back to article Plan for 20mph urban speed-cam zones touted

Just when you thought it was safe to go driving again without being repeatedly photographed - with news breaking this week that the government has put national road pricing on the back burner - the nanny state lobby has bounced back off the ropes with ambitious new plans. The 'casts and sheets this morning are full of a new …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drive fast, die young

    You die, you're dead, end of problem. You don't die, you get to drive around at 20mph, you go crazy, you start voting with The Sun, all immigrents are banned, taxes are lowered, public spending is increased and you eventually die crazy, on the street, alone, at 60 of neglect.

  2. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Forget speed limits

    How about keeping kids off the roads?

    How about teaching people road safety again?

    Making roads safer by having railings and proper crossings.

    Cars drive along roads, drivers don't deliberately hit people, pedestrians are the ones who often make mistakes.

  3. Andy

    utter rubbish

    firstly i see they want to make the roads safer for cyclists.... is this the same cyclists who choose to ignore traffic lights and just do as they please??? or are the police going to crack down on that as well??

    then i can do 20mph and still kill someone.. just mount the pathway and mow as many as i like down.. least im sticking to the speed limit eh!

    what the government should be doing is spending more money on teaching road safety to kids (like they used to in the 70s when i was a kid) and also put a limit on the size engine new drivers can use (like motorbike rules), seeing as a 17yr old muppet with no expereince can get into any high powered car having no idea how to drive at any speed and kill.

    this governent sucks and they wont stop till were all on those crap bendy busses that 1. catch fire or 2. end up killing you by running you over !!

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Why not target the real problem with urban road deaths

    The real problem is not drivers travelling at excessive speed, but with idiots who think the road belongs to pedestrians. If I drive my car along the pavement, then I will get into trouble. Therefore if kids coming home from school walk on the road, they too should get into trouble.

    I have to pay due care and attention when driving along, why shouldn't pedestrians have the same level of responsibility.

    If you end up on the road, and get hit by a car, van, lorry, vintage steam roller, then that should be your fault, not the drivers. Why are we seen to be the bad guys all the time?

  5. Anonymous Coward

    When will they learn

    The problem of driving is not a case of bullying road users to follow the rules as recent history has proven you put speed cameras up people speed between camera's and install widgets to detect cameras.

    IMO they should be tougher on drivers who break the law in that more minor offences should result in a driving ban, and people who have to retake a driving test should be given a tougher test than they orginally took.

    Currently in the UK your better off killing someone in a car than in any other way, and you stand a good chance of getting off.

  6. Chris

    35 zones?

    News to me. Where does one find these?

  7. Phil Bennett

    Is he serious?

    ""We are living in a period when central government appears reluctant to regulate unless absolutely necessary."

    Ahahahahahaha. Ahahaha. Ha. Ha.

    Oh dear God. He appears to be serious.

  8. Anon

    Swings and roundabouts

    So, how many people will the extra pollution from driving at 20mph instead of 30mph kill? How much more road-rage will there be from being forced to go more slowly than appropriate for the road conditions? How much extra money will the government take from us with the increased fuel consumption?

    And if I were to be cynical...

  9. Ian


    'We are living in a period when central government appears reluctant to regulate unless absolutely necessary.'

    I'll have a pint / tab / gramme / eighth of what he's on please, because he has at best only a passing acquaintance with the real world so it must be good stuff.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Why not ...

    ... bring back the man carrying a red flag and be done with it?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    numberplate-reading average speed kit...

    Gifford, you’ll be first up against the wall come the revolution!!!

    Pass me the tinfoil hat!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Inappropriate blanket limits

    So the default urban speed limit becomes 20 MPH. So a straight road wide enough for four lanes but marked as 2, with 20yards of verge on one side and an elevated footpath on the other will be limited at 30mph slower than it's safe on a fine summer's pre-dawn. Instead of 20 mph slower nowadays.

    Speed limits are an exercise in compromise. Local authorities don't appear to be equipped to make those compromises.

    A 30 mph limit on a residential side street with cars parked both sides is probably too fast. Small children aren't visible past the sight-blocks. People should be taught to drive within their, the environent's and their vehicle's limits and the punishment should reflect the circumstances. With the current revenue-collection mindset, though, one size is being made to fit all, and that's just rubbish.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    But what will happen to all those drivers around who insist on doing -20mph of the posted limits?

  14. Dan Collett

    So does this mean that.....

    Tractors will finally be capable of "speeding" offences lol!

  15. Anonymous Coward

    The police don't help.

    Last night I followed a police car. It was very obviously not on an emergency call, as it had no flashing lights and was travelling within the speed limit.

    Yet in the space of 200 yards, that police car passed TWO cyclists driving without lights, and ONE that was driving at speed on the pavement which is definitely pedestrian-only in that area.

    So long as we have incompetent police officers like this, failing to do the job they are paid for and ARREST these miscreants, we will have people being killed through a combination of their own stupidity and police incompetence.

    Abolish some of the excessive police paperwork, increase the fines to a sensible level, build a few more prisons to take care of repeat offenders, make police pay dependent on NOT pretending to miss reckless driving like this and sort out proper cycle lanes not just lines in the road and we will not need unnecessarily low speed limits.

  16. red floyd
    Thumb Down

    design out crime

    "we should aim to design out road use conflicts in the same way as we can design out crime"

    And just how has that "designing out crime" worked for you?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why have road deaths fallen?

    Unfortunately, it's mostly because cyclists have been forced off the road and parents are too scared to let their children walk to school. As a result, people have a reduced quality of life and are using cars instead, which increases pollution.

    I think that in the UK more people are killed by pollution from cars than by collisions involving cars.

    There's no point in reducing "road deaths" while increasing "pollution deaths" by a greater amount.

    I would guess that 20 mph speed limits would help a bit.

  18. Neil Croft

    No Worries

    "target of no more than 1,000 UK road deaths annually by 2030". No problem then. The oil's gonna run out in 2012 so there won't be more than a handful of milkfloats around in 2030.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    "Cars drive along roads, drivers don't deliberately hit people, pedestrians are the ones who often make mistakes."

    Yes, it's the peds fault people STILL use mobile phones while driving, eat while driving, smoke while driving, put their effing make up on while driving... then blame the ped with: "oh but he stepped into the road without looking! I wasn't using my mobile, honest... look I own a handsfree kit, it's right under that half eaten piece of pizza sticking out of my makeup bag. Which I dropped and got stuck under the brake pedal.".

    Granted there are enough dumb pedestrians who won't always look when crossing the road but still it is the responsibility of the person in control of the vehicle to spot unlikely and sudden hazards in the carriageway and act accordingly. If that means planting your car into a lamppost to avoid killing a dumb pedestrian then so be it - I'm sure the ped (and your conscience) will be glad you're sharp enough to react in time and save a life.

    And while we're at it... damn drivers should learn to read road signs. Stick the the speed limit, STOP at the STOP sign, and learn to use f**king indicators!

    I feel enlightened all of a sudden. I think i'll celebrate by jaywalking through the city centre during rush hour.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Bring back the Green Cross Code.

    One of the more recent speed reduction adds shows a car in side profile slamming it's brakes on in black and white slo-mo. The voice over says something along the lines of, "At 30mph the car would stop here" *Freezeframe* "At 40 mph it stops here" slo-mo continues and car hits child in road.

    However, if you watch the child from the beginning of the ad, you can see him run out into the road without even glancing sideways to see the oncoming traffic. This accident was clearly the fault of the child.

    I propose hitting small children with a lightweight metal pole (maybe from a tent). Then, explain that cars are also made out of metal and they live on roads so stay out of the damn road or get hit by a car!

  21. Rob Moss

    He wants to make it even worse!

    It's bad enough without fewer people dying on the roads. Do away with speed limits everywhere, that's what I say, sort out the pension crisis in a few short months.

  22. david wilson

    Average speed?

    Average speed cameras may be fine for straight-line non stop journeys on motorways, but I'm not sure how an urban average speed limit will limit top speeds to anything like 20mph unless taken between relatively close points (like all entrances to a small residential area).

    In much of London and similar places, I'd assume the average speed is rather less than 20mph even where traffic is hitting 30-35mph between lights.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    "With all that we currently know about urban design, we should aim to design out road use conflicts in the same way as we can design out crime.

    When we also remember that road deaths amount to 82 per cent of all accidental deaths for those under 20, there still remains plenty for us to do."

    These go with the 'Govt. unwilling to to regulate" quite well.

    How & where have we 'designed out crime'? We have already designed out road use conflicts by having cars on a thing called a road, and pedestrians on a thing called a pavement (or sidewalk, if you're a visitor here).

    Yes, roads deaths kill more people under 20 than anything else, but that's because hardly anything kills anyone under 20. It's surprising to me that stupidity doesn't weed out a few more, but I guess walking in front of a car ON A ROAD probably qualifies.

  24. caffeine addict

    bike speedos

    20mph? It's pretty easy to hit 20mph on a bike, and you have no speedo. So, are cyclists going to be immune to this law? Oh, that'll be fun...

  25. Iain Porter

    Percentage of Accidental deaths...

    "When we also remember that road deaths amount to 82 per cent of all accidental deaths for those under 20, there still remains plenty for us to do."

    Increasing the number of people under the age of 20 killed by other means would be what he means, at a guess?

    I wish people would refrain from quoting statistics unless they understand what they mean...

  26. Anonymous Coward


    When will all those speed loving idiots realise that driving slower has virtually no impact on how long it take to get anywhere. If you drive 70 miles at 70mph it takes you an hour. Drive those 70 miles at 60mph it takes you 10 minutes longer - big deal.

    At 'urban speeds' the difference in time taken to get anywhere by driving 10mph slower is even less noticable, and when you take into account traffic lights and congestion you're probably looking at saving a few measly minutes on the 'average journey'.

    At slower speeds you're less likely to kill someone - if those measly extra minutes can be transformed into a few less pointless deaths I'm all for it. Anyone against?

  27. Ian McNee

    Re: Andy's (and other's) utter rubbish

    Oh dear Andy - it must be awful for you to witness the occasional cyclist shooting a red light (cars, vans and lorries never do of course) and pedestrian jay walking (cars, vans and lorries only ever drive where they are supposed to with due care and attention to other road users of course). Would you like some therapy perhaps?

    Or perhaps you could wake up and smell the coffee: pedestrians and cyclists are killed and injured in large numbers by motor vehicles on our roads every year, large numbers of motorists are NOT killed or injured by pedestrians or cyclists on our roads every year. These deats and injuries are STATISTICALLY (i.e. not one off Daily Wail hysteria) caused in the large majority of cases by poor driving by motorists.

    On a less flameworthy note the use of technical enforcement of low speeds in urban areas by cameras etc. seems less likely to be effective than altering the structure of our urban streets to blur the boundaries between road and pavement as it is in cities like Amsterdam (and has been experimented with in Kensington I believe): this leads to a much more co-operativeand less aggressive culture between road users who have to negotiate their progress and be much more aware of everyone else around them. And no I haven't been smoking anything :p~

  28. Neil Hoskins

    Well-thought-out feature...

    ... if I may make so bold. Educating people out of the mindset that 3000 deaths per year is ok, is going to be one of the major challenges of our lifetime.

  29. Steven Hewittt


    He's off his rocker. I have better things to do than drive through a village with 12 people in it doing 20mph at 10:30 at night after being at the office since 6:00 in the morning.

    Speed doesn't kill - stupidity on the roads does. If someone speeds then they are more likely to kill than if they were doing their stupid driving slowly. So why penalise everyone when we should just be weeding out the dickheads who can't drive.

    1. Driving test must be taken every 10 years, however you can take it again from 8 years onwards to ensure there's enough time to get rid of the cobwebs.

    2. When you have your bus pass handed to you, the above changes to every 5 years.

    3. If you don't pay road tax you can't use the road. Sorry cyclists, pay up or sod off - I've got 2 litres and a deadline to meet. What do you think will happen when you cut me up at a roundabout.

    4. Better management for slower vehicles. E.G. Tractors and possibly lorries can only travel outside of mainstream hours. Thus not allowed between 8:00am and 10am, and again not permitted between 4:30 and 6:30 pm.

    5. Less signs, but make the current ones more bloody accurate!!

    6. Relax speeding. Motorways should NEVER have speed cameras, and there should be a margin to increase to for other areas outside of school and daytime hours. E.G. at 2 in the morning on a dual carriageway I should be allowed to do 90. Why restrict me? There's no other sod around and I'm confident that I can drive.

    7. Harsher penalties for careless driving. GPS, Smoking and using the radio are all crap reasons. I mean if you're on the phone without a handsfree and plough into a stationary lorry.

    8. Make things like Pass Plus compulsory as part of the test. If people get given a licence to drive on motorways and at night then they need to include at least the theory in the test.


    Rant over.

    A dedicated commuter.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: extra pollution at 20mph

    Generally speaking, with a given vehicle, you'll pollute less at 20mph than at 30mph, although admittedly it's not quite as simple as that and there are lots of factors that influence emissions. Smaller engines pollute less than bigger ones, and become more practical for vehicles used mainly for urban runs if the speed limit drops to 20. With a 20 limit and tiny engines I'd speculate that there'd be less pedal stomping going on (accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake) which would also significantly cut emissions since less fuel would be burned just to warm up brake discs.

    Driving around in urban areas is pretty antisocial and uncivilised anyway in my opinion. What we really need is a decent public transport alternative. Public transport should be high quality, convenient and free to use. Bet that would cut road use. I know that raises the question of who's going to pay for it but the amount of money getting trousered by private operators and their shareholders would be freed up if the public transport infrastructure was renationalised which would surely help to some extent, and raising the tax on petrol and diesel might cover it.

    Would be nice to see the carrot instead of the stick sometime - great subsidised public transport instead of just insane road tax hikes for SUVs.

  31. AndyB

    Lycra louts

    "British bike lanes and paths, as anyone who's used them much knows, are rubbish. Their layout almost always prioritises the convenience of motorists over that of cyclists; pedestrians and drivers ignore them most of the time"


    Are we talking about the same group of road users, here? Are we talking about the same Lycra-clad arseholes that view pavements as their right-of-way (particularly when avoiding traffic lights) and pedestrians as people to be ridden down? The same alien-helmeted dickheads who think traffic lights, one-way streets, pedestrian crossings and give-way signs just don't apply to them? The same bunch of peddling halfwits who see no problem with cramming their bikes onto trains and blocking the doors so that nobody can get on or off?

    OK, these may be the minority of cyclists, but they are a total pain in the ass to other road users AND pedestrians. Far from being "those who pose the least risk to others and who are themselves most at risk from others", these 'Lycra Louts" are an extreme hazard to pedestrians, other road users AND themselves!!!

  32. Steven

    To be honest...'s really just a case of natural selection. If people are stupid enough to run out in front of me I’m doing the world a favour by turning them into fender meat and I should therefore receive a discount when my road tax comes up for renewal.

    I shall expedite the mater to my MP forthwith!

  33. The Other Steve
    Thumb Up

    Green cross code ?

    I heartily agree with the above posters who note the lack of road safety awareness amongst today's yoof.

    I live on a major urban road, and about now (1550 as I'm typing this) I can hear car horns and screams as fuckwit children empty out of the various local school and act like twats on the road.

    This happens every day.

    It's truly miraculous that more of them aren't killed.

    w/r/t cyclists, we aren't all like that. I'm a fairly militant cyclist, but I hate the morons who think it's OK to jump lights, ride when pissed, ride in the dark with no lights, etc. Run em over, bastards, they deserve it.

  34. Steve

    Is he for real

    Is this person living in the same UK as the rest of us, central government is passing legislation at a rate we've never seen before, regulating and interfering in private life more than any government in British history!

    Amazing how this issue polarises between drivers and not drivers.

    As if people who drive never walk around as well.... Maybe it's that people who drive don't run out into the road and expect cars to just avoid them.

    It may be a car drivers job to spot hazards, but that doesn't mean you're not due a darwin award if you run out and under my wheels.

    Of the road deaths they are targeting, how many are pedestrian road deaths, as opposed to driver road deaths, and how many occur in 30 limits. I'd bet that it's not that high a proportion, and of this limited set, how many have anything at all to do with speed?

    Reducing urban 30 limit roads to 20 would IMO reduce road deaths by very very little, whilst causing the average motorists to hate the government which implemented the change and vote them out ASAP.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    @ Steve Hewitt

    You missed an important point off you list - and it should be at number 1:

    1. Ban anyone from driving who thinks speed does not kill

    I suppose you think accidents only happen to others, and that you're a great driver too, hey?

  36. Brendan Weir

    Everyone is crap

    I often have the misfortune of travelling to work by bus. While waiting at a particularly busy junction in Leeds, I get to watch

    4 or 5 motor vehicles jumping the red light at EVERY change even though they should stop for the amber light when in slow-moving, nose-to-tail traffic. Traffic making prohibited left turns through a pedestrian crossing showing the green man. Cyclists on the narrow pavement showing no regard for pedestrians. Pedestrians throwing themselves in front of moving vehicles, to cross the road by the shortest route, instead of using the crossings.

