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February 2009 Blog Posts (19)

"Danger junction" in Kent

Just saw this: http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/sevenoaks/Danger-junction/article-725896-detail/article.html?cacheBust=PzXCPeE6A9u5&success=true#community and posted this: As ever, the root of the problem is the system of priority, which imposes anti-social rights-of-way. In all other walks of life we take it in turns in the sequence, not the direction in which we arrive. Why not on the road? When lights are out of action, and there is uncertainty about priority, we do what is natural, safe and… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 28, 2009 at 15:00 — No Comments

2nd draft to transport minister: A silver bullet?

If we could show how – at minimal cost and virtually overnight – road accidents could be eliminated, traffic congestion could be eased, road rage resolved, police time freed up, fuel use and journey times cut, environmental targets met, life on the roads made safe and civilised, not just for drivers but pedestrians and public transport as well – would you be interested?



We propose a demonstration project that could provide a blueprint for an efficient road network and a convivial… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 28, 2009 at 0:00 — No Comments

Draft email to transport minister

A recent RoSPA press release states: “... the ultimate aim is the continued reduction of road deaths and injuries.” Amberlight says that 35,000 KSIs a year (killed and seriously injured) is unacceptable. Any hint of self-congratulation at the annual death count dropping below 3000 (seen in some press pronouncements at the time) is unspeakable, especially when you consider the point made by John Adams: "accident figures are distorted because old people hardly dare cross the road and children are… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 26, 2009 at 17:30 — No Comments

Bad parenting - traffic control

Bad parenting is like traffic control. Put a toddler in a house with breakable knick-knacks, be intolerant about its need to explore, then scold it when the inevitable happens. In the same way, our traffic control system sets the stage for conflict by making us operate within a framework based on directional priority, which negates social custom and fosters aggression. Then the puppeteers deflect blame and hand down punishment when the inevitable happens.

Added by Martin Cassini on February 25, 2009 at 13:00 — No Comments

Shared space but not shared surfaces

Blind people usually welcome the idea of shared space, but not shared surfaces (where kerbs are removed and there is no defined pavement). FiT Roads believes that mutual tolerance will flourish and vulnerable users be safer on roads free of standard priority and traffic lights, but until the desired behaviour shift (considerate filter-in-turn) has been shown to survive the possible Hawthorne effect (novelty wearing off, might assuming right), it is easy to understand why blind people… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 24, 2009 at 22:30 — 5 Comments

Driving distractions

With all due disrespect for one-dimensional regulation, and for “campaigns” such as 'Driving for Better Business', which fail in their duty to question authority and pursue liberating change - if the ban on in-car phone use is justified because it distracts us from concentrating on the road, should traffic lights, speed cameras and speed limits be banned for the same reason?

Added by Martin Cassini on February 23, 2009 at 21:00 — No Comments

Titanic and teaspoon

Given the wasted energy and added emissions produced by spurious traffic controls, I've always seen as hypocritical government "advice" to switch to longlife lightbulbs, etc. Fresh proof that much environmentalism is fundamentally religious, writes Simon Hoggart (Guardian, 22 Feb 09), is like baling out the Titanic with a teaspoon (from David Mackay's Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air). Switching off your phone charger for a day is used up in one second of car driving. Switching it… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 21, 2009 at 19:00 — 2 Comments

Burden of Proof

Lately I've been concentrating on winning support for a Trial to compare junction safety and efficiency with and without traffic controls. As Kenneth Todd has said, it shouldn't be up to us to prove controls are unnecessary, but for the authorities to prove otherwise, something they have never done. In fact there is no law that requires junction priority or control. Wouldn't it be refreshing if we could just abolish priority and lights today - OK tomorrow, with an accompanying publicity… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 19, 2009 at 23:30 — No Comments

The better judge?

Who is the better judge of when or how fast it's safe to go - you and me at the time and the place, or lights and limits fixed by absent regulators?

