Tag Archives: law

Weekly War Bulletin, 14 Aug

A slightly delayed one, as I just caught up with the newsfeeds after returning from Beijing — of which more later this week.

The justice system’s response to killing somebody by driving a car over the speed limit in a residential area as an unsupervised learner driver?  Eight weeks curfew and £85 legal costs.  A curfew.

It’s alright, though.  A car insurance company tells us that all our transport problems can be solved if everyone on the roads just shows each other a bit of respect.

The Chief of Cambridgeshire Police agrees: driving offences are the middle classes’ anti-social behaviour of choice.  I propose reforming the legal treatment of anti-social driving such that motoring offences come with a simple easy to assign ASBO that indefinitely bans the Motorist from going within one mile of a motor vehicle.

But the hundreds of pedestrians killed by cars?  Pffft.  They were probably listening to iPods, so they’ve really only got themselves to blame, shows research by Motorist lobby group.

Anti-social Motorists caught by the dwindling traps are electing to sit through re-education programmes to save themselves from points.  But the ultimate natural alternative traffic calming has now been discovered: carefully positioned trees.

I have no interest in cycling as a competitive sport, and apparently a competitive sportsman cyclist who I’m informed is accomplished in the field has no interest in cycling outside of the velodrome, preferring to race around in his jag without looking where he’s going.

More farce on the tube as failure to follow safety procedures leads to a runaway engineering train chasing panicked passenger trains for four miles.  And boss Peter Hendy jokes that tube staff haven’t got enough to do: ho ho ho, look at you all, nothing to do, he he, I may as well have you all fired.  Hah.

With record passenger numbers, Heathrow is clearly full: the T3 drop-off had a 5-car crash.

Spoilt brats play smash the toys in Knightsbridge; charged with dangerous driving.  It’s alright, just a bit of fun, don’t worry, we’ll pay somebody to clear up afterwards.

Allegedly more people are cycling.  Or they’re cycling a tiny bit further.  Or they’re buying new bikes, at least.  The CTC are celebrating this historic victory.

Where have all the hire bicycles gone?  Try this map.

Careful with these hire bikes, though.  After they arrived in Denver, the Republican candidate for state governor uncovered the bikes’ role in an internationalist anti-American plot.

Posh South Bank restaurants want riff-raff on bikes banned from the riverside.

While the train operating companies want to know if you’d be interested in hiring a bike from their stations…

There’s a bug in the oyster system: TfL don’t seem to have worked out quite why it’s double charging some customers when they top up — and don’t seem all that bothered about finding out.

Finally, while I’d usually hate anything that came out of a marketing department on principle, I’ve been suckered into giving free marketing to the creators of this ad.  Your moment of zen…

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Weekly War Bulletin, 3 July

US Embassy nearing £3 million in unpaid congestion charge fines.  Afghanistan owes nearly £35,000 to the boroughs in parking tickets.  The diplomats claim immunity from paying these taxes.  Because unlike water and electricity, for which they are presumably required to pay, the highway is not provided as a service, it’s a human right.

Motorists are being asked how much they should be fined for breaking the rules.  In other news, turkeys promised referendum on christmas.  They haven’t done much of a job of promoting their “consultation”, but I think I’ve tracked down the instructions here, should any of our readers wish to have their say.

In the Highlands, councillors are getting on their bikes to save money.  The Highlands.  That’s the council with the lowest population density in the UK; the biggest mountains; the convoluted coastline and isolated islands; the long wide trunk roads to nowhere; the few, slow railway lines; with harbour towns at the end of fifty mile roads and scattered crofts on single track lanes, a hundred miles from the county town.  And there are councillors in London who think it not inappropriate to drive a car around town.

Having beautified the M40 last week, 25 tonnes of rubbish on the railway at Banbury were the next target for those seeking to keep the home counties looking perfect.

Private train operating companies are asking the government to allow them to fight over the scraps of public money left to the railways.  Those that loose out can always fall back on the confusing fares fraud to raise revenue.

What did they expect of a man from Yeovil?

Allegedly there is anger at Edinburgh airport introducing a £1 — a whole one pound — charge for using their drop-off car park.  That’s the war on the Motorist, that is.

