Hello and welcome to my Blog, my name is Chris, a bus driver for First Mendip based in Wells, Somerset. Married to Fiona, we live in Midsomer Norton near Bath, with Harvey the dog and Boots the cat. My main hobby is Amateur Radio and I hold the call sign G4KVI. I am the repeater keeper for GB3UB and MB7UB. I have a fascination for the weather and all things to do with nature and science. I am a biker and currently ride a Honda CBfF600. As a Christian I worship, when shifts allow at St. Nicolas Church in Radstock. These are my observations on my life, both at work and at home.

21 Nov 2010

I would be tempted

I am. on the whole a law abiding person but I am becoming frustrated by the apparent lack of action by the authorities over things like illegal parking, vehicles with lightning offences and the general appearance that the criminal is treated as a victim and the victim is left feeling they are the criminal. I came across a story which highlights this. If you read the comments most of them agree with my view of theis event!!!!!

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/Pensioner-Shunts-Cars-Out-Of-The-Way-Of-His-Garage-CCTV-Video/Article/201011315813764?f=rss

18 Nov 2010

Emergency Vehicles

Watching the traffic in Bath is always interesting and one thing that is amazing is people reaction to blue lights and sirens. Most end up just getting in the way. I was always taught that you should if possible move to the side but that most of the time it is better to keep going and the emergency vehicle will react accordingly. I was also told that you must obey all traffic signs, red lights etc. Some people I speak to say if it was a ambulance going to your aid you would want everyone to get out of the way.  However, the law is very clear on the subject.
Demonstrated by this -

Highway Code Rule 219

Emergency and Incident Support vehicles. You should look and listen for ambulances, fire engines, police, doctors or other emergency vehicles using flashing blue, red or green lights and sirens or flashing headlights, or Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Incident Support vehicles using flashing amber lights. When one approaches do not panic. Consider the route of such a vehicle and take appropriate action to let it pass, while complying with all traffic signs. If necessary, pull to the side of the road and stop, but try to avoid stopping before the brow of a hill, a bend or narrow section of road. Do not endanger yourself, other road users or pedestrians and avoid mounting the kerb. Do not brake harshly on approach to a junction or roundabout, as a following vehicle may not have the same view as you.

And this -

http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/1700710.motorist_fined_for_red_light_good_deed/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1204944/Driver-gets-60-fine-moving-yard-red-light-let-police-van-999-pass.html

So there's the answer.

14 Nov 2010

A Busy Night

Lates this week and last night I had the 339 and 649, Bath to Bristol. This particular 339 is always busy as it picks up in Keynsham, outside the Pub and drops off outside the night clubs in Bristol. I have done this trip in the past but had forgotten just how mad it is. I left Bath with a couple of passengers and with no idea what was to come. As I approached the keynsham stop I was aware that there was more than one or two passengers waiting. I opened the doors and the noise was deafening. There must have been well over 50 people waiting and I had concerns that we would have to leave some behind (refusing drunk passengers is not the best idea!) Anyway began to load and It was chaos, not sure if everyone who got on had a ticket but I managed to get everyone on. However it now meant that we could not pick anyone else up on the trip into Bristol. Unfortunately this meant leaving a lot of people behind. Finally dropped them all off at the nightclub and I have to say I think everyone of them thanked me. Earlies next week so some peace an quite!!

13 Nov 2010

Front Fog Lights

Ok this is one of  my real pet hates and I make no apology for going on about it.
Front fog lights, the clue is in the name!
These lights are not to make you look cool and to show off to your mates, they are only to be used when visibility is below 100m. Having driven for over 30years I can count on one hand how many times I have driven in visibility that low. They are designed to light the road at a very low level and prevent the glare that comes with using headlights which tend to reflect off the fog.


Rule 114 of the Highway Code states:

You MUST NOT
  • use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders
  • use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves to avoid dazzling other road users (see Rule 226)

Now if you the many people who think the Highway code is note for you THE LAW states:

The Law: The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989:

Reg 27. No person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, on a road any vehicle on which any lamp, hazard warning signal device or warning beacon of a type specified in an item in column 2 of the Table below is used in a manner specified in that item in column 3:

Front fog lamp
(a) Used so as to cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other persons using the road.

(b) Used so as to be lit at any time other than in conditions of seriously reduced visibility.

(c) Used so as to be lit when a vehicle is parked.

Rear fog lamp
(a) Used so as to cause undue dazzle or discomfort to the driver of a following vehicle.

(b) Used so as to be lit at any time other than in conditions of seriously reduced visibility.

(c) Save in the case of an emergency vehicle, used so as to be lit when a vehicle is parked."

If stopped by the Police this carry's a fixed penalty notice and a £30 fine also I took this from out local Police website.

During conditions of seriously reduced visibility vehicles on the road, except when parked, must have Front and rear fog lamps should only be used in conditions of fog or falling snow or seriously reduced visibility. It is important that they are turned off as soon as visibility improves. Front and rear fog lamps are designed to be seen in reduced visibility and will dazzle other road users in normal conditions. It is an offence to use fog lamps in normal visibility conditions and drivers who continually use their fog lamps, because it is considered by some to be fashionable, could be prosecuted for driving without due consideration for other road users.
So what to do with these people. Firstly a flash on the headlights to remind them to switch them off (they could have been left on by accident??) Tell all your friends about it so the message gets through like it has with rear fog lights.
I thought it would be good to have a Facebook event on the 24th November to highlight this.
To end here are some sites which talk about Fog Lights.

http://www.fogsoff.com/

http://www.weeklygripe.co.uk/a249.asp

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/sport_leisure/drivingfog_rac.shtml

So please pass the message on and make sure YOU comply with the law.

9 Nov 2010

Common Sense

Driving around yesterday I became aware just how many bus stops there are. Driving around Weston one stretch of road has a bus stop every 200m. That is fine for passengers until you have several passengers on board and they all get off at a different stop. Fine for the first passenger, but for the last one a nightmare as they could have got off at the first stop and reached their stop before the bus!
So is there a case to reduce the number of stops?
One thing that can help is to have designated stops. This is where a stop is only for certain buses or is 'set down only' One stop which fits the last category is the 'Burnt House' stop in Bath. This was always a set down stop as it is opposite a school and the pupils ran across the road to try and catch the bus.However when the stop had a makeover the set down only disappeared and I for one witnessed near misses with children running out in front of cars. However for once common sense has prevailed and as from yesterday the stop has again been designated 'set down only'

2 Nov 2010

Missed the point

After the crazy week chasing the RAC to get my bike repaired, it is now the proud owner of a new clutch cable and has even had a bath, so hopefully it will take me to work and back tomorrow.
Today was a pleasant day. It started with the 179 from Midsomer Norton and then an X39 to Bristol and back. After my break it was on to the 13's. Roads were very quite so a nice gentle drive. On my last trip I arrived at the bus station about 3 minutes early so had 13 minutes before I was due to leave again. I took the opportunity to use the 'facilities'. As I left the bus a lady started to moan 'not again' 'more waiting' , she went on. Turns out she had tried to board the last bus at the Traffic lights and had rightly been refused. When I came back she started again. Complaining that with all those drivers standing about (on breaks) could not one of them have taken the bus? She said to anyone who would listen she was going to complain to head office about how long she had waited etc etc etc. When I could finally get a word in I pointed out I still had another 5 minutes before I had to go. I loaded the other bemused passengers and left on time. The lady had completed missed the point that a bus runs to a timetable and leaves at a timetabled time not one that is convenient to her!!

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