Fifteen years ago I wrote an aide memoire on speed cameras & their futility on road safety, I co-authored it with an old fashioned traffic cop when I was in office. Subsequently I was asked to be a lead sponsor of the Alliance of British Drivers, a small lone voice for motorists against the hysterical anti car lobby which have the levers of power today. The AA & RAC have long been hijacked by wokery & financial corruption. I expose here some of the myths & deceit perpetrated by main stream media, politicians, fake charities & eco nuts.
The motor car was the strict privilege of the wealthy before the war, it was therefore unassailable. Now the ordinary citizen has a car, perhaps the ultimate key to travel freedom along with the motorcycle. This development has made it vulnerable to financial exploitation & the target for the pseudo religious global green cult. The roads are now clogged up so the wealthy no longer have the run of the road & they are angry. The motor car must therefore be once again the preserve of the rich man. We can observe this phenomenon in air travel, now affordable to us all. It must be therefore curtailed & returned again to the few. Buses are good enough for ordinary folk. The rich man in his castle, the poor man at his gate, the modern woke & wealthy has ordered their estate. It is for this reason rationale has been abandoned, science perverted & dissent suppressed.
The slogan SPEED KILLS is the most obvious. If speed kills Lewis Hamilton would be dead, likewise every commercial pilot & passenger as aeroplanes travel at over 400mph. Speed clearly therefore doesn’t kill. What kills is driving in to a tree at speed or flying in to a mountain through bad driving or pilot error A concept it seems too difficult for MSM.
Linked to this absurd slogan is ‘IT’S 30MPH FOR A REASON’. Well yes but what is the reason? Before the war when motorcars had brakes modelled on that of a bicycle the stopping distances were hopelessly too long. What could be considered therefore a safe speed? The speed of a galloping horse was estimated at 30mph, not unreasonably that seemed right for a built up area, it has been with us ever since. But there is no scientific evidence it is appropriate for most of urban Britain. The point is speed restrictions are simply a random number on a stick. It has led though to a great industry. Speeding fines, speed cameras, speed awareness courses. A multi £billion industry where over 80% of the profit goes in to private hands. Shady companies part owned by conglomerates including the AA. This extraordinary state of affairs has come about by the misuse of statistics by ‘road safety’ companies aided & abetted by gullible charities, ignorant TV presenters, local councillors, civil servants & successive ministers. I went in to some detail on the misuse of data on this platform last year.
HOW DO ‘THEY’ CON US ?
Let us look at the term ‘related’. Much used by road safety lobbyists. Statistics are increasingly difficult to ascertain since 2005 from the Dept. of Transport. The data fails to support the political rhetoric, so hide or fake the data. ‘Speed or drink related’ now form a major slice of the statistical public information. But it is subject to a phenomenon known to professional statisticians as the Simpson’s paradox. Let me explain.
Fred leaves the boozer after an afternoon in The Wheatsheaf, well pickled he stumbles in to the road in front of an oncoming car doing a legal 29 mph. Fred dies of his injuries, it goes down as drink related. But the incident is not logged as a pedestrian death, but a road death. Wrong column wrong conclusions. We have seen this phenomenon in spades with the government recently. Died ‘of’ Covid19 or ‘with’. 130,000 with, 2,900 of (2021 January ONS), result appalling failure to respond effectively).
A case in my old constituency, maniac steals a car drives at 80mph in a 40mph zone & kills a pedestrian crossing the road. A road where no previous deaths had ever occurred. The council installed speed cameras, Road Safety company used the reversion to the mean (the normal situation) to sell the whole county more cameras. Gullible councillors & bought off senior policemen collaborated. This has gone on all over the country for decades.
Google road safety & find the majority of accidents are ‘speed related’. A meaningless phrase.
WHAT IS A ROAD ACCIDENT ?
Road crashes are not an act of God. Somebody causes them by inattention or flagrant stupidity. I watched a 1948 West Riding of Yorkshire police road safety film on Talking Pictures recently, road ‘accidents’ are caused by the same reasons then as now. Driving, walking or cycling without due care, in some cases driving dangerously. Just for information 61% of all crashes are from the manoeuvre of turning left (2019 DoT), 80% of road accidents take place at under 15mph (2009 ONS). 23 % of all road accident fatalities are males under twenty five years old. I make the point here because to respond to road safety requirements serious in depth data is essential. Emotional rhetoric from road charities or ‘green’ politicians is of no value but grieving mothers are strong TV. Putting cameras near numbers on sticks serves no purpose.
A legal 30 mph through a village with a blind bend in the middle is too fast. 20 mph for no reason can be actually dangerous, how so you might say? Evidence is beginning to show 20mph is often misjudged by cars pulling out & pedestrians crossing, it can encourage risk in the counterparty.
Here’s a counter intuitive piece of thought provocation. Thirty years ago legislation was enacted to strengthen car roofs in the event that they overturn in a crash. Incidentally very few do. Windscreen pillars were widened too facilitate this. Very sensible the ‘elf & safety’ mob tell us. But is it ? Visibility was drastically reduces by thickened pillars, blind spots increased by 20% looking forward. I remind you of that 61% of accidents turning left. Did we pay a heavy price in lives for strengthening car roof & restricting visibility ?
Ponder also if you will the advent of safety belts & crash bags. Wonderful life savers aren’t they? But are they ? Would that nutter in the Audi tailgating you, or undertaking you like a homicidal maniac behave like that if there were no safety belts or bags in the car? Does he feel invulnerable? What if there was only a rusty spike pointing at his chest in the middle of the steering wheel ?
