Considerate Cycling 46: How Not to Do Survey Research

etc

BBC Bristol News have recently published two surprisingly uncritical reports arising from an on-line survey of attitudes to street parking policy in Bristol.

After a (not-returned) telephone call from me and a bit of Twitter activity by the Mayor, BBC Bristol News made some changes to the text of the most recent article but some dubious statistics given by the research author are still reported. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-30512827 (As of the afternoon of 18/12/2014)

Behind the BBC Bristol News item is a long-running story of Bristol’s attempts to tidy up conflict between resident and commuter parking. A previous Council Administration and now the elected City Mayor have pursued the idea of setting up Residential Parking Zones. It’s a very boring topic for everyone else, but for interested parties it seems to arouse strong feelings.

The immediate story is that former Ford employee, now Bristol businessman, Mark Moran wrote and published a web questionnaire on the subject of Bristol’s parking scheme. I have not been able to find a data set or a report of Mark Moran’s findings so the following comments are based on the questionnaire alone. My own interest in the topic is as a postgraduate degree holder in research methodology, as a resident of Clifton with specific problems related to parking in Bristol, and as an advocate of cycling within cycle campaign associations.

I have annotated the full text of the questionnaire with the sorts of observations that I would have been able to share had the BBC News Editor called me back as promised.

Bristol Residential Parking Zones – Does the city want them?

Have your say.

Asking the real questions about RPZ

There has been no full survey done of the whole of Bristol and its surrounding areas with regards to RPZ. Feelings are running very high on this issue and it is the one most often in the news

The intention of this survey is to reach the entire ‘Greater Bristol’ area to establish once and for all the true feelings about these schemes

[a survey about the “Greater Bristol Area” would need to collect information about where respondents lived and worked so that the representativeness of the sample could be established. A publicised web survey will clearly recruit only a self-selecting sample whose general characteristics (age, residential area, car ownership, employment and so on) would need to be tested against the known characteristics of the population of the area as a whole.]

1. Do you agree with the blanket introduction of Residential Parking Zones across Bristol? Yes no

[The unexplained adjective “blanket” makes a clear answer more difficult. Is this a question about the scheme per se, or is it about the scale and pace of the scheme’s implementation? As a type of question it comes under the heading of “portmanteau question” – a question that could be construed as being two or more questions in one. Such questions can be difficult to answer and their later analysis cannot be done with confidence]

2. Do you think the Mayor and Bristol City Council have listened to the concerns of residents and businesses over RPZ? Yes no

[Again, this is two (or more) questions in one]

3. Do you think an efficient cheap and reliable public transport system should be in place before RPZ’s [sic] are introduced? Yes no

[This question contains so many ideas that answers to it could mean almost anything. It’s hard to see how it asks for any kind of answer that would not already have been given to Question 1.]

4. Do you think these schemes will discourage people from travelling to work in Bristol?

Yes no

[A simple categorical question with a yes/no answer? On the face of it yes. In practical terms it is more helpful to respondents and to later analysis to offer a range of options when opinions are sought. However this is an opinion question about other people’s likely behaviour. Why not just ask the respondents about their own behaviour? Even that sort of question is hypothetical, but the answers to it might be more well-grounded and reliable]

5. Do you think these schemes will cause businesses to close? Yes no

[The same problems arise here as we see in Question 4. As with 4 it is a hypothetical question of a type generally used only to test general attitudes or opinions and very rarely with just a yes/no response. My own reading of this question (and some others) is that the author is simply marshalling the beliefs he already holds and is looking for people who agree with him]

6. Do you live in Bristol, Work in Bristol or Visit Bristol? Live Work or Visit

[This one is a mess. Three different questions are rolled into one and a number of interesting or relevant others are omitted, such as “do you work at home?” “are you retired?” “do you have a condition that affects mobility?” or “are you a student?”]

7. Should the residents of the affected areas be forced to pay for the RPZ? Yes no

[The word “forced” is an emotionally charged word that indicates that the questioner does not agree with the idea of resident parking schemes however they are financed. It also seems to rest on confused ideas about how the various elements of consultation, implementation and future running costs have been and will be financed. Offering one rather stark and unlikely option “residents … be forced to pay” makes it hard to imagine anyone ticking Yes .]

8. Would you support raising funds for a judicial review into the RPZ programme? Yes no

[This question suggests that the author is planning to or would like to attempt such a legal challenge and that he is asking for financial support. The possibility of gathering a representative set of responses from the questionnaire when his own views are so close to the surface must be thrown into doubt.]

