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Bonkers Blog October 2018

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30 October - When improved accident statistics might not be especially good

The Transport Users’ Sub-Committee met last week and subjects up for discussion included accident statistics, police matters, bus and train news and cycling.

Additional comments came from the Youth Council which reported that “aggressive elderly people were grabbing them and pulling them back before they can get on the bus”. Maybe that is true of route 269 which generated most complaints but it is the exact opposite of what I experience on the DLR from West Ham to Woolwich Arsenal around four o’clock in the afternoon.

Road accidents are compared with the average of 2005 to 2009 and by that yardstick things have definitely got better, but less so in recent years. If one compares 2017 with 2016 as the Committee was asked to do, only eleven London Boroughs have improved their Killed and Seriously Injured statistics. Fortunately Bexley is one of those eleven. Changes in the way statistics are gathered make comparisons difficult but estimates are that Bexley saw a 23% reduction in KSIs in 2017, beaten only by Havering. Greenwich is within a whisker of being bottom of the list with a 28% increase in KSIs.

Newham is pretty bad too, 20% worse and I am not in the least bit surprised. Its residents use their horns more often than brakes or mirrors and I am beginning to dread having to drive there every couple of weeks. When a Conservative delegate to Shaun Bailey’s ‘Manifesto for London’ described Thamesmead as a ***hole earlier this month he was aiming at the wrong side of the river.

Bellegrove RoadSome cleverly constructed graphs reproduced in the Agenda demonstrated that 2016 was a particularly bad year for Bexley so maybe the 23% reduction in 2017 is not quite as good as it would appear to be.

The associated photograph from last weekend suggests that things might be better if Bexley employed someone who knew how to design a road. The pictured Keep Left in Bellegrove Road, Welling has been toppled three times in the past six weeks. 1st October 2018 and 18th September.

On the buses the performance of routes 89 and 229 was said to have improved but the B14 to Orpington was severely criticised. It should run every half hour which is bad enough but too often it is late or misses a service altogether. The bus operator said that TfL has not authorised sufficient buses to run an acceptable service.

Despite the delay to Crossrail TfL is considering going ahead with some of the changes originally scheduled for 9th December 2018 as “they may be beneficial in dealing with other existing bus issues”.

SouthEastern confirmed that it has been running its ridiculous Leaf Fall Timetable although thanks to my train running through Plumstead non-stop yesterday it arrived at Woolwich Arsenal two minutes early allowing plenty of time to make the DLR connection to West Ham which is normally a close run thing.

Just a few days before the Transport meeting was held the police had released the name of the sixty year old cyclist who was killed on Bronze Age Way on 8th October. He was Brian Barnett a vociferous critic of both Bexley Council and the police.

Brian was killed very near the speed camera which has not worked since the switch over from film based Gatsos to digital, it was one of several in Bexley which were judged to be ineffective or unnecessary. It being nothing but an ornament was confirmed to the Committee.

I have mixed views on that camera. It was installed before Bronze Age Way was first opened for traffic in direct contravention of the guidelines at the time which were not to install speed cameras unless the accident statistics justified them. No traffic equals no statistics. You may think that speed cameras are a good thing and properly used they obviously are but the premature installation in Bronze Age Way demonstrates one thing very adequately. Local Government does not follow its own rules unless it suits them and suffers no sanctions for its lawlessness.


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