Bus continues to prove popular and it’s getting a facelift!

Eco-busThe latest figures are out and I’m very please to say that we’ve had more than 2,500 bus passenger journeys since the bus launch and we’re now averaging a minimum of 30 passenger journeys every day (and that’s on a quiet day!).

Having been out and about on the bus in the last few weeks I can safely say that those using the bus are glad it’s running, as everyone was positive about the service, with one gentleman describing the service as a ‘God send’.

I also got talking to Iris Lester, a local resident who has tried all three routes, and she said, “People are finding it very useful. I think it’s a very good thing for the town.”

The bus costs £1.50 for an adult single and £2.25 for an adult return and is 75p or £1.15 for a child (single or return). Older person’s bus passes are accepted.

Details of the bus route and timetable can be found on our website at: http://www.whitehillbordon.com/transport/

Next month will also see the bus spruced up with the winning design from our schools bus design competition. 

Patricia Parratt, from Bordon Junior School, and Dylan Appleby, from Weyford Junior School, won over the judges with their fantastic design and slogan, which are displayed at the Eco-station. These designs have been worked up over the summer and last week saw Patricia came into the office to put her final seal of approval onto the design.
Patricia and her design
Now it’s just a waiting game until the design is ready to go on the bus in a few weeks. I can’t wait!!
Advertisements

Do you know how to drive?

Last Friday (16th August) changes were made to how police deal with the offence of careless driving, such as middle lane hogging. The big question though is do drivers know how to drive?

It sounds like a silly question. If you’ve passed your test then surely you know the rules to make sure you don’t get penalty points, but that might not be the case. So lets start at the beginning.

What changed on the 16th August 2013?

Drive%202[1]As of Friday police forces across Britain were given the power to issue £100 fines and three penalty points for offences associated with careless driving. This upped the fine for things like using a phone or not wearing a seatbelt while driving and added to the powers they already possess to penalise serious driving offences with court action and the possibility of much higher fines and penalties.

What are the offences? 

According to the BBC‘s report it is expected that police will focus their new powers on the following:

  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front
  • Failing to give way at a junction (not requiring evasive action by another driver)
  • Overtaking and pushing into a queue of traffic
  • Being in the wrong lane and pushing into a queue on a roundabout
  • Lane discipline, such as needlessly hogging the middle or outside lanes
  • Inappropriate speed
  • Wheel-spins, hand-brake turns and other careless manoeuvres

What this means for drives

Most simply it means getting out the highway code and reviewing its guidance. For many of us it’s probably been a while since we last took the time to look and things have been updated.

I’m not going to repeat the whole document but here are a few reminders:

  • Driving too close to the vehicle in front (tailgating) e.g. Rule 126:

hc_rule_126_use_a_fixed_point_to_help_measure_a_twosecond_gap

The Highway Code stipulated a two second gap between vehicles on a dry day. Double that if it’s wet/icy. Anything less and it’s at the discretion of the police officer.

  • Failing to give way at a junction e.g. Rule 259

A polite reminder…drivers joining a road, via a slip road, do not have priority.

It is up to those joining traffic to fit into the flow. That means match your speed with existing traffic whenever possible, do not force anyone to take evasive action to avoid you and only move out of the slip road or left lane when it is safe to do so.

Should a driver on the motorway change lanes to give joining traffic room then so be it, but they don’t have to.

Speed limits alter depending on the road and the vehicle you are driving. Could you confidently state what the speed of a car would be on a single carriageway road with a national speed limit? And what about if you were towing a trailer?

(It’s 60 mph on single carriageway national speed limit roads, for cars. And if you were towing a trailer it’s 50 mph)

Safe driving!!

Free Food and Drink!!!

Tomorrow (Saturday 17th August), between 10am – 1pm, we’ll be offering visitors to the Eco-station and Exhibition House free BBQ food, fruit smoothies and Dr Bike bicycle health checks!!

