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Low-traffic neighbourhood 'human bollards' step in following repeated vandalism

The volunteers say they will act as 'human bollards' during rush hour, replacing the bollard and planters which have been vandalised multiple times since installation last month...

A group of Oxford volunteers will replace a Low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) bollard during rush hour this week following a spate of vandalism.

The Oxford Mail reports the LTN planters and bollard on Howard Street have allegedly been vandalised "six or seven times" since they were installed last month, prompting a group of cyclists and members of the Oxford Pedestrians Association to stand guard during rush hour — preventing drivers from using the road as a rat run.

Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Gant joined the volunteers yesterday morning, and thanked them "for looking out for the safety of local people in response to deliberate damage".

 The bollard had reportedly been designed to be knocked down by emergency vehicles in case of 999 emergency, according to local media reports, but has repeatedly been removed and no entry signs scraped from the wooden planters.

'Human bollard' organiser Owen McKnight told the Oxford Mail: "We've been really pleased our presence has reminded drivers that it is illegal to pass through whether there is a bollard or not. We feel we've done our job and we've done the job that Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Valley Police should have done."

The dad of two expressed concern that children returning to school after half term may "come into conflict with drivers who feel entitled to break the law", and the Monday action reportedly saw two motorists try to drive past the volunteers before turning around when they found their path blocked.

> Low Traffic Neighbourhoods encourage a quarter of Hackney’s residents to cycle more, poll finds

The Oxfordshire Cycling Network praised the volunteers and Cllr Gant, saying: "Great to see Andrew Gant out to support the residents protecting their streets against the criminals who have destroyed bollards and removed signs placed to make these streets safe, and with majority local support.

"These LTN experiments always take a few months to settle in, and sometimes a few people act to disrupt them, but crime that increases road danger is not to be accepted. We hope that action against perpetrators will be swift and severe, before the road criminals injure someone."

Deborah Glass Woodin of Oxford Pedestrians Association added: "The behaviour change needs to be facilitated and it's going to be hard, we get that, but people who walk and people who cycle have been at the mercy of people who drive for decades we just want to redress the balance."

One resident, and 'human bollard' told the Mail's reporter: "When the LTNs first went in, it was incredibly quiet. There were children playing, cycling along the road. There were wheelchairs wheeling through the LTN for the first time. And then the road signs and the bollards were removed. Large 4x4s were coming through at speed. I'm here because that combination of vulnerable road users and fast drivers in large cars is a very heady mix."

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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27 comments

Avatar
ktache | 2 years ago
8 likes

Won't this just enrage the otherwise law abiding motorist, so that they deliberately kill commuting cyclists?

Or some other nonsense...

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chrisonabike replied to ktache | 2 years ago
1 like

You have to film and post.  Your culpability is increased for every like and share after that.

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
8 likes

Well done to the people doing this, clearly Cycling Mikey fans.  I wonder if Amanda Holden will be weighing in with some totally inappropriate, misguided offensive comment?

It's been said before, but after the first few times, why didn't they install low cost cctv?  And/or put alarms on the planters?

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mdavidford replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
2 likes
eburtthebike wrote:

It's been said before, but after the first few times, why didn't they install low cost cctv?  And/or put alarms on the planters?

Not in the budget - would have to wait until next financial year.

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eburtthebike replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
1 like

Of course, so obvious when you think about it.  But replacing the planters time after time is ok.

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nosferatu1001 replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
4 likes

Op ex vs cap ex! 

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chrisonabike | 2 years ago
3 likes

Dunno why I didn't think of it before but at least in Edinburgh there's a resource we could redeploy which should sort this all out.  No setting fire to that!  For the full WW2 monty it could be combined with a "pressure release" operated mine underneath.  Or is a flame fougasse overdoing it?

 

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Awavey replied to chrisonabike | 2 years ago
1 like
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chrisonabike replied to Awavey | 2 years ago
1 like
Awavey wrote:

Looks like they did in Bolton https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18793949/our-road-dumping-ground-council-b...

LTNs - some streets don't like it up 'em!

Quote:

"Adds half a mile to the trip!" (but permeable by bikes and walking etc.)

“It's now a dumping ground, everyone dumps their rubbish and glass bottles. It's awful. Not that long ago someone tried coming through the estate and ran into the bollards. We got a letter through the post the day before it happened then they were up, it was done.”

I'm sure councils don't inform people effectively (or at all) and people drive around without thinking and misuse things they (currently) don't value.  I'm sure this was done with no thought to "liveability" / "active travel" but to "improve flow" elsewhere or stop speeding and dealing.  But lo, a LTN was born!  Ask them about it in a year or so.