    And to make it worse, I'm a hypocrite because I do some of these things too!

  37. Outcast

    Technology & the motorist

    You wait, it wont be long before you have a dual credit card slot on your dashboard.

    One for your credit card and t'other for your license. GPS speed tracking with "auto billing" for your speeding offence (0.1 mph for 1 second over the limit - It's digital.. your guilty or you aint !!).

    Naturally GPS speed limiters wont be introduced as that would circumvent any possibility of revenue raising.

    Y'know... I'm a Night Trunk trucker (Liverpool tonight) but I've got just 4 years left on my mortgage.... I guess I'm wishing my life away coz I can't wait to come off the road.

    I've started Pushbiking to work as well but Peterborough is blessed with good cycleways... No way your'll catch me cycling on the road... To many demon Truckers/car drivers around !!



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  39. Roger Lee

    A different approach?

    Why not force drivers to concentrate on the road more?

    If they ban manual gearboxes then drivers will only need to use half as many limbs, and worry about half as many things (speed/gear/pedal/etc).

    Taking this one stage further, why not put a transducer that continuously measures the weight of the driver so the car can automatically cut its engine, lock the doors, and call the Police to arrest the driver for filling his face whilst in motion?

    I admit that monitoring the drivers breath for carbon monoxide (a sure sign of intent to murder by passive smoking) might present problems, given the relatively high level of that gas in cars with the ventilation switched off, but why not capitalise on this and require all drivers to insert a cannula before driving so their blood can be monitored constantly for a variety of behaviours that society finds threatening.

    I wonder if, in fact, they would be better remembering the thoughts of Lord Baden-Powell, who felt that all cars should have a spike sticking out of the steering wheel boss ending one inch from the drivers chest, and with the other end attached to the front bumper...

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    To state the obvious, it's just another way to collect revenue and 'kick' the motorist.

    30mph yesterday, 20mph today, 10mph tomorrow, 2mph by the time they've finished messing everyone about.

    Difficult to argue that each of those steps are clearly the right thing to do, as if it saves just one life it must be right. (add your own favourite guilt ridden argument here)

  41. g e

    I might even start approving of cyclists again

    As long as they all go past these cams at 25mph in their masses to as to make sifting them from the car drivers too expensive to make the cams practical.

    And as long as they finally realise they're a slow moving obstruction on the road and ride within 12" of the kerb instead of in the middle of the road optionally two abreast.

    Have you ever noticed how the more 'ecclectically' (sportif?) cyclists dress the more they think they can ride in the middle of the road? I don't care if your bike costs £2k and your tyres are £50+ a pop. Get in the gutter if you want to live, pay for a road sweeper vehicle to clean the kerbside before your 'event'. See those double yellow lines? That's the cycle lane.

    And yes that is how I used to cycle as I would expect to die if I rode in the middle of the road, like nobs seem to these days, regardless of how gaily coloured I dressed.

    Hmm maybe I'll never approve of cyclists on the road after all...

  42. Matthew Joyce


    The reason that the pedestrian still has total right of way - note that please, all the twats who are going on about sprogs walking in the road - on any road type short of a dual carriageway is really simple: You're driving an armoured, ton-weight tank, and they're not. Grow up and look to your own responsibilities. Jaywalking is an American law. We don't have it.

    "A policeman advised me to curb my speed. I did as they suggested but now I'm running over pedestrians all the time."

  43. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Morons

    Quote: If you drive 70 miles at 70mph it takes you an hour. Drive those 70 miles at 60mph it takes you 10 minutes longer - big deal.

    Yeah, but if you drive 700 miles at 70mph, and then at 60mph it takes you 70 minutes longer. I spend long enough in the car to want to spend another 70 minutes there, rather than with my family. This also does not take into account the additional stops required, as the government recommend breaks after every two hours!!!!!

    Perhaps when you know how to drive and do significant amounts of it, you will understand that all this red tape is designed to get on peoples tits and not save lives!!!!

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speed does not kill

    Energy transfer and momentum transfer kill.

    If you never hit anyone, nobody dies.

    "Speed kills" is a moronic, knee-jerk oversimplification of the issue designed to appeal to the emotions of those who don't have a critical faculty.

    *Of course* doing 40 down a (currently 30 limit) suburban street at school chucking out time with cars either side is stupid and increases the likelihood of a child being killed. Doing 30 probably isn't that bright, either.

    But doing 40 down that same street at 03h00 isn't going to kill anyone because there isn't anyone there, most of the time and when there is they're adults who can see the oncoming headlights, rather than juveniles who we don't expect to be 100% responsible all the time (I hope).

    Similarly 100mph plus is probably only going to kill the driver and passengers of a vehicle on a motorway in the wee small hours. Given the margin for driver error, that sort of speed should probably require you to have passed an additonal test, but motorways should need an extra test to drive on anyway.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    Re:@ Steve Hewitt

    Quote "1. Ban anyone from driving who thinks speed does not kill"

    Speed in general does not kill, inappropriate speed kills. If speed on it's own kills then all trains would kill, as they travel (or should) at over 100MPH, every plane kills, travelling at 300+mph. Motorways are the safest roads in Britain, and guess what, they have the highest speed limit in britain. Speed does not kill. Doing 50 past a school at 15:30 will kill, doing 150 on the motorway at 18:00 will kill, travelling at 50 in the ice and fog where you cannot see 5 yards in front of you will kill.

    Yet another of these blinded by the Government statistics type - get a life!!!

  46. Justin Stone

    Re: @Giles

    Jesus...Anon just loves to come out with silly things, eh?

    I was riding in a bus back from Gloucester the other day. There I was sitting quite happily at the front of the large and quite speedy double decker, peering down through the window. I saw a kid cycling on the road. He looked over his shoulder I'd assume to take a peek at where the bus was. At this point it was pretty close. What happens next completely baffles me. The kid just turned right into the middle of the road! The driver managed to slam his breaks on fast enough to not hit him, but come on...Can you seriously say that it's the bus drivers fault that this happened?

    Pedestrians and Cyclists generally act more stupidly on the roads at young ages than drivers do. Granted, there are boy racers and all that but regardless of their speed if a child walks flat out into the middle of the road when the car/bus/van/what ever is clearly visible, it IS NOT the drivers fault...

    Kids need to learn some road safety me thinks.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    Use supermarket logic

    Lower the speed limits - but by 1mph. Doing thirty-something in a thirty limit doesn't feel particularly evil. But drop the limit to 29mph and there's a little bit more of a psychological barrier.

    Just my 1.99p worth.

  48. volsano
    Dead Vulture

    road tax

    "If you don't pay road tax you can't use the road."

    I stopped reading there as you clearly don't have a clue. many car users do not pay road tax, ditto other vehicle types...

    ...for example, check the "not applicable" bands here:

  49. Anonymous Coward

    More carrots and less sticks

    More plans to enforce speed restrictions, which hides the problem of drivers not driving within their capabilities. Instead of beating us to death with bloody speed cameras, how about:

    o changes to the DSA test to make it staggered, including night driving, motorway driving and adverse weather driving, and classes on driving theory including basic maintenance, braking forces, skids, etc, before even getting into a driving seat.

    o incentives for drivers to continue their improvement by offering proper insurance discounts for drivers who pass, and maintain, recognised advanced driving courses such as RoADAR

    o removal of many hard speed limits and introducing advisory limits in their place - this will help stop speedo watching, and allow drivers to use their judgement to gauge the situation. Sometimes it is not safe to do 30 in a 30 zone - just saying speed kills is bollocks, it's speed which is inappropriate for the conditions which can lead to accidents

    o once and for all, ripping out the god-awful public transport systems we have and doing it right from the very start. Yes it will be painful, but this tinkering and farting around with it never sees to get anywhere. If there was reliable, integrated, well-priced public transport I would much prefer to use it than drive.

    o doing away with cycle lanes except where they actually work well (some of them are bloody ridiculous), and introducing a cycling test, license and insurance to use the public roads. Also introduce decent public cycle parking in town centers, etc.

    o proper investment in the state of the roads, including potholes and signage placement / clarity. Some roads and signs are a disgrace.

    o introduction of a central body to oversee digging up any public highway in the country, in order to co-ordinate work by separate contractors. No more digging up motorways by one utility, only for it to be dug up again three months later by another.

    Flying pigs, anyone?

  50. Andromeda

    Grumpy old men

    There have been a few comments about public transport being better used to reduce the number of deaths on the road. But its all the governments fault that the public transport systems are such a shambles.

    The amount of fuel duty/road tax/VAT on fuel that we pay to the government has increased, yet the amount that the Government invests in public transport (especially outside of the metropolis called London) has been reduced year upon year. Can I point you to a slide that the BBC produced back in 2005, especially slide 3.

    The Government is now leaving it up to the local councils to decide where and when tolls on the roads should be introduced and I am 100% certain that, even though the councils say that the money raised will go back in to public transport, the councils will waste the money on hiring 20 more people to push paper work around the council offices and hire another 20 staff to produce statistics showing that things are improving.

    I think I have just become one of those grumpy old men.

  51. spiny norman

    When I were a nipper

    The police came to our primary school at least once every year. They would lay out temporary kerbs to form a road down the middle of the playground (remember them?), with assorted accessories like a pedestrian crossing. We watched from a relatively safe distance either side of the "road". The best part of the road safety demonstration was when one of the policemen, out of uniform, attempted to cross the "road" without looking, while one of his colleagues drove the police car, a large black Wolsey with bells, the length of the playground. So, the car probably reached 30mph at the most and the police knew what they were doing, so there was no danger, but it thrilled/scared most of us enough to remember to look before crossing the road.

  52. Geoff Bowen

    @ Anonymous coward

    1. Ban anyone from driving who thinks speed does not kill

    1st thing you learn when you ride a motor cycle is speed is fine, inappropriate speed for the current environment is what kills

    Whether its through misreading a road, going too fast for traffic to respond to your presence, or not taking into account that the guy in the 4 wheeled metal thing has no idea how to observe properly and it going to pull out straight in front of you.

    Legislation is not the answer here.

    A crap driver can kill at any speed, a pedestrian who does not apply road sense can get killed if they make a move that doesn't give someone a chance to respond to a stupid action. A cyclist not obeying the rules of the road cannot reasonably expect drivers and pedestrians to know what they're planning to do.

    The fact is it is the collective responsibility of all road users to do their bit, legislation only serves to remove responsibility from road users, its about time we enforce the laws we have and promote good road sense instead of looking more legislation to solve the problem.

  53. J
    Thumb Down


    A naughty loaded question? I guess you're not exactly qualified to talk about "loaded questions" after shamelessly writing:

    "Is it better to be rich, free, and at some risk of getting killed by an idiot crashlanding his nuclear-powered flying car; or poor, downtrodden, spied upon - but sure of living long enough to die luxuriously of cancer or Alzheimer's?"

    "At some point, when you insist on ultimate levels of safety, you start to pay more and more for each life saved: perhaps not just in money either."

    True, although people who think money is not more important than lives might disagree, no? (and the other things you mentioned are just different words for money, except for the freedom bit, which is mandatory to mention, I suppose, any time people don't like something).

  54. Greg
    IT Angle

    I have the solution(S)

    1) Roads are designed to handle a certain traffic capacity. So limit the total number of divers allowed to drive to match the road capacity (obviously with some extra allowance because it's unlikely they'll all want to drive on the same road at the same time. I haven't quite got a solution for regional traffic density variations yet, but I'll think about it and let you know. This solution means that to get a license, a yoof will have to wait until another driver dies (of old age, obviously - not a yoof hurrying things along) or doesn't pass his/her biannual driving test.

    2) Speed limits become variable on most roads - so faster than 20mph in school time outside a school is 6 points and a big fine but at night, the same road is 40mph (for example). A 30mph dual carriageway through a partially residential area in the rush hour or during traffic build up becomes 50mph when traffic or time of day allows. You get the picture. Camera revenue could easily help provide such a solution and the technology is certainly up to it.

    3) Cars detect the road speed (lots of solutions available for how they do that) and display the current limit on their velocitometers ;o) maybe with an 'overspeed' audible warning tone

  55. Anonymous Coward

    Make it pointless

    As a pedestrian, cyclist, motorcyclist and motorist I agree with most of the rants that one group has against the other except that speed kills: not on it's own it doesn't, it's just one of many a contributing factors in an accident.

    Here are my thoughts:

    If you want to stop people speeding then it's no good taking their photograph and telling them off two weeks later, by then any damage could well be done. Roads need to be designed to make it pointless to speed, and the most obvious way to do so is to phase traffic lights so that on primary roads, keeping to the speed limit keeps you moving. Drive too fast and you catch the next red. This also has the nice side-effect of reducing the fuel consumption (=pollution) of stop-start motoring.

    In residential areas make it clear that speed sensors whose exact location is not obvious will trigger pedestrian crossings; the timing of which will halt speeders for long enough to make it quicker to have kept to the limit. Only use cameras to catch red-light jumps. Then if you speed, your journey will take longer; and you’ll hack off other motorists and cyclists (at least the ones like me) who have to stop at your red light. Thus speeding becomes more anti-social.

    Alternatively, if you don’t really care about anything but extracting money, you could always just stick more speed cameras up.

  56. Sean Baggaley

    "Design out" deaths.

    Jaywalking laws would make sense in the UK. It would encourage safer habits among kids for a start.

    We need a full, informed debate on public and private travel generally. There's no point punishing commuters as if they had a choice when to travel: they don't.

    Try traveling *anywhere* in London south of the Thames and you'll understand why driving is pretty much the only option left for many: the trains are so full that it's considered normal to _raise_ fares during peak times; there is no Underground worth a damn south of the river; most arterial road routes are radial, so traveling across London is insanely difficult, and the South Circular is a pathetic joke compared to its northern, multi-lane "motorway-lite" counterpart. And cycle lanes are worse than useless, appearing and disappearing on a whim (along with bus lanes, road lanes and more).

    Drivers have no alternatives. Cyclists have nowhere safe to ride here either.

    The only way to "design out" deaths on the roads is to segregate motor cars, cyclists and pedestrians from each other *completely*. This is would ensure zero deaths due to the incompatible interfaces between these three modes of travel.

    Take the cars and bikes off and build dedicated infrastructure for them. Yes, that could mean a decent cycleway may well have to be built through your back garden, or an expensive road tunnel has to be built at the taxpayer's (i.e. our) expense under a high street. Deal with it! You don't get to have it both ways.

    Too expensive? Then shut up and face the fact that you're going to have _some_ deaths and the only way to reduce them is to segregate as best you can using compromise measures. This is why the Americans have jaywalking laws and the like. If this is the only option the NIMBYs leave us, they'll just have to put up with its results.

  57. Glen

    @ Steven Hewitt - Mostly Balls

    >He's off his rocker. I have better things to do than drive through a village with

    > 12 people in it doing 20mph at 10:30 at night after being at the office since >6:00 in the morning.

    10:30 kids in bed geing woke up by some twat doing 50 past their bedroom window with his stereo pumping. not to mention the lack of visibilty when the car rounds the corner at the ends of the (narrow) lane. (both entering and exiting)

    >Speed doesn't kill - stupidity on the roads does.... we should just be weeding

    >out the dickheads who can't drive.

    Like the ones who drive too fast?

    >1. Driving test must be taken every 10 years

    The ability to pass a test does not mean you drive correctly, it justs means you *could* drive correctly. Have you met a chav? taxi driver? ALthough i would agree that over the course of 10 years the rules change enough to warrant a retest.

    >2. When you have your bus pass handed to you, the above changes to every

    >5 years.

    So the more cautious (ie better) drivers get penalised? Yes, check older people for decline in eye sight or whatever, but thinking people need to retake their test because they are doing WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED to be doing? Like keeping within the speed limit? actually going round a mini roundabout properly?

    >3. If you don't pay road tax you can't use the road.

    Heh yeah, price road tax based on the size of the engine. So cyclists = £0 kinda like now... what about horses? does that count as 1 horse power?

    >4. Better management for slower vehicles.

    During those hours, seeing how everone is stuck in traffic. shouldnt you count cars with that? Even when the tractor driver puls over, it just means your getting to the next traffic jam quicker. 10 mins behind a tractor shouldn't ruin your plans for the day. (half an hour on the other hand...) See also my comments on overtaking.

    5. Less signs, but make the current ones more bloody accurate!!

    What like a 30 limit and big speed camera sign lit up like a christmas tree, paired up with (father down the road) multiple sets of skid marks before the lines in the road? How many times do people need telling?

    6. Relax speeding. Motorways should NEVER have speed cameras...Why restrict me? There's no other sod around and I'm confident that I can drive.

