Sunak’s “sin”

Professor John Adams challenges the validity of safety claims made for seat belts. His risk compensation theory, as I understand it, says that the safer you feel inside your insulated cabin, the more likely you are to take risks and endanger other road-users, because you have no contact with them and no empathy. So the cause of road safety would be better served if we felt less safe. If he had any insight, Rishi wouldn’t apologise for not wearing a seat belt, he would condemn intrusive roads policy that acts to our detriment.

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Taking back control?

Now Keir Starmer’s at it, talking about taking back control. Doubtless he has no intention of letting drivers decide when or what speed to go. Driving by context instead of numbers is probably too subtle a concept for any politician to grasp, deferring as they do to advice from “experts” bent on coercive control.

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Trivial pursuit

Bristol City Council is introducing a congestion charge because, it says, “We have a duty to reduce harmful emissions”. The real way to cut emissions of CO2, NO2, and brake dust, is to rid your city of traffic lights, those weapons of mass distraction, danger and delay.

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Blinkered Panorama

I stumbled upon a BBC Panorama last night, about the relationship between drivers and cyclists. It covered similar ground to another Panorama (?) that aired a year or two ago, presented by the same Richard Bilton. Like other commentators on the subject, he seems unable to think outside the box marked priority, and along with his interviewees, including Rod Liddle, follows the conventional path of blaming people instead of the dysfunctional system which puts road-users at odds with each other.

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No alternative?

No alternative to tax hikes and painful cuts to plug “the fiscal black hole” (of £50bn)? The IFS says they are inevitable, and the commentators I hear or read all agree. But of course there is a source of beneficial cuts that could plug the hole – the bizarrely-ringfenced field of traffic control. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve pitched the idea to the Press and TV, to no avail. This little blog, which reaches hardly anyone, is my only pulpit.

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System evils

Yesterday, I crossed from Piccadilly to Leicester Sq. I had a good gap, but disobeyed the pedestrian light. It prompted a van driver not only to honk angrily but to swerve towards me, presumably venting his frustration at a hundred red lights he had just endured, and at a pedestrian transgressing a sacred rule of the road. It’s hardly credible that a system which promotes such fury and intolerance is promoted by the law of the land.

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So obvious

It’s extraordinary that an inherently lethal system is backed by public funds and the law of the land. Over 20,000 humans are killed and seriously hurt on our roads every year, with tens of billions supporting a system that makes roads dangerous in the first place. The obvious solution is low-tech and low-cost. Put the onus on the driver to beware walkers and cyclists. Make them automatically liable for any collision. Then electric cars wouldn’t need sound effects, and we wouldn’t need the barrage of vexatious regulation that costs the earth and fails to keep us safe. At last the Highway Code was catching up with its hierarchy of road-users – the vulnerable at the top and the mighty at the bottom. But it has hardly been publicised, let alone enforced. Why?

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Rage against the lights

Who will rid us of the meddlesome geeks who impose dysfunctional, high-cost regulation which fails to keep us safe and ruins air quality, quality of life and space for all road-users?

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One-eyed man in the country of the blind

Difficult, even eye-watering choices, Jeremy Hunt?
No, there is low-hanging fruit that experts, politicians and media folk routinely overlook, a field of public spending that consumes tens of billions to universal detriment. This public disservice somehow slips below the radar of public scrutiny. Even the National Audit Office has never investigated it.
Along with Today, PM et al, Newsnight’s economic editor, Ben Chu, only considered education, defence, the NHS and pensions as possible areas for cuts. Am I the only one to see the traffic control dictatorship as overripe for beneficial cuts!?
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Cuts – the usual suspects

Radio 4’s PM wheels on various guests about possible spending cuts. Yesterday it was Mel Stride MP and Paul Johnson of the IFS. Today it was Paul Scully, Minister for local govt. “Where there is any fat,” asks Evan Davis, “Police, health, schools, prisons, defence …?” Traffic control never figures. Yet it hoovers up tens of billions annually, fails to keep us safe, and acts to our detriment. Time and again it avoids the spotlight. TfL managers must be laughing all the way to their pension pots.

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