[Slightly OT:] Visited the Alternative transport day in Winchester

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Julian Wald, Sep 22, 2003.

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  1. Julian Wald

    Julian Wald Guest

    I visited the "Alternative Transport Day" in Winchester today. The idea is to promote alternatives
    to car use, and is part of the european car-free day. The semi-wet weather meant that fewer people
    than normal attended, and some exhibitors packed up early as well (including the Highways Agency).

    There was a reasonable collection of electric bikes and electric cars on show, as well as a few
    "oddity" items such as the electric racing cars built by a local school.

    Fans of the dark side would have found the recumbent trailer bike of interest - used by a local
    gardener to carry all the tools of his trade. The electric bike purveyors (Powerbike and another
    heavy brand) seemed to be getting a fair amount of interest. Unfortunately all the models on show
    were extremely heavy - I'd hate to have to push or pedal them without power when the battery runs
    flat several miles from home. OTOH, at least it might just get people interested in bikes who would
    have otherwise used a car.

    A horse and carriage was offering rides around the city - and the local bus preservation society was
    doing the same thing with a preserved 1930's bus.

    In addition the uk representives of the Segway company had a couple of Segways on show - and they
    were letting people test ride them :)

    From the brief time I had "testing" one, they just seem too large to fit in well in crowded streets.
    I must admit they are quite fun to play with ;) but I don't think they are worth the £3500 they want
    to charge police forces (their target customer). They are promoting the idea that the police need a
    way of following criminals in places such as shops and shopping centres.

    It was surprisingly easy to pick up the required technique to use the Segway (apart from a slight
    awkwardness in going backwards, that is). As a cyclist, I was interested to find that you still
    needed to lean into corners, as well as forwards/backwards.

    They are apparently trying to persuade HMG to change the law to permit Segways to be used by police
    forces (only) on pavements etc. Personally, I'm not sure this is a good idea, as I strongly suspect
    it will lead to allowing everyone else to use them as well later.
     
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  2. Simonb

    Simonb Guest

    Julian Wald wrote:
    > They are apparently trying to persuade HMG to change the law to permit Segways to be used by
    > police forces (only) on pavements etc. Personally, I'm not sure this is a good idea, as I strongly
    > suspect it will lead to allowing everyone else to use them as well later.

    I'm with you on this one.

    No, no, and no again to Segway. They're a gimmick.

    Just the other day I saw two coppers coming down my road (in Southampton) on police issue MTBs. What
    a refreshing sight it was! It prompted a discussion between a passer-by and myself about the
    relative merits of this development. We both agreed it was a very good thing. We need a higher
    profile and more positive police presence. Especially in the area where I
    live.

    Simonb
     
  3. Tim Downie

    Tim Downie Guest

    "Simonb" <sbennettatwiderworlddotcodotuk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Julian Wald wrote:
    > > They are apparently trying to persuade HMG to change the law to permit Segways to be used by
    > > police forces (only) on pavements etc. Personally, I'm not sure this is a good idea, as I
    > > strongly suspect it will lead to allowing everyone else to use them as well later.
    >
    > I'm with you on this one.

    Ditto
    >
    > No, no, and no again to Segway. They're a gimmick.

    That's what they said about the motorcar. Killed that one stone dead, didn't it?

    Personally, I think the Segway is a brilliant invention. The consequenses of such an invention might
    not be so brilliant however.

    I'm after a Trikke now! ;-)

    Tim
     
  4. John Hearns

    John Hearns Guest

    On Mon, 22 Sep 2003 20:20:51 +0100, Julian Wald wrote:

    > From the brief time I had "testing" one, they just seem too large to fit in well in crowded
    > streets. I must admit they are quite fun to play with ;) but I don't think they are worth the
    > £3500 they want to charge police forces (their target customer). They are promoting the idea that
    > the police need a way of following criminals in places such as shops and shopping centres.
    >

    Errrr.... and what's wrong with a.... bike?

    In London anyway, botjh the ambulance service and police service are having great success
    with bicycles.

    I had a quick chat with a paramedic on his bike, who said he mainly worked in the very central areas
    like Soho. He can ge tto an incident very fast. As I recall, he carried oxygen and a defibrillator -
    so his bike weighed a lot!

    There are more and more police on bikes, the standard one looks like a Cannondale I think. At least
    a dozen, maybe more, turn out each month for Critical Mass. And as for following criminals in
    shopping centres - the bikes are good for that. Anecdote - I happened to pass a couple of bike
    police in a London housing estate, and said hello to them. I turned round a corner, and a bunch of
    youths were coming towards me. On spotting the police, the gist of their comments was "They've been
    following us around all day". They obviously didn't like the idea of the police being able to get
    into alleyways and walkways, and silently at that.

