Councils and the public sector are very careful about how they use language. This is no bad thing. It demonstrates an understanding that language is massively, foundationally important. The National Council of Teachers of English rightly says "language plays a central role in the way human beings behave and think." But language can be used to obscure as... Continue Reading →
Up the Amazon without a paddle.
I blame my pal Damon. I’d always coveted his Amazon 131, slowly converted a part at a time for classic rallying. Every so often, he’d send me pictures of it going sideways with him grinning like a loon behind the wheel. The pictures would usually be accompanied by the line “Bought one yet?” His Amazon... Continue Reading →
What happens if your speedo breaks?
Imagine. You're driving - or riding - along and suddenly your speedometer breaks. The dial in front of you suddenly reads zero and the needle's not moving. You have absolutely no idea what speed you're travelling at. One question... Can you still drive safely? The answer's rather obvious, isn't it? There are probably not too many... Continue Reading →
Dolores Umbridge. Now in charge of speed limit policy.
Speeding fines handed out by courts are hitting a new high. In 2013, nearly 115,000 drivers waited while a magistrate looked down, wagged a reproving finger and dished out an average £169 fine and three points. In 2012, failing to match the number on the stick to the number on the dial accounted for 56% of the 730,000 fixed... Continue Reading →
£300k for a 0.85mph speed reduction?
You might have spotted that Oxford now has a blanket 20mph limit. You might also have spotted the hacked-off Transit van hugging your rear bumper, flashing his full beam and leaning on the horn as you attempt to comply. That's SO much fun when you're on a motorcycle on the city's wet, diesely roads. But... Continue Reading →
Flash, bang, wallop. Again.
So it would seem that Oxfordshire County Council are about to turn on the speed cameras again, just a few months after they were turned off. I wonder why? I suspect yesterday evening's BBC news story explains a lot. The bulletin featured a 9 year old girl from Nuneham Courtney explaining that she wanted drivers... Continue Reading →
Training is bad for you. Apparently.
This year sees crashes at their lowest level since records began. We’re killing fewer people than ever - although the rate of fall has slowed markedly since the mid 1990s. Cars have airbags, side-impact bars, seatbelt pre-tensioners, anti-submarine seats, ABS, TCS, TSB, SOS and probably even BBC too. If your car looks after you so... Continue Reading →
In speed camera land, numbers mean what we like
It's pretty clear that there are a lot of people who don't like speed cameras. I'm one of them. But my objections are based on what I've observed by training drivers and riders. I think I know what makes people safe and what makes them dangerous. By and large, compliance with a posted speed limit... Continue Reading →
What are speed limits for, Daddy?
What are speed limits for? Depends who you ask. Some people would stick up their middle finger and say "for ignoring". Others would treat them with the reverence of a holy relic and demand they're never, ever broken. A rather fundamentalist view of limits - and their enforcement - has driven road safety policy in... Continue Reading →
All’s fair in love, war and PR
Well, there's a surprise. Since Oxfordshire County Council pulled the plug on speed cameras, speeding has increased. A bit. In a couple of places. Where the limit was too low anyway and the cameras sited on long, straight roads. The BBC has, predictably, gone semi-hysterical, with the headline "The number of drivers speeding...has increased by... Continue Reading →