Wi-fi going down the tube?  Haven’t they been saying these things for years?  Surely it will get cut off under the terms of the digital economy act anyway?  And only at stations?  What use is that?

Three day 200 mile journey on free bus pass.

In the Congo, a speeding oil tanker driver has been involved in a collision with a village, killing 200.

The “Road Safety Foundation”, front for the AA and road lobby, gets free publicity with claim that road safety has been achieved by road construction — but that more needs to be done.

Searching the news for “crash” is an eye opener.  Just a small selection of those from this week… Three year old has severe facial injuries after crash. Elsewhere, another has head injuries.  Nine year old cyclist collides with car in Perterborough.  Pedestrian collides with lorry in Berkshire.  Van shares the road in Manchester.  Bin-man dies after bungalow collides with rubbish truck in Kent.  Tree collides with car in Warwickshire.  Tractor collides with lorry in Essex.  Railway bridge collides with double-deck school bus in Flintshire.  It’s not the only Welsh bridge playing up: there are calls for a new bridge to be constructed after a pesky grade II listed crossing has repeatedly collided with lorries and then demanded accurate reconstruction.  In Staffordshire, another grade II listed bridge has been involved in a similar incident with an 80 year old driver.  And a lorry/bridge collision in CambridgeshireIn Ealing, shopping centre roof collides with Mercedes in innocent mix-up between brake and accelerator.  Tyneside metro train hits car.  Milk tanker crashes in Wiltshire, spilling its load.  Impaled Motorist saved by four-leaf clover.  Lorry driver arrested for death of teenager.  Lorry driver arrested for death of biker.  Taxi driver charged for death by dangerous driving.  Drivers charged for deaths of pensioners.  Sir Ranulph Fiennes charged after driver seriously injured.  Traffic cop in court after causing death with sports car.  Fireman in court for crash on emergency call.  Farmer jailed for causing death by trailer.  Two year ban is the penalty for driving into pregnant woman; lorry driver who killed school kid also “spared” prison.  And finally, another cyclist hit by a truck from the Shard building site.

Just a small sample of the more interesting stories from the week.  For every one of them there is a straightforward death-on-the-road story.

But the BBC’s Nick Bryant has been exploring solutions to dangerous roads.  Pedestrians need to look where they’re going, he finds.  Stop listening to music, taking phone calls, talking to people, and looking around at the scenery; and don’t whatever you do try walking after a drink.  In other news, those seeking to end rape announce that the solution is for women to cover up and stay indoors.

Your moment of zen:

Weekly War Bulletin, 26 June

It was budget week, and the nation is up for sale bit by bit — before the bailiffs can get to it.  Starting with High Speed 1.

The government can’t even make money by bleeding the poor hard-done-by rule-breaking motorist dry.  The BBC reports that 1.5 million drivers could have been illegally fined for breaking no-right-turn signs.  This is an outrageous act of war on the motorist, and as the BBC article rightly intones, we should feel sorry for those who are innocent on a technicality.  There’s nothing more dignifying for a driver than being not-guilty of a crime on a technicality.

Olympics organisers are fretting about how they could hold cycling events without — horror — inconveniencing other people who might be trying to use London’s roads.  Olypics organisers have never before shown any sign of caring about the lives of those living in the cities that they descend upon.  We suspect that this spontaneous display of sympathy is actually cover for a more vexing problem: how to deal with all the athletes who would be desaddled by the potholes along the route chosen.

Stats say: cycling miles up 4.4%, driving miles down for the second year running — a historic first — cycling deaths down 10%, but injuries up.  So cyclists are no less likely to “collide” with vehicles, they’re just less likely to kill themselves in the process.

We were wrong: “Superhighways” will have specialised engineering features — mirrors for truck drivers to see people passing on the left at traffic lights.  This initiative assumes that truck drivers stop at traffic lights, rather than at an angle just beyond the advance stop line, where they will be unable to use the mirror.  Still, it’s not really about anybody being able to see anything: it’s to remind cyclists that “they should not be on the left-hand side of vehicles.”  And what could be a better reminder?  A one-metre wide green strip with a bicycle icon running to the left of the vehicles leading up to the lights, perhaps?

