18 April 2011
This post on the Guardian’s bike blog is a sad reminder of how a simple solution that can save lives is still to be implemented.
At 3:15pm on a pleasant and clear 5 April, at the junction of Camden Road and St Pancras Way in Camden, 20-year-old London Metropolitan University student Paula Jurek was first knocked down and then crushed by an articulated lorry. Her injuries were so severe that her life could not be saved even by the doctors who rushed to the scene from a practice 100 yards away.
Critically, accidents such as these can easily be prevented by an almost insultingly cheap and simple invention. The Trixi Mirror.
Please, read it and sign the petition.
18 August 2010
…he really reminds me of someone?
A TV character perhaps?
A Children’s TV character?
Thomas the Tank Engine Character?
Well maybe after you look at nothingbutawordbag’s brilliant blog post you’ll see similarities, not just in words, but in the explanations too!
21 September 2009
Yesterday was the London SkyRide (previously known as the Hovis Freewheel, when it had a different sponsor obv). I must say I enjoyed it. Having the chance to cycle through central London without traffic (except, worryingly, the odd ambulance being let through) was a great experience. I’d never ever voluntarily cycle along the Embankment north of the Thames when traffic’s using it – it’s like the M6 at rush hour, but moving faster.
Even had chance to take some photos:
Dave Hill at Guardian.co.uk today posted on the Skyride:
I went with my seven-year-old daughter, a child whose bike-riding displays a confidence her competence does not always justify. We arrived at around 10.30, soon after the start, and joined the route at its most easterly point, Tower Hill. The first 15 minutes were revelatory: a spin into blissful, if remote, urban possibility.
Did it last? To find out, read on. After that, try Cycling Weekly suggesting that Sky should run the railways too, and Real Cycling which was uneasy with the “implied message that cycling round London can only be done once a year with the help of heavy sponsorship, police cooperation and road closures.” Then there’s photos and anecdotes from blogger Richard Lartey, videos collected by Vinny, and a Guardian photstream. And finally, a Tunnel Bore. (see Dave’s post for all links)
Some food for thought. In Bogota, Colombia they basically do this every single Sunday. Every Sunday until 2pm one of the main traffic thoroughfares is closed off and people can cycle, run and rollerblade as they please. It’s called Ciclovía.
It’s an accepted part of Bogota life that it’s just a little more difficult to get around on Sundays (I know this because the road happens to lead to one of the City’s major hospitals and getting home from there early one Sunday after breaking my ankle salsa dancing the night before (don’t ask) was a nightmare – they wouldn’t let any taxis through to the hospital). Nevertheless it’s a brilliant experience and one many people take the opportunity to participate in.
In London we have the embankment north of the Thames from Westminster to the Tower – who on earth needs to use this on a Sunday? Why not close it off every Sunday (or at least once a month) and encourage people to get out and enjoy cycling along this road that the rest of the week is stuffed with cars and shrouded in smog? If the Colombians can do it, surely we can too, and not just once a year with massive sponsorship, police roadblocks and tunnel boom boxes.
20 September 2009
I’ve had such a busy week I haven’t had the time to report on one on this week’s best map-related story. “Mild furore” was the way the rumours started to spread in the twittersphere and blogospehere early Monday and by Tuesday had spread to mainstream news and resulted in a U-turn by Wednesday.
What am I talking about? The decision to remove the River Thames (and the ‘zones’) from the London Underground map.
Npw you see it:
Now you don’t:
Let’s start by talking about rivers: rivers aren’t just a place where water slows, they’re a geogrphical feature of the landscape. In a city where you have a river – especcially where it’s a large river – it’s an essemtial means of orientating yourself: am I north, south, east, west, close to the river, far away, where is it in relation to me… In London there’s the added “norf/sarf” dimension – people who have strong views on which side of the river is best to live (before you ask i’m a north of the river person). The river not only flows through the city but flows through it’s history. It’s shaped the city physically more than any other feature.