9. Would you support the cancellation of all planned RPZ’s [sic] and the reversal of those already in place?
Yes
no

[as Q8]

10. Please use this box to add any further comments


[This question is potentially the one that will generate some interesting responses. It will also be the hardest one to analyse.]

Considerate Cycling 45: Normal People

Inconsiderate behaviour in public (however we construe inconsiderate behaviour) is a normal background noise in all our lives. We exhibit some and we experience some. Sometimes it feels worse, sometimes better. My point in this blog is that righteous indignation at bad behaviour on the roads has no practical value and might be a barrier to the improvement of public happiness. I am suggesting that we need a better common sense understanding of “normal” and we need to think about better ways to reduce road conflict and the anxiety and the damage that arise from it.

Let’s suppose, for the sake of analysis, that an unwanted level of inconsiderate behaviour is a normally distributed feature of human nature. 68% of our population, let’s guess, will shelter in the normal zone of doing their imperfect best. Some will show us a way of being better than expected and some will disappoint us. Let’s guess at 13.5% in each of those categories. Beyond them perhaps, a tiny fraction of the population are saints or criminals who will contribute exceptional altruism or unacceptable danger. A wide range of naturally occurring attributes (like height and weight for example) seem to be distributed in this predictably symmetrical sort of way. We call it the “normal distribution”.

Here is a picture of the normal distribution of the propensity towards considerate road behaviour in the adult population. The labels might be unexpected, but the shape of the normal distribution is a familiar sight:

The coloured space under the curve represents a whole set of people (let’s say the adult population of Bristol). The horizontal axis represents the extent to which people deviate, in one direction or the other, from the considerate mean.

For the purposes of this blog I am assuming that you (the reader) and I (the writer) are normal people. The odds are with me on that assumption. More than two thirds of the population are close to the norm, so you and I probably are too.

Let’s focus on the other people. More specifically let’s think about the 27 or 28 in every 200 (the 13.65%) who are the “bad people” and the “criminals”. Let’s focus on their road behaviour. Let’s be more precise and think about them on their way to work in the morning.

Here are some of them:

That looks a bit jumbled and inconclusive but we do have a more precise image of one Spring day in 2011 because every householder in the city was asked, as part of the decennial census, how each person in the house got to work on that day. 192,154
adults made such a journey, with 99,695 driving, 38,832 walking and 15,768 cycling. Others traveled by bus, train, motorbike, bus or other means. I shall assume all of those groups are normal in their shares of considerate and inconsiderate people. It’s a reasonable assumption. Here is a picture of the bad people and the criminals who were driving, walking or cycling around Bristol last Tuesday. They are same people (mostly) who were doing the same sorts of things on the day of the 2011 Census.

Normal Bad Behviour on Census Day 2011 In Bristol By selceted Modes Of Travel To Workdata taken from Table CT0015: 2011 Census: Method of travel to work (alternative), local authorities in England and Wales

The criminally inconsiderate people who were driving, walking or cycling are hard to see. In the flow of 67,793 cars and vans there will only be 249 with extreme tendencies, and the chances are that things go smoothly enough an any given day and none of them do any harm. But let’s not be complacent. There were 97 criminally inconsiderate people walking to work and 39 dangerously inclined people on bikes. There were also quite large numbers of people whose tendencies we had already agreed are likely to be “bad”. Over 20,000.

Let’s remember that Bristol is a small place and that in the light of the numbers of inconsiderate people we think might be travelling through the city it’s not surprising that there were 2,075 reports of road traffic accidents in the the 12 months between August 2011 and September 2012. On average, there were 5 reports per day over those 12 months, with a peak of 6.5 each Thursday and a calmer 2.9 on Sundays.

What this all means is that nervous people are right to be nervous. On any given working day there are likely to be 5 incidents actually recorded by the Police on Bristol roads where someone gets hurt. Occasionally it’s even worse.

So what do we do? Shout at the bad people? Make them take tests? Tell them to use air bags in their vehicles? Close the crossings, traffic lights and pavements?

No, these are silly rhetorical questions. What we do is consider the situation intelligently and then spend a lot of money on reducing the number and the severity of conflicts between dangerous vehicles and vulnerable people. We ask law makers and law enforcement officers to intervene wherever and in whatever circumstances the conflicts are known to lead to casualties. We ask them to stop treating collisions as normal and therefore acceptable. We ask them to start seeing collisions as common but unacceptable and legislating then prosecuting wherever is necessary. We reduce speed limits, we reduce access to some streets, we take cases to court. We set up instruction and refresher training courses for road users who ask for it or who show by their convictions that they need it.