Hurrah!  Boris will run for another term.  We can only guess at what fabulous fantastical and revolutionary ideas for fixing London’s transport he would come up with in a further four years.  No need to guess his rival Ken’s policies, though.  He’d fix it with an iphone app for parking spaces — a sure solution to the problem that most people driving in central London are supposedly looking for one.

Meanwhile, in the regions…

In Buckinghamshire, Peter Silverman has become a local hero for restoring a great national beauty spot — the M40.  Fed up with the litter lining the once pleasant chocolate box motorway, he took none other than our old friend Phillip Hammond to court to force him to go and pick it all up.  The Guardian article even provides a helpful picture of the great piles of rubbish blotting the roadside — presumably taken by Mr Silverman stopping on the hard shoulder and exiting his vehicle for the shot.  Possibly while having one of his M40 picnics.

In Devon, killer has weapon confiscated for two years; sentenced to community service.  It was all just an accident that occurred in two seconds of distraction.  The Cycling Layer ponders on the law that says it’s fine for people to put themselves within two seconds of killing somebody.

Gunman on rampage in Kent.

Dog arrested for driving while intoxicated.

And finally, via els76uk on twitter, the traffic cam for the Strand near Charing Cross during last night’s Critical Mass:

Ceasefire!

The new transport secretary, Philip Hammond, who enjoys driving his Jaguar and is frightened of the dangerous situations that cyclists bring upon themselves, has pledged to bring an end to the war on the Motorist.  We, the British people, welcome Mr Hammond’s position and hereby declare our willingness to enter into negotiations for a ceasefire.  Here are our demands.

  1. Stop the killings.  The occupying Motorist governments have systematically turned a blind eye to the massacre of British civilians, including countless women and children, by Motorist soldiers.  The institutions of Motorist society have handled such atrocities internally, punishing the worst war-crimes, such as the herding of pensioners onto their mandatory “Zebra crossings” before violently killing them, with symbolic non-punishments, such as the six-month suspended sentence and the £60 fine.  If the Motorist establishment expects a ceasefire, they must make the first move.
  2. End the occupation of our cities.  The Motorist government must set in motion the withdrawal of troops from our historic centres of culture, ending the destruction of British cultural heritage and the intimidatory disruption of daily civilian life and health.  The Motorist administration must arrange for the dismantling of illegal Motorist settlements in the few existing designated de-Motorised zones — the pavement, footpath, cycleway, and pedestrian shopping street.
  3. Equal treatment.  The British Citizen has subsidised the Motorist way of life (contrary to their propaganda that a mythical “Road Tax” and meagre “fuel duty” sufficiently cover the cost of their infrastructure, mitigation of their environmental destruction, lost economic productivity, and the injury, ill-health, and loss of life that they cause); the motorist has enjoyed superior publicly funded infrastructure and services at the expense of our communities and environment.  Under a ceasefire, we would therefore expect this situation to be replaced by one of equal treatment.  The Motorist government must give equal per-user street space to the non-motorist; Motorist councils and businesses must consider the safety and needs of the non-motorist, not just the convenience of Motorist troops when planning construction and maintenance projects in our streets.  While the cost of most conventional forms of travel, such as bus and rail, has consistently risen above the rate of inflation since conventional infrastructure was given away by the Motorist government to private companies with a focus on taking money rather than providing service, the Motorist government has engineered for the cost of the (still largely nationalised) Motorist way of life to fall behind inflation.  The Motorist administration must dismantle these state mechanisms for making the Motorist way of life cheaper and those for increasing the burdens on the normal citizen.
  4. Re-integration of troops.  The occupying forces must integrate into British society, including, but not limited to, adopting and being bound by the British legal system.  If the war is to end, Motorist forces will become civilians, and must therefore cease breaking civilian laws, and cease to be allowed to get away with breaking civilian laws.  Reintegration of troops into society requires that Motorist troops accept the responsibilities of civilian life and an end to their exemption from the laws that are in place to protect life and limb, and to preserve our cities and environment.

These are the initial simple demands that would allow the British people to live and work alongside the Motorists, and we hope that the Motorist generals will agree to these reasonable first steps towards dialogue and peace.  Over the coming weeks and months, this blog will track the progress of our negotiations to end this bloody war.