Archive for October, 2015

Near Miss Project

October 18th, 2015

WitneyBUGBadge2014Do you use a bike? Do you fancy being a small cog in furthering understanding of what it’s like to ride a bike where you are? Sign up with the Near Miss Project to complete a one day diary over the next two weeks and you’ll be providing local data for a national research project.

Using the ‘near miss‘ to analyse and improve safety within a system posing a risk to life began in the american aviation industry during the 70s. Air traffic accidents are rare but usually catastrophic when they occur. By fostering a culture where people can report the more common near misses it’s possible to look at the likely causes of catastrophic events before they actually happen.

As far as I’m aware this, now common, approach to health and safety has never been applied in a road transport setting before. Where it is used it tends to rely on a ‘no blame’ culture to work effectively, which might be an interesting starting point for a discussion on road safety and the hands-off approach of the authorities involved in designing, managing and regulating it.

This is the second year the project has run and one of the main findings from last year is:

“Cycling speed is the main factor affecting near miss rates: those who reach their destination at an average speed of under 8 mph have around three times more near misses per mile compared to those who get there at 12 mph or faster.”

Avoiding the temptation to speculate why that might be the case, it explains why a ‘fast roadie’ and a ‘slow shopper’ often have polar opposite views when it comes to safer cycling – their real world experience and their perceptions of it are significantly different.

Expect to see more insights from the data this year. You don’t have to have a near miss to take part (in fact a long term trend of reduction in the near miss rate ought to be an expected outcome of the DfT’s efforts on improving road safety) but your input is just as valuable.

3 pet beds, 2 skate boards and a Van Gogh print – our autumn swap shop

October 5th, 2015

SWSwapShop270915 SWSwapShop2709153 pet beds, 2 skate boards and a Van Gogh print – all items that were swapped at Sunday’s Sustainable Witney swap shop! The idea is to get unused items out of cupboards, attics and sheds so they can find a new home rather than ending up in the bin. At every swap shop, we’ve seen that one person’s junk is another person’s useful find.

We run swap shops to divert as many items as possible from landfill. We weigh all the items as they come in and then weigh the “landfill” pile of items that can’t be re used or recycled at the end. At last Sunday’s Swap shop we took in 562kg of items, of which only 5kg (less than 1%) went to landfill so it was a great success.

This swap shop was held in the big barn at Cogges Farm which opens onto the Langdale Common path into town. At 10am there was a queue of nearly 20 people keen to get swapping.


A total of 105 people came plus 3 chickens from Cogges Farm but they didn’t lay an egg to swap!

While the swap shop was going on, Edible Gardens ran a seed swap where gardeners could share unwanted seeds.

The next event will be ReFashion event at Cogges barn on Sunday 1st November from 10am to 4pm – come and swish/swap clothes, shoes and accessories that you don’t want for items you do want for free! Bring any clothes or textiles you want to swap, donate or recycle. There will be an array of stands promoting the reuse, repair or upcycling of fabric.

To find out about future Sustainable Witney events please:

And we’re always looking for new volunteers, of all ages and experience levels. It took 9 of us to run the swap shop – could you be one of the people helping out next time?

Hear how we work on That’s Oxford