The Fluke of Edinburgh

It probably was a fluke that the Duke survived the crash at the junction on the A149.

Consider the dilemma. You’re on a minor road. You arrive at a junction. You are faced with streams of traffic coming at you from right and left, 60mph, 50 or 40, it’s immaterial.

The problem is, the main road you’re trying to enter or cross has priority. Drivers are programmed and licensed to plough on and ignore hapless drivers on minor roads. So you wait for a gap. But if the main road traffic is continuous, you are faced with an indefinite wait. So, in mounting frustration, you prepare to risk an ever-decreasing gap.

Main road priority is a recipe for disaster.  The system sets the stage for lethal conflict, but never gets the blame when the inevitable happens. Most “accidents” are not accidents. They are events contrived by the misguided rules and design of the road.

The solution? Scrap the priority rule. In the absence of a bridge or flyover, let junctions be all-way give-ways. It would mean low speeds and a level playing-field. All road-users would be able to filter sociably and safely.

This fundamental reform needs to be accompanied by a new driving test, to teach people to give way to others who were there first, whether on foot or on wheels. That’s the only way to make roads intrinsically safe. As it is, they are intrinsically dangerous.

Low-speed filtering is not only safer, it’s infinitely more efficient. It halves journey times and emissions. It transforms quality of life and space. It would save the public purse tens of billions in traffic (mis)management costs.

The pitiful traffic authorities ignore these efforts at reform. Their solution? Reduce the speed limit from 60 to 50, and install speed cameras. Are the pusillanimous media complicit? My email to PM and the World at One was not even acknowledged.

About Martin Cassini

Campaign founder and video producer, pursuing traffic system reform to make roads safe, civilised and efficient
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