Free BBQ food (including a vegetarian option) will be available on a first come, first served basis and we’ll have the fire brigade on hand too to offer residents advice on safe barbecuing this summer.

AltBikeShakesta12The guys from the Alternative Bike Company will be joining us and bringing with them their brilliant pedal powered smoothie bike. With tasty options like Banana Split and Summer Special you’d be mad to miss out (on a first come, first served basis). Our brilliant Dr Bike will also be back doing summer holiday bike health checks.

So why not brave the typical British weather that is forecast and come and enjoy all the free activities this Saturday!

The Eco-station is on Camp Road, Bordon, Hants, GU35 0LH. For further information about our week day opening hours visit www.whitehillbordon.com/eco-station or call 01730 234329.

Dream Green Getaways this Summer

Looking for a dream green getaway this summer but not up for trawling the internet to find transport information as well as holiday locations? Then we might just have the answer for you.

Green traveller is one of a number of sites which highlight inspiring holidays you can go on without having to set foot in an airport terminal.

Bike

For starters the site includes information on ferries, trains and coaches to get you to your destinations.

It includes information on home grown holiday options in the UK, such as their guides on Car-free travel in the UK’s national parks, as well as international adventures, like Electric Bike Cycling holidays in Switzerland, Austria, Portugal and Italy.

Finally, the site also gives advice on eco-concious accommodation, days out and places to eat to enable you to tailor your Green Getaway to you and your family.

Ciders

Other websites with similar advice include Eco Travelling and for those who want more detailed alternatives to flying both Loco2 and The Man in Seat 61 are brilliant sources of information.

New bus proves popular

The newest addition to the public transport options in Whitehill & Bordon, the Eco-bus, is proving popular with more than 1000 passenger journeys in its first eight weeks of operation.

Between mid May and early July the service has grown from an average of 14 passengers a day to 27 passengers a day and we hope it will continue to increase as more people try the service.

Eco-bus

The service which runs three routes around the town and nearby villages (including Blackmoor, Greatham, Lindford and Standford) is certainly being used.

An adult single fare is £1.50 and a return ticket costs £2.25 (Child single: 75p, Child return: £1.15). The bus also accepts older person’s bus passes.

Please find the Bus Route map and Bus Route timetable attached. This information can also be found on our website, (www.whitehillbordon.com) at the Forest Community Centre, the Eco-station and on bus stops along the route.

Design competition winners to give Bordon bus an new look

The new Whitehill & Bordon bus is going to get a new look, thanks to the children from the town.

On the 13th May 2013, when the bus was being launched, we were also launching a competition with local junior schools (Hollywater School, St Matthews Church of England Primary School, Woodlea Primary School, Bordon Junior School and Weyford Junior School)  to get students to come up with designs for the outside of the bus.

The children were asked to come up with ideas for the back, front and sides of the bus and we were inundated; with over 200 entries.

On Friday (12th July) the judging panel, including Rob Allerston from the Phoenix Theatre, Graeme Fraser from AMK (the bus company running the service) and the Mayor, Tony Muldoon settled down to find a winner.

Some of the judges (L-R - Rob Allerston (Phoenix Theatre), Cllr Tony Muldoon (Town Mayor), Greame Fraser (AMK), Cllr Chris Wherrell (Deputy Mayor) and Ann Wherrell)

Some of the judges (L-R – Rob Allerston (Phoenix Theatre), Cllr Tony Muldoon (Town Mayor), Greame Fraser (AMK), Cllr Chris Wherrell (Deputy Mayor) and Ann Wherrell)

With so many to go through we did wonder if we would agree on anything but as the judging neared its end it was clear that we were all in agreement.

So, with a unanimous vote, in first place was Patricia Parratt from Bordon Junior School. Her designs on the drivers and boarding side of the bus, which combined both the urban and rural nature of the town, were great and we loved the rabbit design.

In second place Dylan Appleby from Weyford Junior School won over the judges with his slogan ‘Next time you see me hop on’ which combined brilliantly with Patricia’s rabbit design.

