Friday, 7 May 2010

Things that go bump. The relentless advance of the road safety industry.

The car must think it’s a clear-cut frying pan/fire case. Villamartin, near Torrejeiva, must be the speed bump capital of Spain. Actually, make that the bump capital, as the place is resplendent with potholes that would sink a medium-sized tank. Add in speed bumps that would dwarf anything you might see this side of Darndale – or Everest – and you get the picture. You’d nearly need a team of sherpas to get from one side of the place to the other.

And what’s the point of speed bumps anyway? If you care about your car’s nuts and bolts you will slow down to a crawl for them, only to find there’s some idiot right up your arse taking them at the same speed as the rest of the road. This is true – I have experienced it many, many times.

So what do you do? You crawl over the speed bump and floor the accelerator to get to the next one, where you slam on the brakes to keep your distance from the oblivious tailgater. The funny thing is, speed bumps lead people who care about their cars to run their engines at higher revs. Speed bumps also pose a hazard for emergency vehicles – ambulances in particular.

Then again, some people seem to drive at the same speed all the time, regardless of whether they are on a motorway, driving through a village, going a past a school, or going over a speed bump. Surely one of the most important skills of driving is tailoring your speed to suit the conditions?

It seems that a whole industry has formed around the issue of road safety, despite the fact that road fatalities are at historically low levels. This is because cars are safer and more of them are now equipped with electronic stability control (despite the Irish government taxing the life-saving technology and leading to some manufacturers dropping it from models destined for sale in Ireland).

Another thing is that our roads are becoming safer, due to the increasing numbers of motorways (the safest category of road) despite the protests of crusties, druids and middle-class tree-huggers for whom the safe commute to and from work every day is not a priority.

But the more these people get their way, the more they will be wrongly “vindicated”. They will attribute the decline in road deaths – for the reasons explained above – with their introduction of speed bumps, ridiculous 30 k/mh speed limits, and speed cameras with this decline – which was happening anyway.

For a perfect example of this dishonesty, one need only look at the Dublin Cycling Campaign website (I won’t dignify it with a link – you can search it if you want).

This group supported Dublin Corporation’s imposition of a 30 km/h limit on the city’s quays to save the lives of pedestrians and cyclists. And I will point out at this juncture that I am a pedestrian most of the time.

Anyone who knows Dublin will be aware that it is impossible to do 30 km/h when it is busy with pedestrians, cars, motorcycles and motorists. So it is absolute nonsense. Our lazy coppers will only use this limit to bump up their conviction quotas early in the morning and late at night.

And here’s another reason why the Dublin Cycling Campaign will claim Dublin Corporation’s speed limit to have been instrumental in “saving lives” a few years from now - totally incorrectly.

The fact is that 25 pedestrians and cyclists died in Dublin city centre since 1998. Only one involved a private car. Two involved motorbikes. One involved a taxi. The really telling statistic is that NINE pedestrians/cyclists were killed by juggernauts (which have since been banned from town) and FIVE were killed by a bus that mounted the pavement on the quays. The others are unclear, but I can think of at least two who where killed by police cars.

Please refer to this post when the Dublin Cycling Campaign and Dublin Corporation are trotting out their statistics in a few years’ time.

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Laurence said...

When I lived in Los Angeles years ago there was a local trial of some speed ramps.
Didn't last long. The fire brigade objected to them, saying they were a hazard for emergency vehicles.

Anonymous said...

GM Gombeen Nation must start a campaign to twin Dublin with Villamartin. Might do some good?

Yep vested interests have created extra problems in Dublin. That mindless speed limit on the quays is a testament to that. Laughable and embarressing in equal measure. Those statistics GM say it all.....

The problem as I see it with Irish driving, is driver attitude - how do speed bumps do anything to counter that, effectively and consistently? Answer is they dont - and the driving environment. Dublin is horrendouus for driving in. Just to say I drove in many different countries, I even braved the Arc de Triomphe roundabout a couple of times on the same day, and I never came across anything like the problems that are a fact of life in Dublin.

Other cities have the backup of diversified public transport. Dublin does not. This adds to it.

GM good to hear your hol is now sunny!


Anonymous said...

Hope the weathers been good to you GM lad, and you've got an alehouse sorted for the Leeds v Bristol game on saturday. F

Anonymous said...

gm fill up with RIOJA and you will never notice them bumps cheers bh

Anonymous said...

hi gm great crack alltogether watching euro clowns including BIFFO having emergency rescue episodes every weekend for the tigers turned pigs, borrowing from each other to lend to each other, a bunch of bankrupts sucking germany dry LOL, BIFFO andSAZKOSY must be the two most hansome world leaders since der fhurer and franco, hope the sunshine has returned will be in spain myself in amonth or so enjoying the skinny euro i hope CHEERS G M UP KERRY BH

The Gombeen Man said...

Hi all. Thanks for your comments! Won't hang about too long responding - just except to say I appreciate them - as I'm in McDonalds and my lovely stodge is going cold!!! I'm just doing the blogs up on the laptop and coming here to post them. Cheers!