Thursday, 17 September 2009

Falling leaves, Pedestrians and Light‑jumpers

Another article from, but there is a relevance to some recent events, justs saves me having to write it all out again....

It's getting to that time of year again, when falling leaves make the riding very interesting, and there also seem to be conkers on every corner I try to negotiate at the moment. This is a dangerous time of year, when going to and from work the sun is quite low in the sky making it difficult to see properly, we have to make allowances for that as other drivers dont seem to think about it, especially if they have a car full of screaming school kids. I hate this time of year, the school runs clog up the roads and as most cars don't run long enough to warm up their catalytic converters the air is full of crap as well. Not to mention the greasy nature of the roads as there does nor seem to have been enough rain to wash them clear, funny that because it feels like we have had a lot of rain. Leaves on the road are scary, they build up just on the lines we would use on bends, in the middle of the road and in the kerbs, all places we use to pass stationary traffic. We need to look a bit further ahead at this time of year; to make sure we don't end up on the mushy crap that used to be leaves on a tree.

Maybe it's just me, but these days but I am finding more and more pedestrians wandering out into the road wearing those bloody ipod things, the number that wander around between cars without looking is growing, most seem to be foreigners who look the wrong way. I got another one a few days ago, luckily for him I'm experienced and was looking for prats. He got a nasty shock as I slid into his leg though, he then hobbled off screaming abuse at me, er… you were the idiot who stepped of the kerb looking the wrong way mate. I have also had a few running battles with cyclists. Don't get me wrong - most are quite sensible, there are a growing number though that think they have right of way regardless of the circumstances, especially when they change direction, no indication of what they are going to do and then swerve across your path, if you toot at them they get all aggressive!! Well next time mate, I just might not stop, we shall see what 600 lbs of motorbike using you as a brake does for your attitude. There used to be one or two of these a week at most, now I getting at least one every bloody day. Guess what, most of them are wearing headphones, you would think that riding a bicycle in London it would be far more sensible to listen for the traffic.

There are a growing number of pedestrians that can not be bothered to walk 35 yards to a zebra crossing, I have seen the same woman nearly every school day crossing the road near Rosehill, Morden with two young girls about 5 and 7 years old, she drags them by the hands across the worse bit of road along that stretch, sometimes forcing cars to break as she struggles with the kids, yet there is a zebra crossing 35-40 yards in one direction and a pelican crossing maybe a 100 yards in the other. She has to pass the pelican crossing to get to the school, so why not walk down and use it????

School children don't seem to have been taught to use them either, and the number that just walk out from behind buses is ridiculous, sometime just running out across the road without looking and guess what… wearing those damn headphones.

So much for all those expensive ads on the television then.

This morning I saw another smashed up bike in the middle of a crossroads, this is a notorious junction where at least once a week someone jumps the lights, this is a growing trend that does really scare me, everyday I see at least 2 red light jumpers, the main culprits being in Mitcham, Brixton and Streatham. One set is really bad at the junction of Westcote road and Mitcham road, I always hesitate here and several times it has saved my life, we are not talking crossing on amber, I mean up to 5 seconds after the lights have changed, although that is the worst one I have seen, 2 seconds is not uncommon.

The growing frustration on the part of motorists is partly to blame, there are far too many cars for our outdated road system to cope with, London is just now one large car park most of the time, yet when the schools are on holiday it is not that bad at all. Hang on are we missing something here, what if, now this is a bit radical, we had a dedicated school bus system, similar to what they have in America, would that not go someway to relieving the problem? I know a woman who lives near me and drops her kids off at school before driving on to work, the school is 400 yards away from their front door, she then has to turn around and go back the other way to get to work, normally doing a u-turn outside the school screwing up all the traffic, rather than drive another 50 yards to go around the block. Now, why does she not get up 5 minutes earlier and just walk them down? It's beyond me.

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