    So are the chavs, and more importantly the only other person around might be doing 40 (in a 50-due-to-roadworks) and is around that bend your doing 90 down.

    >7. Harsher penalties for careless driving. GPS, Smoking and using the radio are all crap reasons. I mean if you're on the phone without a handsfree and plough into a stationary lorry.

    Ok i agree. include overtaking multiple vehicles at once on a normal road (one lane each way), overtaking while on a blind bend etc.

    >8. Make things like Pass Plus compulsory as part of the test. If people get given a licence to drive on motorways and at night then they need to include at least the theory in the test.

    OK i agree with that one


    Buy a smaller engine. Do you really need 2L? No. You just want it cus its fun and cool and goes broom a lot louder. While i would agree we are taxed up to the hilt, the ones that tend to moan the loudest are the ones the tax is supposed to target.

  58. Julian Bond


    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Horses. I don't drive in the fields what are they doing on the road?

    And the same goes for Peds. I don't drive on the pavement. What are they doing on the road? My favourites are the coloured gentlemen wearing a black coat and black woolie hat on a rainy evening in London. They're they stand in the middle of the road looking the wrong way while I'm trying to make progress on a motorcycle while being blinded by the oncoming traffic with their badly adjusted headlights.

    Or to put it another way, I hate every road user using a different form of transport to me. When I'm on a M/C it's peds, cyclists, cars and buses. When I'm driving subtract cars and add M/C. When I'm cycling, add M/C. When I'm walking they're all out to get innocent old pedestrian me.

    It's not speed that kills, it's stupidity. But speed does tend to amplify the effects.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I walk, cycle and drive.

    To all the twats banging on about cyclists not following the rules, I'd just like to point out that I have had to stop cycling in my home town because following the rules almost got me killed more times that I care to remember. Have you ever tried to cycle using correct lane discipline? Ever taken the last exit off a roundabout on a bike? Ever indicated right, so that you can take up road position just to have the cars behind you knock you off when they try to "just get past" before you block their way. Have you ever been knocked off at a junction because a driver didn't notice you at his left hand side or just plain forgot and then turned left when the traffic lights went green? Have you ever gone into a car on a roundabout because they didn't give way to the right, because you are a bike? I have had all of these thing happen to me or I have seen them happen.

    While I'm at it, to all the twats who cycle and jump lights, jump on and off the pavement, break the speed limit (I know you don't have to have a speedo, but most do these days) hurl abuse at car drivers when they are not in the wrong, but harm has nearly come to the cyclist. Just stop it! I used to have to drive in Oxford and it is truly terrifying the amount of (often) pissed up, suicidal idiots who think that because they have a bike they automatically know how the road works and that they always have right of way over everyone else.

    The main problem is that it seems acceptable to society that 3000 odd people get killed every year on our roads, this is NEVER reported in anything except a local newspaper, but one teenager dies having taken an E and drunk a fatal dose of water, or a child goes missing in another country and the Daily Mail/Sun/Express et al will make sure you know about it for months. Why can't the news reflect what our priorities should really be?

  60. Luther Blissett


    This proposal is clearly a desperate attempt to save the current scameras policy. Most have been misplaced, either to maximise revenue, or in the mistaken belief that a garden gnome would not have been as successful in reducing casualties at "black spots" (regression to the mean). If Gifford had proposed 20mph camera-enforced limits in the neighbourhood of schools, I might agree. But a universal urban 20mph limit, justified by alluding to that latest marginalised minority group (Guardian reading cyclists), simply smacks of the panic that seems to accompany megalomania.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Buy a smaller engine. Do you really need 2L?"

    That's a joke, right? That's a bit urging people to save electricity, and telling them they should "buy a smaller TV. Do you really need 14"?".

  62. Anonymous Coward

    It's 30 for a reason

    In the UK, we're currently subject to a road safety campaign that features a gruesomely 'dead' child saying "if you hit me at 40 there's an 80% chance I'll be killed - if you hit me at 30, there's an 80% chance I'll live". So what are we to make of this new 20mph limit? Surely not that this campaign is based on bollocks?

    Road deaths: "try to think of it as evolution in action".

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  64. Anonymous Coward

    Fuckwit children??

    Wow I've never felt so alienated from my fellow Reg readers. USA vs the world, or I.D. vs Science has nothing on the rubbish many of you are spouting. Those are children leaving school you are talking about for crying out loud. Killing children is "evolution in action"? Hello?

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  67. Andre Carneiro

    "Reluctant to regulate unless absolutely necessary"??

    Which bloody planet does this genius live in?? We have probably the most meddling, interfering, regulating, ANNOYING government ever!

    I know! We'll just keep everyone at home! And if you absolutely MUST go out on the road we'll put an automatic speed restrictor in your car. I reckon 5 mph ought to be safe enough?

    For heaven's sake... :P

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anon Coward

    It's all very well to say "Road deaths: "try to think of it as evolution in action"", ha ha, oh yeah, funny, you're a really funny bloke. (We'll take it as read that I banged on at length about the difference between evolution and natural selection.)

    The real problem is that each one of those pieces of "evolution in action" is a person, an actual human being, possibly one of your friends or colleagues, an old colleague of mine a week ago as it happens. What happens when the evolution in action is your wife, girlfriend, parents, a friend maybe, your son or daughter possibly? Does it help when you are comforted with words to the effect of "look on the bright side, it's the best for the gene pool that they died" no? ok, then shut up and keep your ignorant comments to yourself.

  69. Neil Cooper
    Thumb Up

    Ideal Solution

    Gifford says going on the road should be no more than twice as deadly as DIY.

    Simple, lets just make safety shields on power tools illegal. Sorted.

  70. Chris Rimmer

    Most drivers and cyclists that I see are quite good

    I'm another one of those people who both drive and cycle. I have to say that the vast majority of drivers are courteous, keeping a good distance from me when I'm cycling. Also, I find that the vast majority of cyclists that I see behave appropriately. I don't want to see the groups getting antagonistic towards each other because of a minority of bad examples. Let's try to respect each other, and remember that we all make mistakes on the road at times.

    I do want to say a couple of things against some of the more extreme comments made above:

    1. Saying that children are entirely responsible for being injured by a vehicle if they step out in front of it is kind of missing the point that THEY'RE CHILDREN. They haven't got as good an awareness of their surroundings as adults do because they haven't had as much experience. It's up to adults, particularly those travelling at speeds that can cause serious injury or death, to be ready to respond to other people's mistakes. Yes - teach the children awareness, but don't abdicate your own responsibility to make allowances for the inevitability of other people's mistakes. Driving at the limit of one's ability will inevitably lead to accidents. I remember running into the road once when I was about 4 - I know that I caused a car to brake, but I don't know how close it got. (I was running away from a neighbour whom I found a bit scary).

    2. You can't safely cycle 12" from the kerb. The edges of the roads aren't maintained well enough, and are too full of debris, for that to be safe. It's even worse in the rain when you can't see the potholes, and the drains and inset manhole covers don't offer much grip. So it'd be really nice if drivers would just hold back for a bit. Yes, I know the sense of frustration at being held up when there's an empty road ahead, but try to think happy thoughts and overtake when it's safe to give a 3' gap, or a bit less if you're in a low-sided vehicle and travelling just a few mph faster than the bike. In my experience of driving around Reading, it's rarely more than about 20 seconds.

    By the way, I hate seeing cyclists going past red lights too. Act a bit more mature, will you?

  71. Cambrasa

    Shared Space

    20mph in narrow residential streets is a no-brainer.

    But we don't need speed limits/cameras for this. We need to get rid of the asshole drivers. More policing and a heavy-handed "three strikes and you're out" policy would do the job. It only takes a few rogues to make the roads unsafe.

    Removing them is better than draconian rules for the ordinary driver.

    A much better way of reducing road deaths is the "shared space" concept successfully used in Holland. By deliberately blurring the transition form road to pavement, drivers voluntarily go much slower and are more alert. The problem with British roads is that they are designed purely for maximum vehicle throughput, while completely neglecting the fact that they are used for other things (shopping, recreation, cycling, etc.). This is fine for trunk roads, but for the majority of narrow city streets, railings and large radiuses are just plain stupid. They are an invitation to speed.

    PS. Why do bigots on web forums always forget to use question marks. Or use too many???

  72. Richard Porter

    Speed doesn't kill

    Deceleration, acceleration, deformation and penetration can all kill but not speed. Of course inappropriate use of speed can lead to fatalities, but it's not the speed that kills. And "kill your speed" is a stupid slogan. If it means anything at all it's "Stop". It would certainly reduce accidents if nobody went anywhere.

    If we can't enforce the present limits what's the point of reducing them? Let's get the enforcement right first.

    Anyway if we're going to review all the speed limits we should get rid of obsolete units once and for all, and metricate them. For road safety purposes it would be much more appropriate to have speed limits in metres per second. Kilometres or miles per hour are only suitable for journey planning.

  73. Nexox Enigma


    Does this sort of thing remind anyone of the Burbclave idea in Stephenson's Snow Crash?

    I just can't stand when people think that they should mess with natrual selection.

  74. Adrian Esdaile

    Let Darwin sort 'em out

    Mandatory : All cars to have a 15cm sharped steel spike mounted in middle of sterring wheel.

    Mandatory : All cycle helmets banned.

    Thin out their numbers!

  75. Steve Roper
    Thumb Down

    So when are the red flags coming back?

    When cars were first invented, they were required to travel no faster than 5mph and have someone walking out front with a red flag. I fully expect to see that law re-introduced in the very near future, with the flag-bearer being some duly-appointed government rep (outsourced to some corporate toady company in which the Hon. Members have shares). These flag-bearers will cost 20 quid an hour and be mandatory for all drivers.

    So time to buy yourself a horse. The way the UK (and Australia too for that matter - we're down to 40kmh in many suburban streets now) are going, we'll be back in the Dark Ages by the time I retire. Will I still be allowed to keep my pitchfork and scythe or will those implements have to be licensed as well?

  76. Chris Hamilton

    Bleedin' cyclists....

    Can someone please remind cyclists that the rules in the Highway Code apply to them as well.

    As the author rightly points out, the majority (at least it seems that way in Bristol) seem oblivious to traffic lights, one way systems, pedestrian footpaths, wing mirrors... and most of them seem to be even more oblivious to the fact they may have done wrong, resorting to monosyllabic insults upon the sight of impending death at the hands of oncoming traffic or the sounding of the horn.

    I believe that car drivers are among the best road users. Its the pedestrians and cyclists who seem unable to look both ways, use lights or even walk on the path provided who require the legislation. At least thats what i yelled at the bloke who stepped off the path and into traffic in front of me on the A37 this morning.

  77. Andy Worth

    My question.....

    When are they going to introduce "Shit Driver Cameras"? Far more accidents are caused by people who drive inappropriately (either right up someone's ass, or pull out without looking, or are simply clueless) than speed alone. Yes, speed is a factor in some accidents, but those who claim it's the root of all evil are sadly deluded. There should be much tougher tests for drivers, not just banned ones but EVERYONE on the road. Half of the drivers on the road should have their licences revoked from what I see EVERY DAY on my travels.

    As for cyclists who mount pavements (I almost got run over by one on the pavement the other day), run red lights, and other anti-social riding activities, they should be lined up against a wall and shot. I have NO sympathy for anyone who fails to realise that they are in an extremely vulnerable situation. Where I live, there are cycle paths all over the place, yet cyclists (particularly the ones donned all in lycra) prefer to kill themselves on the roads.

    The answer is to have MORE traffic police, and for them to put a higher priority on urban areas, not only pulling speeders but also concentrating on other poor drivers. I have even been in cars being driven by people who drove like I mentioned, and when asked they didn't even realise they were doing anything wrong.

    So I say every driver in the UK should have to take an intermittent "reminder" test in order to keep their licence, and there should be a licence for cyclists as well. I know any cyclist will flame me for this, but any idiot can ride a bike without any clue of road laws, and there is currently no way to punish dangerous cyclists.

    Oh and here's a fact....more pedestrians are killed or injured on the pavement by cyclists than by cars.

  78. Malc

    Speed kills

    Don't think anyone's ever died from being hit with a stationary object, not even sure if it's possible.

    Oh, and to all the posters who reckon cyclists run reds, just watch as the lights cycle from Amber to Red; how many cars continue through the junction when amber means stop?

  79. Craig

    If a jumbo jet crashed and killed 300 people every month...

    ...there would be mass hysteria.

    So why is it acceptable for us to be killing the same number of people on the roads every year?

    Wake up you lemmings. Stick to the speed limit and leave a stopping distance. Is your life so meaningless you're willing to throw it away speeding?

    Well maybe it is. How sad.

  80. Anteaus

    Cams better than ramps

    I say use cameras and get rid of the ramps. Also, standardising on 30mph but enforcing it would be far preferable to 20-zones.

    As already said, speeding makes little or no difference to urban journey times, all it does is get you to the next set of red lights quicker. But then, most speeding is masturbatory in nature and has nothing whatsoever to do with being in a hurry.

  81. Mr Larrington

    @Sebastian Truswell

    "I saw several bikes (human powered) with bald tyres"

    And your point is? Tread on a *road* bicycle tyre is there for one reason, and one reason only: Marketing.

    "Cyclists...dont pay road fund TAX"

    Nor does anyone else, unles they're completely stupid. The Road Fund was abolished well before WW2. You're thinking of Vehicle Excise Duty, which is levied on MOTOR vehicles, and which goes into the hands of the Exchequer just like income tax, VAT, fuel duty and the money which that abtsrad Darling steals out of my pocket every time I buy a pint of BEER.

    "no laws governing saftey equiptment" (sic)

    The are obliged to have brakes, and lights and reflectors if cycling after dark. What more do they need? Ah, wait, I presume you believe that cycling helmets perform some useful function. I have news: they don't. See

    Ride a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live.

  82. b

    Reluctant to regulate?

    A pint of whatever he's having.

  83. Ozimandius
    Dead Vulture

    I wholeheartedly agree.....

    ..that this is a bloody ridiculous idea.

    I'm a cyclist (mountain biker - not the skinny tyred roadies) and a driver and I've seen a fair share of idiots on the roads.

    On three occasions I've been over the bonnets of cars on my bike because the driver 'didn't see me' (despite it being in broad daylight) - one time it was over a bloody police car and they actually suggested I ride on the pavement! WTF! The most recent time was a car turning into side road in front of me without indicating (I was at the petrol cap when they turned) - the driver started having a go at me for damaging her car and said 'why do you f**king cyclists insist on riding down the side of the road' (I calmly pointed out that if I rode on the pavement I'd get arrested, and if I rode down the middle of the road I've get killed by someone in about 5 nanoseconds).

    Since I've been driving, I've been forced onto the centre of a roundabout twice due to people talking on their mobiles whilst driving, had to avoid cyclists riding two abreast (usually roadies, but mountain bikers are also guilty), and have screeched to a halt due to retarded pedestrians walking out into the road without looking (sometimes I think they're just suicidal).

    As has been said many times - speed isn't the issue. It's the complete morons that seem to populate many areas of the UK.

    I remember the first year in primary school (I'm 25 at present) where we were taught how to cross the road safely; Look right, look left, LISTEN, look right again - then cross if it's safe.

    I'm really starting to think that something I read a few weeks ago makes a lot of sense (can't remeber where I read it unfortunately); UP the speed limits to 40mph - if you want to survive on the road on foot you'll have to run away from the car at 10mph - It'll soon sort out the child obesity (forced exercise) and weed out those too damn stupid to breed!

    Hehe - Roadkill icon!

  84. Colin Jackson
    Paris Hilton

    Reductio ad absurdum, innit?

    Why not simply ban people from leaving their house - that would cut road deaths to zero overnight, and also slash the crime rate. It would also make the job of policing us much easier, since anybody on the streets without a permit could simply be rounded up and shot.

    "We are living in a period when central government appears reluctant to regulate unless absolutely necessary."

    Wowser, that's just wrong on so many levels.

  85. TeeCee Gold badge

    What we need.... Electric cars. Those light-jumping, lycra-clad bastards won't stand a chance when cars are silent!


    (I nearly ended up as "Prius Pizza" the other day while walking with brain in neutral.)

  86. Shinobi87


    i dont think the goverment realise most of the tiem driving into city centers is slow as hell because your in a traffic jam, what there saying is its the law to be in one!!!

  87. Daniel Dainty

    Blah, blah, blah. Open your eyes, people.

    I'm not going to get into a nit-picking row with anyone. I've done the "speed doesn't kill" / "cyclists are idiots" / "cameras are not the answer" / "pedestrians had it coming" before, and it never gets anywhere, and all it does is piss people off.