Dylan Appleby (2nd prize winner),  Kim Hardwick (Town Transport Manager) and Patricia Parratt (1st prize winner).

Dylan Appleby (2nd prize winner), Kim Hardwick (Town Transport Manager) and Patricia Parratt (1st prize winner).

The judging panel agreed that both Patricia and Dylan’s designs worked so well together that both designs would be included in the final design for the bus. As part of the first prize Patricia will also be invited to see her design being worked up, before it’s launch in the Autumn.

A special mention also went to Madison Cottrell from Woodlea Primary School. Her animal design, which included a rainbow zebra and a blue spotted giraffe really won over the judges with its inventiveness.

To see the top three designs you’ll need to come to the Eco-station, from this Saturday (20th July) as we will be displaying copies of Patricia, Dylan and Madison’s work. We will also be presenting some of the other 200 entries, at the Eco-station, over the course of the summer holidays so pop in to see a selection of the brilliant entries we received.

Once again, a massive congratulations goes to our winners and thanks to all the students who submitted entries. We are really looking forward to seeing the final design in the autumn.

Being safe on the road – Lessons from a fighter pilot!

Have you ever thought ‘Am I going blind? Where did they come from?’ or heard (or used the phrase), ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’. Drivers up and down the country have probably thought this at least once, but is it careless driving or a genuine mistake?

Fighter jetA report by John Sullivan of the RAF has the answer, and the repercussions of this will change the way your driver or cycle. (This is just a very brief summary but the full report can be found here1211 Road Survival Guide Final – fighter pilot.)

John Sullivan, an Royal Air Force pilot with over 4,000 flight hours in his career, believes lessons used by fighter pilots can help make us all better road users. Fighter pilots have to cope with speeds of over 1000 mph so being aware of any limitations is important in ensuring everyone is kept safe.

So what’s the truth of the matter? Well, simply put, your eyes are failing you! For small but significant periods of time you are completely incapable of seeing anything at all! The good news is that if you know it you can do something about it.

Why do our eyes fail us?

From hundreds of thousands of years of evolution our eyes, and the way that our brain processes the images that they receive, are very well suited to creeping up on unsuspecting antelopes and spotting threats such as sabre-toothed tigers.

These threats are largely gone and they’ve been replaced by vehicles travelling towards us at high speeds. This, we’ve not yet adapted to deal with.

Why? (here’s the science bit!)

Light enters our eyes and falls upon the retina. It is then converted into electrical impulses, that the brain perceives as images. Only a small part of your retina, the centre bit called the fovea, can generate a high-resolution image. This is why we need to look directly at something, to see detail.

The rest of the retina lacks detail but it contributes by adding the peripheral vision. However, a mere 20 degrees away from your sight-line, your visual acuity is about 1/10th of what it is at the centre.

Try this scary test to see quite how much detail you lose in your peripheral vision

  1. Stand 10 metres away from a car.
  2. Move your eyes and look just one car’s width to the right or left of that car.
  3. Without moving where you eyes are now looking, try to read the number plate of the car.
  4. Try the test again from 5m.

The test shows you quite how little detail you are able to truly capture from the side of your eyes.

Missed MotorcyclistThat’s not to say that we cannot see something in our peripheral vision – of course we can. As you approach a roundabout, you are likely to see a huge lorry bearing down upon you, even out of the corner of your eye – obviously, the bigger the object, the more likely we are to see it. But would you see a motorbike, or a cyclist?

To have a good chance of seeing an object on a collision course, we need to move our eyes, and probably head, to bring the object into the centre of our vision – so that we can use our high-resolution vision of our fovea to resolve the detail.

Another test to try

  1. Look in a mirror.
  2. Look repeatedly from your right eye to your left eye.
  3. Can you see your eyes moving? You can’t.
  4. Repeat the test with a friend and watch them. You will see their eyes moving quite markedly.

You can’t see your own eyes move because your brain shuts down the image for the instant that your eyes are moving. This is called Saccadic masking.