More importantly we build roads and pathways and reorganise streets so that the total volume of conflicts is dramatically reduced. If there are a lot of motor vehicles that might reasonably expect to move quickly, we make sure that walking, cycling and other vulnerable modes of travel can complete journeys without coming into direct contact with them.

If we did such bold things systematically, and with a measured plan (as a lot of similar countries already have) the five a day rule could be a thing of the past. Even the bad and criminal people would a) have less to be angry or anxious about as they travel and b) only be likely to have collisions with their equals in momentum. (some further reading)

In every other modern endeavour we notice where things go wrong, we work out ways of reducing the risks, the hazards and the severity of the outcomes and we spend some resources on dealing with them. We also recognise that this process has to be sustained – renewed and refreshed at each level as time brings improvement.

So why not take one of the last bold steps for a post-industrial city and catch up with fellow cities in Europe and accept the normal distribution of human failings. Let’s remake our roads, pathways and streets to reduce the conflicts. Let’s enforce the rules we have set for sensible behaviour and not let the agents of the law accept that collisions are inevitable simply because they are so common. Let’s arrange for children to be able to cycle to school and to have cycling and road craft as part of their curriculum. Let’s make some new rules (a universal 20mph in towns and cities for example). Let’s also make it compulsory or easy for people who need to learn better ways to do so, whatever mode they chose.

To put all that another way, we can’t stop people being normally inclined, but if we act wisely in relation to urban travel we can reduce the harm done by the normally occurring lack of consideration and the violence that follows from it.

Considerate Cycling 44: 20mph Feels Good, So Do It

 


Sometimes I hire a motor vehicle. They are really useful for some journeys. Depending on the load, the number of passengers and the distances involved hiring can be cheaper and simpler than the alternatives.

So far this year I have hired two cars and two vans. The best part is being able to take them back and hand over the responsibility but this year I have had the extra pleasure of being able to drive around Bristol at 20mph. It’s such a civilised speed in a busy city. On a journey of three or four miles within the city the time involved in not racing up to 30 where the rare opportunity arises makes so little difference that it’s irrelevant. Rushing is a waste of adrenaline.

The pleasure of driving more slowly is being able to consider each section of the journey as an experience in its own right, paying attention to junctions, side roads, other roads users and the unexpected things that always crop up. Hard acceleration and sharp braking become unnecessary. All manoeuvres become stress-free events. Smiling becomes common. Other drivers seem to be mellower and less likely to get too close behind.

The general idea seems to be that the whole of Bristol will soon be a 20 mph city and the very thought of it is a source of pleasure. My usual cycling and walking will be much improved.

You can imagine my shock and unhappiness when I saw a recent set of proposals to make a whole list of exceptions to the 20 mph rule in a chunk of Bristol near to my home. Inexplicably, some of the residential and linking streets are going to be left as 30 mph routes for pointlessly short sections wherein quicker driving can be indulged in for no more than minutes at a time. I wrote my objections (ruefully noting that I was a day late in doing so.) I wrote:

Dear Bristol City Council

 I note that I have missed yesterday’s deadline for submission of the following comments. I hope, nonetheless, that you will be able to take them into account.

 Although I live just outside the inner north area, I travel into or through it on a regular basis – usually on a bicycle and sometimes on foot.

 I have one clear objection to one aspect of the plans for the Inner North Area and that is that too many exceptions have been made to the principle of a blanket 20 mph limit.

 As I understand it, the designation of a few roads as 30 mph was to allow some arterial or through routes to be treated as different enough in character and capacity to distinguish them from the residential, local and shopping streets that made up a lot of Bristol’s road network.

 When I look at Upper Belgrave Road, Clifton Down, Bridge Valley Drive, Church Avenue, Bishops Close, Stoke Park Road South, Downleaze, Stoke Hill, Stoke Road, Roman Road, Downside Road, Pembroke Road (especially near its junction with Clifton Down) and The Avenue. I see roads that are either residential streets (not motor vehicle routes at all) or roads that are immediately adjacent to and part of a wide area of residential and recreational use. Allowing short sections of them to be 30 mph will save tiny amounts of time and serve mainly to introduce uncertainty and anxiety for those large numbers who are not in motor vehicles.

