Saturday 31 August 2013

The Joy of Cycling

Manchester Critical Mass, August 2013

Riding for Jaye (and each other).

This month's Critical Mass ride was very special. Following the death of Jaye Bloomfield, several of us had exchanged messages with her partner Gemma about the possibility of commemorating Jaye on the ride. Gemma had suggested that participants could wear red, Jaye's favourite colour and the invitation went out with that in mind.

On the day the turnout was far larger than usual and Gemma herself came to the ride.

After Kieran's usual introduction to riding Critical Mass for new riders, Gemma spoke, amongst other things, about Jaye and their love of cycling and how important it had been to them both. This was followed by a minute's silence and then the ride moved off.

Many of the riders had turned up wearing red, and this professional bike sound system was painted bright red.

With such a large turnout, estimates varied between 200 and 300 people, and the dominance of the colour red, the ride made a real impact as it rolled out.

The ride felt assertive and collective with everyone looking out for each other and working with the traffic to guide everyone through safely.

You can get a feeling for the size of the ride from these two photos, this looking forward

and this looking back from the same position.

The ride seemed to include all sorts of people on all sorts of machines

from a BMX stunt rider dancing at the lights

to this guy on his unicycle.

& Kat had this wonderful spoof rear number plate

As daylight turned towards dusk the ride turned north along Oxford Road

and into Hulme, finishing up at Hulme Park.

Whilst there was a lot of sadness the ride seemed to celebrate our common experience of the joy of cycling.

Thanks to everyone who worked hard to make it work.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

The End of Finglands?

Finglands - the bus company so many have come to hate for their standard of driving is being bought by First Manchester and all those old white buses with beige, orange and brown stripes will be taken off the streets of Manchester. Finglands’ last filed accounts showed a loss of £266,000.

According to the MEN, As part of the £50,000 deal, First Manchester will take over Finglands’ existing routes and acquire the lease of its depot on Wilmslow Road in Rusholme.

Lets hope this reduces the ferocity of the bus wars along places like Oxford Road.

The deal has yet to be ratified by the Office Fair Trading.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Wear something red for Jaye

On 3rd August Jaye Bloomfield was killed whilst cycling near the Mancunian Way. Coverage in the Manchester Evening News

Jaye and her partner Gemma were planning to join in with critical mass, but hadn't got around to it. They attended the Oxford Road Flashmob where many of us would have met them.

Gemma has suggested that since Jaye's favourite colour was red people could wear something red on this month's ride.

See you there.

Monday 12 August 2013

£20M for cycling in Manchester

Council officers in Manchester City Council and TfGM along with key City Councillors should be feeling proud of their efforts on creating the successful VeloCity 2025 bid and being awarded the full £20M they asked for, not the £15M reported in a LibDem leak.

DfT anouncement in full

The bid unlocks a significant programme of spending on cycle routes in Manchester and there will also be money for community based cycle cultural events. However, it is a tiny amount when compared to the billions being wasted by this government on road building.

However, the bid only builds radial routes, many of which are squeezed onto canal tow paths. Ironically if the work succeeds in increasing cycling these routes will rapidly become congested.

So this can only be seen as a first step in the right direction, not the solution to the sad state of cycling facilities in Manchester.

P.S. If any of this money gets spent on "Cyclist Dismount" signs or anti-cycling barriers it will be a waste!

Saturday 3 August 2013

Death of a "cyclist"

A woman riding a bicycle was killed today.

Greater Manchester Police have released the following information:-

Cyclist dies following collision

A woman has died after a collision near the Mancunian Way.
At about 3pm on Saturday 3 August 2013, police were called to the slip road heading from Princess Road to the Mancunian Way following reports of a collision involving a cyclist and a black Seat Leon.
Officers attended and the cyclist, a 44-year-old woman, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the car, a 40-year-old man, has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and remains in police custody for questioning.
Inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the collision are ongoing.

The crash appears to have happened on a pedestrian crossing on the westbound slip road onto the Mancunian Way by the Redbricks flats.

When I went to have a look this evening I saw someone on a bike trying to use the same route.

The alternative is to disobey the no cycling sign and use the underpass, or risk riding on the roundabout.

This location clearly has a history of accidents.

There is even this sign on the approach to the site of the fatality.

What can you say about this - this is one death too many.

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Rickshaw spotted in Manchester

Last weekend I spotted a cycle rickshaw in Manchester.

This one was in Hulme, outside the Garden Centre. It was part of the Hulme is where the art is festival.

This rickshaw is not a native of Manchester, but had been brought all the way from Blackpool for the event.

Sadly Manchester City Council do not allow rickshaws to operate in Manchester for hire so they are a very rare sight in the city. This is one of the reasons why the city centre is clogged up with taxis and private hire cars.