s face it – it’s a kludge. Are we hoping that every single lorry driver will remember to check yet another mirror at every single junction? Given human nature, and indeed, human biology, we must conclude that this mirror does not, and cannot, make a junction safe.

They added the mirror to fix the box 
(which mixed up bike riders and HGV drivers) 
they added the box to fix the line 
they painted the line to keep it cheap…

…more people will die.

So what’s next, when we discover that the “Trixi” mirrors aren’t stopping deaths or making bike riding safer? (As the Dutch already know. Via Vole O’Speed.)

It’s a kludge on a kludge on a kludge, like the lady swallowing a succession of animals, each designed to fix the problem created by the previous one, when the real solution is to cough up the fly.

When will the UK stop throwing good money after bad to fix a broken system? As far as I can tell, our street design was created in the 1950s during the dawning of the age of the motorcar, and has only been tinkered with gently ever since.

What we need is a major overhaul of our road design guidelines to make walking and bike riding safe, easy and attractive for everyone.