This article was published in 2005, in Newsletter 58.
At the end of November, after an unusually dry period, damp conditions left the road surprisingly slippery for a number of days until heavy rain fell.
Cycling home one evening I noticed that salt had been applied to the roads, and although not freezing the road surface was slippery. The following day I had my bike ‘twitch’ and I heard of a colleague who had fallen heavily on a corner, and some similar incidents were reported on our members’ email list, email@example.com. Next day I saw a cyclist fall off at one of the roundabouts by the Royal Cambridge Hotel.
It is well known (among experts?) that after long periods without rain, busy roads become covered with a film of oil and rubber. When this gets wet it becomes slippery, but is usually washed off by rain. The long dry spell in November was followed not by heavy rain that would clean the roads, but by a period of several days of high humidity but little rain.
So remember if we get a long dry spell, and the road then becomes damp, the coefficient of friction may become much reduced and you’ll need to cycle more carefully.
The Government’s three-year funding for the National Cycling Strategy Board and for the English Regions Cycling Development Team (ERCDT) runs out in April, and it seems very likely that they will not continue in their present form. Some functions may be taken over by the new body ‘Cycle England’ and it is hoped there will be an ‘English Cycling Resources Board.’
I’ve heard rumours that three of the people with whom we have had dealings, may have jobs in the new structure, but that there will be job losses.
New Perspectives in Designing for Cyclists
This conference is to be held in Nottingham in April in conjunction with the University, CTC, DfT, and ERCDT. The focus will be infrastructure for cycling in the context of the new guidelines currently being drawn up, and which will form part of the DfT’s forthcoming ‘Manual for Streets’. We hope that someone from the Campaign will be able to attend.
Sports utility vehicles
The New York Times reports that one person a week in the USA accidentally backs over and kills one of their own children, largely because of the poor design of some of these trendy four-wheel-drive vehicles. See also www.stopurban4x4s.org.uk.