I’ve been thinking about road safety.
The government has, according to the papers, just enacted a huge number of new laws to make the roads safer for for pedestrians, horse riders and cyclists whilst ensuring that drivers of motor vehicles are held responsible for all the bad things that happen.
Leaving the moral dimension of road use to one side, I will start with pointing out the obvious – there’s no point trying to hold pedestrians, horse riders or cyclists responsible for their actions on the roads as you can’t identify them. You can identify motorists because we all have to have numbers on display. It’s actually an offence to have your car number plate obscured, but all other road users are allowed to get away with their various delinquencies due to their anonymity.
I’m not allowed to use a hand-held telephone whilst driving. Yet a pedestrian is allowed to use one whilst walking across the road and I, according to the new guidelines, have to give way to them. Similarly, I now have to do the thinking for cyclists as it will be my fault if I hit one.
What really annoys me is that whatever part of the government came up with all this rubbish seems to think I spend my life on the road running down pedestrians and cyclists and, for some reason, driving too close to horses.
I don’t. In my driving career I have so far managed to avoid pedestrians, cycles and horses. Not only do I not want to injure another road user, I don’t want the hassle of reporting an accident and losing my no-claims discount. And I certainly wouldn’t drive too close to a horse, even one where the rider seemed to be in control (which isn’t always the case) because they are large, unpredictable and, unlike car drivers, not insured for third party claims.
I can’t help thinking that these are not the same sort of changes I would make if I were in charge (assuming I could find time for governing amongst all the lockdown parties).
Rather than bore you with the full tedium of my proposals (which I am currently preparing for my MP) I will just say that I consider Jeremy Clarkson to have once had a great idea about road safety. It was simply this – instead of putting air bags in steering wheels to reduce injuries to drivers it would be better to install a large spike. This would make them drive more carefully and reduce road accidents. So far I have been unable to fault the logic.
Today’s picture is the one I always use to induce tranquility. Lavinia’s comment on water voles reminded me.