Plan for 20mph urban speed-cam zones touted
Live slow, die old, leave a wrinkly corpse
Just when you thought it was safe to go driving again without being repeatedly photographed - with news breaking this week that the government has put national road pricing on the back burner - the nanny state lobby has bounced back off the ropes with ambitious new plans.
The 'casts and sheets this morning are full of a new report from transport safety think tank PACTS, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety. That sounds as though it might be an official body, but it's not - it's a private company with charitable tax exemptions which is allowed to operate half in and half out of the Houses of Parliament, like many others.
PACTS has been brewing its report, titled Beyond 2010, for some time.
Its executive director Robert Gifford said (pdf): "We are living in a period when central government appears reluctant to regulate unless absolutely necessary.
"With all that we currently know about urban design, we should aim to design out road use conflicts in the same way as we can design out crime.
"When we also remember that road deaths amount to 82 per cent of all accidental deaths for those under 20, there still remains plenty for us to do.
"Our first hurdle is to persuade central government that a third round of targets [following those set in 1987 and 2000] would be a good idea."
PACTS doesn't care for the government's practice of measuring its success by counting numbers of people killed or "seriously injured" on the roads. The lobbyists say that the definition of seriousness can be fiddled with so as to make it seem that progress is being made, when in fact it is not. Gifford wants to see a hard target set for reductions in the number of deaths, and no fooling with injuries.
"A road death is much less equivocal than an injury. A specific target for deaths would concentrate minds," he tells the Times.
"Our aim should be to make our roads as safe as possible for all classes of road user... we should also take some account of equity: those who pose the least risk to others and who are themselves most at risk from others should be afforded the highest levels of resource and priority."
What he's on about there is sorting out the roads to be safer for cyclists (and probably pedestrians too). British bike lanes and paths, as anyone who's used them much knows, are rubbish. Their layout almost always prioritises the convenience of motorists over that of cyclists; pedestrians and drivers ignore them most of the time - without fear of so much as a harsh word from the cops - and they are often conspicuous by their absence just when you need them most.
@The Other Steve
I really don't know whether to laugh or cry at your stupidity and perversion of research. Laughable.
'Deaths from air pollution caused by traffic, according to the Lancet are 19,000 per annum, if we believe the NAO figure for economic cost per road death, that's another 50bn quid.'
Now, I'll put this simply. A dealth caused by air pollution is not actually a 'road death'!! A road death is a death caused directly by the road. Perhaps you would like to include heart attacks for pedestrians witnessing a road death whilst you're at it. Also, if you divide £50billion by 19,000 you get £2.63million. Now, I know the government have been pumping money into the NHS at some rate, but £2.63million costs per death? And that's an average!! Anyone who believes that is away with the fairies. Total fantasy. SImple rational thought processes say it can't possibly be that much.
Unbiased? Who was the report produced in association with? AEA Group!! An environmental group!! So much for unbiased!! Just before you go on about it being university reasearch blah di blah, you have to realise that university research normally backs the people that fund it. The reason is simple. University workers need paying as much as anyone else and finding against the people providing the money usually results in no more money!! Additionally, university researchers are well known for jumping on any bandwagon that provides funds. So, no, this is far from independent research.
In short, you have looked up a few articles and papers etc. and taken them pretty much at face value rather than actually assessing them. In doing what you have done, you have fallen for figures that are blatantly and obviously ludicrous and accepted research papers that are biased. Well done!!
'Secondly, even if your motorcyclist friends are 'only' achieving 40-45mpg from their machines that is still considerably better than the UK car average of 37mpg - and a bike covering a distance of 25 miles in 30 minutes uses much less fuel than a car taking 60 minutes to cover the same due to it's engine running for half the time..'
Really. What a load of rubbish. If the motorbike is covering the distance in half the time, it must by definition be going twice as fast. Therefore, it will be emitting more per minute!! So, the increase in speed of the bike (which generally means more emissions!!), could actually result in the same or even more emissions!! The above statement alone shows your thinking is completely addled.
'Thirdly, the 'weaving in & out of traffic' you refer to is not actually illegal - it's filtering (if you had once been a rider no doubt you have engaged in this yourself?) and next time you see a Police motorcylist in traffic doing the same perhaps you'd like to take it up with him the same way you seem so eager to take it up with 'normal' riders?'
Whether it is illegal or not, is somewhat irrelevant. It's actually quite dangerous. When motorbikes suddenly appear from nowhere, accidents happen. Weaving in and out of traffic causes a lot of accident. Granted, not normally bad, in that a lot happens at very low speeds, but it does cause a lot. And before people jump on the bandwagon, it's not always the cars fault. When you're waiting in queues and motorbikes suddenly race past inches from your door at relatively high speed (say 20mph when you're stationary), it gives almost no time to react.
'Fourthly, I myself do not accept that bikes are harder to see than any other vulnerable road user'
Well, I'm afraid your in the minority. As the target is smaller, it is by definition harder to see. Also, because of their small size, they are hidden much easier by posts etc. within the car. They are also hidden easier by road signage etc.etc. Anyone who thinks motorbikes are as easy to see as cars really needs adjusting to the real world.
However, having said the above, I do believe that all road users need to be much better educated about road manners, driving etc.etc. You can introduce more laws as much as you like, but it is peoples driving ability (whether car, motorbike, etc.etc.) that causes most of the issues.
Hoon Laws ?
Is this the answer ?
Or overkill on Police powers ?