[Foreword 8th of June 2015: There are moves afoot to try and create a working group of Local Authorities, MPs, the DfT, Bus Companies, and hopefully a co-operative DVSA. Should you wish to be involved, please contact Ben Howlett, the MP for Bath.]
Before I get into the details of this, I have to thank First Group for their immense support and effort throughout this process. They have been exceptional. It is almost solely down to their partnership with bikesonbuses.com that we got to where we did. I also have to stress that at no point did the bus with the rack leave the workshop. So on with the bad news.
My last mail made it clear we do not on principle accept cycle racks on the front of British PSVs. If a VTP5 was submitted for this vehicle modification it would be refused because of the large number of sharp projections from the rack itself as well as any cycles carried increasing the risk of injury in a pedestrian impact. As a secondary issue I consider the view to the front will be seriously compromised towards the nearside pavement where we want drivers to have a clear view of any relatively short people including children at the kerbside.
I am sorry but you have wasted your time and money creating this example.
Driver and Vehicle Safety Agency – Email sent to First Group 3rd of June 2015
The Bath pilot for front cycle racks on buses cannot now go ahead. There is much that can be said about the above but it is also important to state that the DVSA did not physically inspect the rack. They were sent the following photos.
The DVSA are in principle against the idea of cycle racks on the front of buses. I’m of the opinion that a working group consisting of the DfT, councils, interested bus companies, parliament and a cooperative DVSA could get an acceptable designed rack on the front of buses.
I do not accept the DVSA’s arguments when other countries have been using these for over 20+ years. When there is concern over the visibility issues the bikes may cause (even though there was no shot from the drivers seat) but the DVSA allow HGVs on our roads.
People need to realise that the security, dwell times (key for bus companies), cleanliness, and the good interaction possible between the cyclist and the driver are key aspects of why I have campaigned for cycle racks on the front of buses. Cycle racks on the back of buses just do not work as well.
Cycle racks extend the range of the “last mile” to the “last three miles”.
For now I have engaged my MP, Ben Howlett to take this further. For the councils watching this space, particularly Belfast, I suggest you engage your MPs and councillors to take this further. If people want to contact me, email me at awjreynolds @ gmail dot com
We need a cross government working group to take this seriously. To study what other countries have done. To scientifically look at the available evidence. To come up with a good acceptable UK design.
The most significant change to public transport in the UK this century (:D) has now stalled. If you want this to happen, you need to write to your MP.
Lastly it is important to again stress that the next step in the process was to have a pilot running in Bath. This was not a national release.
Locally, I’ll now focus on getting rear cycle racks on all buses.