The Downs area in particular has very large numbers of runners, walkers, football teams, zoo visitors, cyclists and sight-seers crossing and re-crossing the roads between the grassy areas. Ball games, dog walking, fitness training and other activities are frequently in play.

 All these things suggest to me that all the roads that service and pass through the area should be treated in the same way, and for the same reasons, as all the roads that will be improved by the 20 mph limit. If the case for 20 mph makes sense (and I firmly believe it does) then it makes the same good sense on these roads as well.

 I would also agree with many other commentators that the more unusual or contentious exceptions there are, the less likely it will be for other areas to get the full benefit of calmer and less dangerous motor vehicle traffic.

 I would also argue that Kellaway Avenue would benefit greatly from a 20 mph limit. I see that, as with Stoke Road and the junction of Clifton Down and Pembroke Road, Kellaway Avenue has been a site of notified road traffic accidents. Lower speeds would (as evidence available to the Council shows) reduce the number and the severity of casualties.

 Yours sincerely

 Sam Saunders

 

The officer responsible was quick to reply, as follows:

Dear Mr Saunders,

 As your comments have been received outside the consultation period we regret to inform you that they will not be included in the objection report for the proposed Inner North 20mph speed limit scheme.

 For future consultations please ensure any comments or objections for consideration in an objection report are submitted within the advertised period.

 Yours Sincerely,

 TRO Officer

Place Directorate

Traffic Orders Team -Highways Delivery

Bristol City Council

 I hope there is a sensible outcome. Fingers crossed.

Considerate Cycling 43: Them and Us

The following story was written by someone I know and trust. I asked him to write it down after he had told it to me over the telephone. I reproduce it here as he wrote it. He is not a “cycle campaigner” and does not follow the kinds of on-line debates and discussions that are familiar to cycle campaigners. I mention this because the report seems to me to contain both corroboration and further insight for those who do write and speak about the changes our road culture is going through at the present time. The irrelevant photograph is one of my own and so is the significant footnote.


Them and Us

Whilst cycling home the other day I was hit by a car. I was in a cycle lane with a solid white line in between the cycle/bus lane and the other traffic. I was traveling at 20mph, which was a lot faster than the traffic in the lane to my right, as it was “rush” hour. Suddenly, and without any indication, a car turned left, driving straight into my path. I had absolutely no chance to avoid the car, or even apply brakes. As I slammed into the tail light of the BMW I just had time to hope that my injuries wouldn’t be too bad. Once I landed, I dragged myself (whilst voicing my discomfort) to the pavement, trying not to look at the gaping hole in my knee.

The driver and his passenger got out immediately and phoned for an ambulance. I am very grateful that they didn’t just drive off, and that they stayed to ensure that I was OK. This was refreshing as the last time I got hit by a car, the drivers first reaction was to shout at me and ask me if I had my lights on! One thing they said, that was a little off, was along the lines of “the council should do something about that cycle lane, move it onto the pavement”. It seemed off to me because they where already trying to shift the blame onto something other than the driver just not looking for, or not seeing me.

When the police arrived, as first on the scene, they immediately took on the role of paramedics, asking the important questions to verify the extent of my injuries – where did it hurt, had I passed out, did I bang my head, was my neck injured, could I move my toes… Clearly they are well trained and had plenty of experience being first on the scene of Road traffic accidents. Once they had dealt with my main injury, they then asked me whether I was wearing a helmet. At first I thought this was to double check that I had no head injury, but as he made a note in his book, I realised the purpose was not to help me, but must be for some other purpose. The next question sealed it – Were you wearing headphones?…. What would that tell them? How would that help them understand my injuries? I realised then that they are trying to collect data about accidents involving cyclists to see if wearing a helmet or headphones contributes to accidents in some way. At first you might think this would be useful and may help inform good policy or code changes. But there are two issues I have with this. The first is that wearing headphones had absolutely nothing to do with the accident. The headphones I have are designed for cyclists and do not block the ear canal, so even though I could hear the traffic around me it still did not help predict the sudden change of direction that the car took. The second issue I have is about balance. Why should a cyclist have to hear what’s going on around them anyway? A car driver with windows closed and radio on cannot hear anything outside the car.

