Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Accident south of Cambridge railway station

A Whippet single decker, operating the University's "Universal" contract, was involved in an accident earlier this afternoon on the Trumpington stretch of Busway, just after the entrance to the guided section south of Cambridge railway station. Reports are still coming in - you might want to follow this Cambridge News link for more information (and for more up-to-date information). It seems no other vehicle was involved.

Update 22:15, 21 June
Latest information from Whippet is that the driver swerved to avoid two cyclists. What they were doing in a location that such action was required is not immediately clear from reports.

Update, 11 July
The BBC reports that the Whippet driver involved in this incident has been sacked for speeding. The report doesn't indicate whether speeding was the sole cause of the accident. Follow this link for more information:

7 comments:

  1. Pure speculation, but.... given the direction of the bus, the most likely place for a bus to encounter cyclists would be if they were going in the same direction, towards the hospital, and cycling under the railway bridge on the side closest to the tracks (ie on the left). I therefore suggest that the most likely event is a bus having to overtake those cyclists (who are in the right place), thus putting the bus in the middle of the road. So the bus would have to then turn sharply towards the left curb, in order that it could then align itself with the guideway, which it must enter with its right front wheel connecting the right hand guideway rail. If the bus was going at 30mph, which has been observed, it is quite possible that this manoeuvre could have gone wrong, and the wheel could have leap-frogged over the top and ended up where it was found. I shall now o to the site and see what I can see!

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  2. From the evidence at the scene, the bus entered the funnel in the wrong place, hitting the left rail hard, bouncing off this and leaving the tracks rightwards. From the tracks on the ground, it looks rather like the bus entered the funnel parallel to the direction it should have been in, but too far to the left (though I'd say this is less conclusive). It is worth noting that the speed limit is supposed to be 15mph immediately prior to the funnel. So regardless of what or why, given the amount of damage to the wall, I reckon the driver was going a bit fast. These crashes are concerning - especially for those of us who regularly walk or cycle along the path.

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  3. From the evidence at the scene, the bus entered the funnel in the wrong place, hitting the left rail hard, bouncing off this and leaving the tracks rightwards. From the tracks on the ground, it looks rather like the bus entered the funnel parallel to the direction it should have been in, but too far to the left (though I'd say this is less conclusive). It is worth noting that the speed limit is supposed to be 15mph immediately prior to the funnel. So regardless of what or why, given the amount of damage to the wall, I reckon the driver was going a bit fast. These crashes are concerning - especially for those of us who regularly walk or cycle along the path.

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  4. Wow, I've always thought that left-hand funnel rail was not much use - but to think that it would cause the bus to veer to the RIGHT is pretty weird. I'd assumed that the bus would go straight over the top of it - but I'm clearly wrong. Is this really how the steering system should behave? I think we ought to be able to do better... And I reckon some serious dynamic tests are in order.

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  5. So maybe the cyclists (if they existed) were on the right-hand lane - ie they had just come off the cycle-track heading toward the station, and had come on to the road a little too far toward the middle? Still seems a little unlikely...
    Any other ideas?

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  6. There is a distinct shortage of 15mph signs in the direction in question: there is one by the junction with Brookgate - on the RHS only. In the other direction there are two signs advising drivers to keep to 15mph. There should clearly be more signage - one opposite Brookgate and one close to the underbridge. Also it would make things safer if cyclists could join/leave the cycleway further away from the guideway junction - say another 20m from the guideway entrance? Or more? That way they wouldn't conflict with buses trying to line-up with the entrance guiderails. At the moment if there are cycles going toward the cycleway, the bus must wait behind them and not attmpt to overtake, since otherwise the bus cannot line up properly.

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  7. Once again, the failure is due to bad design. At no point should cyclists be expected to mix with buses. When designing this route the opportunity to separate the different modes was ignored in favour of a cost cutting 'one size fits all' solution. Inept and incompetent design always costs more in the long run.

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