Are cyclists invisible to drivers?

2. June 2014 10:47 by Chris in Cycling, ForTheRecod  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

I cycle a lot, though not great distances: I cycle the kids to school, I cycle to the gym, I cycle to Welsh classes. I used to cycle to work before I worked from home. In the summer I prefer to get out on a Sunday morning in the fresh air while it is quiet and go out on a bike for a couple of hours rather than being stuck in a dark gym to get my exercise . 

I have a car. I'm not entirely sure why we are a two car family - historical I think when I did need to travel with work a bit more and once you are used to two cars ... I have a problem with the car, particularly in the summer, as I can end up not needing/ wanting to drive for weeks on end and I've had to call the AA equivalent twice now because the battery was dead when I did actually need to use it. My car is not the most financially efficient proposition. Particularly when compared to my bikes.

But maybe I should be using my car more in Cardiff because I'm getting a bit fed up now with car drivers ploughing into me. Maybe I've been lucky previously but after a 2nd incident this morning that makes 2 in a month or so. In both cases the driver has admitted responsibility 100%. Though maybe I should start cycling more 'defensively'. I should also count my lucky stars as I was hardly injured and it was only this morning I heard the news of another cyclist death in London.

In the first accident a mini hit me square from behind at I was waiting at a junction going onto Column Road from Cardiff University buildings where I have my Welsh course 7-9 , 2 evenings a week. It was dusk, I had lights and reflective clothing on. He didn't see me. The wheel took the full, minor impact - I was still standing wondering what had happened immediately after - the wheel had complete buckled. It was my wife's cheap Raleigh I was using that day as I don't like leaving more expensive bikes locked in public places if I can help it. So we 'negotiated' and he give me £40 as approximately the cost of getting a new wheel fitted. Though, I may just jettison the bike as it only cost about twice this new.

The second happened today, 02/06/14, at 9.30 as I came back from my gym in Leckwith at the junction of Cowbridge Road East and Llandaff Road in Canton. The annoying thing with this one is that I've previously reported this junction to the council as dangerous, having had a near misses before and observed near misses between cars as well. There are a few problems with this junction but the pertinent one is drivers turning right onto Cowbridge Road coming from the Llandaff direction seemingly either thinking they have priority over road users on Cowbridge Road turning right, to the Llandaff direction. Or often, I think, rushing to make the turn in the gap between the traffic as the lights have just changed, focussing on the cars and not seeing the bike in front of the cars also making that same turn. In fact in this instance I think the driver was focussing on the slow lorry behind me rather than me, and thought he had enough time before the lorry arrived. He may have done, but there was another vehicle in front of the lorry he didn't see, which I was riding.

I've had a near miss in exactly this way previously and this time couldn't avoid the car and was hit from the side. Fortunately the chap broke in time, hit my front wheel, I think, to the right hand side, based on the damage, and I tumbled to the left getting away with a bruised knee/ leg. The chap was fine about it, admitting he hadn't seem me at all, providing his details and offering to pay for any damage. I didn't think there was any initially but it seems the front wheel will need to be straightened, though I'll get away without needing a new wheel according to my local bike shop. Hopefully the chap will just pay so the hassle can be kept to a minimum.

What next, more generally?

  • I'm keen to get the incident reported to do my bit to raise awareness of issues such as this to improve the lot of cyclists in Cardiff. Perversely this comes days after I was admiring the new layouts for cyclists in Cardiff Bay that the council have provided. So I will pursue this.
  • I'm going to avoid that junction on my way home and/ or get the brightest, day-glo cycling jacket I can find so we can mitigate this seeming issue of cyclists being invisible

I may be back with an update.

11/06/2014

My update is that the chap has paid for the wheel to be repaired but the local bike shop are taking an age to fix it so I am cycling slowly around on the wife's purple, sparkly mountain bike I picked up on Gumtree the other day for £15. On the plus side I've sold the remnants of the Raleigh on Gumtree for £30.

Also, more interestingly,  there is limited research that hi-vis vests don't work: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2013/jan/10/cycling-high-visibility-safe-fluorescent. This is counter-intuitive? Really, particularly for my 2nd accident above? Ta to @coshgirl for the link, care of @cyclingcardiff.

 

 

Primary Education in Cardiff and Related Post Sunday Lunch Grumpiness

25. May 2014 13:13 by Chris in Rant  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

I sat down to lunch half an hour ago and found a document on the dining room table - '21st Century Schools Engagement Document 2014: Four Wards' published by Cardiff Council. Rightly or wrongly this document has annoyed me. Perhaps I would have been better off finding some alternative reading material for lunchtime.

It seems to me, based on my 10 min flick through, to be a waste of time, energy and money. It is asking for feedback on potential school sites from the public. Several issues spring to mind with this process/ document but I'm principally annoyed, I think, because the document asks for feedback but does not contain the primary information that should inform the decision making process with regard to the location of the schooling facilities, namely the actual and anticipated geographical distribution of the children who will attend the school(s) and allied proposed catchment areas, which also needs to be informed by knowledge of the current facilities in place in the areas under consideration. Without this fuller information how can anyone express an informed opinion as regards possible locations?

Further, why involve the public at this stage and/ or in this way. The document is next to useless in its current form. What are the council's recommendations based on what should be their extensive experience, knowledge and research regarding each of the proposed sites and which option, in combination with other plans for primary education in Cardiff, also notably absent from the document, do they recommend and why? What is the point of asking the public what they think at this juncture when they do not been given the necessary information and guidance to allow any form of sensible decision to be concluded? Cart before the horse?

What I would be particularly keen to avoid are the mistakes made by the council in primary education in recent years - namely the situation with Ysgol Treganna which took (getting on for) 10 years to resolve.