So, I was now a bit more sensitive to imbalance in the views of those that where there to help me, some more subtle and others being openly anti-cyclist. Both the paramedic and ambulance driver declared that they disliked cyclists. “Why?” I asked, “do you peel many cyclists off the road”, “yes” was the answer. So why, I thought, do they hate cyclists and not the unobservant drivers that crashed into them? The ambulance driver asked me, more than once, about how much I’d spent on my glasses and whether I’d spent more on my glasses than on my bike. When I admitted that indeed my bike was more expensive she seemed to think that this explained why I got hit by a car, and advised me to get new, more expensive ones. When we arrived at the hospital she even passed on this piece of wisdom to the person that helped remove the trolley I was on from the back of the ambulance.

When I was delivered to A&E one of the first doctors to see me was another cyclist. He was much more understanding and asked to see my helmet. Rather than checking the outside of the helmet for breaks and cracks as the police had done, he checked the inside and found a large crack in the lining. Not only did this tell me that my helmet had probably helped prevent a head injury it also brought some balance to the proceedings and provided good advice. Here was someone who understood my plight, made no comments about who was to blame, was informed about what to check for and advised me to replace my helmet. Sadly he was not my doctor, but just a concerned fellow cyclist.

The next comment, from a doctor that passed the trolley I was on, really annoyed me. He announced that I must be “another bloody cyclist who had run a red light!” He knew nothing about what had happened, yet here he was presuming to pass judgement for a crime that I did not commit (and one that I myself get annoyed by whenever I see a cyclist do it).

Finally, after a very long wait in A&E, the doctor that patched me up (and did a fantastic job of the stitching), told me about all the times that she saw cyclists running red lights. As I myself get annoyed by this I understood her and agreed, but I got the impression that she felt that this was something all cyclists do rather than just a few idiots who take stupid risks. What about all the indiscretions of drivers, I thought: turning without indicating, driving whilst talking on mobile phones, trying to stop children fighting on the back seat, accelerating to beat the lights as they change to red, weaving through heavy traffic, having their lunch… the list goes on. None of these things seem to create a dislike of car drivers generally, they just annoy us about that particular driver, at that time. The key difference here is that every time one cyclist does something stupid it taints people’s opinions about every cyclist.

So, what’s the point of this spleen venting? What conclusions might be derived from this experience? The main conclusion that I myself draw is that people seem to want to blame cyclists for getting hit by drivers. At no point was I blamed directly, no one said that I was in the wrong specifically, but I got the distinct impression that people generally believe that cyclists are dangerous and do not observe the Highway Code. If this impression of people’s views towards cyclists is correct then I am concerned about the way transport policy and planning might develop if informed by the data and views collected and given by emergency services staff “on the ground”. It is likely to end up in tighter controls for cyclists rather than also considering development of better guidance and training for drivers and better design of our transport infrastructure.

Another conclusion I draw from this, as well as observation over time, is that some cyclists do not follow the Highway Code and in so doing not only put themselves at risk of injury or worse, but their behaviour also reflects on all other cyclists. In contrast, when drivers flout the Highway Code this not only endangers themselves, it also endangers other road users, some of whom are less well protected than themselves. The other key difference between cyclists and drivers is that the indiscretions of those few bad drivers (or those that are simply momentarily distracted) does not reflect on all of us. This is because, for the majority, cyclists are Them and drivers are Us. What I hope is for a change in philosophy, to one where each road user is aware of how their actions may affect others, not just how other users affect them, that better design of our transport infrastructure can reduce the risk for more vulnerable road users. Finally I hope that considerate road users can become Us and that unobservant road users who drive or cycle without due care and attention become an increasingly rare Them.

Footnote: In a subsequent email conversation I have learned that the driver has already admitted fault to his insurers and they have contacted the cyclist to find out what the damage is.

Considerate Cycling 42: Some Simple Numbers

Figure 1 (source: DfT)

I was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol recently about the relationship between cyclists and buses in the city. I talked about cyclists’ respect and bus drivers’ professionalism. However, I did suggest that putting cyclists into a shared lane with buses was a bit like putting the meerkats in with the elephants. I also said that compared with goods vehicles and cars, buses were much less of a problem than people might assume.

I was talking about Bristol, nowhere else. I had checked some stats before I went in to talk, so I was fairly happy that what I was saying had some grounding in what had already been recorded and counted. Afterwards I started thinking about whether the simple numbers I had could support the hypothesis that despite their lower numbers, buses and goods vehicles were in some way safer or else more dangerous than cars. I showed the statistics to my son who is a proper mathematician and a data manager by trade. He pointed out my basic problems with standardisation of such different populations and gradually one thing became very clear.

