Sunday, 19 April 2009

Low speeding limits effectiveness

Don’t get me wrong, I’m far too old to be a boy racer. In fact, I’ve been driving (motorbikes and cars) for 26 years now. But the thing is, I’ve been doing so without so much as a single insurance claim - though I know that kind of smugness is fate-tempting in its know-it-allness. But what I’m saying is that I’ve driven at speeds of 150mph-241km/h plus (on Autobahns) and have lived to tell the tale, along with quite a lot of Germans going about their day-to-day business.

But if there is one thing that really, really pisses me off – and, good reader, you will know there aren’t many - it is our underachieving police force doing people for going a few km/h over the speed limit, usually on stretches of road where the limits are inappropriately low.

It does nothing for road safety, and it leads to a culture of drivers who pay more attention to their dashboard than what’s going on around them. And we all know that it is inappropriate speed that is dangerous, not speed per se. But this topic has been covered elsewhere on the blog (see Avoid Penalty Points - Back to Basics ).

Anyway, I was heartened to read the following – rather incongruous, by the standards of the territory – letter from Roger Wormald, in The Irish Times last Friday.

Madam, - The slower the speed, the longer the journey time – the longer the journey time, the more cars on the road – the more cars on the road, the more congestion – the more congestion, the more frustration – the more frustration, the more accidents.

Yours, etc.

Nice one, Roger. I couldn’t have said it better!

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Bernd said...

Harrumph ... I am sure that with the judicious application of a little bit of logic you could have said it better. Because this "argument" is destined to fall flat on its face in spectacular fashion.

Example: When the office drones leave Blanchardstown at 4 pm, 1,000 cars head home (usually Clonee). If these cars do 30 mph they'll get home in five minutes, if they do 20 mph in eight. The number of cars stays exactly the same, so does the congestion caused by car numbers.

What this country needs is not less speed limits but drivers who can actually safely handle cars at speeds greater than a walking pace (i.e. driver training), roads that are safe to drive on (i.e. no bomb craters and decent markings plus good crash abrriers in place), a functioning public transport system (i.e. buses running at a time convenient to commuters and on routes convenient to commuters) and planners that manage to avoid totally nonsensical interchanges where the norm is to sit and wait (i.e. NOT the interchange in Blanchardstown near the Garda station).

On second thoughts ... maybe vehicular suicide is an option ...

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes, Bernd - roads of a good standard are a large factor when in comes to determining road fatalities... and that's something that receives scant attention here. Witness the disparity between Spain and Portugal, for instance. And driver training? Don't get me started!

But in the case of our 1,000 drones leaving Blanch at 4pm, if we take a window of 8 minutes, and they complete their journey in five minutes rather than eight, is this particular grouping not occupying overall road space for three minutes less in that timeframe?