Thursday, March 08, 2018

My response to every anti-cycling article ever

If it’s not some Daily Mail article complaining about cyclists not using a cycle lane, it’s someone starting up a petition demanding cyclists should pay Road Tax (sorry no links but I don’t want to give them any encouragement). But one thing remains the same, the arguments put forward in the comments sections of these articles are always the same tired ill-thought out complaints. So rather than repeat myself on every article, here are my responses to the most common issues

Cyclists should pay road tax

The most common response to this is that road tax doesn’t exist, which is accurate, if a little pedantic. But we all presumably understand that Vehicle Excise Duty is charged based on the pollution caused by the vehicle, and I presume we can all agree the pollution generated by a bicycle is pretty much zero and hence the VED payable by the cyclist would be £0? OK, make us pay VED, I have no problem with that.

Beyond that, like most cyclists I own a car, for which I’m paying VED. I also pay Council Tax, Income Tax and VAT. I’ve just paid a big chunk of change in Stamp Duty to buy a house. Like most cyclists, I’m already contributing whilst helping to reduce congestion by using a bike instead of my car for every journey.

All cyclists jump red lights

Yes, some cyclists jump red lights, just like some drivers jump red lights. Just like some pedestrians do stupid things like crossing the road without looking. Cyclists are not an homogenous group. I suspect the problem here is that drivers feel that cyclists get away with jumping red lights. Here’s the thing, if a cyclist jumps a red light and causes an accident, the chances are he’ll come off worse or if he hits a pedestrian is unlikely to cause life changing injury. If someone in 2 tonnes of steel causes an accident, the chances of injury or death are much higher. So, with limited resources, the police are going to concentrate on the potentially more dangerous group of road users.

Cyclists should use the cycle lane when one is available

First up, there is no legal requirement for a cyclist to use a cycle lane if one is available. You can argue about whether that should be the case, but it is. But more importantly, a lot of cycle lanes are not fit for purpose. Take this example of road rage on Priory Lane in South West London. The driver gets insanely upset that the cyclist isn’t using the cycle lane (how stressful is driving BTW, get a bike, you’ll have much more fun…) but the cycle lane has a couple of problems. You have to give way at every junction along the road, of which there are quite a few. And when travelling South, it’s on the wrong side of the road. So if you are a confident cyclist, chances are you’ll use the road.

Or how about this 5 metre bit of cycle lane. Am I really expected to use that?

But these cycle lanes probably do work for some less confident cyclists and that is perhaps what drivers need to understand. Cycle lanes are not built for every cyclist, some are there to encourage more people to cycle, because that would be a good thing, right?

Cyclists should be required to have insurance

I’m almost in agreement with this. I’d have no problem getting insurance. But then what about the kid who has just got a shiny new bike for Christmas, they aren’t allowed to use it because their dad forgot to get insurance? Again, I am assuming encouraging cycling is the aim here

Cyclists should have number plates

Yeh, why not, if that floats your boat…

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Converting Strava segments to FIT files

Strava Premium users who own a Garmin can sync their favourite Strava segments with their Garmin device automatically. But that’s not an option available to free users. Apparently this site used to be able to generate the FIT files used by Garmins but Strava made some fairly radical changes to their API that broke that site (and many others).

So I’ve added a FIT file export to my Segment Explorer. Due to rather inclement weather I’ve not been able to test this out on the road yet, but downloading the FIT file and shoving it in my Garmin\NewFiles folder displays it in my Segments list so it seems to work. If you authorize my app then your PR time will also be included in the file.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Land Registry data for January 2018

I’ve uploaded the latest property data for England and Wales to my website. Like a broken record, I can report that house prices continue their gradual rise ever upwards. Sales volumes are holding steady.