Wednesday, September 06, 2006


On Friday I have to go to Leicester again. Back on a quiet Sunday evening last May I was photographed at just after 8pm in the act of being a wanton threat to life and limb along the bit of dualled A594 that goes by the name of Tigers Way (The Tigers in question being the familiar name of a society of 'sportsmen' known occasionally to fire the loins of a future relative of mine). In lieu of having 3 points added to my driving licence, I have been invited to attend a "Speed Awareness" course organised by the Leicester Constabulary.

I very much doubt I shall be given the opportunity to argue and pontificate on the dangers of ill-advised speed limits and the proliferation of cynically sited cameras to enforce them. I suspect I will not be given the chance to suggest that one spends so much time looking for speed cameras in unfamiliar areas that warning signs and potential hazards are overlooked. I doubt also that I shall have the chance to say that there is a an occasional temporary speed camera 3/4 of a mile from my house, at the bottom of a slope in a 30 mph limit yet there is never one on the blind bend a further half mile away where 4 people were killed as a result of speeding a year ago. Nor are there any on the A534 or A530 in the vicinity of Crewe, two of the most dangerous roads in the country and ones constantly being cleared of floral tributes. Don't even start me on those. Will I even get the chance to say that had a badger run out 50 yards in front of me at the speed I was clocked at, the badger, myself and, I would hope, other road users would have survived. I wonder what would have happened had the same thing happened to this totla cnut. Maybe I should offer the same excuse that I was "familiarising myself with the vehicle".

I would like to suggest to whoever designs these things that the name of the course be changed to a "hazard perception" course. I am fully aware of speed when I am driving as I am not allowed behind the wheel of a car unless all my critical faculties are functioning correctly. There are certain physical laws of nature that describe the effects of a transfer of momentum. I can never remember them precisely but I have seen them in action before, most noticeably on the drunk who walked out in front of my car (being driven at sub 30mph) 16 years ago. My offence this time was doing 37mph on an empty dual carriageway that had a speed limit of 30mph. Now pardon me for being a trifle cynical but if a low speed limit is going to be enforced on a road subconsciously associated with faster moving traffic, why not make the signs a little more noticeable?

I will inform you later this week of any new things regarding speed of which I have been hitherto unaware.

16 Vegetable peelings:

Blogger Who is this Dave? said...

I was got last year, driving at 37 on a dual carriageway, which had 40 signs at the start, but (probably hidden by a tree, lorry, bus etc) 30 signs partway along.

Norfolk doesn't give the option of avoiding the £60 fine + 3 points.

6:53 am  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

A 30 mph speed limit on a dual carriageway is, quite frankly, ridiculous. There is a subconscious conflict going on in your brain where your eyes are seeing a big wide road on which 30mph seems stupidly slow. Most of these roads start with a junction or roundabout and accelerating away from these in traffic will invariably take a modern car over 30 in second. There are so many conflicting signals going on, not least the one that says "Hold on, this is a twattish speed limit, where's the hazard?" at which point you actually become it. We have a lot of those illuminated signs locally that are very accurate and flash at you if you're speeding. I've no problem with those because they acknowledge the average driver who is not driving carelessly. Site a speed camera 100 yards behind those and there's no excuse for being ignorant.

9:33 am  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

And yes, signs hidden by trees or unkempt hedges seem to be more numerous than ever before.

9:35 am  
Blogger lee said...

There is a brilliant solution to this type of thing - don't drive, it really works!I can vouch for it. Though you do get a bit sick of carrying stuff around ;).

6:42 am  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

It does work, not for everybody though and expecially if one of you is disabled and technically unable to walk to to the nearest bus-stop. Yet from the end of this month I will be in a semi-rural community for a month with two buses a day to the nearest town (which admittedly is nearer than it used to be). I will be unable to get all the equipment we need to function for a month down there without the aid of a car and although we have the availability of stabling there, a pony and trap is again out of the question because there are very few coaching inns with attendant ostlers in the intervening 245 miles. Car it is then.

7:52 am  
Blogger Pamela said...

I've just recently seen some signs saying that the speed limit is enforced by a camera here on some roads. I've looked and looked and I can't see a single lens.

Perhaps it's just a way to keep the speeders from speeding? I'm always ten miles over the limit. Can't help it.

1:20 pm  
Blogger lee said...

"Car it is then" - that cracks me up :).

2:22 pm  
Blogger Aunty Marianne said...

Have you considered blowing the camera up?

7:14 pm  
Blogger Richard Seamon said...

It was quite an enlightening little lecture. I'll blog it shortly.

8:49 pm  
Blogger Sharon J said...

I did think for a second or two that we could possibly take the train but there isn't one that goes direct and anyway, I wouldn't be able to walk as far as to the bus-stop so I'd be stuck in the house for a month so that's pretty much a no-go. Car it is then.

10:50 pm  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

I look forward to your post on the speed course, Richard. I just did one myself. Came out a reformed character, totally aware of the need to stick the the 30 mph limit in towns (which is pretty much all they talked about).

Two weeks later, I got caught by one of those 'average speed check' things on the M25. The sort that measures your speed through a 'road works' using two cameras about half a mile apart. The cameras are smaller, and positioned ABOVE the carriageway. Where you can't see them unless you know to look.

Said offence (which has cost me 3 points and put me dangerously close to losing my licence) was committed at 2 in the morning. There was no traffic anywhere, the moon was full and the sky clear, and I was only ten mph over the 40 limit. The 'road works' consisted (and consist to this day) of the hard shoulder being coned off. Nothing I did could have been construed as dangerous in any way whatsoever, and although I accepted the points, I did write asking to see the photographic evidence.

To date, it hasn't arrived. When it does, I'm blogging it.

I don't actually mind speed limits. But I'm also a great fan of common sense.

1:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard said...

Precisely Mark. Common sense rules.

I actually wrote the bugger last night but when I came to post it earlier it had gone. Not quite sure how that happened.

1:29 pm  
Blogger krusty the baker said...

The roadworks ones crack me up. I wouldn't mind if there was some working going on. The M25 is a hoot; it's just an excuse to make it an even more unpleasant environment than it already is. And confuse lots of numpties.

6:43 pm  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Yep. I'm a silver key-ring owner too. I drove very very carefully for quite some time after that but then discovered the ultimate cure. Hang onto the clapped-out old banger until it can barely reach the speed limit in an urban 20 zone ( honestly, what will they think of next? speed bumps for shoppiung trolleys in council estates?) and then replace it with an even more geriatric model that tootles along like the old lady who had previously owned her no matter how hard you depress your foot pedals.

And I didn't think it was possible to admire Vicus anymore than I already did, but to find out he's a Tigers supporter is simply the loveliest news I have had all day. ( It has been a very slow news day up here in Cherryland).

8:23 pm  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

Krusty has reminded me. Of COURSE there were no workers in the alleged roadworks when I comitted my latest offence. I've been through it several times since as well, and there haven't been any on those occasions either. Day or night.

5:35 pm  
Anonymous Andy said...

There are now average speed cameras on the Dartford Bridge although not sure if they are working yet so beware if you go to Kent!!

10:24 pm  

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