    Most of the people who were from The Safety Brigade ("most speeding is masturbatory in nature", "Ban anyone from driving who thinks speed does not kill", etc) seem to be just churning out the same message that the Government repeats. Speed kills, they say. No it doesn't - inappropriate speed for the area you're driving through kills. Stop repeating the marketing message that the Government put out to justify the revenue cameras, and start facing up to the facts that it's actually human inadequacy that causes road deaths, not a number. And the human inadequacy doesn't have to originate from behind the wheel.

    I hit a young girl once while I was driving down a single track road with cars parked down one side. The girl ran out into the road from between parked cars, and I hit her.

    I was doing less than 10mph (yes, I hadn't left first gear), because that's all the road would allow. It was bumpy, narrow, and poorly lit. It was signposted 30mph. Good job I wasn't doing the speed LIMIT, and had assessed the road situation correctly, eh? The girl slumped down onto the road, jumped up, and ran off crying. The parents were grateful for me, and my driving skills, and gave the girl a right bollocking.

    A good driver can assess whether or not they are doing an inappropriate speed by thinking about the following things:

    - what's round that corner?

    - if that corner has something in the road, can I stop in time?

    - what's infront of that parked car?

    - why are there feet under that car?

    - where did that football come from?

    - where's that cyclist going?

    I find myself being a "what if?" person when it comes to driving. As a result, I'm 25, I've been driving now for six years, and the only near misses I've been involved in are through the stupidity or inadequacy of other people.

    It's nothing to do with wrapping myself in metal and speeding around. If you look out for me, I'll look out for you.

    Make eye contact with the kid in the road chasing the football, and let them know that next time they might not be so lucky.

    Make eye contact with the cyclist to the side of you, and give them a nod to let them know you've seen them. If they haven't seen you yet, give a quick pip of your horn. That's what it's there for.

    Open your eyes, people. And that goes for the people doing 50mph on the motorway, as well as the people doing 50mph past a school. There's nothing automatically dangerous about going faster than the numerical speed limit that the Council have arbitrarily placed on the road you're on.

    Ignore the speed limit signs. Look at the actual road and decide for yourself if it's even safe for 30mph. Match your driving to the surroundings, and we'll all live happily ever after.


  88. Louis Cowan

    Take advantage of the brainless muppets

    Allow them this 20 mph limit. Then next year, draw a graph, pointing out how the line goes downwards, signifying less deaths on the road, and equate this to the work of the politician, applauding their work. Suggest that further reductions in the speed limit would mean that this line would fall further.

    In ten years time, the speed limit will be minus 70 miles per hour, and car manufacturers will be building cars with back to front chassis. When the politicians ask about the negative number of deaths per year, just blame it on immigrants.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Giles

    @ Justin Stone

    Eh? Seems like someone didn't read the comment or forgot to change the title...

    The kid who rides in front of a bus knowing it is there and headed towards him at high speed deserves to get hit - it is quite obviously his fault. If the bus driver makes no attempt to react after spotting, or doesn't even spot the hazard in front of his vehicle he is not paying proper attention or in complete control... unfortunately the "Why should *I* do anything about it, he shouldn't run into the road, should look before crossing, blah blah whine whine" excuse doesn't prevent accidents or save lives. It might earn a conviction or two though.

    Ah, and what about the dickhead drivers who willingly floor it over a zebra crossing when traffic going the other way has already stopped and there are already peds in the road? Peds fault I suppose? Let me guess... road is made for cars, not people? With an attitude like that it's probably in everyones best interest that you take the bus.

  90. Ash

    The solution is obvious

    Make everybody do 2 years on a motorcycle (under 125cc as legal) or moped. Motorcycle instruction is FAR more comprehensive than any car test. You do only get 2 days, maybe 3 tuition before the test, but they are intense, well structured, and cover FAR more than your driving instructor will in 6 months of 2 hour lessons.

    Spacial awareness is a necessity, as is CONSTANT observation of your surroundings; Other motorists, poor road surface, blind bends, blind (and sometimes open) junctions, and even pedestrians all have the potential to do you REAL harm. You will learn how to break effectively while remaining in control of your vehicle (if you don't, you break both your legs. How's that for incentive?), you learn to slow down in the wet and poor visibility (if you don't, you stack it over a hedge into a field and nobody finds your unconcsious body for 3 hours), and you DEFINATELY learn about visility at night.

    It's so simple it's stupid it's not implemented.

  91. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Andy Worth

    Here here, bad drivers are the main problem, those that think it's acceptable to try and do 60mph around a blind 90 degree bend on the wrong side of an NSL Road are more of a problem then those that think it's okay to do 80mph on a straight clear bit of NSL road. Give us more trafpol, that'll help sort things out.

    I nearly had an accident in Leeds the other day, which I'm sure I'd initially have been blamed for because I'm young (26) and driving a sporty car (189BHP Lotus) - although I was doing <10mph around the roundabout when someone pulled out in front of me when I was 5ft away - I even had my lights on. Technically it wouldn't have been my fault, I was already on the roundabout, but you can bet your life I'd initially have been given the blame, because of my age and the car I drive - fortunately because of the car I drive, I managed to stop in time without hitting the old bloke in his Rover.

    I'll admit to going over the speed limit, if the conditions are appropriate - but never EVER in a residential area or 20/30/40mph limit - They are generally there for a reason. Personally I favour the IoM system, restrictions in built up areas, fast as you feel is appropriate outside of them, with more trafpol around, so if someone is driving recklessly, they get pulled and potentially booked for it.

  92. Anonymous Coward

    Road Safety

    I don't know about reducing the speed in urban areas from 30mph to 20mph but more should be done about pedestrians crossing the road.

    On a daily basis I see people (mainly school children) running across a busy 40mph dual carriage way because they could not be botherd to use the pedestrian crossing a few yards away.

  93. Charles Harbud

    Daft idea

    The rule of thumb of 10% plus 2mph would be difficult to stick to. At 70mph, 7 + 2mph = 79. That's not too bad.

    When doing 20mph you could theoretically be done for doing 24mph. Does that mean we will all have to have our speedometers recalibrated? The accuracy at these low settings is debateable. Absolute madness when most cars will do this speed in first or second gear. You would need to constantly stare at the speedo - still, not a problem if you hit anything as long as you're doing "the correct speed"!!

  94. Anonymous Coward

    My heart bleeds...

    These days it seems like a guy can't go out and crap up the environment without cyclists, pedestrians or yucky buses being inconsiderate enough to use OUR roads. And now, the fascist Government want to punish motorists just because they've broken the law! Why don't they arrest the VICTIMS of road traffic accidents. That would be much fairer.

    What's the country coming to? Are they going to start arresting murderers next?


    A.B.M. Victim

    PS. Please put lots more coppers on the beat because although laws should be optional for me, I've seen some people wearing hoodies hanging around, and they should be arrested for breathing funny. Thanks.

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re:can I drive on bald tyres and not take and MOT then or pay road taxs

    I read recently that you can get a £1000 fine for cycling with dodgy brakes. Seems fair. Maybe we should invent a camera that can detect this! Or should we just put more police on the road?

    I'm a cyclist and driver (although I never do both at the same time) and see bad behaviour by both.

    I don't ride in the gutter - it's too full of holes and junk. If I did I'd have to be swerving in front of cars to avoid potholes that could unbalance me, knocking me off right in front of the cars that insist on hovering on my back wheel.

    My driving has improved since I started cycling. One thing that drivers need to be aware of is potholes: Your suspension evens most of them out. The same is not true of cyclists/motorbikes. We're on two wheels not four and have a far higher centre of gravity - you'd have to be seriously thick to fall off a car. Honestly, it feels like you need a mountain bike to get around Bedford because of all the potholes.

    Oh, and I also leave plenty of space between myself and parked cars. Too many drivers just open the door without looking. I'd rather not be bounced into a lorry just to save a driver looking in his/her mirror and over their shoulder. The airbags on bikes are made of tarmac.

    It's not just car drivers - it's passengers too. Twice in the last few months I've had someone open the passenger door right in front of me. If my brakes hadn't worked they would have had my handlebars in their gut.

    I have another pet hate. When you're driving down a road and there's a cyclist/motorcyclist waiting to turn right across your lane, why not stop and let them across. Do you realise just how vulnerable a stationary cyclist is in the middle of a busy road?

    MOT for bikes? Interesting idea, worth investigating.

    Cyclists: Red means STOP. Cars can't stop as quickly as you. Cars can't turn as quickly as you. You WILL lose the argument with a car.

    So put simply, all road users need to give each other a bit of space and obey the rules.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another great example of the Nanny state we live in

    What is happening to this country? it seems nowadays that we cant do anything anymore. We are told to do this and told not to do that but do it like this and this is another great example of that they think that reducing the speed limit to 20mph will stop idiots driving 50mph on roads. All this will do is make these idiots be 30mph over the limit rather than 20mph. Not to mention the majority of the country that obeys the speed limits will all be driving round in second gear which means ours cars will be burning more fuel and adding more to the green house effect. I suppose burning more fuel keeps the government happy as they receive more tax. So the question is can you afford to put more fuel in your car as fuel prices keep climing to £1 a litre at the sake of a meaningless 20mph speed limit change?

  97. Kaz

    out of context

    when i ride my bike on the motorway at 76mph, in the dark, in icy conditions, changing lanes in heavy traffic over those nice bumpy cat's eyes... absoloutly stark bollock naked.. i'm actually riding perfectly legally..

    funny how the law considers this safe, but then considers 26mph dangersous in good visibility, on a deserted road, on a dry day, with 4 wheels, wearing a crash helmet and full body armour.. dangerous


  98. Jack


    "British bike lanes and paths, as anyone who's used them much knows, are rubbish. Their layout almost always prioritises the convenience of motorists over that of cyclists; pedestrians and drivers ignore them most of the time"

    What a load of absolute tosh. All the cycle lanes round here (of the ones that are roadside) cut across the car lane at the head of a junction or traffic lights. Cyclists (and I've noticed those on motorbikes use them too) can happily manouever their bike right in front of a car at a junction. Thats not really giving priority to the car now is it? Not to mention the general sense of pedestrian priority in the road - if a pedestrian gets knocked down its automatically the drivers fault unles proven otherwise. I was once involved in an accident where a kid playing chicken in the road ran out in front of my car; luckily the van driver behind me saw the whole thing and pulled over to relay exactly what happened to the copper who turned up. I say luckily as the local residents were all baying for my blood - even though not one of them had witnessed the event - assuming that I had intentionally hit the kid.

    "Rather, some kind of numberplate-reading average speed kit would need to come into play."

    With the nature of rabbit warren-esque road layout of urban areas - especially modern housing estates - SPECS would be extremely difficult to implement and even if a system could cope with multiple car routings it would no doubt be considerably more expensive than a few thousand more gatsos in each county.

    As said, teach road safety to both drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. Improve the design of roads and physical safety measures (speed cameras are NOT physical safety measures). Pedestrians on pavements, cyclists on dedicated cycle lanes (not in a roadside gutter painted red), and cars on the road. Stop trying to make them all work together in the same space. Then we might be on the right track for making the roads a safer place.

  99. Steve


    WWW.SAFESPEED.ORG.UK could well be the UK's leading authority regarding the true effectiveness of speed cameras and their side effects.

    Speed enforcement is not all it is hyped up to be. The people who run the speed camera system have been lying to us.

    Take a look at for an example. The campaign website is full of data you should read.

    Check out the lively forums, in fact there's a thread on the subject here:

  100. nikos

    ahoy all pricks!

    you know who you are, the van/lorry driver or supercar short dong kiddie, all too hurried in your "important" job to stop for obstacles like cyclists

    hello, dickhead, just because i'm a cyclist, doesn't mean i'll move to the side, so stick your horn up your stoopid working class arse! If you want to overtake that's your problem, not mine. And yes, i will drive in the middle of the road when i have to do a right turn 100m down the road, see?

    feeling like judge dredd perhaps, judge and executioner? just think how much time you'll be scrubbing my blood off your windscreen, and all the nightmares! This is the real life jack, not PS2. Save yourself the psychotherapist money and stay clear!

  101. Adam Capps

    Nothing is easy...

    Well after reading all of these comments I decided to sign up and not be a coward.

    With anything like speeding there is no easy way of working things out, speed, tax, public transport, cyclists Vs. motorists. As always there is need for compromise and that compromise unfortunately has to come from the Government though they often fail to address the needs that we personally like.

    With the ever increasing restrictions on speed, tax on fuel and continual nannying by the government 'for the people', I can only think to the extreme where by the little freedom we currently enjoy is slowly being sapped under the guise of safety and what is best for us.

    The smoking ban was a prime example when the government decided that people cannot think for themselves and under the health guise it was deemed that there be a total smoking ban - never mind giving the punters and establishment owners a choice or at the very least a time limit with to, say, section of an area of the bar so that service still be allowed without forcing people into the rain and cold. How long before we see an Orwellian type scenario where we're tagged and scanned upon entry to a cake shop, only to be told that "I'm sorry Mr Smith but according to your current scan, your weight dictates that you have exceeded your confectionary quota for this month therefore we are unable to serve you."

    It will be a sad day when the government impose such restrictions - but that said, according to the latest study, people seem unable to help themselves but become obese thus shortening their lives by the quoted 13 years - you can see how, through the people's lack of responsibility, the govenerment is forced to act on behalf of the people because of the people.

    Just my opinion.

  102. David

    Crack down on others

    I drive for a living and I whole-heartedly agree with others` sentiments regarding cracking down on law-breaking road users other than car drivers. Almost every day in my town, I nearly mow down pedestrians who step in out in front of me, as if on a death-wish mission. They are invariably kids, who seem to think they`re invincible and just stride out in the road, staring defiantly at me, as if I have some magical way of stopping dead - dead being the operative word. If I protest and point out the error of their ways, I normally just get a mouthful of abuse from the boys and just a giggling response from the girls. Have they been watching too many video games perhaps? More mature pedestrians, who should no better, suddenly make a dive across the road against their flashing light, when the rule is that they should not attempt it and get quite annoyed when the inevitable hooter sounds (usually from me!). Why aren`t they prosecuted, as in America, I believe, when pedestrians don`t cross a road at the designated place. (Jaywalking?). Young motorcyclists weave in and out of traffic with sudden bursts of acceleration - quite often on motorways at great speed. You don`t too many chances to survive a mistake on a bike. Pedal cyclists are equally at fault. They seem to think they have a god-given right to plonk themselves in front of me at a red light (assuming that they are one of the few that actually take any notice of traffic lights), causing an obstruction.

    Traffic laws should apply to all, not just the motorist.

    The local council doesn`t help the situation one iota, installing so-called traffic calming and traffic lights at the drop of a hat, seemingly oblivious to some of the consequences of traffic build-up and jams. With the amount of extra fuel being burnt, the schemes are not very "green". Speed limits near where I live have been lowered out of all proportion to any risk - even on good, wide roads where there have been no incidents. One major "A" road from my town has had the 40 m.p.h. limit on the outskirts jacked down to 30 and a 40 m.p.h. slapped on the previously unrestricted rural section for several miles all the way out to the nearest village where there only a handful of buildings on the way. Needless to say, the existing 30 m.p.h. limit through the village has been extended out even further into equally rural areas. I really don`t understand the theory, especially as jokers like "white van man" seem to think that absolutely nothing applies to them, anyway.

  103. Matthew Robinson

    Shouldn't we all just get along?

    I find myself agreeing with both the "speed doesn't kill, inappropriate speed does" and the "slow down" lobbies.

    What I think all this boils down to is co-operation and consideration.

    Example: There's a zebra crossing in our village, it's 100yds from the 60mph road out of the village. Consequently a proportion of vehicles seem to think that it's ok to do 35-50mph through village. Now the problem is that it's hard to stop for the zebra when someone walks out onto it (as it their right -see highway code) when you're doing 50. So a small proportion of these speeders simply don't stop, forcing crossing pedestrians to have to leap for their lives.

    All that's needed is a little consideration, slow up a little. Be prepared to stop. Have a little patience for the old dear crossing the road. Remember - you'll be old and doddery soon enough (if you haven't been killed by a marauding, red light running, cyclist)

  104. Voice of reason

    Average Speed

    My daily commute is 12 miles. It often takes 45 minutes or more. Average speed = 16 Mph. So if they just measure average speed I'll be ok, even though that includes doing 90 Mph on the motorway for a couple of miles.

  105. Dazed and Confused

    Slowing down steels life

    What is the difference between killing someone and steeling their life?

    The last year I had a car as part of my job, I drove 54000 just for work. No idea how many "personal" miles in did on top of that.

    So given an average speed of 40MPH (if you lucky) I spent about 23% of my waking life stuck in a car. If you drop the average speed to 30MPH, that figure would go to over 30%.

    So you kill 7% of me.

    At the moment far too many people die on the roads - OK I accept that.

    But cutting the speed limit and slowing everyone down, actually removes more life.