CYCLISTS & CYCLING
Let me just confirm I am a cyclist & have been all my life. I have somewhere in my archive a cycling proficiency certificate dated 1959 ! I trundle in to my local town all summer for supplies, I cycle always on the cycle paths, don’t wear lycra, wear a titty hat, nor have I the mandatory grey goatee beard & dark glasses regardless of weather. Moreover I have a bell on the handle bars so I can warn pedestrians, children & horse riders of my approach. Not the typical modern cyclist I fear.
But the problem we have now thanks to government & MSM wokery the cyclist seems to have now the same status as the holy cow in Hindustan. They can do no wrong just having a cycle signals their virtue, their garb carries the prestige of the Renaissance cardinal. They ride with no mandatory recognition & insurance, they contribute nothing in vehicle tax. In urban environments they have no social conscience, watch cyclist behaviour from the top of a London bus! Yet their status is about to be enhanced by amendments to the Highway Code. Their antics & aggression are now so great all my vehicles are fitted with dash cams. If you don’t have one invest now. The presumption of innocence is about to be betrayed by the Highway Code if you collide with one of these holy men whose patron saint is St. Jeremy Vine.
ROAD ECO NONSENSE
The academic, media & political world are now deeply immersed in green religion. Science has long since been abandoned in favour of Eco-rhetoric; dissent is forbidden. Cars are evil, drivers are monsters. This if course does not apply to government ministers, luvvies, celebrities or captains of industry. They need their limousines & chauffeurs because they are important & the rest of us just peasants who can take the bus.
Wearing my ABD hat last year on BBC radio the all too usual car hating academic fellow guest from Leeds university who claimed temporary 50mph limits should be permanent to save the environment. He seemed oblivious to the workings of the modern automobile. Take my wife’s 1.5 petrol Skoda. It has six gears, obviously to get maximum efficiency sixth gear all the time is favourite. It was not designed to do long runs efficiently in fourth or fifth gear. Engine ware & fuel economy is based on engine revolutions not speed, a concept beyond this public servant’s imagination, but you see his views are based on his real desire which is to ban the car for ordinary people. He has, like all academics a political agenda.
By the by whilst I am on the subject of long distance motoring & speed try driving from Hull to Bristol & never exceed 70mph, you will be a danger to yourself & everyone else. Remember the old highway code, drive always at the same speed where possible as other traffic. Scientific opinion is 80 mph on motorways to avoid bunching cut down tailgating & undertaking but emotion & political rhetoric prevent progress.
Electric cars are going to save the planet. It seems by magic, their construction & disposal are anything but environmentally friendly, without fossil fuel (remember the energy source provided by nature & stored underground by God until we need it) batteries would be unchargeable, without taxpayer subsidy no one would buy them. For a scientific assessment Google up Eric Peters in the USA.
SOME FINAL OBSERVATIONS
A professional driver for Ford Motor Co. UK told me he got clicked for very minor infringements of speed numbers on sticks, in order to make absolutely sure he got no more clicks he drove with his eyes on the speedometer far more often than real road safety would advise by his own admission.
Another friend told me his wife was clicked at 35 mph on the way to Tesco, she did the speed awareness course with apparently scores of other elderly ladies, so traumatised was she to make sure of no more clicks she drives at 5mph less than the number on the stick wherever she is. This puts her in the ‘aggressive slow’ category. A hazard to all around her.
Incidentally, cyclists riding more than two abreast , condemned in the old Highway Code, are also aggressive slow, a danger to all including themselves. Incidentally imagine the furore if motorists & motorcyclists used the public highway for racing or time trialling !
Again whilst wearing the ABD hat on Yorkshire TV the interviewer suggested I was advocating ‘whacky races’ with the abandonment of the camera based approach to road safety & he made the mistake of citing an incident that he felt proved their worth. He was he said driving along when he saw one ahead & he “immediately braked” he triumphantly told me. But were you speeding I asked? Oh no he replied. So of course I pointed out he had gratuitously braked for no apparent reason automatically endangering the vehicles behind him. Fair enough we all do it, speed camera ahead hit the brake instinctively, even when you are under the limit, all the more reason to get rid of cameras.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO ?
I suggest Q cars, with properly trained road police as we had in the old days. They would nail the bad guys, the psychos who infest our roads, some particular roads incidentally. My old police chum would complain when they patrolled in a ‘jam sandwich’ (police car) they & surrounding cars were in a law abiding bubble, absolutely no deterrence effect at all. Imagine if dangerous roads like the A17 had unmarked cars which were KNOWN to be patrolling how much more careful drivers would be. It would be cheaper for the tax payer, one unmarked car is worth several ‘jam sandwiches’ in deterrence. The target dangerous drivers.
The speed awareness courses are mind blowingly boring & patronising. The course staff do not appear to know anything outside the script, are either totally unable to engage in serious discussion, aggressive slow is completely beyond their comprehension or remit. Worse many staff think the motorists in the room are guilty of breaking the law. They are not, they have been invited to attend a course instead of the getting the expense of contesting the proposed fine in a magistrate’s court, a well known futile endeavour given the average intelligence of the modern magistrate, they are guilty of nothing, convicted of nothing, presumed innocent under English law.
There is a place for courses but not in the current form & for the current reasons. Perhaps for the rehabilitation of drivers banned for dangerous driving.
We should invoke real safety laws, driving without due care & dangerous driving. Those that kill, not poor old grandma going to Tesco.
Godfrey Bloom has a verifiable 50 year no claims bonus, a clean driving licence & drove competitively for the army & one time HGV.
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file