A simple question

I like Select Committees. They do a good line in scrutiny, as we’ve seen lately with the Media Select Committee’s hacking enquiry. On tuesday the Transport Select Committee sat to look at road safety, calling a representative of the Association of British Nutters as a witness.

The ABD made some assertions and MPs responded with the simple question: how do you know that’s true? You can see the delightful outcome at As Easy As Riding a Bike, with further comment at MCRcycling.

It reminded me of an exchange with The ABD on twitter — perhaps the event which first got the thin skinned ABD blocking its detractors on twitter. Back in July, the ABD tweeted something about average speed cameras on the extremely expensive new section of the A3 at Hindhead. @highburyonfoot, @jamesgleave1, and I briefly exchanged tweets speculating about why this Motoring organisation should object to average speed cameras. They said:

Assn of Brit Drivers @TheABD Assn of Brit Drivers
@highburyonfoot @steinsky @jamesgleave1 Av Spd Cams encourage anal attitude to speed limit rather than attentive driving.
16 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

There was some comment on this:

James Gleave @jamesgleave1 James Gleave
@TheABD @highburyonfoot @steinsky in what way? Surely sticking to the speed limit is a part of attentive driving?
16 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

Simon Bannister @simon_bannister Simon Bannister
@TheABD @highburyonfoot @steinsky @jamesgleave1 Car drivers shld be a bit more anal IMO – self control, restraint, attention to detail etc..
16 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

Caroline Russell @highburyonfoot Caroline Russell
@steinsky (@jamesgleave1) @theabd have a v low opinion of drivers’ ability to judge speed, yet think cameras unnecessary as deterrent.
16 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

John Dales johnstreetdales John Dales
I.e. @TheABD is for ‘drivers who THINK of (not for) themselves’ & ‘Attentive’ = above the law. Nice!
16 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

The ABD were strangely silent on these questions. But I was interested in the far more basic issue: how do you know that’s true?

Joe Dunckley @steinsky Joe Dunckley
[citation needed] RT @TheABD: Av Spd Cams encourage anal attitude to speed limit rather than attentive driving.
16 Jul Favorite Reply

It turned out that this request for evidence was more difficult for the ABD to respond to than I had expected.

Caroline Russell @highburyonfoot Caroline Russell
RT @steinsky: @TheABD [citation needed]. Where is the study that shows this? > perhaps @TheABD can circulate?
16 Jul Favorite Retweet Reply

Joe Dunckley @steinsky Joe Dunckley
two days down, still no evidence… RT @steinsky: [citation needed] RT @TheABD: Av Spd Cams encourage anal attitude to speed limit rather…
18 Jul Favorite Reply

Joe Dunckley @steinsky Joe Dunckley
Another day passes without evidence appearing… RT @steinsky: [citation needed] RT @TheABD: Av Spd Cams encourage anal attitude to speed…
19 Jul Favorite Reply

Joe Dunckley @steinsky Joe Dunckley
Oh gosh, is it really more than a week with no evidence already? RT @steinsky: [citation needed] RT @TheABD: Av Spd Cams encourage anal a…
24 Jul via web Favorite Reply

Joe Dunckley @steinsky Joe Dunckley
Oh, I wonder if @TheABD ever found that reference? RT @steinsky: [citation needed] RT @TheABD: Av Spd Cams encourage anal attitude to spe…
12 Sep via web Favorite Reply

They never did get back to us with their evidence for the claim that average speed cameras encourage inattentive driving. It’s almost as if it never existed…

2 responses to “A simple question

  1. The problem with the ABD is that their arguments never actually stand up to any logical scrutiny.

    They need to be reminded that it is a fundamental requirement of the driving test that new drivers can drive within the maximum posted speed limit. If novice drivers can do it, then I’m sure those expert motorist members of the ABD should be able to drive within the speed limit without any effort at all. If they can’t, I would suggest that they should forfeit their licence to drive until they’re learnt how to drive to the required standard.

    Hints for ABD members struggling to control their car’s speed: refraining from pressing the right-hand pedal in your car helps to keep you from accelerating. If you need to slow down a little, lift off the right-hand pedal, or press on the middle pedal gently. The big dial in front of you (as well as other clues such as how fast you are going past things, and what the engine sounds like) tells you at a glance how fast you’re going :) As any learner driver fule kno.

  2. I don’t drive, but I do ride a motorbike.

    My motorbike’s speedo is bust, but I don’t get flashed by speed cameras or honked at for going slow – because before it bust, I learnt what my motorbike felt like at 30 mph and 40 mph.

    I don’t understand how anyone who drives regularly doesn’t know what their car feels like at certain speeds – it should be something that people just learn, I would have thought.

    But having read the stuff on As Easy As Riding A Bike, the ABD aren’t interested in obvious common sense.

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