In terms of my response to the council based on the scarcity of pertinent information in the document: I don’t really care where the schools are as long as they best meet the full requirements of primary education in Cardiff for now and the foreseeable future (which aren’t presented in the document as far as I can see).

Geirfa Uwch 1 Uned 5

25. May 2014 12:23 by Chris in Welsh  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Geirfa Uwch 1 Uned 4

25. May 2014 12:16 by Chris in Welsh  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Geirfa Uwch 1 Uned 3

25. May 2014 12:10 by Chris in Welsh  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Geirfa Cwrs Uwch 1 Uned 2

25. May 2014 12:06 by Chris in Welsh  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

Geirfa Cwrs Uwch 1 Uned 1

25. May 2014 09:44 by Chris in Welsh  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

It's a bank holiday weekend. The rest of the family are away. It's raining. My "To Do" list includes writing some blog posts and catching up with my Welsh studies so why not combine the two?

The vague plan is to write lots of Welsh learners content as a means of revising/ studying over the (long) summer holiday break after my current course has finished and also link this into a side project of mine (dysgwyr.co.uk). We'll see. Let's at least make a step in that general direction. I'm about to finish Cwrs Uwch 1 as delivered by Welsh for Adults of Cardiff University and I've been typing up my notes semi-regularly and plan to share in case they are useful to the wider community of Welsh learners. This will include vocab from each unit. This will normally be a subset of the vocab as presented at the end of each unit, the subset I thought at the time was not sufficiently secure in my memory.

I will add these vocab sets to Quizlet, to extend the similar, useful Welsh resources others have already submitted to the database.

I have lots of vague plans, however; we'll see how many come to fruition.

Anyway, Uned 1 ... 

Disabling database constraints temporarily

18. February 2014 16:13 by Chris in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

Another of those notes to self: 

-- Disable all the constraint in database
EXEC sp_msforeachtable "ALTER TABLE ? NOCHECK CONSTRAINT all"

-- Enable all the constraint in database
EXEC sp_msforeachtable "ALTER TABLE ? WITH CHECK CHECK CONSTRAINT all"

Removing a lock on a file with process explorer

15. January 2014 14:44 by Chris in   //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

I'm sure to have to look this up again, largely care of: 

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windowsserver/en-US/504017c7-1a92-415e-b12c-03d44145e1db/how-to-find-which-process-locked-the-log-file?forum=winservergen

Process Explorer (ex Systernals) is good for troubleshooting/ resolving file locks.

You can download it from Microsoft http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx.

Use the icon that resembles a pair of binoculars... or use the Hotkey Ctrl+F(find).

Type the name of the file... it will show you which process is presently running and has locked the file for use.

You can then release the lock should you so wish.

In the case which prompted this quick post the issue was actually the locking level in use with log4net but maybe next time ... ;)

 

ASP.NET on Windows 8.1/ IIS 8.5 (trials and tribulations)

15. January 2014 13:32 by Chris in dev, IT Pro, Windows 8  //  Tags:   //   Comments (0)

When I upgraded my main dev laptop from Win7 to Win8 (then 8.1) I had problems with ASP.NET under IIS. I put off sorting the issue out as I had IIS Express working adequately for development but this was never going to be a long term solution. Hopefully the issue arose due only to my upgrade path but it has come time to sort this out and surely this path must be fairly common?

My first issue was a HTTP Error 500.19 which http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12208209/iis-8-0-asp-net-and-error-500-19 helped with - as per one contributor I had to set Modules also to Read/Write instead of ReadOnly. Next though the site wasn't picking up my default aspx document and, digging further, even though ASP.NET was apparently installed (2.X and 4.X) handler mappings for aspx were notable by their absence (MIME type mappings are not required nowadays as these are just for static types). Oh, as an aside as well the .NET installers don't work on windows 8.1 (the solution google liked) - you must instead enable the Windows feature, not that this worked fully in my case.;( 

To reinforce this with a little detail, the next google hit was http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11319311/mime-types-missing-in-iis-7-for-asp-net-404-17. i.e. manually installing ASP.NET

I tried running 
 
aspnet_regiis.exe -i
 
But I instead received the message that this wasn't supported in this version of windows and that I should instead try one of: turning windows features on and off, the server management tool (N/A) or the dism.exe command line tool.
 
So in lieu of the command line option I next tried uninstalling and installing again (2.X and 4.X) - the thought did occur that this might be just an ASP.NET 3.5 problem, as that was the version of my test site. No joy.  Next, brute force approach and I tried adding all features under ASP.NET under windows features. Still no joy. Then I happened across a response someway down in http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3762287/script-not-served-by-static-file-handler-on-iis7-5 which referred to Windows 8 and hence possibly my problem as there was remarkably little from google on such Windows 8.X/ IIS 8.X issues. This referred to an additional 3.5 setting  within Application Development Features. I had to google again as this is several levels down in the config:
 
 
Got there in the end and it worked for 3.5 though as I'd broken a few things along the way I'm not sure if I'm ready to try 4.X as well!
 
Microsoft sure don't make life easy sometimes!
 

About the author

I am Dr Christopher Sully (MCPD, MCSD) and I am a Cardiff, UK based IT Consultant/ Developer and have been involved in the industry since 1996 though I started programming considerably earlier than that. During the intervening period I've worked mainly on web application projects utilising Microsoft products and technologies: principally ASP.NET and SQL Server and working on all phases of the project lifecycle. If you might like to utilise some of the aforementioned experience I would strongly recommend that you contact me. I am also trying to improve my Welsh so am likely to blog about this as well as IT matters.

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