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February 2011 Blog Posts (21)

Dawkins on dimwitted Dundridges

A good anti-regulation piece by Richard…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 28, 2011 at 22:00 — No Comments

Importuned at every turn

I’m just back from a necessary drive across central London and back, made twice as long because of innumerable traffic lights that block progress, whether there is conflicting traffic or not. Every urban trip you make, on foot or on wheels, is plagued by impositions on your time and insults to your intelligence. As if we can’t decide for ourselves when it’s safe to go! Indeed, being…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 28, 2011 at 14:00 — No Comments

Amber-flashing lights?

The RAC has published a report about traffic lights. Among their "ideas" is amber-flashing lights off-peak, "so drivers can cross with caution". As mentioned before, this exposes the shocking assumption that with lights, we don’t need to exercise caution; all we need to do is obey the system, which usurps our judgement and turns us into unthinking robots. Obviously amber-flashing…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 28, 2011 at 10:00 — No Comments

For and against traffic lights (Part 303)

At major junctions at peak times there is a case for traffic lights. Otherwise, the case against them is far stronger. It’s richly ironic that so much public money goes on systems of control that seek to achieve what we can better deliver naturally.

Added by Martin Cassini on February 28, 2011 at 9:30 — No Comments

Sniffing out cant

Sniffer dogs take their cues from their handlers and can be misled; sophisticated neuro-imaging lie detectors are prone to being outfoxed. "I enjoy devices such as brain-scanning lie detectors and hi-tech sniffer dogs," writes Ben Goldacre in his Guardian column, "because their appeal speaks to our desire for simple mechanical explanations in a complex world." The parallel with…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 26, 2011 at 19:30 — No Comments

Science is about disproving hypotheses

This report proves "the Buchanan-Cassini hypothesis that at given junctions within a given road network, the removal of traffic control will bring universal benefits".

Added by Martin Cassini on February 26, 2011 at 18:44 — No Comments

Blame for "accidents" (Blog post no. 300)

So seamless is the improperganda purveyed by road safety "experts", that it can produce these remarks in today’s Guardian about the road death of a child: "The victims and perpetrators in an accident are two parts of a whole," writes surviving sister, Kira Cochrane. "The dearth of communication [from the driver] was a wicked, vexed lacuna." No, the wickedness is the failure of…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 26, 2011 at 10:30 — No Comments

Party time

The Standard reports a party thrown by BJ for outgoing TfL roads boss, David Brown (salary: £316,655 pa). An unnamed TfL spokesperson claimed Brown was "a first-class manager who has saved London £100s of millions". Funny, 1000 new sets of traffic lights, each costing £150,000 + running costs, sprang up under Brown’s watch. He refused to appear on my Newsnight report, and always…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 25, 2011 at 19:00 — No Comments

Indecisive? Not sure ...

FiT is not strict regulation, but an informal arrangement meaning filter more or less in turn. Point made in this hilarious spoof article.

Added by Martin Cassini on February 24, 2011 at 23:00 — No Comments

Covert repression

In a commentary about the wave of protests in North Africa, Peter Beaumont in The Observer writes, "Corruption is often rife; a culture of repression is vigorous and deeply ingrained." These words apply equally to traffic control based on anti-social priority, intolerance, coercion and repression. Far-fetched? With thousands killed and tens of thousands hurt on our roads every year,…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 20, 2011 at 10:00 — No Comments

Could mobile phone use improve driving?

If mobile phone use is banned because it takes our eyes off the road (I often ask), should traffic lights and speed cameras be banned for the same reason? Now simulator tests carried out at Kansas University show that using your mobile might make you a safer driver. The monotony of driving, say scientists, is itself a risk. 45 people who drove for 30mins while talking on the phone were…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 16, 2011 at 9:30 — No Comments

Amber means ..?

The following comment appeared on my YouTube channel (mjcassini): "I was travelling with a friend and his young daughter. She asked what the red light meant. He said, Stop. And green? He said, Go. And yellow? GO FASTER! I laugh at the joke, but also the fact that it is what a lot of people do. Later, of course, he explained what it really meant."

Added by Martin Cassini on February 15, 2011 at 16:00 — No Comments

Confessions of a London cyclist

It goes without saying there are too many cycling deaths on our roads, and the idea of extra mirrors to boost lorry driver awareness of cyclists is welcome. I'm not one of those who call for segregated cycle lanes – I'm for integration on Equality Streets. But last night I nearly became another statistic. Cycling back to central London through Oakley Square in Camden, as I pulled out…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 15, 2011 at 10:00 — No Comments

Inaction speaks louder than words

If the Big Society is about less government and more personal responsibility, why does the state persist in usurping our judgement and demanding bovine obedience on the road?

Added by Martin Cassini on February 14, 2011 at 9:30 — No Comments

Why I hate lollipop men and women (2)

Lollipop men and women facing the axe from council cuts have sparked claims that children will face greater danger as a result. In 2009, twelve under-18s were killed or hurt on UK roads every day. Prof John Wann of Holloway College says that children's perception of speed is undeveloped (is that stating the obvious?) Like Brake, he wants more regulation. They see the…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 13, 2011 at 11:30 — No Comments

Freedom from oppression

"Mubarak’s resignation is the greatest day of my life!" said El Baradei, "It marks release from 30 years of oppression." Maybe, but don’t succeeding governments find different ways to oppress us? I don’t want to downplay the news from Egypt or overplay my campaign for traffic system reform, but when you consider that the annual casualty toll on UK roads alone is 28,000 (and I argue…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 11, 2011 at 17:30 — No Comments

Awesome Welles

Last night’s Culture Show had a clip of the BBC Arts programme, Monitor, in which Huw Wheldon asked Orson Welles, "You had never made a film before, so where did you get the confidence to make Citizen Kane?" Welles replied, "Ignorance!" Commenting on the clip, Stephen Frears said, "The more you know about a subject, the more aware you are of the problems, and the less adventurous you…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 11, 2011 at 14:30 — No Comments

Right and proper?

Pursuit of what is "sensible, just, right and proper" was stated by an MP as motivation for rejecting EU guidance on voting rights for prisoners. Yet MPs back a traffic control system which endangers life, subverts our social nature, and puts the onus on children to beware motorists. What is "sensible, just, right and proper" about that? In deferring so abjectly to traffic "experts",…

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Added by Martin Cassini on February 11, 2011 at 14:30 — No Comments

Another cyclist sacrificed

Goldsmith’s graduate, Daniel Cox, 28, was hit by a truck at the junction of Dalston Lane and Kingsland Road in East London last Wednesday and died on Friday. If instead of priority and signal control, we had equality and sociable filtering, would he be alive and unscathed today?

Added by Martin Cassini on February 9, 2011 at 19:00 — No Comments

They'll stone you when you're trying to save the Earth

From Metro (leg-pull?): As Ben Fogle waited at a red light, he was threatened with a parking fine because his stop-start eco engine was inactive.

Added by Martin Cassini on February 8, 2011 at 17:30 — No Comments

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