Tag Archives: speed cameras

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…

The speed camera conspiracy

The petrolhead community have long fought to expose the conspiracy behind speed cameras. In the name of transparency and ending The War On The Motorist, the DfT have collated some of the data on speed cameras. And guess what? At a couple of camera locations, there have been more injuries. With over five thousand cameras and data reported for both minor and serious injuries, what are the chances that campaigners who scour the data will be able to find one or two camera locations where one or the other measurements happens to have risen? It must be a significant result.

But wait, I’ve discovered something even more sinister in this speed camera conspiracy. Using the speed camera map, I discovered that there are speed cameras in Bath, Lewisham and Leicester, and more speed cameras in Worcester, Cambridge, and Southampton.

Don’t you see what this means?

This isn’t just any conspiracy. This is a Jewish conspiracy!

Based on an idea from Stephen Colbert (unfortunately I can’t find a video of the time he found a star of St David in CNN’s weather map), and with a tip of the hat to Matt Parker’s alien navigation system.

Weekly War Bulletin, 11 Sep

Those deeply unpopular and ineffective speed cameras whose only point was bleed dry the poor hard-done-by ordinary Motoring Brit?  Switching them off has prompted an, er, popular backlash from ordinary Brits, after their roads filled with people driving like massive twats.  Even the AA has realised that the anti-camera morons are not representative of their members.

In Dorset they’re serious about their War On The Motorist: in the Poole suburb of Sandbanks, famous as home to spoilt sportsmen celebrities with Range Rovers, a quarter of all Motorists have been caught speeding within the past five years.  Poole are even bucking the trend by installing those evil average-speed cameras on streets with schools.

Shocking finding of investigative journalism, though: law entirely ineffective at punishing and reforming dangerous drivers.

Allegedly, the tube strike led to a rise in cycling.  I only saw an increase in inexperienced drivers on the road, but then, I live in South London where we don’t have tubes anyway.  As the Tories criticise the unions for walking out on strike instead of being nice and getting around the table to talk about the ticket office closures, they, er, walk out of the London Assembly, refusing to debate the issue of ticket office closures.

Candidates for mayor are firing up their politicking, with Boris stating disagreement with coalition transport cuts, and Ken promising to resurrect the never obviously useful Cross River Tram project.  And desperate to make the Hire Bikes — and by association the one lone man solely responsible for their entire concept and implementation, Boris — look brilliant, the Standard now claim that “Boris Bikes” are inflating property prices around the docks.  Meanwhile, the problems with the system mount up, as TfL automatically charge users’ credit cards hundreds of pounds each for non-existent usage.

“Signalling irregularity” sent a Hammersmith & City train the wrong way down the tracks, weeks after the media mostly ignored the runaway Northern Line train.

The director of Stratford Westfields shopping mall thinks that Stratford needs international trains to stop at its white elephant international station — that “international commuters” are vital for its development…

Speaking of white elephants — that absurd cable car suggestion to cross the river between the Dome and Silvertown?  They’re still seriously talking about building the thing

Councils are switching off their street lights to save money.  Expect a rise in traffic accidents and violent crime and robbery — but that’s OK ‘cos the costs of those won’t be on the council’s books.

Every tabloid hack knows that students these days are just taught how to pass exams, rather than the stuff they’ll need to know out in the real world.  Turns out that this is just as true of learner drivers — but the authorities are trying to change that, starting with the removal of test routes from the internet.

As Sustrans opens an alternative coast-to-coast route, the government is being asked to remember what a good investment proper cycling infrastructure is.  The most entertaining reminder is Christian Wolmer’s epic letter to the Minister for Miscellaneous Non-Rail Non-Car Transport (or whatever his title is).

Lambeth Palace has collided with a bus.

Three-mile, £105 million motorway will provide “attractive gateway” to Port Talbot.

Durham know that a weak “congestion charge” that’s in single figures — whether £2 or £9 — is never going to be effective.  The only proven way to get cars off the streets is the destroy them.

There’s a violent thief on SouthEastern trains.

That was quick: the visit-all-docking-stations-in-a-day challenge has already been successfully completed.

Tory councillors say stupid things about cycling and road danger shock.

A Cincinnati woman is arrested for an “equipment violation“, while a Carlisle woman on the motorway does it the old fashioned way.

The M42 was closed by a poorly horse.

Ho ho.  Florida man arrested for “arguing with bicycle“.

Your moment of zen, Driving Fail via Boing Boing:

Weekly War Bulletin, 4 Sep

How to shift modal share to cycling?  Shut down the tube.  TfL say commuters should get on their bikes during the strikes that start today.

Prince Charles has another brilliant idea: a national tour to say nice things about cycling.  But how to get around such a big and difficult to traverse country as the UK?  How about a £100k private train?  “‘Peep peep,’ said Charles the Mental Engine to Thomas, as he was pulling Annie and Clarabel on the 08:27 stopping service to Birmingham New Street.  ‘Get out of my fucking way.  Don’t you know who I am?’”