    If everyone was forced to suffer that kind of annual mileage, a 10MPH drop in the average speed would in effect kill 7% of the population!

    What percentage are currently killed?

  106. anthony bingham

    Fast like a lemming and dim like a donkey ...

    The Motor Industry hugely overproduces vehicles 'cos the National economies are driven by profit and jobs and idiot politcians who will not admit that the system is ( statistically fellas ) Out Of Control ! reducing the speed limit or putting pinch points at 10 metre intervals is like making a hole to let water out of a boat that is seriously leaking ! Any Extra terrestial Observer has by now concluded that we are a planet of four legged metal monsters that fart alot and ultimately rust.

  107. Graham Jordan

    cycling is dangerous

    I recently sold my car and got on the road on me peddle bike. Less than a weeks worth of sticking to the left as much as i could i gave up and started cycling on the pavement.

    Fu(k it, its against the law but its a dam sight safer than a bus hurtling past you then stopping directly in front of you to drop off shed loads of obnoxious kids. Id sooner run the risk of knocking an old man and his yappity piece of crap dog down than getting hit myself. If i hit said old man, at the worst we fall over and bruise our ass. If a car hits me at the best i get away with a bruise...

    Tough decision..

  108. Mad Mike

    Speed Kills?

    Sorry to correct some of the ancient people here who believe the above. Hundreds of years ago, people believed that if you exceeded a certain speed (5-10mph depending on who you talked to), you would die. They were proven wrong. Speed has not killed a single person........ever. Now, rapid acceleration or deceleration has and always will. The body can travel at any speed, it's the process of getting to that speed or reducing to zero that is dangerous.


    Jump out of plane and hit terminal velocity. Very much alive. Decelerate to zero in a couple of inches as I hit the ground. Very much dead.

    Stand still in road. Alive. Get hit by car and accelerated to high speed very rapidly. Good chance of death.

  109. Chris

    Good grief

    Can we drop the tedious, facetious "speed doesn't kill, sudden acceleration/sudden deceleration/excessive speed/inappropriate speed/transfer of momentum kills" nonsense please? You all know full well what's meant - being hit at 60mph is massively more lilkely to kill you than being hit at 30mph, whether you're being hit as a ped or as a fellow driver. It's quite simple.

  110. Anteaus


    "So given an average speed of 40MPH (if you lucky) I spent about 23% of my waking life stuck in a car. If you drop the average speed to 30MPH, that figure would go to over 30%."

    The reverse is true. The more fast roads are built, the more the accountants see the financial advantages of centralisation. Result: Local branches are closed down, and staff relocated to large central depots, which cover a catchment-area of hundreds of square miles. These centralised depots then sell 'vapourware' support-contracts promising impossible response-times. The client believes these claims, not realising that there is no longer a local depot, and that the nearest engineer is in fact hours of driving-time away.

    Result: Employees end-up spending most of their working life behind the wheel instead of doing their job. Plus they know that it's an unwritten rule that they MUST speed, after all if they refuse then the firm will find someone else who will.

    Customers end-up paying more -not less- for services, because someone has to pay for the time spent on the road. And, if the customer has an urgent problem, then help is.. well, only a few hundred miles away. Really useful if your site is down.

    And, of course, the more firms go the centralisation route, the more traffic-jams in the cities.

    End result: Road-improvements and increased speeds benefit nobody but the accountants. Everyone else loses.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Engineering it out...

    Speed cameras are not the answer, if the question is prevention. To engineer speed out, use speed bumps / ramps. You are free to drive at any speed you like then - it's your suspension.

  112. Red Bren

    @SAFESPEED is an excellent resource for a balanced view of road safety. I would also like to recommend for a balanced view on evolution, for a balanced view on global warming and for some great deals on French hotel rooms.


    Excess speed may not be the root cause of an accident, but it is a contributing factor. No matter how good driver/rider/walker you think you are, there will always be factors outside of your control - the tree that fell in the road, the lorry that shed its load, the idiot who drove/rode/stepped out in front of you. The higher the relative speed, the less time to react and the more damage/injury done.

    And 80% of drivers believe they're better than average, that's 3 in 10 idiots who overestimate their ability.

  113. Red Bren

    @Crack down on others

    "I whole-heartedly agree with others` sentiments regarding cracking down on law-breaking road users other than car drivers."

    David, did you mean to say "cracking down on law-breaking road users INCLUDING car drivers?" Or do you believe that motorists should be exempt?

    It might interest you to know there are only four actions defined as illegal for pedestrians, they

    - MUST NOT be on motorways or slip roads except in an emergency

    - MUST NOT get onto or hold onto a moving vehicle

    - MUST NOT loiter on any type of crossing.

    - MUST NOT cross or pass a stop line when the red lights show [at railway level crossings]

    Running out in front of traffic is stupid, but not illegal.

  114. The Other Steve

    Ride on the left ? Fuck right off.

    Well, after I tried to be so reasonable as well.

    To the shitwits above who think that cyclists should 'get out of the middle of the road', or be riding on the gutter, understand this.

    You are wrong, and most likely wilfully ignorant.

    Riding close to the kerb is simply the most dangerous position, for cyclists, pedestrians and motor vehicles. Why ?

    For the cyclist, the gutter is full of funsome stuff like, say, broken glass, dogshit, roadkill, litter, water, piss, oil and debris from vehicles. All of which is a hazard. Riding here is also the easiest way to get killed because drivers will simply not see you. You also tend to find drain covers here, get out of your car and on a bike, try hitting a sunken drain cover at 20+, it's enough to tip you off into moving traffic. You are dead.

    For pedestrians, cyclists rolling this close to the kerb represent a very serious hazard. It's exceptionally easy to clip a ped doing this. For those who think hitting peds on a bike is in some way safe, you are deluded. A friend of mine cliped an old lady like this, she fell, and she died. Dead ped. Not so fucking clever.

    For drivers, guess what, cyclists takes evasive action to avoid one of the above hazards, you take evasive action to avoid cyclist. You are in oncoming traffic at 30+. You are dead. So are some other people. Fun fun fun, all the livelong day.

    Also, you need to understand something. Cyclists ride towards the edge of the lane as a COURTESY to drivers. If I want to ride down the middle of the lane at 7 MPH, then I can. The law says so, and if I'm holding you up, that's your problem. Just the same as if you get stuck behind a tractor. If this fills you with anger, then you are not safe to be on the roads. Speed might not kill, but emotional retards do.

    I've been riding on road and off since I was a child, and the simplest way to stay safe on the roads is to claim your place on the road, let drivers and peds know that you're there, and you aren't going anywhere.

    For all those bandying stats around, your insurance company thinks that in 90% of cases if you hit a cyclist it was your fault. Guess why.

    Grow the fuck up and learn to respect other legitimate road users.

  115. This post has been deleted by its author

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you don't have to be a nasty selfish shit to drive a car - but it helps

    I'm sure everyone in this thread is a fantastic and capable driver. Every one of them. But it's the others you have to look out for.

    The posters above may well drive as 'fast as the circumstances safely allow' but are you really suggesting every driver on the road is capable of making such a distinction when many have trouble negotiating a roundabout ?

    Two things I would like to see to improve road safety.

    1. A MUCH tougher driving test ...

    2. Petrol at £2.50 per litre.

    The title of this comment is based on those who blithely make comments about children being killed in road accidents (references to natural selection optional). Never has hurting/killing children been so acceptable.

  117. Chris Cheale


    First they came for the smokers and I said nothing for I was not a smoker.

    Then they came for the drinkers and I said nothing for I was not a drinker.

    Then they came for the unhealthy eaters and I said nothing for I ate healthily.

    Then they came for the drivers and I said nothing for I was not a driver.

    Then they came for me and there was nobody left to speak up.

    England, England, uber alles ...

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Skewed Stats?

    Nobody seems to have mentioned that many road deaths are caused by drivers of stolen cars. A 20mph limit doesn't affect them, so they should be removed from the stats to give a more accurate picture.

    The figures are looking better already, aren't they?

  119. Matthew Smith

    Road Users

    The term road user applies to everybody using it. This includes motorists, cyclists, pedestrians in or out of their cups, horses with and without carts, drovers with flocks, children playing football or shammy-1-2-3. The roads were there before the car was invented, and will almost certainly be there after cars are obsolete. Apart from the motorways and racetracks, they do not exist purely for the selfish motoring minority's benefit.

    On yer bike

  120. Glen

    @ David Wiernicki

    >That's a joke, right? That's a bit urging people to save electricity, and telling

    >them they should "buy a smaller TV. Do you really need 14"?".

    nope, no joke. although the cutoff point could be negotiated. A 1.4 "normal" sized car (escort, R200, etc) can do 100 pretty easily. While taking into account the size of the vehicle, there gets to a point where your only buying a bigger engine cus it goes broom louder and faster.

    A 2L largish saloon i would count as a nippy car. 1.8? more like a family car. Id probably go up to 3L before id go from nippy to silly (others thoughts are welcome here).

    If your always lugging equipment about, then bigger - obviously - for vans and things. - but a "Clelsea Tractor" for the school run? nah. A 2 seater sports as your regular car? nah. moaning about petrol prices when your getting <10 miles per gallon in the car that probably costs a quarter of what my house is worth. nah.

    To compare to your analogy, its more like that bit in the IT crowd where moss and roy are "too close" to the screen. Yes he could have got a more apropriately sized telly, but this ones a bigger/cooler penis extention than the mere 32 inch one.

    @Matthew Robinson

    "shouldnt we all just get along"

    yes - with the exception of chavs. (both in cars and on bikes)

  121. Anonymous Coward

    Birmingham UK

    Birmingham, UK, was rebuilt after the war with the car very much in mind. You can drive across the city through flyovers and underpasses in about 10-15 minutes even during the busiest periods legally at 40-50mph. I don't think the accident rate is any worse than any other parts of the UK and the cross-city driver is a lot less stressed as a result.

    On the other hand I live in Sutton Coldfield, a suburb north of Birmingham, that has a large population of retired folk who are so shit-scared of breaking the speeding limit that traffic often grinds to a halt. Despite the crawl, I have been hit twice in the past year by people who should not be walking, let alone be in charge of a car.

    Have you ever experienced being hit at 20mph by someone who appears to have deliberately driven at you while you were stationery in full visibility? It's what nightmares are made of. Any speed limit is totally irrelevant. A judicious cull of incompetent and unintelligent road users along with the "speed-kills" lobby is, without doubt, the way forward.

  122. yeah, right.
    Paris Hilton

    Other places.

    In Japan, the urban speed limit is 30 kph. That's about 19 miles per hour. They still manage to get around quite efficiently, thank you very much.

    In compact towns like the UK has, there's really no need to go any faster. Hell, in most towns you can't go any faster anyway due to traffic. Over the two or three miles that forms an "urban centre", you don't really gain much time even by having 60 mph limits.

    So unfortunately I have to agree with the urban speed limit of 20 mph. Most drivers have proven, repeatedly, that they really can't handle going any faster. Paris Hilton is a prime example of this.

    Bypasses, however, are most useful in these cases. "Urban" should not include "through roads" of any kind. Those should be set to 120 mph, just because.

  123. Stu_The_Jock

    Hmmmm . . other places cont . . .

    First I admit to being both a cyclist and a driver, and spent 10 of the last 11 yrs in and around London. I have since seen sense, left the UK and now live in Norway.

    Here residential areas often have a 30km/h limit that's 18.75mph. If you get caught for speeding, doing 61 in a 50 zone can cost you the equivalent of about £220, and yes some people DO still risk the fines.

    In towns, the NORMAL situation at junctions is that traffic from the right (yeah we drive on the right here remember) has right of way, unless the juntion is otherwise marked, hence you INSTANTLU have to be much more alert to what's around, what's approaching, because a bus can come out the side street in front of you perfectly legally.

    Pedestrians have an ABSOLUTE right of way, and barely pause at pedestrian crossings before walking out with barely a glance, and yes it does take time to get used to this. 1st time I visited Norway the wife went to step off a crossing into the path of an approaching, unmarked, white transit . . . . . suicide in London, but he stopped and waited correctly.

    in residential streets the road is NARROWED at bus stops, to make sure the traffic DOES STOP when the bus does, sure drivers wait a minute or two, but normally there's only 1 or 2 people at most get on or off.

    In london my drive to work (I worked from my car so could not use public transport) was about 15 miles (24km) and took me between 45mins and an hour and a half depending on traffic problems, road works, Ken Livinsgstone deciding to allow major works on 2 major crossings on the Thames at same time. Here my 18km drive (11.25 miles) takes me between 12 and 16 minutes, and that's with LOWER legal speed limits on the route, and (pretty much) sticking to them.

    Biggest difference here is not the laws, the road layouts, the driving standards, it's a combination of all of them. People generally accept that they get to where they are going when they get there and allow the right amount of time, not leaving late and tearing up the road.

    In the UK EVERY SINGLE class of road space user has faults. Pedestrians not looking and randomly crossing the road, then walking along footpath PAST a legal crossing point. Cyclists that ignore all road rules (some of the cyclists anyway). Drivers that think they OWN the road just because they drive a 4x4, also they always drive quicker in bad weather, they forget that ALL cars have 4 heel braking, and theirs weighs more).

    ALL road users need to be aware of each other, understand each others needs and problems, and be able to live with each other.

    And going back to the speed limits, introducing unenforcable limits will not help, it's just more signs on the roadside obstructing driver visibility. Better to enforce the existing ones properly.

  124. Mike

    Dispel the myth

    I'd like to dispel this myth that some here and many everywhere else seem intent on keeping alive. Bigger engine = bigger pollution. NO it does NOT always!

    There are many factors, some of them are: type of driving being done, engine technology being used, weight of vehicle and payload plus many others. For the simpletons that don't understand this yet let me give you an example:

    I used to own a 1.3 litre engined Skoda Favorite Freeway van which I'd get something like 27 to 35 mpg out of, now I own a 1.6 litre engined Vauxhall Astravan. I get between 40 and 55 mpg out of her.

    I'm sure the myth proliferaters are now scratching their heads or getting read to call me a liar. Let me explain...

    The Skoda was old, I mean it had a Volkswagen Group sticker on the back because they'd only just taken over, so it was running Soviet block technology, the Astra (it's a Mk 4 BTW) had GM's 8 valve injection "ECOtech" engine which whilst hardly making it a speed machine is vastly more advanced than the Skoda's was. The Astra is both more powerful (and capable of going, dare I say it, faster) and produces less polution. Add to that the fact that as soon as you went near a dual carriage way or motorway the Skoda's tiny little engine had to have the tits revved off it to do 70 thus consuming vastly more fuel and producing more pollution. The Astra will cruise at 70 quite comfortably at sensible revs and it uses much less fuel.

    I'm currently in Australia but if any one wants to disagree with me and demand to see the evidence I can provide documentary evidence to prove the above when I get back to the UK in March. Ready to stop being ignorant now?

    As a related aside, the Toyota Pious delivers no better fuel economy than my parents 2 litre turbo diesel Toyota Corolla (and there are many other TD's from other manufs. that can claim the same) and I'm told that engine has now been replaced by a 1.4 litre TD unit outputting the same power, don't have any consumption figures for that one though. Take into account the environmental impact manufacturing the batteries for the Pious has not to mention dealing with them afterwards the oil burner doesn't look so evil after all.

    Having said all the above I am very keen on green issues, I'm a near militant recycler and very keen on alternative energy etc etc. I know the oil is likely to run out soon and I want to keep on driving /some how/ but it really gets on my tits when ignorant people trot that old bollocks out about big engines = bad, small engines = good. Taken to extremes I'm sure you could "prove" that (perhaps compare a Bugatti Veyron with a Fiat Panda?) but for normal cars average people can afford this far from always the case.

    Okay, I've had my rant now.

  125. Mad Mike

    Who pays for the roads?

    Many comments on here talk about ALL road users. Bearing in mind they are suggesting that all road users have equal rights to the road, how come only one group of road user, the motorist, actually pays for the roads? In fact, motorists pay not only for the roads, but a considerable amount more as they are taxed far more than is spent on the roads.

    So, if we really want to make things equitable, ALL users should pay for the roads. Also, all users should have insurance and should prove their vehicle is roadworthy etc. Again, why only the motorist? A horse out of control (for whatever reason) is just as dangerous as a car.

    So, if people other than motorists want to use the roads, they should obey the same rules and regulations and pay their fair share.


    To all you cyclists who believe you are perfect, a quick word about lighting. A cycle actually has to have a front and rear light by law. And these lights must NOT flash. They must be constant. You can have a flashing light in addition to a constant one, but you must have at least one constant one. This makes 50%ish of all cyclists I see law breakers!!

  126. Mr Larrington


    "All the cycle lanes round here (of the ones that are roadside) cut across the car lane at the head of a junction or traffic lights."

