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  • Cycling and Safety: change must take root in people’s minds

      Last March I took part in a conference devoted to the promotion of cycling in Madrid. My presentation, in essay form, has now been published by World Transport: Policy and Practice. Herewith the abstract – This essay is a response to an invitation to provide an overview of the current state of cycling in …

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  • Risk: mathematical and otherwise

    Draft of essay commissioned for a special issue (June 2015) of the Mathematics Enthusiast entitled “Risk: mathematical or otherwise”. Still time to make changes so critical advice welcomed, especially from mathematicians.  Abstract What role might mathematicians have to play in the management of risk? The idea of turning a risk, a possibility of loss or injury, into a “calculated” …

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  • Pater knows best?

    Risk compensation – the proposition that a person’s perception of risk influences their risk-taking behaviour – has now become conventional wisdom.  No one now disputes that rock climbers with ropes will attempt manoeuvres that they would not attempt without them, or that trapeze artists will attempt manoeuvres with nets that they would not attempt without. …

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    Last Thursday (21 March 2013) I attended a conference entitled “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics? Understanding casualty trends and the causes”. It was sponsored by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS). At the conference PACTS, the Department for Transport, and seven other organizations interested in promoting road safety launched a website called …

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  • Managing transport risks: what works?

    I have been invited to contribute a chapter to a book called Risk Theory Handbook to be published by Springer. Publication is scheduled for a year from now, so there is still time to make changes/corrections/improvements. Comments are welcomed. Here is the abstract. Abstract What does a transport safety regulator have in common with a …

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  • Risk Management: the Economics and Morality of Safety Revisited

    Abstract The introduction to the proceedings of the Royal Academy of Engineering 2006 seminar on The Economics and Morality of Safety concluded with a list of issues that were “worthy of further exploration”. I have  reduced them to the following questions: • Why do moral arguments about ‘rights’ persist unresolved? • Why can risk managers …

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  • Dangerous trees?

    Arboricultural Journal 2007, Vol. 30, pp. 95–103  This is the published version of a paper prepared for a conference on The Future of Tree Risk Management, held in London on 15 September 2006.  Abstract Britain, in the view of former Prime Minister Blair, is “in danger of having a wholly disproportionate attitude to the risks …

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  • On becoming Vashti: reflections of a novice blogger

    My nomination for the most prescient work of science fiction is The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster. Writing in 1909, not only did he anticipate television, the Internet, video conferencing, email, Amazon, Google and Globalization but, more significantly, the impact that they would have on our lives. It is a short story about a world …

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