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wtjs | 2 years ago
2 likes

We've been really pleased our presence has reminded drivers that it is illegal to pass through whether there is a bollard or not. We feel we've done our job and we've done the job that Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Valley Police should have done

The acid test, and it requires a bolshie CyclingMikey character to witness it, will be when some vehicle just pushes through and the police do nothing about it- or, they wouldn't in Lancashire. I don't know about TVP

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Sriracha replied to wtjs | 2 years ago
5 likes

I wonder, can the public buy a Stinger? The tyre thingy, not the missile - although...

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NOtotheEU replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:

I wonder, can the public buy a Stinger? The tyre thingy, not the missile - although...

Awesome idea! Or better yet a sidewinder. Live out your Top Gun fantasy while enacting revenge on close passing drivers. 

The only two downsides I can see is they weigh 85kg and every time you terminate a dangerous driver you have to give Raytheon over $200,000.

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Sriracha replied to NOtotheEU | 2 years ago
2 likes

Is was actually a half-serious question. The tyre stinger obviously, not the missile. If a civilian laid a tyre stinger where no cars are allowed, and a car drove over it, would the motorist be deemed to be the author of their own misfortune? Or would the person who deployed the stinger be liable?

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NOtotheEU replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
2 likes

I'm really disappointed you are now backtracking from your idea!

Some car parks use those hinged spikes/barriers that only allow you to go one way in and one way out otherwise your car is damaged or disabled so it could be an interesting grey area, as long as you only deployed them as the vehicle passed and then retracted them.

And maybe just keep the missile for those who carried on driving with flat tyres?

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NOtotheEU replied to NOtotheEU | 2 years ago
5 likes

"Can I buy a police stinger?
 
MagnumSpike is not available for sale to the general public, only Police, Military or Government agencies are eligible. In certain circumstance civilian organisations engaged in security operations are also considered."

 

You could start the Civilian LTN Security Company?
 

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Bmblbzzz replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
1 like
Sriracha wrote:

Is was actually a half-serious question. The tyre stinger obviously, not the missile. If a civilian laid a tyre stinger where no cars are allowed, and a car drove over it, would the motorist be deemed to be the author of their own misfortune? Or would the person who deployed the stinger be liable?

The obvious serious answer is that you'd be liable when someone's child or dog stood on it. Or even when someone cycled over it... 

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grumpus replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
0 likes

I think you'd be charged with criminal damage even if the police were sympathetic, and remember they don't want to encourage vigilante action. But you can get stingers on Alibaba ... I wonder how customs would view it; maybe describe it on the label as an anti-wall-climb device or similar?

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wtjs replied to grumpus | 2 years ago
0 likes

I think you'd be charged with criminal damage

Although it's difficult to imagine, in Lancashire, the police actually doing anything about anything I rather suspect they would try and throw the book at the people they really hate: those who report offences.

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mdavidford replied to NOtotheEU | 2 years ago
1 like
NOtotheEU wrote:

The only two downsides I can see is they weigh 85kg and every time you terminate a dangerous driver you have to give Raytheon over $200,000.

I'd imagine the resulting craters would make getting through on foot or bike more difficult as well.

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NOtotheEU replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
2 likes
mdavidford wrote:
NOtotheEU wrote:

The only two downsides I can see is they weigh 85kg and every time you terminate a dangerous driver you have to give Raytheon over $200,000.

I'd imagine the resulting craters would make getting through on foot or bike more difficult as well.

OK, three, but still . . . . 

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zideriup | 2 years ago
5 likes

I'm pretty sure that if you did a Venn diagram for people who are Covid and 5G 'sceptics' and people who are against LTNs, you'd just get a circle.

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Secret_squirrel replied to zideriup | 2 years ago
5 likes

Same if you added in Daily Heil readers and supporters of the War on Woke.

Basically all entitled (sometimes tbf unconsciously) a-holes

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eburtthebike replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
3 likes
Secret_squirrel wrote:

Same if you added in Daily Heil readers and supporters of the War on Woke.

Basically all entitled (sometimes tbf unconsciously) a-holes

So it's a war on motorists, Covid and 5G sceptics, people against LTNs, Daily Mail readers and the war on wokers: can we add 211 tory MPs?

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Gimpl replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
0 likes

Please don't forget the Guardian readers too 

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hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
3 likes

Makes you wonder why the police aren't doing their job

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Secret_squirrel replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

TBF I dont think its reasonable to expect a plod to be constantly stood there.  Would be nice if they put in an appearance and laid down some fines.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
8 likes

Now remember, boys and girls (and others) - it's always the cyclists who are 'entitled'... 

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