    May I draw Sir's attention to this:

    Runs parallel to the A414 in Harlow. Were a cyclist to obey the signs - which, happily, have no legal significance - he or she would have to dismount and remount 24 times in 0.85 miles. Fortunately I only have cause to cycle on that bit of the A414 when my car is being serviced. I use the road. It's faster and safer.

    There are plenty of other wonderful examples of brilliant cycle path design on the Warrington Cycle Campaign site:

  127. Graham Jordan

    @The Other Steve

    This old lady you speak of that copped it, what did she die of? I'd put a hefty sum on it it wasn't physical injury, shock maybe? heart attack? Did this woman walk with 2 walking sticks and still struggle to manage .2mph?

    Whilst walking down a relativly steep hill once i watched a cyclist hurtling down the center of the road till some kid stepped out in front of him to retreieve a football. This kid was tall, medium built and when that bike twatted him head on he did't even stumble over. The cyclist on the other hand, a few cuts and bruises, nothing he didnt brush up off after getting to his feet.

    You've also got to remember that some bloke walking on the road is a dam sight slower than a car thus a dam sight easier to see well in advance and avoid. I'd sooner cycle on the pavement anyday

  128. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mad Mike

    Just a note about bike lights. They are required but they don't have to be constant, flashing lights are allowed. Only where there are no street lighting. a constant light is recommended. Num 60 in highway code.

  129. Christopher Hogan

    It never adds up

    when you read "We are living in a period when central government appears reluctant to regulate unless absolutely necessary." from a supposedly independent body which includes the word Parliamentary in its name, you know you are in for some government sponsored guff designed to soften us up for the next round of hidden (from whom?) tax rises and intrusions into our privacy.

    This is just days after a report which says the average spped of traffic in London is just over 11 mph. So a vast expense on number plate reading cameras, no income from sppeeding fines, oh well got to use 'em for something - better track those good citizens about their daily business.

    Gollum Brown and his whole sick government are Stalinists..

  130. Mad Mike
    Black Helicopters

    Graham Jordan

    If the old lady died of shock, she did die of a physical injury. Shock is physical as any doctor will tell you!!

    There have been many accidents between cyclists and pedestrians in my neck of the woods. Several deaths have occured as a result. Citing a single example is pointless as the injuries sustained are entirely dependant on the nature of the accident, how you hit etc. It's also fair to say a collision between a pedestrian and a cyclist will always be lower risk than one between a car and pedestrian or car and cyclist.

    However, as cycling on the pavement is actually against the law, does it also imply you only obey the laws you deem fit? I've no problem with someone campaigning to change the law, but you are willfully admitting to being a criminal!!

  131. Mad Mike

    Cycle Lights

    I believe you'll find the following link illuminating!!

    Contrary to peoples common misconception, the highway code is not actually legally binding. It is simply advice. This link actually states the law and it states that a steady light is required to be in compliance with the law. Now, whilst it could be talking about the light bobbing around all over the place, I think it's safe to say it is talking about light output. Therefore, flashing lights, on their own are actually against the law.

    Case closed as they say.

  132. Lloyd
    Thumb Down

    Mad Mike

    Regardless, as a cyclist I'm getting more and more fecked off with cyclists who:

    A) wobble all over the bloody road

    B) Don't wear helmets

    C) Cycle on pavements.

    D) Wear MP3 players (how the feck you're supposed to pay attention with them in I don't know).

    E) Don't have lights.

    In fact I'm almost as cantankerous with other cyclists as I am with car drivers.

  133. Steven Jones

    Something that would make a difference

    Well this will never happen, but the one thing that would definitely guarantee saving significant numbers of lives would be to ban motorcycles from public roads. Looking at the 2004 DoT reports (you have to pay money to read the more recent ones) then something approaching 20% of road deaths are of motorcyle riders and their passengers. Other statistics available show that the rate of deaths in the UK are over 30 times higher per passenger-mile on motorcycles than on cars. Other studies have shown they are disporportionately involved in pedestrian accidents too.

    Of course motorcyclists will bleat on about how most of the accidents aren't there fault (debatable), but ultimately it doesn't matter. The things are just inherently less stable, more vulnerable, more difficult to see and offer very little protection to their riders. Unlike cyclists (who suffer about one-thrid of the fatalities per mile),

    the riders of those "sports bikes" can't even make the claim of being environmentally friendly - the more powerful ones use more fuel than the most economical cars.

    Also I would add, if there are motorcyclists who ride responsibly, there aren't many of them round my part of the world. On the M4 on my journey into work in the morning it is pretty well universal for motorcyclists to ride down the while-line between the lanes within literally inches of cars and lorries on either side (even on those few occasions when traffic speeds get up towards 70MPH). They overtake on hatched lines pretty well everywhere, into the face of oncoming traffic. I'm amazed that this sort of stuff is just allowed - presumably the police just like to automate their convictions through speed cameras (so much easier on the paper work).

    Well that's the other problem with the analysis - I have a suspicion if some of these impatient adrenalin monkeys did have to use cars they would become part of the four-wheeled motorised hooligans that seem to specialise in the aggressive driving of Subaru Imprezas and the like.

    Anyway, by a very conservative estimate, that's a net saving of 15% road traffic fatalities, even being generous about the displacement of fatalities into other transport forms.

    Of course none of this will happen so the motorcyclists needn't worry, but the penalty of having motorcycles on the public road is that they will disproportionately contribute to road deaths. That's a fact in every comparable western country where stats are available. It just needs to be recognised.

    Oh - another big cause. Of pedestrian fatalities in autopsy samples in that year 38% were over the drink-drive limit (and 75% after 10PM). So drunk pedestrians - that must be quite a few, but I somehow don't see the police getting out on the pavements with breathalysers so rest easy...

  134. The Other Steve


    "judging by you last comments i bet you dress like a gimp dont ya..."

    No. I find Lycra clad wankers just as offensive as you do.

    "seriously though I dont have a problem with cyclists at all i guess its the monorities with there bad attitude who talk about courtesy one mement and then are talking about riding in the middle of the road at 7MPH the next like children."

    That was an illustrative point. I never ride like that (unless I'm coming to a stop light and I happen to be turning right). I am in fact, one of the cyclists that doesn't ride like a twat in traffic. The point is that I could, and you should be able to deal with it without having a stroke.

    "come on guys respect is a 2 way thing show us drivers some and we will show it back."

    I showed some. I have already stated that cyclists that break traffic laws are beneath contempt in my opinion. I think you're confusing me with someone else.

    "But seriously steve if you would like to ride in front of me at 7Mph you do it at arount 07:30 in the centre of the centre lane of the M1..."

    And why in the name of all that's holy would I be riding my bike on the M1 ? Quite apart from the fact that it's illegal, it would be really, really stupid. If you are seeing cyclists on this stretch of motorway, I suggest you either call the cops, or take direct action by running the thick bastards over.

    "Now could you please shut the big one and stop acting like a child and let the grown ups speak"

    Grown ups ? You don't spell like a grown up. In fact you spell like a retarded six year old. Except six year olds mostly know where the shift key is.

    "you have made your comments some good points but mostly tosh and imature"

    Which parts did you think were "imature" then, was that the part where I pointed out the safety implications for all road users and pedestrians of riding to close to the kerb ? The part where I pointed out that drivers with anger management issues about perfectly legitimate behaviour are dangerous to themselves and others ? The part where I suggested that cyclists should follow the highway code as well as drivers ?

    Or just the part where I imply that drivers who can't deal with sharing the road with cyclists are cocks ?

    @Mad Mike w/r/t flashing lights.

    Wrong. Buy a new highway code. This has changed fairly recently. And yes, as I pointed out, riding without lights is stupid and dangerous. Cyclists who do this deserve to be run down.

    Besides, even when it was technically illegal, the advice from the police was that flashing LEDs were OK and would be tolerated because of the increase in visibility.

    @Graham Jordan

    Fractured skull. That's pretty physical, wouldn't you say ? I agree that on average it's less messy than vehicle/ped confluence, but it it is still to be avoided at all costs. Which is why I hate to see adult cyclists on the pavements. Riding on the pavement is illegal, dangerous, stupid, and encourages idiot motorists to believe that's where bikes belong.

    If you're a cyclist, and you regularly ride on the pavement, you're part of the problem. And nothing in the world looks stupider or sadder than some middle aged tosser in head to toe lycra on a 2 grand bike, wearing a spac hat and riding on the pavement like a four year old with stabilisers.

    @All drivers.

    Some of you have made the assertion that 90+% of cyclists are OK. I (surprisingly) disagree, I think the number is lower. While I don't favour a tax/license/insurance regime (this would remove the utility of the bicycle and reduce cyclist numbers even more, and is therefore undesirable), I do think there should be more proficiency training, as there was when I was at school, and I agree totally that there needs to be more enforcement of traffic regs on cyclists as well as drivers.

    But fair's fair, when you lot start driving responsibly and within the rules, **including** all posted speed limits, then you can complain. Until then, you're on very shaky ground. If it's OK for you to drive at 60 in a posted 30 limit because you're such talented, well trained drivers and there isn't anyone in the way, you're hardly in a position to be getting wobbly about an occasional pavement mount by a cyclist avoiding traffic, or even the dread light jumper, now are you ?

    And to get back to the point of the article, 20MPH is to slow for nearly every road I can think of (I regularly exceed this on a pushbike FFS), and removes the utility of the car. It would be great if we could do without cars, but our entire economic infrastructure is based on the availability of motorised transport. Doh! Easy availability of broadband and the advent of 'telecommuting' was supposed to change this. Doh!

    Course, it will all be different "When The Oil Runs Out"(tm), but then what am I going to lube my chain with ?

  135. Anonymous Coward

    Evil red light running cyclist or nice friendly speeding cars.

    A few facts to set the scene:

    1. When seatbelt laws were introduced in 1983, there followed a sudden increase in pedestrian and cycling deaths and serious injuries, reversing a trend that had been showing a decline for almost two decades, driver fatalities remained steady. Likely reason for this - when drivers feel safer, they take more risks.

    2. Many independent surveys show consistently that nearly 70% of collisions between cyclists and motorists are the fault of the motorist, the old ‘I just didn’t see him’ accident.

    3. Around 1 pedestrian every two years is killed by a cyclist.

    4. Not sure on the exact figure but the number of pedestrians and cyclists killed by cars each year is in the 100s.

    5. Drivers killed by cyclists? I’m guessing not many.

    And yet there's everyone yelling "Look, he ran a red light!!" at the cyclist.

    I don't get it, cyclists don't add to congestion (the opposite in most cases), very rarely harm anyone (compare us to deaths/injuries caused by alcohol related violence, taxis, buses, cars, muggers, etc.) and in most cases are pretty healthy (i.e. more likely to be less of a drain on the NHS than your average fatty).

    Drivers, lets face it, if you're hauling a ton upwards of machine around at speed or whilst not fully concentrating when there are people around (e.g. cyclists or pedestrians) then you're an absolute bastard. Yet many of the people that bleat about a cyclist who has the audacity to run a red light (usually causing I might add absolutely no inconvenience to anyone) are aggressive and/or careless drivers. Consider driving whilst talking on the phone, putting on makeup, reading a paper, etc. All of these are occur on a daily basis but when mentioned never bring up as much vitriol as a discussion on cyclists brings up.

    Nationally I think we need to sort out our views on who the big, evil road users are – say a cyclist on a bike with no lights at night, running the odd red light, causing virtually no harm to anyone, or the guy in the car/van, driving aggressively, at speed with not enough observation who is at least a 1000 times more likely kill or maim someone.

    For the record I am both a cyclist and a motorist.

    PS with regards to the “we pay tax, it’s not fair” argument, on a bike I don’t need roads, they’re for the benefit of cars primarily and cycling on one just increase the risk that I’ll be run over.

  136. Peter Hughes

    Gosh what a popular thread...

    Pedestrians and cyclists should all be banned.

    Anyone who drives slower than 80mph is gay.

    It's all the government's fault.

  137. Geoff Bowen

    @ Steven Jones

    Your comment about banning motorbikes is interesting. This government has made noises in the past about wanting to do that due to the statistics of injuries / fatalities.

    As a sensible rider (and yes, we do exist, you just dont notice us very much as we arent filtering through motorway traffic @ 70 or overtaking in inappropriate locations), I assume every person in a 4 wheeled tin box is a blind dick. Most of the time, drivers are ok but 4-5 times a day I've predicted a car pulling out or changing lanes on motorways without checking mirrors adequately. Unfortunately when you ride, you have to think like this all the time if you want to live!

    The sheer fact of the matter is alot of motorcycle accidents are a consequence of poor car drivers skills.

    Don't get me wrong, we are not a blameless breed, I know plenty of dicks on bikes, some who even after fairly serious injury carry on and sadly, sooner or later they will get to meet their maker.

    Pulling this back to the original article, you can put all the cameras and 20mph limits in you like, bad drivers are bad drivers. Ditto inconsiderate cyclists and dumb pedestrians.

    People will continue to die / get injured until the government wakes up to the truth that the key way to reduce accidents is to improve the skills of road users.

    I'd like to see - mandatory eye tests for all road users every 2 years, with an indication on your licence on whether you need corrected vision to legally drive. It should be a prisonable offence to be on the road in any capacity without corrected vision as you are as much a danger to all other road users as a drunk driver.

    Mandatory retests for all drivers / motorcycle riders every 10 years and every 3 years when over the age of 65.

  138. Cody

    The question

    The question all you fulminating guys who want to drive fast need to answer is this: how many people do you think it reasonable for us as a country to aim at killing and injuring on the roads? And how many do you think we, the people you may kill, will accept?

    The people being killed are mostly pedestrians, some cyclists, mostly either young or quite old.

    The reason why 20 rather than 30 makes sense is that (roughly) at 20, almost no one you hit will die. At 30 about half will. At 40, almost all will. It is not linear.

    The reason is simple. The vulnerability of the human body to impact rises faster than the force of impact. And in addition, the force of the impact rises faster than the speed of the impact. This means that at 40, which is only double 20, the impact is several times as severe, and although the impact is only (say) 5 or 10 times as severe, the likelihood of killing because of increased vulnerability of the body is 50 or 100 times as great.

    So, if you want to lower the death rate, you have to lower the speed at which pedestrians get hit. The only way to do this is lower the speeds.

    It is fairly predictable. If we raise the limit to 40, we can probably manage to kill around 5,000 a year and seriously injure maybe 5 times that many. Keep going as now, and whatever we do in the way of training, at the same speed limits we will carry on killing around 3.000 and seriously injuring 15,000 or so. Cut the limits to 20, and rigorously enforce existing limits, and 1,000 deaths and 5,000 serious injuries is within sight.

    Now, some of you say that 'you do not want' to be driving at 20mph on a road that, as a road, will allow you to drive safely at 50.

    I have news for you.

    We do not care what you want. We are not interested in your feelings. What we want is for our friends, neighbors, relatives, children, wives and husbands, not to get fatally hit by you. We do not care whose fault it may be. We want our people to survive the collisions which we know are going to happen.

    If you cannot or will not obey the speed limits, we want your licenses taken away. If you carry on driving, we want you in jail. We are serious about this. We very much like the freedom that the car has brought. We don't like the freedom to drive at 30 rather than 20 enough to die for it, or for you to kill our relatives for it.

    The proposal is excellent. It should be accompanied by concealed speed cameras on all roads, and distance travelled speed cameras on all motorways. The country needs to get used to obeying the law. And yes, that means travelling a few miles UNDER the speed limit, if you want to keep your license.

    Looking forward to it.

  139. edp33


    I don’t have problems with residential speed limits, my main annoyance is drivers plondering along at 20mph under the national speed limit then staying at the same speed, hence breaking the speed limit through residential areas, just madness!

    Second pet hate is police offers with speed guns right next to the national speed limit sign at the end of a town. Yes you shouldn’t accelerate until your past the sign, but it does seem a bit harsh catching people here. If speeding in towns was really to be clamped on, then they should focus on catching drivers a lot earlier. A few years ago I was driving 10mph under the speed limit through a tiny village, and started accelerating before the national speed limit sign, fortunately just received a caution for doing 39 in a 30 zone, the police offer at the time said if I was doing 2 mph more I would have had 3 points.

    Just last week my friend got caught just before leaving a town doing 36 in a 30 zone and has received a letter through the post stating that they intend to prosecute. Makes me really how lucky my caution was !

  140. Red Bren

    @Mad Mike

    As a cyclist, how much do you suggest I should pay?

    Motorways are the most expensive roads to build/maintain and I'm are not permitted to use them. Local roads are maintained by local authorities funded by local and general taxation which we both pay. Wear and tear on roads is proportional to the third or fourth power of the axle weight, so a bicycle does roughly 1000* times less damage to the road than a car.

    It looks like I'm subsidising you. I think you owe me a pint!

    * a rough calculation and I'm being very conservative.

  141. Mike Lovell

    Confused ---- dot com!