Added by Martin Cassini on February 18, 2009 at 11:29 — No Comments

Unchained children

Too many children are prisoners. Like the three I saw today (aged about 5 to 11) having lunch in a pub with their parents. Mother was quiet; father quite vocal, but his conversation consisted entirely of instructions and prohibitions. "Sit still. Eat your food. Be quiet. Behave." In the faces of the children: resentment, reluctant obedience, gritted teeth. There is a tendency to equate discipline with restriction and punishment, but the primary meaning of discipline is learning by example, as a… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 15, 2009 at 21:00 — No Comments

Road safety

Kenneth Todd calls traffic management an exercise in self-defeat. Spot on. How many organisations are dedicated to road safety, and how many miss the point? The system they accept is a system with a flaw: main road priority. Priority gives one set of road-users rights-of-way over others, not because they had arrived first - which is the civilised way to behave - but because of the artificial distinction between main and minor roads. Main roads were granted "superior" rights with a licence to… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 12, 2009 at 9:30 — No Comments

The rules of the road

What is it that makes roads inhospitable, particularly in towns and cities? Domination of public space by vehicles. Why do vehicles dominate? They are licensed to dominate - by the rules of the road. If you are driving on a main road, the rules licence you to plough on. If a child or blind person or another car is waiting to cross, you are required to ignore them. If you want to do the decent thing - let them go because they were there first - you'd be disobeying the rules. The authorities… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 8, 2009 at 17:30 — No Comments

All too familiar

More reports about dubious traffic management:
http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/yourtown/witney/4101733.Lights__making_traffic_worse_/

Added by Martin Cassini on February 6, 2009 at 2:00 — No Comments

Bulletin Board

I started this thread in the absence of a general message area (in fact I just emailed Ning to suggest that instead of the largely trivial activity summary on the main page, they think about a bulletin board). Anyway, today brought valuable additions to the group: Mark Wadsworth (quick mind, libertarian views, Westminster based), Gary Waldron (practical intelligence), John Shepherd (retired businessman, plain speaker) and Chad Dornsife, Executive Director of the BHSPI (Best Highway Safety… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 4, 2009 at 14:30 — No Comments

Thai pose (typos)

With my linguistic punctiliousness it was with shock horror that I spotted a typo (their for there!) in a forum post about speed. Ning doesn't allow editing after the (tragic) event, so it remains there for ever unless I delete it. But it's followed by posts from other members, so I'm gritting my teeth and learning to live with it. Reminds me of a story about an aged don at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He played the organ at chapel services and was punctilious about his music. One night some… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 4, 2009 at 0:32 — No Comments

Coercion v commonsense and context

Depressing announcement on the News just now from the Association of Chief Police Officers. They propose average speed cameras instead of traffic calming measures in built-up areas to deter people from "speeding". I put speeding in inverted commas because to my mind it is a fabricated crime, rather like jaywalking. Do these people live in the Dark Ages? Have they never noticed that people behave worse when herded, hounded and told what to do, and better when given responsibility and freedom to… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 3, 2009 at 17:00 — No Comments

Activity obsession

Another thing I just realised about this Ning thing is that it records all your activity, however trivial, e.g. 'Martin edited his profile', or 'Martin added a blog post', and there doesn't seem to be a way of deleting such mind-numbing, space-wasting drivel. If anyone knows how to, please let me know. Ah, just found a delete option and the default settings, so OK now!

Added by Martin Cassini on February 2, 2009 at 22:30 — No Comments

A musing

I was having difficulty editing my FiT Roads website, so thought I'd give this Ning thing a try, which I happened across today. The amberlight name has a double meaning (we like a double entendre): it expresses my live-and-let-live traffic philosophy - amber expresses cooperative alert; and of course, light goes with ning, even if there's a dot in there. Still getting to grips with it, but so far, apart from an apparent inability to sort photos adequately, and the presence of ads, it seems… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on February 2, 2009 at 22:10 — No Comments

Where did ...

... amberlight come from? That's the url I gave it when registering - amberlight.ning.com - but after posting the last entry I realise you don't see that. Call the last post a musing to self.

Added by Martin Cassini on February 2, 2009 at 22:00 — No Comments

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