Thursday, 22 December 2016

A Christmas road safety message from Mark Shaw

County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire, has issued a Christmas message via Facebook:

"As we all wind down for Christmas and the bank holidays, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy, safe end to 2016. I expect many of you will be packing up your cars and heading off to be with friends and family over the next few days. Whether you are making long journeys or just going round the corner, check the forecast before you set off and bear the gritters in mind! If you’re on Twitter, follow @TfBalerts to see the daily gritting decision, usually released around lunchtime, which will help you gauge whether you might be facing icy roads. That info will also be on the County Council transport page, here - www.buckscc.gov.uk/transport/were-working-on-it/winter-maintenance/.

The most likely adverse weather we’re likely to see this week, however, is high wind (and that’s not a reference to the sprouts). If we do experience windy or stormy conditions in the next week, take extra care on the roads and give high sided vehicles a wide berth. With high winds there is also a risk of fallen trees on the road – please, please remember to phone in to report these, don’t rely on TfB seeing any messages on Twitter or Facebook. Despite the bank holiday, our teams will still be on duty and – as always – the emergency contact number (01296 486630) will be monitored out-of-hours and on the bank holiday Monday and Tuesday.

But all in all, we are hoping for a mild, ice-free Christmas. While a snowy white Christmas day would have been lovely, the absence of any extreme weather will mean our hardworking teams can spend Christmas at home with their families, rather than in the depots or out on the roads in gritters and snow ploughs. I’d like to thank everyone who has been working hard in the last few weeks to keep the roads safe as the temperature has dropped.


Lastly, if you’re planning a bit of a knees-up, have a great time! Drink responsibly and, in the words of the great Helen Mirren, ‘don’t be a pillock’ – drink driving could cost you, at best, your licence and, at worst, your life or that of someone else. Bear in mind that the morning after a good night you may still be over the legal limit, so before driving home on Boxing Day or New Year’s Day consider whether you really are safe to get behind the wheel. Using the ‘Morning After App’ is a helpful gadget to estimate – and I emphasise the ‘estimate’ there – how long it roughly takes for alcohol to leave your system. Just take care out there, have a wonderful Christmas, and a happy and safe new year."


TfB and TVP working together on solution to Marlow Bridge concerns

Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) is aware of the concerns of Marlow residents about the continued use of the newly reopened Marlow Bridge by vehicles exceeding the 3 tonne weight limit. As early as the first day of reopening, overweight vehicles were seen crossing, or attempting to cross the bridge in spite of the weight limit.



County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation in Buckinghamshire explained the complications with trying to enforce the restrictions:

“This is a difficult problem to solve. It seems likely that many drivers do not realise how little 3 tonnes is; for instance, a Range Rover carrying four people and their shopping could easily exceed 3 tonnes. As such, we will be trying to educate local residents on identifying the weight of their vehicles if they are regular users of the bridge.

There are measures in place to deter heavier vehicles from crossing the bridge already, for instance the width-restricting bollards. However, as we know from experience, this does not put off all drivers. Additionally, using width or height restrictions only works some of the time, because not all heavy vehicles are necessarily overly wide, or tall.”

TfB is investigating other potential deterrents that could be put in place, and in the meantime is liaising closely with Thames Valley Police (TVP) to discuss closer monitoring and enforcement of the weight limit.

Inspector Scott Long of TVP Roads Policing says that the team will be carrying out targeted enforcement of the bridge’s weight limit in the New Year, adding:

“We are taking all violations of the weight limit very seriously, due to the impact on the town’s residents and businesses of the two month closure of the bridge after an HGV collided with it in September. We are working with TfB to come to a solution, and would like to reinforce the message to drivers that ignoring the weight restriction could result in penalties.”

More on the Marlow Bridge closure here.

Learn more about the different classifications of vehicle weights in our info video:


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

A sweet message – DONUT get caught out this winter!
Soon you will start to see our winter mascot, the Frozen Donut, out and about on Buckinghamshire’s roads on the doors of our yellow gritting fleet. Designed by Daisy and Lily from the Hyde Heath Brownies, the Frozen Donut was created to help TfB spread its important message in the colder weather – DONUT Get Caught Out! 



