Feb 132023

(‘bad’ language ahead)


Reducing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph reduces the fatality of hitting a pedestrian or cyclist from 40% to 5%. Slower speeds are fundamentally safer on crowded urban roads, and small country lanes – everyone has more time to react and even in the worst case where a collision occurs, the accident is more survivable.

There are those who claim the lower speeds will slow them down – tough! That continually looking at the speedometer is more dangerous – get used to lower speeds. All of the excuses I have seen amount to selfishness.

And similarly the opposition to prioritising vulnerable road users – letting pedestrians cross at junctions, giving cyclists at least 1.5m of space when overtaking, etc. all amount to motorists’ entitlement. You aren’t more important, you don’t pay for the roads, and the safety of cyclists and pedestrians takes priority to your convenience.

Who Are You Looking At?
Feb 022009

Today (and probably tomorrow) the South of England has been subjected to the heaviest snow-fall for 18 years or so.  As can be expected for such an unusual weather event (the Met office dragged out it’s rarely used “extreme” warning), anyone travelling this morning found things more than a little tricky.

As usual the whingers are also out in force claiming that we should have prepared better and comparing us to countries that are more used to extreme weather. They have a point: if we were to spend huge amounts of money to prepare for events that happen once every 20 years we could cope better.

And some of the whingers need to take note that some of the preparations need to be made by them; motorists in countries with more extreme weather make some of the preparations themselves. So many of the whingers share in responsibility for the lack of preparation.

But does it really matter that much ?

Oh businesses will complain, but what does it really harm the world if we take a day off ? At least those who live any distance from work. In many cases people can work from home which reduces the risk for those who really have to get in (and not just because their medieval bosses do not trust them to get something done).

The real answer is to lighten up and enjoy the different weather – it may be cold, but at least it is bright too!

May 262007

A bit of an odd mixture, but this all occurred to me when I was waiting 2 minutes at a pedestrian crossing for a chance to cross the road in 10 seconds; at which point I would have to do this all over again.

It occurred to me that most of the cars whizzing past my nose were being driven by people who didn’t pay the local council tax which funds the local roads whereas I do. Seemed a little unfair that they get more time to get across the crossing than I do, when it is my money paying for everything. Don’t get me wrong … whilst I might like the roads to be a bit cheaper, and we should spend more money on public transport, I still think the roads are worth having.

Of course it is not a simple matter where every pedestrian is a tax payer and every motorist is an outside who doesn’t pay the council tax. And motorists will say that their road tax is being used to pay for the roads … which is true for motorways (which I’m not commenting on here), but not the case for local roads.

I just think we need to redress the balance between the pedestrian and the motorist a little more.

Historically we have gone to an enormous amount of effort to keep traffic moving, and it is time to accept that it just isn’t possible with the levels of traffic we can have in today’s cities. And giving pedestrians a bit more priority on the roads is the polite thing to do given that we are helping pay for the roads. We need equal time to cross the roads that motorists have to cross the pedestrian crossings, and we need more pedestrian crossings.

If it takes a motorist 20 minutes to traverse my city rather than 15 minutes, so what? The motorist will still be well ahead of the pedestrian who will take an hour or more for the same journey so they will still be well ahead.