A professor of marketing has discovered that sad non-cyclists envy us awesome cyclists.  This is not news.  One only needs to watch all the cabbies, bikers, and white van men sat in the advanced stop lane for cyclists at the lights, desperately hoping that people will see their position and mistake them for a cool bicyclist.

And from the desk of Professor Obvious: drivers are not very good at driving when they are angry.

We were supposed to be able to use hire bikes without a subscription and key around about now.  TfL now say casual users won’t be allowed to have a go until the new year.

And with other important transport projects being mothballed, scaled back, and dropped entirely, rumours are flying that Boris, fearing that the electorate will take it out on him, might give up and seek to return to Parliament, to represent Londoners as a back bench trouble maker.

Oxfordshire towns and villages can rent their own speed cameras for £5000 a year, after a residents’ backlash against the county’s cameras being switched off.

The motorways are full, and the M6 toll road has failed to solve the congestion problem around Birmingham, because Motorists will not pay for a road when there is a free one going to the same place.

Want to get to your destination three minutes quicker?  You can now take advantage of a new convenient fast-track level-crossing service from the British Judiciary, where you can put the lives of hundreds of people in danger for the competitive price of just £50.  Payment may be made by direct debit; no need to turn up in person to pay.  On days when revenue enforcement officers are unavailable, the service is free.

Police arrest drunk driver; crash his supercar into garden.  Heh.

London-Frankfurt direct trains are moving into the testing phase; but intra-national high-speed rail is going to face hiking nimbys.

Finally, your moment of zen: a cyclist with a reckless disregard for his own safety — where is his helmet?

Weekly War Bulletin, 28 Aug

The Motorist ranks are divided by news that the suckers who pay for insurance are subsidising, to the tune of £50 per driver per year, the 2 million who don’t bother to get insured on account of the fact that they’ll almost certainly get away with it, and even if they don’t, the worst they’ll get is a slap on the wrist.  But the AA, always quick to spot an unfair attempt to blame the poor hard done by Motorist, has found that the high cost of insurance is not the fault of people driving uninsured, but of those who are killed or injured by drivers and who subsequently exaggerate the seriousness of their deaths and injuries so that they can over-claim.

And the Institute of Advanced Motorists, who must surely be anti-Motorist impostors, are even claiming that 70% of drivers are in favour of safety cameras.  It’s almost as if they’re suggesting that Tory newspapers have invented the War On The Motorist, and that in fact most drivers do not think that speeding is acceptable behaviour.  Everyone already knew that the IAM were imposters.  But what’s this?  The AA signing a letter in favour of speed cameras?  What has happened to the great institutions of Motorism?

Luckily, Motorists can unite against local councils who want to tax people for parking at work.  It’s just another stealth tax on the working man.  A War On The…, well, you know the rest.  Meanwhile, in Brent, Motorists are being bribed to give up their residents’ parking permits, with vouchers for bikes, season tickets and car clubs on offer.

Luckily, Super Philip Hammond to the rescue: central government might step in again and veto these anti-Motorist councils and their parking taxes.  And more importantly, Hammond has saved the pub industry, by agreeing that preventing drink driving would be bad for business, and is therefore unacceptable.

Cycling England, the quango administering Bikeability training courses and Cycling Cities looks likely to be cut.  What does anyone need Bikeability training for anyway, when we have PCSOs to teach people how to cycle safely and courteously — as they have with the 84 year old pavement cycling war veteran.  Police around the country are cracking down on the menace of anti-social cycling.

Manufacturer of 200mph car is baffled as to why they keep crashing.

This week, it rained.  The tube got a bit damp and stopped working.  And the first monthly tube strike is coming up in two weeks, as TfL proceed with plans to close ticket offices, arguing that modern technology has made many redundant.  Depot staff are also walking out over the coming months.

Every time is peak time on the railway now: rush hour has been redefined, so that train companies can charge more for longer.

TfL are having to manage the daily problem of Hire Bikes piling up around Waterloo in the evening.

Metal railings have collided with a bus in Picadilly Circus, injuring one.  This presumably makes things easier for the proposed Picadilly Circus remodelling, which will remove the remaining railings.

Stoned pop singer drives Range Rover into Snappy Snaps; not allowed to drive for six months.

And finally, Londonist has the architects’ pictures of the new Blackfriars Station: all pedestrians are expected to be ghosts by the time it opens.

Weekly War Bulletin, 21 Aug

As yet more counties have to switch off their speed cameras, a study from the Department of The Obvious finds that more people are speeding where the cameras have been switched off.