DONUT get caught out – be prepared! 
Whether it’s raining heavily, blowing a gale, or below freezing outside you should check the weather forecast before making long journeys. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car, should you encounter problems and become stranded; a fully charged mobile phone, some food (long life things like cereal bars), blankets, warm clothing, a torch, shovel, de-icer, a scraper, and a flask of hot tea or coffee are all sensible items to either keep in the car or grab before heading out on long journeys. Your car itself should be prepared for winter too – the AA recommends taking certain measures to lessen your chances of a breakdown:
  • Antifreeze – check coolant level regularly and, if required, top-up with a mixture of the correct type of antifreeze. Your garage should check concentration to ensure adequate cold temperature protection.
  • Battery – the most common cause of winter breakdowns. A battery more than five years old may struggle in the cold - get it checked and replaced if necessary to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned failure.
  • Fuel – keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delay.
  • Lights – check and clean all lights regularly to make sure you can see and be seen clearly. Carry spare bulbs.
  • Tyres – should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Consider winter tyres for improved safety. Check pressures at least every fortnight.
  • Windscreen – reduce dazzle from the low sun by keeping the screen clean inside and out.  Now is a good time to renew worn wiper blades.
  • Screen wash – use a 50% mix of a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.
  • Locks and door seals – stop doors freezing shut with a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals.  A squirt of water dispersant (WD-40) in locks will help stop them freezing.


Remember – no matter how well kitted out your car is for winter, there are other ways you can get stranded that aren’t due to a breakdown. A jack-knifed lorry, a fallen tree, or a snow drift could all cause you to become stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours at a time – that’s where the emergency kit comes in handy! 

DONUT get caught out – drive to the conditions 
We’ve covered this recently with a blog about driving to the conditions of the road, particularly in icy weather. However there are other severe weather scenarios in which you ought to adjust your driving. 

Driving in heavy rain or flood: 
  • Visibility is reduced in heavy rain, so use your lights and make sure you can be seen - don't just rely on the vehicle running lights if you have them. Be aware that even in lighter rain the amount of spray can also reduce visibility.
  • When the road is wet it can take twice as long to stop. Slow down and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
  • If your vehicle loses grip (aqua­planes) on surface water, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Do not brake or steer suddenly because you have less control of the steering and brakes.
  • Try to avoid driving through surface water as you might flood your engine.
  • If you have to drive through floods, drive slowly, use a low gear and try to keep the engine revving at a high rate. Move forward continuously to avoid stalling the engine. When driving an automatic vehicle, engage and hold in a low gear.
  • Test your brakes after driving through water; they may be ineffective.
  • Make sure your windscreen wipers are working effectively. They will need to work especially hard in torrential rain and hailstorms and if your visibility is reduced, please slow down

Driving in fog
  • Use dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you.
  • If it is foggy (less than 100 m visibilities) then switch on your fog lights. Do not forget to turn them off when conditions improve.
  • Fog is often patchy so try not to speed up as visibility improves. You could suddenly find yourself back in thick fog further up the road.

Driving in windy weather
  • Take extra care on the roads and plan your journey by checking the latest weather conditions.
  • Though high-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather, strong winds can also blow other vehicles off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong cross­winds, or when passing bridges, high-sided vehicles or gaps in trees.


DONUT get caught out – stay up to date!
Forewarned is forearmed – it might sound clich├ęd but it’s true! We do everything we can at TfB to ensure we are producing the most timely and helpful information concerning our road network in Buckinghamshire. There are several ways you can get the most up-to-date information in extreme weather:
  • Follow us on Twitter – we post daily gritting decisions every day in winter, as well as tweeting about road closures, traffic incidents, and problems on the network such as burst water pipes or gas works. Follow us at @TFBAlerts
  • Check the website – there’s loads of resources on our website, buckscc.gov.uk/transport, such as the online reporting portal ‘Tell TfB’ where you can report road defects such as pot holes and broken street lights, and interactive maps showing the location and details of Buckinghamshire roadworks. On the winter maintenance page, buckscc.gov.uk/transport/were-working-on-it/winter-maintenance/ you can see the daily gritting decision (for those who don’t use Twitter) and find out all about gritting routes and procedures.
  • Track the gritters – using our interactive map, you can see where abouts in the Buckinghamshire network each one of our gritting fleet is! This is another way of seeing whether or not the roads are being treated, and whether they are currently treating roads on one of your most-used routes.

To report emergencies, such as trees blocking the road or serious road defects, please call TfB on 01296 382416 or 01296 486630 (out of hours)

Monday, 21 November 2016

Seven days of road safety



November 21st-27th is Road Safety Week, the UK's biggest road safety event, coordinated annually by Brake and involving thousands of schools, organisations and communities each year. This week, TfB will be bringing you Seven Days of Road Safety, covering different themes and content relevant to Buckinghamshire every day. 