So the decision to remove it from the tube map shows an ignorance of how people interract with space. What’s the purpose of the tube map? You look at it to work out where you’re going to, and where you’re coming from. How do you orientate yourself with a) no index, b) no zones and c) no river unless you already know exactly on the map where your station is? And if you do why look at it?
Of course TfL had a point the the map had become cluttered and they were reverting to the purpose of Harry Beck’s original. And there are other arguments for the sudden evaporation of the Thames: the underground map is schematic (it doesn’t represent geographical reality), and when you’re underground it really doesn’t metter where the river actually is.
Harry Beck redesigned the map from the spaghetti scrawl that existed before into something that mis-represented geography but – more importantly – into something which easilly showed lines and connections so people could see where they’re going to, and from, easilly. But it’s removal shows a misconception of the Underground map as art, rather than a functional information-giving tool.
Further reading: Mark Easton’s fantastic blog this week looks at rivers on underground maps around the world. Ianvisits found historical film footage which provided an interesting theory on why the Thames may have been drained.
18 February 2009
So, apparently, politicians swear, what a shocker. First it was Boris, now it’s Peter…
Boris, apparently, said: “You … try and give the impression that I f****** tipped off David Cameron. You are trying to make me look like a f****** fool… This is such f****** bulls***”
…meanwhile the New Labour politician who was some time ago considered the cosmopolitan cappuccino-sipping New Labourite spluttered over his coffee when he heard the top brass of Starbucks rubbish the UK economy, and spurted out “Why should I have this guy running down the country? Who the f*ck is he? How the hell are they [Starbucks] doing?”
I’m not sure I know of anyone to whom the fact that politicians swear would be a shocker and, hey, we all let our guard down once in a while. Then again, maybe they’re spending too much time getting told to eff off by those foul-mouthed “white van men” as they persuade them to downsize their vans.
27 July 2008
I’ve unashamedly been keeping my distance from the news recently – holidays are great for that… and had no real desire to get back into it too much since my return. More dismay for the labour party isn’t something I want to engage in too much, but I appear, unfortunately to have missed some interesting thing I would normally have been blogging on.
Despite the exuberant gayness of the weeks I’ve missed I haven’t heard any more from Heinz, despite the fact the Advertising Standards Authority won’t be investigating. Yesterday I bought Sainsbury’s organic baked beans… I also missed out on the fun of Iris Robinson’s descent into madness and it’s implications for the Tory and DUP partnership. Lighter news I missed may have been a second resignation in two months for Boris Johnson, and another appointment. I’ve even not commented on the Evening Standard’s assertion that there are more gays in the London tory party than on Old Compton Street (they’re trying to fight political correctness don’t you know)…
And sadly I was somewhere travelling through the Alps while the Pride parade, attended by 825,000 people (!), and Boris’s pink stetson, were winding their way through London’s streets. I’m also missing this year’s Europride in Stockholm after the holiday took all my money and time over the last few weeks. And the need for a night in led to me missing a plethora of acts on the final night of G-A-Y at the Astoria (although it appears Kylie didn’t show up)… I’ll be sad to see it go…
Anyway, to make up for this I’ll take some time today so ignore the politics and write an entry on another favourite topic of food – what else could I write about after a holiday in Italy???!!!
30 June 2008
So so sad I cannot be there… wouldn’t this be amazing! Thanks Dave! I still think he’d do worse than follow Dr David Bull’s outfit.
In more exciting news perhaps the country’s wonky shopping trolley wheel is unashamedly steering us towards that rather worrying looking precipice on the right.
But how far? I hope the New Statesman doesn’t have the answer:
An increasing number of traditional Labour voters believe that the party no longer reflects their interests. This is in no small measure a result of new Labour’s triangulation tactic – a deliberate shift to what the political class thinks is the “centre ground”. It is also a symptom of a failure to prioritise grass-roots activism at the local level, instead flirting with the “virtual party” and delivering messages through centralised marketing. The danger is not only that we ignore the reasons for the strength of the BNP, but that in so doing we reinforce the very conditions that have created it.