The clear point was that at some level I was trying to find statistical evidence to confirm my prejudice that cars were in some way to blame even though vans, lorries and buses seem so dangerous. I was looking at small differences of probability where none were to be found. What I should have been staring at was Figure 1. The plain fact is that there are over 230,000 cars being kept in Bristol. That’s roughly one car to every 2 people. In comparison, there are just 39,200 goods vehicles, less than 1 van or lorry to every 5 cars. Buses and coaches add up to just 2,400 vehicles, only about one to every 10 cars. What about some more simple numbers? Here is Figure 2

Figure 2 (Source: correspondence with Bristol City Council)

Looking at this, what can we do at a local level to reduce bicycle casualties? What would a modest 10% improvement look like for each vehicle type? Haul back injuries for car-related incidents and we would avoid 47 injuries. 10% of the goods vehicle total  would save 3. 10% of bus-related injuries would save 1.

So what might reduce car-related injuries? Some more simple numbers offer a clue:

Figure 3 (Source: DfT)

The number of cars in Bristol has gone from 184,019 in 2004 to 231,853 in 2013. That’s a 26% increase in what was already a large number. Most of that has been in the last four years.

Here’s a photograph of a Bristol street. Recent political turmoil in the City has raged over Mayor George Ferguson’s attempt to restrict car parking and reduce speed limits.

Picture 1

What does it look like to you? What, if you had the power, would you want to control if a better and safer city was your aim? What would you prioritise if you wanted to reduce road traffic casualties and improve public health? How you do it is up to you, but I would say that the answer stares us in the face.

 

 

 

Considerate Cycling 41: Why Are Some Cities Cycling Or Walking More Than Others?

Blog 39 graphed the provisional cycling figures for Bristol as a member of the the “core cities” group of comparable cites outside London. I also included data for neighbours in what was once called Avon. Now that confirmed figures have been published (see here) I have abstracted a table and graph that includes Cambridge and uses this year’s updated figures. For most places the data are derived from a reliable sample of 500 residents. I have added walking to give a broader picture of active travel.

Percentages of selected Local Authority residents reporting that they cycle or walk at least once a month 2010-2011

Cycle%

Walk%

Walk-or-Cycle%

Local Authority Walk % Cycle % Walk or Cycle%
Cambridge 94 58 96
South Gloucestershire 92 20 93
Bristol, City of 92 24 92
Newcastle upon Tyne 91 12 92
Bath and North East Somerset 91 18 91
Leeds 91 11 91
Nottingham 91 13 91
Sheffield 89 10 90
North Somerset 88 15 89
Liverpool 89 11 89
Birmingham 88 11 89
Manchester 84 13 87

I have been reading (and fascinated by) the recently published “Promoting Walking and Cycling” by Colin Pooley and others and I would  be very interested to hear from anyone who has observations about the cultural, geographical and infrastructural variations that might be associated with the wide range of walking and (especially) cycling levels across this group of urban areas.  One clear truth is that English cities are not all doomed to the same low levels. One obvious question is whether sheer campaigning effort can  generate the big changes in the patterns that the natural and built environments seem to be crying out for.

Considerate Cycling 40: Five Years of Pedestrian and Cyclist Casualties in Bristol

Cyclist and Pedestrian Road Casualties Reported by
Avon and Somerset Police in Bristol, 2008-2013

Whichever way you look at the figures in Bristol, the five years up to the end of August 2013 have changed nothing as far as cyclist and pedestrian injuries are concerned. Ten a week is what we are used to and ten a week is what we have come to tolerate as normal. A few die. Some spend time in hospital and quite a lot are sent home after being checked or patched up.

We do have a choice in the matter of course. These things can change if we want them to. Consider two photographs taken in Bristol recently.

Do we want more of this?


Or do we want more of this?


My own view is that for about 50p per person per week we could soon have quite a lot more of the latter. Happier cars. Happier pedestrians, happier cyclists.

Bristol Cycling Campaign has demanded a City Council commitment of £16 per head per annum. That’s 31p per man woman and child per week. Six and tuppence in old money. Crazy idealists? I don’t think so.

As I said on ITV News at Ten last week, If we don’t do something now, people will look back at this period of opportunity and wonder what on earth we were thinking of. Here’s the Bristol Cycling Campaign Manifesto: http://bristolcyclingmanifesto.org.uk

Data kindly provided by Bristol City Council as database query outputs. Any errors in analysis or representation  are entirely my own.