Road Safety Week, coordinated annually by the charity Brake


Saturday - belt up!


For day six of ‘Seven Days of Road Safety’, we’re celebrating that life-saving gadget: the seatbelt. Wearing a seatbelt has been the law since 1983, and failure to do so could double your chances of dying should you crash, yet a small percentage of road users still choose to take the risk. Here, we examine the facts and figures around seatbelts:

· In a crash you're twice as likely to die if you don't wear a seatbelt

· Drivers and passengers aged 17-34 have the lowest seatbelt-wearing rates combined with the highest accident rate

· There is evidence that people are less likely to use seatbelts on short or familiar journeys - this puts them at serious risk of injury in a crash

· Drivers and passengers who fail to wear seatbelts in the front and back of vehicles are breaking the law

· Drivers caught without a seatbelt face on-the-spot fines of £100. If prosecuted, the maximum fine is £500

· Nearly 300 lives per year would be saved if all car occupants belted up.

· It is estimated that front seat belts saved over 50,000 lives* in the first twenty years since the legislation and will have saved thousands more lives in the last decade. Seat belts have been a game-changer in saving lives on the road.


The seat belt time line:

1958 – Volvo introduces the three-point, lap and diagonal seat belt.

1970s – Saw the 'Clunk Click' campaign which helped increase seat belt wearing rates from 30% to 40%.

1973 – Saw the first of 12 failed attempts to introduce legislation. Arguments about personal liberty won the day. The AA campaigned for seat belt wearing until the law was introduced.

1983 – Regulations for compulsory wearing of front belts came in for a three year trial (deaths fell by 300 per year)

1991 – Adults required to use rear seat belts

2009 – On June 29 the penalty for not wearing a seat belt rose from £30 to £60

2009 – Thames Valley police in conjunction with AA Drive Tech offered safety courses to offenders not wearing belts. 66% accepted courses rather than fines

2010 – “Clunk Click: AA seat belt report” published, providing statistics showing that seatbelts halve the risk of dying in the event of a collision

Source 1 
Source 2 
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Friday


It’s day five of Seven Days of Road Safety, and today we are thinking about what it means to ‘drive to the conditions of the road’. We advise all motorists to be responsible, diligent and safety-conscious when out on Buckinghamshire’s roads, particularly in adverse driving conditions. For instance, if you see a gritting alert on our website or Twitter, take it as a message that you need to adjust your driving to fit the conditions of the potentially icy road.

There is plenty about ‘driving to the conditions’ in the Highway Code, which you can catch up on here, but we’ve summarised some of the main things you need to know.


1 – Driving in ice or snow


  • Keep a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Use fog lights appropriately
  • Only make necessary journeys and keep a ‘break down’ kit in your car (warm clothes etc)
  • Reduce your speed
  • If driving on snow or ice, accelerate and brake gently, and stick to higher gears.
  • Take bends slowly, and take into account the effect of ice on stopping distances when braking.
  • Be safe on the roads this winter, keep up-to-date via our website and Twitter, and please remember – just because it’s gritted, doesn’t mean a road is guaranteed to be ice-free. Grit is spread in order to reduce the risk of ice forming, not eliminate it completely.

2 – Driving in heavy rain or flood:


  • Visibility is reduced in heavy rain, so use your lights and make sure you can be seen - don't just rely on the vehicle running lights if you have them. Be aware that even in lighter rain the amount of spray can also reduce visibility.
  • When the road is wet it can take twice as long to stop. Slow down and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
  • If your vehicle loses grip (aqua­planes) on surface water, take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Do not brake or steer suddenly because you have less control of the steering and brakes.
  • Try to avoid driving through surface water as you might flood your engine.
  • If you have to drive through floods, drive slowly, use a low gear and try to keep the engine revving at a high rate. Move forward continuously to avoid stalling the engine. When driving an automatic vehicle, engage and hold in a low gear.
  • Test your brakes after driving through water; they may be ineffective.
  • Make sure your windscreen wipers are working effectively. They will need to work especially hard in torrential rain and hailstorms and if your visibility is reduced, please slow down

3 – Driving in fog


  • Use dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you.
  • If it is foggy (less than 100 m visibilities) then switch on your fog lights. Do not forget to turn them off when conditions improve.
  • Fog is often patchy so try not to speed up as visibility improves. You could suddenly find yourself back in thick fog further up the road.

4 – Driving in windy weather


  • Take extra care on the roads and plan your journey by checking the latest weather conditions.
  • Though high-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather, strong winds can also blow other vehicles off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong cross­winds, or when passing bridges, high-sided vehicles or gaps in trees.