This week’s cold hard news, though, is all about how some rich sportsman drove an absurdly inappropriate vehicle into central Manchester and got a parking ticket from a mean looking unrepentant traffic warden.  When you make millions of pounds a week, you can afford to do what you like with our streets.  “Supercar” drivers (for some reason I can’t read that word without thinking, I’m super, thanks for asking…) in Westminster just chuck their parking tickets away as they leave the country.  A fellow footballer demonstrates that in a country which punishes homicidal behaviour with £60 fines, millionaires will happily keep on behaving homicidally until you confiscate their weapons.  And a TV actor is released on bail and presumably allowed to continue driving his BMW after giving a pedestrian serious head injuries and driving away without stopping.

There’s another type of person who likes to drive in London.  In Peckham, a shop has collided with a BMW, killing its driver, who was in his 30s.  Hmm.

Motorists whine about having their human right to park wherever they bloody want being infringed.  Except that the government have this week ended the war on the motorist!  Hooray!  Motorists right to park on your front lawn, in your business’ front yard, or, indeed, on any part of a pavement that is technically private land, has been enshrined in law.  Only IanVisits dissents.

Sounds about right: on average, one child in every class is killed or seriously injured by a motor vehicle before they can leave school.  Kids in rich London boroughs are safer.  Hey, it’s just the necessary price we pay for our modern quality of life…

It’s OK though: authorities and businesses around Holborn are taking seriously the dangerous anti-social behaviour on our streets: they’re setting their private armies of wannabe cops on anti-social cyclists.  Previously, London’s battalions of private security guards were able to keep themselves busy tackling the threats posed by tourists, train spotters and press photographers.  Now that the EU has ruled that owning a camera is not an act of terrorism, security have had to find a new threat to neutralise, and a new set of laws to make up.  Look forward to being hassled by people who think it’s illegal to ride without a helmet, or who tell you that they will call the police if you don’t stay within the advisory cycle lane, because as a private security guard they know the law and that is the law.

As the Lib Dems join the fight over just who it was that had the idea to install hire bikes, we find that one in six of them aren’t even in use yet, because installation of docking stations in some of the posher parts of town has been held up by people who are worried that they will take road space away from their Mercedes.

Ready for the next round of train fare increases?  The Secretary of State for Motoring Transport could abolish the cap of 1% above inflation increases, in the hope that more expensive train fares will mean higher fares revenue, and less need to subsidise the trains.  Like it does on the, er, very expensive but empty SouthEastern bullet trains from St Pancras to Kent, which have already had to be subsidised by exempting SouthEastern’s conventional services from the 1% cap.  All sound a bit complicated and surreal?  That’s train fares.

Another reason we must build HS2: how else will people get to London Birmingham Airport on time for their flight to Edinburgh?  It’s not like they can use Heathrow, given how awful the shopping is there.

Local train in Suffolk hits a sewage tanker, whose driver thought that getting his sewage to its destination a couple of minutes quicker was more important than the life and limb of 21 train passengers and staff.

Your moment of zen: bear gets stuck in car! (via Boing Boing)

Weekly War Bulletin, 7 Aug

The big news this week is that the government has put dogma ahead of practical economic policy by scrapping their support for speed cameras; Oxford were first to switch off their cameras, and now many more are following.  Everybody knows that the sole purpose of speed cameras was to rake in gazillions of pounds, which local police forces got to pocket.  Without central government financial support for the camera schemes, the local police will have no money to pay for them.  The logic is watertight.  I don’t know how the government experts have failed to follow it, when so many Motorists in the comment threads have.

Meanwhile, get out of a driving ban free, by blaming your nine points worth of speeding on your dead mother.

Hit and run driver leaves cyclist lying on Bracknell roundabout; Motorists following just drive on past.

Here’s a car that runs on shit.  This pretty much sums up Britain’s approach to solving transport problems: come up with ever more absurd but headline catching ideas that give a vague impression that people are thinking hard about the problem and working tirelessly on clever solutions.  Quietly step around the real causes of the problems.  Recycle the same solution and news stories every three to five years.

East London councils are queuing up to pave over their playing fields for, er, Olympic Games VIP car parks.  What a fabulous celebration of sport these Olympics will be.

Croydon chavs throw baby under bus.

Tut.  How dare a minority section of the London population go around believing that they are entitled to vast amounts of expensive dedicated infrastructure, on which they can speed around dangerously, imposing their smells upon the people around them.  These bloody joggers should know their place.

Where have all the bicycles gone?  To the Ukraine: gang of stolen bike exporters caught by GPS enabled decoys.

Sign language for “where’s the nearest tube?” mistaken for “I’m ganna push you on the tracks.”  Deaf man ends up in court.

Oh yeah, remember that epidemic of Toyota braking problems?  Just bad drivers blaming their tools.

Sustrans think that Bike Hire phase 2 money could be better spent “expanding potential” for cycling in the outer boroughs.

I’ll leave you with a page full of frickin awesome art deco trains: