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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 10:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
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Location: Lancashire
As skywatchers, we appreciate the need for dark sky conditions, but there's a serious hitch when it comes to switching off urban lighting. Local authorities have been accused of ignoring evidence in a recent survey that shows an increase in road accidents due to councils switching off street lamps as part of their cost-cutting programmes:
"Road safety campaigners say that despite only a quarter of journeys taking place between 7pm and 8am, the period accounts for 40 per cent of all serious accidents and fatalities" ( today's "I" ).
Cyclists are especially vulnerable at these blackout times. A recent survey by the Department of Transport shows that 61 per cent of people think that the roads are too dangerous for cyclists.
As a life-long cyclist, it's been my experience that the greatest accident threat comes from sideways on collisions. For bicycle-users, there really is a state-of-emergency out there, with or without the streetlights on.
Instead of accident-threatening nightly switch-offs, a concerted effort by councils to fit their lamps with suitable shades might be a workable compromise for both safety and to the benefit of skywatchers..

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:39 pm 
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Or bicycle only roads as is practised throughout the Nordic countries and maybe Holland as well.
Here, it is pedestrians who are mown down by cyclists on the pavement.
As to kids it is the simple small scooters that travel at high speed and they don't usually wear helmets and they receive quite serious injuries.

I saw the strangest bike last week. It was a small bike and the rider was pedalling away with enormous flat pedals I think mounted on the rear wheels. The effort he expended seems incredible but I suppose he just wanted to develop muscles and stamina. To me it seemed an incredible waste of energy.

There was a gentleman who was an optics maker in the British industry who insisted on riding a lie down bicycle in extremely heavy traffic. Of course he was seriously injured and is no longer with us. To me this was just stupidity.

As to the lights being switched off I think if everybody understood the system there would be less injuries to bicycle riders.
I think that the flashing LED lights front and rear and also on helmets are an incredibly good idea, but the last time I checked they were actually illegal which seemed ridiculous to me.
It is probably a good idea to have these flashing led lights on the wheels as well.
But it is true that cyclists, and motorcyclists also, do not mix well with cars and heavy traffic.

Regards, David


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2014 9:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:05 am
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Location: Lancashire
A major problem with cycle lanes in Britain David is that they are not swept often enough, so punctures are far more likely on them than on roads swept by traffic. I say this from bitter experience. Cycling is taken more seriously on the Continent, whereas in Britain cyclists are regarded as being "in the way".
Not only is urban lighting a disturbance to skywatching, but a recent press report said that the new LED lighting, which mimics actual daylight ( we can see colours under them ), is disturbing sleep patterns and other aspects of people's behaviour. Goodbye to the song "Shine a Light on Me" :lol: .

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