5 – Driving in low sun


  • Between the September and March equinoxes the sun is below the celestial equator, meaning the occurrence of low, dazzling sun is higher. The sun reaches its lowest point on December 21st (the winter equinox) but remains low for a lot of the winter, creating a beautiful horizon. However, this natural beauty is also, unfortunately, a hazard to drivers.
  • Keep your windscreen clean inside and out - wiping the inside with a cloth dampened in warm water and a little washing up liquid once a fortnight will cut the risk of a screen being blanked out by sun glare.
  • Slow down immediately - it is tempting to carry on at your current speed hoping that you'll turn out of direct sunlight or that something obscures the glare, but by the time that happens, it may be too late. Use the sun visors rather than rely too much on sunglasses and slow down if you're blinded by sun glare.
  • Anticipate the effects of glare on you and other drivers - the sun may appear suddenly from behind trees, buildings and other obstacles if you're heading west on major routes or going up hills, and if your vehicle casts a long shadow in front of it, it is likely that oncoming drivers and those coming out of turnings will have difficulty seeing you coming. Read more.




Source
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Thursday


For day four of Seven Days of Road Safety, we’re reminding everyone of our seasonal message – DONUT Get Caught Out This Winter. Whether it’s raining heavily, blowing a gale, or below freezing outside you should check the weather forecast before making long journeys. It’s a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car, should you encounter problems and become stranded; a fully charged mobile phone, some food (long life things like cereal bars), blankets, warm clothing, a torch, shovel, de-icer, a scraper, and a flask of hot tea or coffee are all sensible items to either keep in the car or grab before heading out on long journeys. Your car itself should be prepared for winter too – the AA recommends taking certain measures to lessen your chances of a breakdown:

• Antifreeze – check coolant level regularly and, if required, top-up with a mixture of the correct type of antifreeze. Your garage should check concentration to ensure adequate cold temperature protection.

• Battery – the most common cause of winter breakdowns. A battery more than five years old may struggle in the cold - get it checked and replaced if necessary to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned failure.

• Fuel – keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delay.

• Lights – check and clean all lights regularly to make sure you can see and be seen clearly. Carry spare bulbs.

• Tyres – should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Consider winter tyres for improved safety. Check pressures at least every fortnight.

• Windscreen – reduce dazzle from the low sun by keeping the screen clean inside and out. Now is a good time to renew worn wiper blades.

• Screen wash – use a 50% mix of a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.

• Locks and door seals – stop doors freezing shut with a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals. A squirt of water dispersant (WD-40) in locks will help stop them freezing.

Remember – no matter how well kitted out your car is for winter, there are other ways you can get stranded that aren’t due to a breakdown. A jack-knifed lorry, a fallen tree, or a snow drift could all cause you to become stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours at a time – that’s where the emergency kit comes in handy! Read more from the Frozen Donut, http://tfblatestnews.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/a-sweet-message-donut-get-caught-out.html


(Source.)
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Wednesday


For day three, we’re thinking about the challenges faced on the roads for visually impaired pedestrians. Navigating steps, pavements, and crossing the road are things that most of us take for granted, but for the visually impaired these everyday activities can pose a huge challenge. Seemingly simple things, such as taking a short cut through the bus station, might become much more difficult to someone who relies on being able to sense daylight to find their way around. Equally, someone who has vision loss due to diabetes, resulting in moving black spots in their field of vision regular obstacles like bins, bollards, or other pedestrians are hard to perceive. 





These were all things Transport for Buckinghamshire contract director Simon Dando experienced when he took on a blind challenge with Lisa Bryant and Loretta Knibbs from the charity Guide Dogs. Lisa and Loretta came to County Hall and took Simon on a short walk towards the train station, including a road crossing, while he tried out different forms of vision loss simulation eyewear. Simon experienced first-hand the immense challenges faced by visually impaired pedestrians, as he learned how to cross the road using only tactile paving underfoot, and the rotating tactile cone on the underside of the crossing ‘wait’ boxes. Lisa and Loretta collected three out-of-service ‘wait’ boxes from Simon after his challenge, for use with visually impaired children in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties.

Speaking on Mix 96 last week, Simon explained; “As a fully sighted person I'm probably making a lot of assumptions about how visually impaired people are doing with our infrastructure and how they get safely around from place to place. I decided to take up the blind challenge, and see what I could understand and learn and see whether I could use it to influence how we put our infrastructure out on the network.” (Full story from Mix 96 here: www.mix96.co.uk/news/local/2149331/tfb-director-gets-taster-of-what-its-like-being-visually-impaired)

To read the full story and see the video of Simon’s challenge, read our full blog post here.


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Tuesday


For day two, we’re thinking about winter driving. Of all the seasons, winter requires the most care and preparation if you're to stay safe on the road and avoid a breakdown, and attending a free winter driving workshop may help you be ready for the challenge. TfB is working in partnership with STS Tyre Pros and Kwik Fit Garages to host and deliver the workshops at three different centres in Buckinghamshire, which include a presentation by a former Class 1 police response driver on how to drive in winter weather, and a session with garage technicians who demonstrate how to conduct basic vehicle checks.

Feedback from previous winter driving workshops has been very positive, with attendees commenting on how worthwhile the workshops are. County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation said “winter driving can bring challenging conditions for all drivers, be it heavy rain, icy roads or falling snow. I would encourage all drivers to attend one of these workshops which are intended to support drivers by providing winter driving tips, from preparing your vehicle and looking after your car to advice on driving in snow.”

The 2016 workshops all start at 07.00pm and finish approximately 08.30pm




Dates and venues:

Chesham – 29th November 2016 (SOLD OUT)
High Wycombe – 6th December
Aylesbury – 7th December
If you would like to attend a workshop then please contact TfB for a booking form:  E mail: roadsafety@buckscc.gov.uk | Call: 01296 382416


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Monday


On day one, we’re putting the spotlight on a campaign to keep young people safe as they get their licences and take to the roads. Safe Drive Stay Alive (SDSA) is produced by a road safety partnership including Thames Valley & Hampshire Police forces, local councils, and emergency services. Each partner has been working for years to reduce the number of people dying on the roads and by the end of this year we will have welcomed over 300,000 young people through the doors of a Safe Drive presentation. The good news is that since 2004 the number of under 25’s killed in car crashes has fallen by nearly three quarters, but there is still more to do.

Through a combination of roads policing, road safety education, engineering measures and speed enforcement, Thames Valley and Hampshire areas have seen road casualties who were killed or seriously injured fall to an all-time low by the end of 2013.  However, a disproportionate number of these remain young, inexperienced drivers and sometimes they don’t help themselves.

The Safe Drive Stay Alive campaign, now in its 11th year, reaches new and pre-drivers in an emotive and hard-hitting way, influencing behaviour and attitude on the roads, through performances held at different centres across the south east.

All through November, the Road Safety Team at Transport for Buckinghamshire is involved in putting on 16 performances promoting the SDSA campaign to young people from schools and organisations across the county. Performances have been held at the High Wycombe Swan, the Ridgeway Centre MK, and the Kings Centre, Oxford.  For more information on Safe Drive Stay Alive, visit their website www.safedrive.org.uk

Content source: www.safedrivestayalive.org.uk | www.brake.org.uk | www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk 

Monday, 7 November 2016

Free ‘Winter Driving Workshops’ to help drivers be prepared for winter

Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) is busy preparing for the winter weather and one of the services offered to residents is the opportunity to attend a ‘FREE Winter Driving Workshop’ to gain the knowledge and skills to help drive safely during the winter months.

Of all the seasons, winter requires the most care and preparation if you're to stay safe on the road and avoid a breakdown, and attending a free winter driving workshop may help you be ready for the challenge.

TfB is working in partnership with STS Tyre Pros and Kwik Fit Garages to host and deliver the workshops which include;
  • A presentation by a former Class 1 police response driver on how to drive in winter weather
  • A session with garage technicians who demonstrate how to conduct basic vehicle checks

Feedback from previous winter driving workshops has been very positive, with attendees commenting on how worthwhile the workshops are. County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation said “winter driving can bring challenging conditions for all drivers, be it heavy rain, icy roads or falling snow. I would encourage all drivers to attend one of these workshops which are intended to support drivers by providing winter driving tips, from preparing your vehicle and looking after your car to advice on driving in snow.”

The 2016 workshops all start at 07.00pm and finish approximately 08.30pm
Dates and venues listed below.

Chesham – 29th November 2016
High Wycombe – 6th December
Aylesbury – 7th December

If you would like to attend a workshop then please contact TfB for a booking form:

Call: 01296 382416

Transport services boss experiences life as a visually impaired pedestrian



Navigating steps, pavements, and crossing the road are things that most of us take for granted, but for the visually impaired these everyday activities can pose a huge challenge. Seemingly simple things, such as taking a short cut through the bus station, might become much more difficult to someone who relies on being able to sense daylight to find their way around. Equally, someone who has vision loss due to diabetes, resulting in moving black spots in their field of vision regular obstacles like bins, bollards, or other pedestrians are hard to perceive.