In the past, this served us well. It meant we could creep up on antelopes without our brain being overloaded by unnecessary detail and a lot of useless, blurred images.

However, what happens when this system is put to use in a modern-day situation, such as a traffic junction?

Jumping vision

When you move your head and eyes to scan a scene, your eyes are incapable of moving smoothly across it and seeing everything. Instead, you see in the image in a series of very quick jumps (called saccades) with very short pauses (called fixations) and it is only during the pauses that an image is processed.

Your brain fills in the gaps with a combination of peripheral vision and an assumption that what is in the gaps must be the same as what you see during the pauses.

This might sound crazy, but your brain actually blocks the image that is being received while your eyes are moving. This is why you do not see the sort of blurred image, that you see when you look sideways out of a train window.

The only exception to this, is if you are tracking a moving object.

But it’s summer. Surely I can see road users at this time of year?

Not necessary! Even on the sunniest day elements like glare or shade can hinder your vision. Have a look at the following pictures below to see what I mean.

Hidden moped

Can you see the moped driver in the picture above? (Hint: the middle tail light)

Hidden moped sun

And how about the moped in this photo (above)?

Hidden moped sun close up

The close up here shows the moped rider, who, even with their headlights on is difficult to see!

So what can we do?

Drivers:

  • Slow down on the approach of a roundabout or junction. Even if the road seems empty. Changing speed will allow you to see vehicles that would otherwise be invisible to you.
  • A glance is never enough. You need to be as methodical and deliberate as a fighter pilot would be. Focus on at least 3 different spots along the road to the right and left. Search close, middle-distance and far. With practise, this can be accomplished quickly, and each pause is only for a fraction of a second. Fighter pilots call this a “lookout scan” and it is vital to their survival.
  • Always look right and left at least twice. This doubles your chance of seeing a vehicle.
  • Make a point of looking next to the windscreen pillars. Better still, lean forward slightly as you look right and left so that you are looking around the door pillars. Be aware that the pillar nearest to you blocks more of your vision. Fighter pilots say ‘Move your head – or you’re dead’.
  • Clear your flight path! When changing lanes, check your mirrors and as a last check, look directly at the spot which are going to manoeuvre.
  • Drive with your lights on. Bright vehicles or clothing is always easier to spot than dark colours that don’t contrast with a scene.
  • It is especially difficult to spot bicycles, motorbikes and pedestrians during low sun conditions as contrast is reduced.
  • Keep your windscreen clean – seeing other vehicles is enough of a challenge without a dirty windscreen. You never see a fighter jet with a dirty canopy.
  • Finally, don’t be a clown – if you are looking at your mobile telephone then you are incapable of seeing much else. Not only are you probably looking down into your lap, but your eyes are focused at less than one metre and every object at distance will be out of focus. Even when you look up and out, it takes a fraction of a second for your eyes to adjust – this is time you may not have.

Cyclists and motorcyclists:

  • Recognise the risk of being in a saccade. High contrast clothing and lights help. In particular, flashing LED’s (front and rear) are especially effective for cyclists as they create contrast and the on-off flashing attracts the peripheral vision in the same manner that movement does. There’s nothing wrong with leaving these on during the day.
  • The relatively slower speed of bicycles means that they will be closer to a point of collision if a vehicle begins to pull into their path. Turn this to advantage – when passing junctions, look at the head of the driver that is approaching or has stopped. The head of the driver will naturally stop and centre upon you if you have been seen. If the driver’s head sweeps through you without pausing, then the chances are that you are in a saccade – you must assume that you have not been seen and expect the driver to pull out!
  • Recognise that with a low sun, a dirty windscreen or one with rain beating against it drivers are likely to have less of a chance of seeing you.
  • Cycle instructors have been saying it for years: Ride in a position further out from the kerb as a driver is more likely to be looking in this location.

Much of the information in this article has been taken from the original article (http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilot-teach-cyclists/) written by Andreas for London Cyclist, in November 2012.