    For the life of me, I can see no reason for these Segways if the police already have bikes - which
    they seem generally quite happy with.
     
  5. Johnb

    Johnb Guest

    Julian Wald wrote:

    > I visited the "Alternative Transport Day" in Winchester today. The idea is to promote alternatives
    > to car use, and is part of the european car-free day. The semi-wet weather meant that fewer people
    > than normal attended, and some exhibitors packed up early as well (including the Highways Agency).

    I was there too. Unfortunately I felt it was a near flop. Perhaps because it was a Monday.

    What was unnacceptable was that at 1pm when the city centre would have been at its busiest with
    lunchtime shoppers and workers, several of the 'government' stands were empty. Where were the
    Highways Agency who were supposed to be promoting cycle safety? The Hampshire County Council table
    for travel information was empty and unattended. The Police stand had three policemen with bikes who
    when the rain started spitting promptly looked at the sky and disappeared.

    Sustrans shared a small table with the CTC and SWT were handing out new timetables but couldn't
    explain why they don't put bike symbols on the doors of all their trains.

    Stagecoach had a bus manned by an grump who wouldn't say if they would take brommies without a fuss.

    The Tandem club also couldn't be seen, but yes there were quite a few electric bikes and cars and
    the Segway was attracting a fair bit of interest. It seems a good third, perhaps a half of the
    planned exhibitors were not present.

    Round the corner in the Square I counted just 10 people, made up of one chap staring forlornly into
    his pint outside the Eclipse, a children's roundabout manned by a couple bemoaning the fact that no
    one had taken a ride, 4 musicians sitting under a canpopy talking to each other, one man pushing a
    bike made of hole-riddled tubes, and two bemused shoppers.

    A big big shame. I hope they move it back to the Sunday next year.

    John B
     
  6. Johnb

    Johnb Guest

    John Hearns wrote:

    > On Mon, 22 Sep 2003 20:20:51 +0100, Julian Wald wrote:
    >
    > > From the brief time I had "testing" one, they just seem too large to fit in well in crowded
    > > streets. I must admit they are quite fun to play with ;) but I don't think they are worth the
    > > £3500 they want to charge police forces (their target customer). They are promoting the idea
    > > that the police need a way of following criminals in places such as shops and shopping centres.
    > >
    >
    > Errrr.... and what's wrong with a.... bike?

    Quite. I had a go on one a Segway in Winchester too. Its only use would seem to be able to replace
    the PC's boot leather as he wanders around doing his PR exercises. But it does raise their level of
    sight, like being on a moving milk crate. I'm in the case of a chase sure he'd jump off and follow
    on foot through a crowded shopping area.

    Being on a bike in the first place would be much faster and more manoeuvrable.

    > For the life of me, I can see no reason for these Segways if the police already have bikes - which
    > they seem generally quite happy with.

    The three bike equipped PCs I saw in Winchester didn't like the rain, but a Segway wouldn't solve
    that anyway.

    John B
     
  7. David Hansen

    David Hansen Guest

    On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 10:47:53 +0100 someone who may be "John Hearns" <[email protected]>
    wrote this:-

    >In London anyway, botjh the ambulance service and police service are having great success with
    >bicycles.

    I have seen police officers on bikes in York. One appeared to be going somewhere in a hurry and had
    activated some flashing blue lights on the handlebars and some sort of screeching noise. In a car he
    would have been trundling round the ring road, instead he was going in a straight line.

    >I had a quick chat with a paramedic on his bike, who said he mainly worked in the very central
    >areas like Soho. He can ge tto an incident very fast.

    That is where bikes work best. To take another extreme a bike would take some time to get to a rural
    motorway crash. It is important to make the best use of different vehicle's strengths.

    There are also some GPs that use bikes. They also report getting to emergencies far faster.

    --
    David Hansen, Edinburgh | PGP email preferred-key number F566DA0E I will always explain revoked
    keys, unless the UK government prevents me using the RIP Act 2000.
     
  8. Tim Hall

    Tim Hall Guest

    On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 11:38:57 +0100, JohnB <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >
    >
    >Stagecoach had a bus manned by an grump who wouldn't say if they would take brommies
    >without a fuss.

    IRTA "Brummies" and it still made sense.

    Tim
    --
    In space no one can eat ice cream
     
  9. Ian Jelf

    Ian Jelf Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Tim Hall
    <[email protected]> writes
    >On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 11:38:57 +0100, JohnB <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >>Stagecoach had a bus manned by an grump who wouldn't say if they would take brommies
    >>without a fuss.
    >
    >IRTA "Brummies" and it still made sense.

    Oi! :))

    (From a Brummie with a Brommie!)
    --
    Ian Jelf, MITG, Birmingham, UK Registered "Blue Badge" Tourist Guide for London & the Heart of
    England http://www.bluebadge.demon.co.uk
     
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