Saturday, 1 May 2010

cycling catch phrases

Listening to David Cameron I was struck how just about every utterance brings up a sarcastic 'catch phrase', "Big Britain", "Tax on jobs", "Stop the waste", its all very reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's approach to political debate. Anyway I did think that perhaps there is an opportunity for cycling campaigners to use the same anti-intellectual approach...

parked car chicanes: Those streets where parked cars (often illegally parked) prevent two way (car) traffic, and someone overtakes you only to screech to a halt a few feet further on because there isn't room for their 4*4s to go through the gap left by the oncoming 4*4 (although there would have been plenty of room for a cyclist).

off road parking: Otherwise known as a pavement. You can tell its targeted at off road vehicles as the kerb stops smaller cars using it.

off road vehicle parking lane: Otherwise known as cycling lane. Usually coloured green so that off road vehicle drivers know its for them. Usually has a two wheel icon so that off road vehicle drivers know its only for two of their vehicle's four wheels, the other two can use off road parking. Off road vehicle owners are also pleased to see green sections near traffic control lights especially for them (thats why they are green).

parking limited to 20 minutes: Many roads are marked with this sign (double yellow line). This means that rather than double parking, you can just leave your car for 20 minutes. I think your supposed to have to carry something back to your car. A packet of cigarettes ought to do it. Many councils associate 20 minute parking with green off road vehicle parking lanes. How convenient.

concrete canyons/ the concrete jungle: Many cities are criss-crossed by uncross-able roads, often on top of concrete mountains, or set deep in concrete ravines. High and narrow rope bridges (or usually steel and concrete), cross these bottomless pits, emphasising the inhuman nature of the jungle. Its not for people. You definitely need a map to cross these unknown lands, signage is not intended for human beings but for the true inhabitants of the concrete jungle, cars. You never know when you are going to end up in hostile territory, or have to backtrack as the trail (of cycle lane signs) peters out...

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