    "When will all those speed loving idiots realise that driving slower has virtually no impact on how long it take to get anywhere. If you drive 70 miles at 70mph it takes you an hour. Drive those 70 miles at 60mph it takes you 10 minutes longer - big deal"

    Virtually no impact, ~16.7 percent quicker! And you're assuming people (on say motorways) don't go 100mph+, in which case, you'd be making exellent time (like I do).

    Oh and "Anonymous Coward":

    i) You have way too much time on your hands, stop posting so many times on the same story!

    ii) You keep contradicting yourself, work out what you want to say first - Then type it 'once' ;o)

    Anyhow, I better put my PDA down now and concentrate on the road. If I drop below 120mph I’m not going to make it to school in time to pick the kids up.

  142. Dale Morgan

    The simple solution

    Is to be very harsh on people driving dangerously, not using your indicators is dangerous driving, it bugs me so much seeing people not bothering to use their indicaters, their there for a reason and if that little stick is too complicated for someone to operate then they really shouldn't be driving.

  143. Anonymous Coward


    @ Steve Jones (the motorcycle hater) - been razzed off in you big german car recently by someone on a motorcycle have we? Fed up that a £6K machine $hits all over you big posh mowtah? Boo-bloody-hoo. Loser.

    @ Cody - sanctimonious p*ick, I assume you are a yank as you cannot spell 'neighbour' correct so kindly f*ck off back to where you came from - your opinions are noted and duly ignored. Oh, get a 'real' name instead like Frank or Arthur....Cody indeed.....pah!

  144. Matthew Smith
    IT Angle

    One potential advantage for the 21st Century Guy

    ... is that a traffic system restricted to 20mph will be easier to join for driverless vehicles. The frustration of moving slowly will be greatly alleviated by the opportunity to stretch out on the back seat reading The Reg with a nice cup of coffee, sleeping off your lunchtime lagers, or shagging that fit bird from the office.

    Cars without drivers does have one potential drawback in that the average passenger numbers will shrink from 1.001 to 0.501, as many people will send their cars home alone to avoid parking fees at the office.

  145. Nikolai Kuzmin
    Thumb Up

    The simple solution

    Just ban cars with more than 5hp:

    - carbon emissions go down,

    - road deaths go down,

    - cheaper cars,

    - etc.

  146. Steven Jones

    Dear anonymous

    Given the style of this response, then I think it speaks for itself. Anyway, just to clarify things I have ridden motorcycles in the past (I've had a full license from the age of 17) but from personal experience they are undoubtedly dangerous. As for big cars, well I have a perfectly ordinary car which is 10 years old as I got rather fed up of paying the taxes on new ones and if I felt the need do excessive speed, I'd do it somewhere of less risk to me or others.

    Nope - the point I was making is quiet simple. If you have motorcycles on the public road then fatality rates will be disproportionately elevated. I think given the response also glorifies the performance of these toys (and the sports bikes are most definitely not aimed primarily at transport), then I think it also goes some way to demonstrating what I suggested. That is motorcycle riders (especially the riders of sports bikes) are more likely to take risks. In hospitals motorcyclists are known as "organ doners" - maybe I ought to factor into my life-saving calculations this valuable service they provide.

  147. Steve Wehrle

    A couple of points

    1. If i have to drive at 20 mph, I'm going to be looking at the speedometer all the time instead of the road.

    2. Why can't we have "average speed" on motorways, starting from when you join the motorway and ending when you leave it? For every 5 minutes spent at 10 mph in a jam, you can do 5 minutes at over 120 mph!

  148. Steve


    @Red Bren

    Perhaps if you actually read the analysis on the safespeed site, instead of repeating the mantra ingrained into you, you would understand just how pointless your comment was. Yes exceeding the speed limit is a contributory factor …. in 5% of all crashes (and that including the nutters – have you read the DfT reports?); even then its only a contributing factor. Now, compare that against inattention, this having has the largest portion of the contributory factor pie. So will forcing over-reliance of an unreasonably low limit make attention to the road ahead better or worse?

    We used to have the best and safest roads in the world, now our fatality rate has completely stopped falling, deviating a long way from the well established, long-tern trend even though our cars are safer and hospital care is better. Why? Read the other side of the argument to find out:

  149. The Other Steve

    Who pays ?

    We all do. And in fact, non drivers are subsidising road use. Your 'road' tax covers ~20% of the actual cost to society of having a car biased transport infrastructure.

    Cost to the economy of road fatalities alone (not including serious or minor injuries) was ~£8bn last time I checked (NAO 2007). There's a big chunk of your 'road' tax right there. (Total cyclist fatalities hover around ~150 per year, and so account for less than 1 percent of this total, assuming the much bandied figure of 3k deaths per year). That sounds like a shit load of money, but don't flame me, that's an NAO figure.

    Erosion studies (undertaken after the ramblers got arsey about MTBs mucking up 'their' countryside) show that even fat tyred bicycles cause less damage to the transit surface than peds, so cyclists aren't putting any pressure on the physical infrastructure anyway, so I cost nothing in terms of road maintenance.

    Road building costs don't apply either, I don't need new roads for my bike, there are plenty of existing ones. And I can't use motorways, which account for the bulk of building cost.

    So what's to pay for ? Fuel ? Natch. Am I polluting ? No. Am I congesting ? No. Do I need a massive and expensive parking infrastructure ? No. Do I need to contribute some money to traffic calming, speed enforcement, and parking enforcement measures that are required because of my arrogant disregard for the traffic laws ? No, well, not unless the 20MPH limit in comes in.

    So I ask again, if I *were* to be paying road tax, what would it be for ? What costs should I be covering, exactly ?

    You pay VED for the privilege of driving a dirty, expensive, polluting and dangerous vehicle on *my* roads, and covering a fraction of the economic cost of *your* activity. You are in no way subsidising me.

    And while I'm chucking around figures, here's another of my favourites that illustrates how overblown some of the cycle safety debate really is. ~90% of cyclist fatalities involve an HGV or Bus. Cyclists, get ready to tick the flame box, because in my opinion as a regular cyclist, most of *these* are the fault of the cyclist. Despite my comment about shared bus/cycle lanes in another thread, I've never had any problems with bus drivers (well, not since I stopped living in Cheshire anyway) or HGV drivers. Virtually the only way to get killed by an HGV/bus is for you to take up a position in the driver's blind spot. Vehicle turns left, cyclist become axle decoration. Ouch. The driver really *didn't* see you, and this was all your own fault.

  150. Anonymous Coward

    Dear Steven Jones....

    Recent insurance company research (Carole Nash) showed that in over 70% of motorcycle accidents another road user was at fault (usually car drivers):

    So rather than ban motorcycles to reduce fatalities how about some training for the clueless & incompetent car drivers out there causing these accidents - much less discriminatory, smacks much less of the nanny state and also improves the situation for all road users - altogether the better option do you not think?

    Please explain what is more dangerous about riding along an urban road at 30mph than it is to drive a car in the very same situation? The danger invariably arises when someone else does something stupid or illegal that results in a collision. If no-one does anything out of the ordinary (as happens 99.9% of the time) then all is well.

    I accept that motorcyclists are more vulerable than car drivers but by the same measure so are cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians - should they be banned also? Last time I checked this is a democratic society and as such we motorcyclists have the right to ride same as you have the right to drive - and I for one would not EVER change this one little bit. To go down this road starts us on the slippery slope to somewhere most of us would not like to be.

    And your comments regarding fuel usage are not at all accurate - when RiDE magazine tested a large sports bike last month the same way that cars are tested to determine fuel efficiency a figure in excess of 67mpg was achieved and with a small commuter-type bike over 120mpg was the result. Significantly better than the British average (for cars) of 37mpg don't you agree?

    So, all we need is a government quango (such as PACTS) to demand that we put everyone (except vital businesses & services) on motorbikes and you will see CO2 emissions halve and accidents vastly reduced....but this is about as likely as bikes being banned.

    And to finish, it may surprise you to know that I ride a sports bike and strangely enough also have a clean licence - proving that not all sportsbike riders are mindless lunatics trying to kill themselves on Sunday afternoon on the A537.

  151. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Can we drop the tedious, facetious "speed doesn't kill, sudden acceleration/sudden deceleration/excessive speed/inappropriate speed/transfer of momentum kills" nonsense please? You all know full well what's meant - being hit at 60mph is massively more lilkely to kill you than being hit at 30mph, whether you're being hit as a ped or as a fellow driver. It's quite simple."

    Yes, Chris, it's very simple. It's *over-simple*. Your statement is true, but begs umpteen other questions that the Government slogans encourage "us" not to ask. It's handy, catchy marketting-speak in the interests of reducing the issue to an appeal to unreason. Your very inability to appreciate that road conditions change and appropriate speeds change with them makes me wonder how much driving you've actually done.

  152. Mad Mike

    @Red Bred

    'As a cyclist, how much do you suggest I should pay?'

    I want each group to pay their share. You may be paying yours through the routes you've identified. That's fine. However, motorists pay huge amounts more than is spent on the roads and are therefore paying well over their share. If they do, perhaps you should too?

    'Local roads are maintained by local authorities funded by local and general taxation which we both pay.'

    Indeed so. Where does all the fuel duty etc. go? General taxation. So, you pay nothing extra to use the roads, whilst car owners pay billions into general taxation through fuel duty etc. and not all of that is returned to the roads.

    So, in simple words, you pay the same tax as everyone else to ue the roads. e.g. Tax, council tax etc.etc. A car owner pays the same as you, plus all the car related taxes as well. Now, there's no doubting a car causes far more damage to the road than a bike, but the fact is, you pay nothing over your normal tax.

    Also, if you cause damage to a car which is your fault, it's normally the car owner that pays as you have no insurance and they do. They have to claim and take the hit etc. The only alternative is to sue you though the courts. So, am I being unreasonable in asking you be insured the same as a car driver. Premium would probably only be a few pounds a year for you perfect bike riders. Also, why should you not have to prove your bike is roadworthy? I bet there are tons of bikes being used that are death traps. So, why should you not have a bike equivalent of a MOT?

  153. Chris

    @ anonymous coward 14.00GMT

    Good grief. Of *course* road conditions change - that's why speed limits are different on different stretches of road. And one of the reasons they're different is because in the areas of lower speed limits there is a higher likelihood of an accident (e.g. due to passing through a hamlet on the A46, for instance, or going through a built up area) - and any accident is made worse, and is more likely to be fatal, the higher the speed(s) of those involved (which is not something that a sane person could dispute). And I'd rather take the local authority civil engineers' views on when it's safe to do 60 than rely on the common sense of some twat in a chavved up Nova, ta (sure, some people know when and how to drive safely, but 95% don't).

    And that's the government's point - if it's a 30 limit, and you do 50, you're much more likely to kill someone than someone obeying the speed limit doing 30. This is *still* very simple. Your very inability to appreciate this and your insistance on over-complicating the issue makes one wonder about how safely you drive, and how much you over estimate your abilities.

    I commute about 60 miles a day by car, btw, and see an awful lot of shitty drivers acting exceedingly recklessly, and regularly get delayed by accidents - probably at least once or twice a week. And I'm not a 60 year old pottering along complaining about all those youngsters in their silly fast cars, either - I'm 28 and drive a BMW 3 series.

  154. Mad Mike

    @The Other Steve

    'We all do. And in fact, non drivers are subsidising road use. Your 'road' tax covers ~20% of the actual cost to society of having a car biased transport infrastructure.'

    Really? Which country is that for? It certainly isn't the UK.Try the following link:-

    Right, so £25.1billion in fuel duty, £5.6billion in VED, £4.4billion in VAT on fuel duty (yes, VAT is payable on the fuel duty!!)

    So, your statement is total uninformed rubbish. The sort of drivel this government relies on. The sort of ignorant comment that the government loves. You're simply pandering to them. The total above is £35.1billion. So, that would make the total cost to this country five times that (you said the tax only covers 20%) e.g. £175.5billion.

    If you believe that, you must believe in fairies.

    Stop being a mouthpiece for the government and actually do decent research next time and quote something that is even vaguely close to reality.

  155. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not that anyone's going to read this, but...

    My primary form of transport is my electric bike, I don't own a car but I can drive (passed my test 1st time with no faults), I prefer to cycle whenever possible, even in freezing and wet conditions.

    Despite the fact that I am one of those cyclists who does cycles on the pavement at times, I do give a damn about the pedestrians so I get off and walk past them when the path isn't clear. My favourite place to cycle are towpaths, you can't call them cycletracks because there's often too many bloody pedestriants clogging them up & slowing you down, especially those fucking dog walkers, washing that shit (literally), which they never clean up, off your tyres & frame & sometimes clothes is not a fun experience.

    The *only* times I jump red lights are at 3am when there are no cars about because the bloody sensors on one set of traffic lights near me are only tuned to recognise car sizes & bigger. Usually I have to wait until a car turns up behind me to trigger the sensor.

    It's totally true about the police not giving two squats about cyclists without lights and/or riding dangerously. I don't always have my lights on and cycle on the roads at night because there's too many crazy bastards (read: teenagers with 'souped up' noisy shitty Novas) who drive around late at night like they're the only one driving on the roads anywhere, and the police don't bat an eyelid at me.

    And what's with all those 'painted on' cycle sections on the roads? that's just plain nosensical, it's a very rare thing to spot someone actually using them, the only thing they've done is to give the local counils the opportunity to say "we care about the cyclists" which is bullshit because all it does it squash the cars closer together, painting on the cycle section doesn't magically make the road wider!

  156. Anonymous Coward


    > It's totally true about the police not giving two squats about cyclists without lights and/or riding dangerously.

    Of course... every day, in every county, people nicking luxury goods from stores, knocking their fellow citizens around in pubs, and smashing up bus stops, are all getting cautioned - sometimes twice or even three times - before there's any chance at all of them getting prosecuted. What, exactly, do you think the police should be doing to the cyclists without lights, or cycling on the footpath? Beat the shit out of them with a metal pole, as someone suggested elsewhere on this thread?

    And as more than half of the entire Police Service (53%) in the UK will be retiring or otherwise leaving over the next five years (the "Edmond Davies bump"), you aren't going to see many around anyway...

  157. Mad Mike

    Darwin Award

    ' What, exactly, do you think the police should be doing to the cyclists without lights, or cycling on the footpath?'

    Nothing at all. However, when they get run over and killed, they should be sued for the damage to the car etc.etc. and the car driver should not be prosecuted. Unfortunately, that is not normally true.


    All crimes should be pursued. The fact we have a useless government who couldn't organise a p**s up in a brewery is not our fault.

  158. jeremy

    >80% road deaths are under 20

    Then raise the minimum age of driving to 21.

    Personally, I would raise it to 25.

    Stop your moaning all you <25 year olds. Driving is NOT a right, it is a privelege, and as you continue to demonstrate your manifest unsuitability to engage in this dangerous passtime, you should not be allowed to do so.

    Full Stop - unlike you in your car....*crash*

  159. Steven Jones

    TO Chris Roughneen

    If you go back to my original post you will see that somebody was bound to say it was the car drivers who caused most of the accidents and that if the overriding aim was to cut the fatality rate then banning motorcycles from public roads was the one things guaranteed to work. Didn't mean that I was really saying that they should really do it - just recognise the effect. Even if the statistic of just over two-thirds of accidents being due to motorists is true (and I'd want to see exactly what they are measuring here and how - self-interested motorcycle insurance specialists aren't a naturally unbiased source) and you adjusted out the effect of the extra accidents caused by motorists (so it was 50:50) would would still get a vast over-representation.

    In fact this guy here states (from a US study) that 41% of motorcycling fatalities do not involve another vehicle. Apparently more than twice the number than any other cause. Well maybe these 41% don't make an insurance claim which, if true, immediately makes a "nonsense of the 70% are caused by motorists argument".

    OK - it's an old report (1994), but given that fatality rate among motorcyclists has fallen far slower than for road deaths as a whole, then is it really the case that there has been such a turnaround? Here are a few sentences from the report:-

    "MOTORCYCLES The 2,304 motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 6 percent of total fatalities in 1994. The motorcycle fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is about 20 times that of passenger cars. Motorcycle operator error was identified as a contributing factor in 76 percent of fatal crashes involving motorcycles in 1994. Excessive speed was the contributing factor most often noted. "

    Here's another more recent one from 2005 (again American). 44% of motorcycle fatalities did not involve another vehicle

    So even if you eliminated all the motorcycle/vehicle accidents which were caused by the other vehicle driver (not all of which are cars) then 63% of all these motorcycle deaths are still attributable to the motorcyclist.

    Then there is this one :-

    "Motorcycles are also more likely to be involved in an injury collision with a fixed object than are other vehicles. In 1996, 15 percent of the reported injury crashes involving motorcycles were fixed object crashes, compared to 8 percent for passenger cars, 8 percent for light trucks, and 5 percent for large trucks."