These were all things Transport for Buckinghamshire contract director Simon Dando experienced when he took on a blind challenge with Lisa Bryant and Loretta Knibbs from the charity Guide Dogs. Lisa and Loretta came to County Hall and took Simon on a short walk towards the train station, including a road crossing, while he tried out different forms of vision loss simulation eyewear. Simon experienced first-hand the immense challenges faced by visually impaired pedestrians, as he learned how to cross the road using only tactile paving underfoot, and the rotating tactile cone on the underside of the crossing ‘wait’ boxes.  Lisa and Loretta collected three out-of-service ‘wait’ boxes from Simon after his challenge, for use with visually impaired children in Buckinghamshire and surrounding counties.

Lisa Bryant, who emailed Transport for Buckinghamshire in July enquiring about the possibility of acquiring a ‘wait’ box, explained: “I emailed TfB on the off chance that they may have one no longer in use which we might have, and I was so pleased that they managed to produce three for us. The visually impaired children we work with really benefit from getting used to the feel of everyday objects in their home environment before attempting to experience them for real in the outside world. Often children have other issues as well as visual impairment, for instance they may have anxieties, or ‘tactile defensiveness’ which means they have an aversion to touch sensations. Allowing them to become familiar with the ‘wait’ box while still in their comfort zone, and not out in a busy street, will be really valuable in our work. It will make a real difference in educating visually impaired children about road safety.”



Of his ‘blind’ experience Simon said: “Even though I was walking a route I know very well, I was very apprehensive and had to put my trust in Lisa completely to guide me in the right direction – I have so much respect for Lisa and Loretta, who guided me through the streets with care and professionalism. The sensation of stepping into the road without being able to see everything I usually can was really unnerving. It was an education for me, and going through the experience of relying on the tactile cone on the wait boxes helped me to understand why Lisa and Loretta wanted the three out-of-service wait boxes, which I was more than happy to donate to them.”

Watch the video of Simon's experience on TfB’s YouTube page, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsirZzBXfvQ 

Monday, 26 September 2016

UPDATED Marlow Bridge Closure

**For Facebook updates specific to the Marlow Bridge closure, please follow our specially created page, www.facebook.com/marlowbridgeupdates**


Wednesday 16th November | Bridge safe to be reopened!

Our inspection and testing of the structure has not identified any significant issues which can be associated with the single overweight articulated lorry crossing the bridge.
We are therefore satisfied the bridge will be safe to be re-opened with the current 3 ton weight limit remaining in place.
Prior to this, we need to repaint the areas where the steel was exposed for the weld testing, and so the bridge will need to remain shut for a short period.
The painting involves a 3 coat system which requires time to cure before we can apply the next coat, and is weather dependent.
Once the painting is complete, we will reinstate the thick timber planking in a number of areas that were also removed for the testing.
We will also be removing the scaffolding from around the Marlow bridge towers now that these refurbishment works are complete.
This is planned for Thurs/Fri this week and Mon/Tues next week.
We expect the bridge will open on Friday 25th November, providing we do not experience long periods of rain or freezing temperatures.

Wednesday 2nd November | Marlow Bridge engineers go waterborne for final tests

With the mist lifting on an autumnal Monday morning (October 31), an inspection barge glided slowly into place beneath Marlow Bridge for the final stage of structural engineering tests.
Engineers, commissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council, have been running stress tests on the suspension bridge since a 37-tonne Lithuanian lorry tried to cross it on September 24.
Last week they ordered the specialist barge with a hydraulic hoist on board to allow ultrasound and magnetic particle tests to continue below the road deck during the coming fortnight.
The engineers need to remove decades of paint layers from the metalwork to expose bare metal for these tests. Before tests started on Monday they worked with the Environment Agency to set up a safety exclusion zone around the barge.
Watching the barge move up river was Transport Cabinet Member Mark Shaw, who welcomed the progress being made with the testing regime.
The analysis report should be completed mid-November. If this recommends replacing sections of the bridge, specially manufactured parts could take up to 12 weeks to make and a further eight weeks to install.
'I'm very grateful for the utmost care our engineers have taken with their tests, which I know is exactly what people would expect of us,' said Mark.
'This bridge is special to Marlow and Bisham, and residents I spoke to as we watched the barge move into position appreciated the measures we've taken to ensure no further damage is caused.'
'We're nearing the final analysis report, and as soon as we're able, we want to get repairs underway to make the bridge safe and secure for vehicles.'
Mark said loss adjusters from the Lithuanian transport company's insurers had been in contact and would cover the cost of repairs.
The bridge remains open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Wednesday 19th October | Inspection barge ordered for further underside testing

Structural engineers running stress tests on Marlow Bridge have ordered a river barge to allow work to continue below the road deck.