    "In 1996, 42 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding, nearly twice the rate for drivers of passenger cars or light trucks. The percentage of alcohol involvement was 50 percent higher for motorcyclists than for drivers of passenger vehicles."

    Even if motorists did cause most accidents involving motorcycles, then you also ought to ask why this happens. Motorcycles are, of course, simply more difficult to see than cars or lorries. That's just a fact and no amount of "education" changes that. Maybe you can train everybody to be more cautious, but the disproportion will still arise. The "simply didn't see" syndrome is always going to happen - human beings are fallible. You can make it less likely to happen, but you can't eliminate it.

    As for the fuel-efficiency of motorcycles, then there are plenty of people I know who get around 40-45mpg out of sports bikes (sometimes less). My rather old diesel car (which is far from an economy model) average 45mpg. Yes, you can get more economical motorcycles but the guys I see every day on the motorway weaving their way in and out of traffic, down white lines, across hatchings are not, in general, riding those type of bikes. So if you want to make a green case, ride one of those 100mpg bikes, but if you have a Hond Fireblade you are on weak ground (and that's even before you taking into account the difference in load and passenger carrying capabilities).

    No, almost by their very nature, riders of high-powered motorcycles are less likely to be risk averse than road users as a whole. If safety was their prime concern then they simply wouldn't be exposing themselves to the extra dangers. My day-to-day experience is that this is the case. It was also my experience as a young motorcyclist (and we all know we are immortal at that age).

  160. the Jim bloke

    throwing fuel into the flames

    not my country, but I reckon private citizens should not be allowed to own vehicles bigger than scooters/vespa/whatever, or those smartcar things.

    If you have a job that requires moving stuff around, then you get a commercial license for an appropriate vehicle.

    High performance vehicles - bikes and cars, are just toys/penis surrogates, and should not be allowed to interfere with real road users.

  161. Ben

    Hey You , get your dirty little hands off my life .

    Just so long as we have a proper public consultation before

    finalising anything..............aaaaaaah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha .

    In the nation of the blind the one eyed man is king .

    The Solution :

    Compulsory 1 year on motorcycle for ALL drivers .

    Job Done :

    All the incompetent and/or aggresive ones dead in a month or

    sent back to skool . ( face facts , there are too many of us NOW ).

    If you dont like it , get a lift/bus/train/skateboard/pogostick.

    The DSA (Govt UK) are replaced by creatures of intelligence ,visit

    Cardington now for the time of your life......not.

    Compulsory ban for a month of all parties involved in rta's where

    no one requires hospital , 6 months if anyone does , plus

    retake of driving test. Provides incentive for self reflection.

    All private vehicles ( irrespective of configuration/symbolic libido )

    to be limited by power to weight ratio of sensible proportions.

    Heh! my fazer six will be well inside the limit naturally ....cos its

    just a tad smaller than my penis .....hahahahaha.

    Oh yeah and the re introduction of the Tufty Club for

    children of all ages.

    Humans huh? aint we NEAT? f*ck you! where's Chuck ?

  162. The Other Steve

    @Mad Mike

    OK Mike, lets talk some more numbers.

    Deaths from air pollution caused by traffic, according to the Lancet are 19,000 per annum, if we believe the NAO figure for economic cost per road death, that's another 50bn quid.

    That's already eaten your remaining contribution, and you're into negative numbers now just paying for the death toll inflicted on society by motoring. In fact, we seem to be paying you to kill us.

    That's what you can do when you just use a few straight numbers you pulled out of your arse.

    You want some proper research, perhaps I should have cited sources earlier, my bad, try these.

    You won't like that, it was done by the green nazis, they have an agenda. But these people :

    don't. Naturally, they give the motorist a little more leeway, citing that you probably pay ~33% of the actual cost of driving a car. Download the full paper, read it, be informed.

    So, far from being a government mouthpiece, I am merely someone who *has* actually taken the time to read the actual research.

    You might like to take the time to do the same before you start telling me I'm making unsubstantiated claims. You might wish to remain ignorant, it's your call.

  163. FrankR

    driver logic

    cop: Why were you speeding?

    driver : my brakes dont work and I was trying to get home quickly before I have an accident

  164. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After 160+ comments, remains simple

    After all this, it remains a very simple matter. Most of what people say on this top is of no significance.

    The essence of the question is this: we who live here do not want you driving through at more than 20mph.

    Our desire to have lower speeds where we live is more important than your desire to pass through a few minutes faster.

    It doesn't matter if you take longer to get there. Get used to it.

    It doesn't matter if you don't like whatever the limit is, any more than if you don't like any other law. Just keep to it.

    If you can't keep to speed limits while driving safely, stop driving.

    It doesn't even matter if we are wrong about death rates and accidents. We want lower speeds where we live, and we are going to get them. If we have to track every mile driven by every vehicle in the country.

    So get used to it.

  165. Anonymous Coward

    To Steven Jones

    Firstly accident stats - I have no reason to believe Carole Nash doctor their figures simply as the insure bikes (they also insure plenty of other things BTW) and I think their UK figures are vastly more relevant than US figures (where crash helmets are not always compulsory) in this instance.

    Secondly, even if your motorcyclist friends are 'only' achieving 40-45mpg from their machines that is still considerably better than the UK car average of 37mpg - and a bike covering a distance of 25 miles in 30 minutes uses much less fuel than a car taking 60 minutes to cover the same due to it's engine running for half the time..

    Thirdly, the 'weaving in & out of traffic' you refer to is not actually illegal - it's filtering (if you had once been a rider no doubt you have engaged in this yourself?) and next time you see a Police motorcylist in traffic doing the same perhaps you'd like to take it up with him the same way you seem so eager to take it up with 'normal' riders?

    Fourthly, I myself do not accept that bikes are harder to see than any other vulnerable road user - the SMIDSY (Sorry Mate I Didn't See You) type of accident cannot be blamed on the rider - if the driver does not see them it means they have not looked hard enough! Probably the same sort who amble along completely unaware when an emergency vehicle is sitting 10 feet from their rear bumper in the outside lane of a motorway with lights & siren blazing!

    When it comes to filtering one of the main things that car drivers do not understand is the simple concept that bikes DO NOT have to sit in traffic - why should they sit there behind you wasting fuel if they don't have to? Bikes have a lot to offfer when it comes to congestion-busting (more so than any other form of motorised transport) and to overlook these benefits smacks of an ingrained & groundless bias against bikes.

    Finally, as riders we accept the risks (same as anyone does whenever they step onto an aircraft or go white-water rafting) inherrent in our method of commuting/hobby and it will be a sad day indeed IF the safety nazis ever get their way and bikes are forced from our roads.

    Again, I think better education of other road users (such as the THINK! advert on TV recently) will be a much better option than banning a specific form of transport if we are wanting to reduce road fatalities - banning is the easy option to any problem and we could apply it universally to all sorts of things that 'offend our sensibilities' could we not?

  166. Lee Shields

    How about sorting the hospitals first

    More people are killed by infections caught in hospital than on the UKs roads.

  167. Steven Jones

    to Chris Roughneen

    I should let this one go of course, but I can't help but point out that weaving in and out of lanes on the Motorway is specifically covered by the Highway Code and when you change lanes then the onus is on the driver/rider to chack there is a safe gap, look and signal. Most certainly it does not allow for the sort of high-speed weaving between vehicles at high speed :-

    "242. Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake. In congested conditions, where adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes be moving faster than traffic to the right. In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right. Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake."

    Now a breach of the Highway Code is not in itself an offense, but it can be considered as evidence. Even if it wasn't an offense, it's bloody dangerous. If you can't see why it's dangerous to weave amongst lines of close-packed vehicles travelling at speed on a motorcycle, then that maybe goes some way to explaining the excess deaths among rders. If you want some more interesting statistics to read, then start looking for the difference in accident stats between riders of performance motorcycles and others - or for that matter performance car against otheres. As usual, the best researched statistics are American, but given their overally experience appears to be similar to ours (in relation to other motor vehicles) then I doubt they are much difference.

  168. Richard Cross

    Best of Both Worlds

    I don't understand the obtuse thinking that refuses to acknowledge any merit in the opposing (cars v bicycles), (safety v speed), (legislation v personal responsibility) arguments.

    We can't have an absence of laws/ accountability just because a few drivers are quite skillful and wary of the danger they pose to others. There are so many arrogant people who just don't give a damn about anyone else that the threat of jailtime or financial punishment is absolutely required to check their attitudes (and typically accompanying lack of driving skills, amongst which I would include, observation, decision making and anticipation). I used to race Superbikes and I love speed, but we learnt that the safest way to go faster was learning when we had to go slow.

    I'm really impressed by cities like Oslo and Amsterdam where bicycle riding is prolific. Fit healthy people who aren't risking their lives by taking an environmentally positive action, nor are they passing the danger down the road 'food chain' to the pedestrians. The transport system has been designed to achieve this harmonious balance. It starts with the intention to do it rather than just regarding bus/ pedestrian types or cyclists as driving-wannabees.

    The trouble is, we all need a degree of speed, be it on foot, two wheels or four wheels or more. Predictable consistent speed is better. As IT people, we often refer to this as 'bandwidth management'. How to maximise throughput with the most reliability. I don't think slowing down the traffic speed is the best way to balance throughput and avoid collisions. Better traffic management is the way forward.

    Overall, i would like to see something that allows for more personal responsibility like with German Autobahns - no speed limit but you must be in control, so if you crash into someone, you face a harsh penalty. I'm all for slower speeds and collision avoidance when it is really needed, but my car/motorbike/brain's ability to travel at 90mph on a barren stretch of 3 lane tarmac should only be risky from a safety point of view, not a legal one. Then for the people who ignore the traffic protocols and jeopardize the other network user's speed and reliability, they should face massively harsh deterrants - the sort of which will re-engineer their attitudes and skills.

  169. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Good grief. Of *course* road conditions change - that's why speed limits are different on different stretches of road.

    Conditions change with time as well as place. *That*'s what you and the strident nannies are ignoring.

    "I'd rather take the local authority civil engineers' views on when it's safe..."

    Not all road speed limit decisions are taken in a rational, evidence-based environment. I can see why daytime speed limits like the A38 through Birmingham have dropped a bit over the years as traffic volume has increased, but when the road is empty (at 3 am), well-lit and wide, and a comfy speed in 5th is 40, why can the speed limit not increase? And be 50 on the expressway section?

    "the government's point - if it's a 30 limit, and you do 50, you're much more likely to kill someone than someone obeying the speed limit doing 30. This is *still* very simple."

    It's still an ovesimplification for the sheep in this country who can't comprehend the difference between stake and probability of event.

    "Your very inability to appreciate this and your insistance on over-complicating the issue makes one wonder about how safely you drive, and how much you over estimate your abilities."

    Just because I think the speed limits need increasing doesn't mean I speed any more than you do. I have 200000 miles under me without an accident or a point on my licence and numerous occasions where my anticipation has prevented others' rank stupidity killing me.

    "I commute about 60 miles a day by car, btw, and see an awful lot of shitty drivers acting exceedingly recklessly..."

    I walk to work each day and see the same number. Most of those are going less than 30 mph. Many of those are what you might expect to be "professional" drivers: taxis, artics, delivery vans and the like.

    "...I'm 28 and drive a BMW 3 series..."

    Ah. BMW. 'Nuff said. Me, I'm 40 and drive a Nubira. Estate.

    "All crimes should be pursued. The fact we have a useless government who couldn't organise a p**s up in a brewery is not our fault."

    Yes it is. Collectively.

  170. Chris

    @ Anonymous Coward

    "Conditions change with time as well as place. *That*'s what you and the strident nannies are ignoring.

    Not all road speed limit decisions are taken in a rational, evidence-based environment. I can see why daytime speed limits like the A38 through Birmingham have dropped a bit over the years as traffic volume has increased, but when the road is empty (at 3 am), well-lit and wide, and a comfy speed in 5th is 40, why can the speed limit not increase? And be 50 on the expressway section?"

    Oh, I agree that the speed limits can stand to be changed upwards in certain areas (motorways could definitely be a bit higher, for instance, as per certain more enlightened continental countries), and that a road can be safe to do 40 in at one time of day and only safe to do 25 at another, but I'd still much prefer that decision to be taken by the government or local authority than by the individual driver. How many people *under*estimate how good a driver they are? The person setting the speed limit also knows better than someone just passing through the area that although the first section of that 30 stretch looks like it's all country lane and safe to do 50, just around the corner is a zebra crossing in front of a school which at 50 you'd be unable to stop for.

    I'd not trust 95% of drivers to make a decision on what speed they should be doing in a "rational, evidence-based environment", or even a fully informed one. There are precious few drivers who are as careful and unlikely to cause an accident as you say you are.

    And in any event, from a legal point of view how on earth would you enforce a speed limit which is determined by the skill of the driver? How would you even determine it in the first place? "Dangerous driving" is a subjective enough offence as it is, without making one's speed entirely policed by that offence.

    Far simpler, and easier to enforce, is to have set speed limits for set stretches of road. We all know what they are, and if you're in such a hurry that you'd need to consider speeding, then you should just have left a little earlier.

    So - yes, we should increase one or two speed limits around the place, but anything more than just increasing certain set speed limits is going to be ridiculously impossible to police, and *will* lead to more accidents.

  171. Anonymous Coward

    Hoon Laws ?

    Is this the answer ?,21598,22627542-2761,00.html

    Or overkill on Police powers ?

  172. Mad Mike

    @The Other Steve

    I really don't know whether to laugh or cry at your stupidity and perversion of research. Laughable.

    'Deaths from air pollution caused by traffic, according to the Lancet are 19,000 per annum, if we believe the NAO figure for economic cost per road death, that's another 50bn quid.'

    Now, I'll put this simply. A dealth caused by air pollution is not actually a 'road death'!! A road death is a death caused directly by the road. Perhaps you would like to include heart attacks for pedestrians witnessing a road death whilst you're at it. Also, if you divide £50billion by 19,000 you get £2.63million. Now, I know the government have been pumping money into the NHS at some rate, but £2.63million costs per death? And that's an average!! Anyone who believes that is away with the fairies. Total fantasy. SImple rational thought processes say it can't possibly be that much.


    Unbiased? Who was the report produced in association with? AEA Group!! An environmental group!! So much for unbiased!! Just before you go on about it being university reasearch blah di blah, you have to realise that university research normally backs the people that fund it. The reason is simple. University workers need paying as much as anyone else and finding against the people providing the money usually results in no more money!! Additionally, university researchers are well known for jumping on any bandwagon that provides funds. So, no, this is far from independent research.

    In short, you have looked up a few articles and papers etc. and taken them pretty much at face value rather than actually assessing them. In doing what you have done, you have fallen for figures that are blatantly and obviously ludicrous and accepted research papers that are biased. Well done!!

  173. Mad Mike

    @Chris Roughneen

    'Secondly, even if your motorcyclist friends are 'only' achieving 40-45mpg from their machines that is still considerably better than the UK car average of 37mpg - and a bike covering a distance of 25 miles in 30 minutes uses much less fuel than a car taking 60 minutes to cover the same due to it's engine running for half the time..'

    Really. What a load of rubbish. If the motorbike is covering the distance in half the time, it must by definition be going twice as fast. Therefore, it will be emitting more per minute!! So, the increase in speed of the bike (which generally means more emissions!!), could actually result in the same or even more emissions!! The above statement alone shows your thinking is completely addled.

    'Thirdly, the 'weaving in & out of traffic' you refer to is not actually illegal - it's filtering (if you had once been a rider no doubt you have engaged in this yourself?) and next time you see a Police motorcylist in traffic doing the same perhaps you'd like to take it up with him the same way you seem so eager to take it up with 'normal' riders?'

    Whether it is illegal or not, is somewhat irrelevant. It's actually quite dangerous. When motorbikes suddenly appear from nowhere, accidents happen. Weaving in and out of traffic causes a lot of accident. Granted, not normally bad, in that a lot happens at very low speeds, but it does cause a lot. And before people jump on the bandwagon, it's not always the cars fault. When you're waiting in queues and motorbikes suddenly race past inches from your door at relatively high speed (say 20mph when you're stationary), it gives almost no time to react.

    'Fourthly, I myself do not accept that bikes are harder to see than any other vulnerable road user'

    Well, I'm afraid your in the minority. As the target is smaller, it is by definition harder to see. Also, because of their small size, they are hidden much easier by posts etc. within the car. They are also hidden easier by road signage etc.etc. Anyone who thinks motorbikes are as easy to see as cars really needs adjusting to the real world.

    However, having said the above, I do believe that all road users need to be much better educated about road manners, driving etc.etc. You can introduce more laws as much as you like, but it is peoples driving ability (whether car, motorbike, etc.etc.) that causes most of the issues.

This topic is closed for new posts.