Since a 37-tonne lorry tried to cross the bridge on September 24, engineers commissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council, have been examining every part of the structure.

This week (w/b October 17) it became clear that seven areas of concern, identified by ultrasound and magnetic particle tests, would need more focused testing to establish whether suspension hangers need replacing.

In the coming two weeks, bare steel will need to be exposed for these tests. Above the road deck engineers are building an access platform, but below the deck a river barge has been requested to allow more intense testing of the highlighted areas on underside of the bridge.

Contract Director Simon Dando said these more focused tests could be carried out only by removing decades of paintwork from the suspension bridge's metalwork, and that engineers were working with the Environment Agency to cordon off a safety exclusion zone around the barge.

Above deck tests will be carried out during half term holiday week (w/b October 24), while engineers will use the barge to access the underside of the bridge the following week (w/b October 31). They will analyse their findings during the first week in November.

If they recommend replacing sections of the bridge, specially manufactured parts could take up to 12 weeks to make and a further eight weeks to install.

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet Member for Transport said: 'We're taking the utmost care with our testing, which I know is exactly what residents and businesspeople in Marlow and Bisham would expect of us.

'I'm sorry that we need to close the bridge to vehicles, but the risks to engineers' safety, not to mention the potential of additional damage to the structure, make it imperative that we keep it clear of traffic until we know the extent of damage and what repairs are needed.'

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Wednesday 12th October | Marlow Bridge tests reveal more areas for detailed testing

Engineers investigating possible damage to Marlow Bridge, after a 37-tonne lorry tried to cross it, have found seven structural areas that need further detailed testing.
Ultrasound testing and magnetic particle inspections were commissioned by Buckinghamshire County Council earlier this week (w/b October 10) for detailed examination of the suspension bridge's vertical steel hangers.
Testing will continue next week and structural engineers plan to build a small access platform to enable them to more closely examine the bridge steelwork.
Once analysed, the results will reveal whether or not the suspect steel hangers and pins need to be removed for further testing or replacement.
Engineers have been examining every part of the structure since the lorry, owned by the Lithuanian haulage company Girteka, tried to cross the bridge on Saturday September 24. The bridge has a three-tonne weight limit and has been closed to vehicles since, although open to pedestrians and cyclists.
Contract Director Simon Dando said that if the test results clearly showed steelwork needed replacing, specially manufactured parts could take up to 12 weeks to make and a further eight weeks to install.
Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: 'We're not at this point yet, and we're still undertaking exhaustive tests. But we need to be realistic about a worst case scenario to keep residents and traders in Marlow and Bisham in the picture.
'I appreciate the inconvenience of this closure, and I'm sorry it's needed. We want the bridge open to vehicles as soon as possible, but we must be absolutely sure that it's safe and secure for those who use it.'
County Council officers are researching techniques used by errant lorry drivers to get through width restrictions, to see whether additional measures should be considered for Marlow Bridge.

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Wednesday 5th October | Structural survey concern for Marlow Bridge supports 

Structural surveyors, inspecting Marlow Bridge during the past week, have found supports above and beneath the road surface that are likely to have been 'significantly overstressed' and have recommended further tests.

Their inspection followed an attempt on Saturday September 24 by the driver of a 37-tonne lorry to drive across the bridge, which has a three-tonne load limit and width restrictions.

Resonance hammer tests and further visual inspections identified three areas above and below the bridge deck that are giving cause for concern, and engineers say more detailed investigation must be done.

Contract Director Simon Dando said: 'The results of our tests showed some of the bridge components didn't ring true, and our key concern is the risk of failure through metal fatigue.'

Further investigation, expected to start later this week (w/b October 3), will involve ultrasound and magnetic particle inspections on the bridge's suspect vertical hangers and pins. Analysis from these tests will be known later next week (w/b October 10).

From the analysis engineers will know whether they need to remove these bridge parts for further testing, and results from these could be available within a month.

Mark Shaw, Buckinghamshire County Council's Transport Cabinet Member said: 'I do understand the inconvenience this means for our residents and businesses, but I do know that nothing less than the most stringent of tests and analysis would be expected of us so that we're absolutely certain about the repairs needed to get the bridge back into a safe working order.

'We've got highly experienced engineers working on these exhaustive tests, which will take some time, and I'm very sorry for the inconvenience. We're aiming to get the bridge open to vehicles as soon as possible, but my chief concerns are the safety and security of those who use it.'

While tests are being done the bridge will be kept open to pedestrians and cyclists.

The lorry, owned by the Lithuanian haulage company Girteka, approached the bridge from the Berkshire side, damaged its wheels on the traffic calming equipment, before attempting to cross the bridge.

Mark said he had spoken with the company, which had given an unreserved apology, and assured him its insurance would cover repair costs.






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Monday 26th September | Marlow Bridge is closed due to an incident yesterday, Sunday 25th September, involving an HGV.


The inspection is still ongoing but initial findings show evidence of overstressing on key structural parts of the bridge (the abutment bearing and on the steel hangers from the chain).

Based on these initial findings, for safety reasons the bridge will remained closed while further specialist testing/investigation is completed, so we can fully understand the extent of damage caused by the HGV.

We are happy that the footway on one side remains open to pedestrians and cyclists.


Until a full investigation is completed, we will be unable to assess the damage and how long the bridge may need to remain closed to traffic.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Older Driver Awareness Week, 26th - 30th September

Driving is an important part of life for many people, providing freedom and independence.  There isn't a definitive age at which a driver automatically becomes less safe on the roads, but as we age, our health, eyesight, mobility and reaction times may begin to deteriorate.
Next week, 26th – 30th September, is National Older Drivers Awareness Week and Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) will be promoting the benefits of driving assessments to motorists, and their families, across Buckinghamshire. County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation, supports this initiative which helps older people retain independence while staying safe: “The aim of the assessment is to support drivers, look for any changes in their driving, and to help them keep driving safely for longer. If you’re an older driver, this week is an opportunity to consider if a driving assessment could benefit you. We want people to know that there is help available should they need it, now or in the future.” 



Older driver assessments are carried out on local roads in the driver’s own car, and are designed around their specific driving needs. The session lasts one hour and costs £37.  
Since April 2012, TfB has carried out over 400 mature driver assessments, the majority of which are entered into voluntarily by drivers who wish to ensure they are still driving safely. Just over a quarter of participants are referred for assessments by their GP surgeries and Health Specialists, and many drivers return for regular reassessment.

Testimonials from drivers who have taken the Older Driver Assessment:

  • “I have more confidence that I am driving safely”
  •  “Advice on how to avoid using a car was very helpful. Drivers are not generally encouraged to use alternative transport and it’s the elderly who need the help the most”
  • “I found the scheme admirable in that it focused on my driving skills. I had previously passed my test in 1956 and therefore in that [intervening] period, signs and rules had been introduced. It was my suggestion that we went to High Wycombe as it gave me practice in driving through built up areas and on the M40 motorway”
  • “Wonderful idea for any age. We all become complacent no matter how good a driver”

For more information, or to apply for a Mature Driver assessment (either for yourself, family member, or friend), visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/beabetterdriver or call 01296 382416. 

Friday, 16 September 2016

Friday 16th Sept South Bucks Flooding Update

South Bucks Flooding Update

Following the extremely wet weather we have had across south Buckinghamshire in the last 24 hours, the team based at the southern Bucks depots have been out and about dealing with floods on the roads. 

The crews attended callouts within two hours, to deal with reported flooding. Sites included:


  • ·         A40 Gerrards Cross
  • ·         High Street, Chalfont St Peter
  • ·         Marrods Bottom, Penn
  • ·         Lent Rise Road, Burnham
  • ·         Hivings Hill, Chesham

The Local Area Technicians have been out looking at flash flooding sites, historical flooding sites and ponding sites, as well as blocked gully sites for investigation. Sites included:

  • ·         Market Square, Amersham
  • ·         Bull Lane Chalfont St Peter
  • ·         Chalk Hill, Coleshill
  • ·         Village Road, Coleshill
  • ·         Chenies village

Station Road Beaconsfield | Temporary traffic lights in operation, delays possible
Station Road Beaconsfield has also been inspected, due to water on the road. We are currently waiting for Affinity Water to attend the site and investigate (as at 16.50), however TfB have installed two way traffic lights on the carriageway and made safe the site.

We have no outstanding flooding issues at present. If you need to report flooding on the roads, please call us on 01296 382416 or 01296 486630 (out of hours emergency line). Please do not Tweet us, as we cannot monitor Twitter 24 hours a day. 

Gully clearing, image from TfB archive