Free to Choose

Free to Move

June 2010 Blog Posts (16)

Missing the point again

So it’s confirmed: 4,200 a year die prematurely from respiratory illness caused by traffic pollution. But it’s OK. The authorities, media and clean air campaigners are on the case: it’s all down to traffic and roadworks. The all-seeing mayor is "investing £250,000,000 in sustainable long term measures such as the cycling revolution". Bizarre. It’s as if our Portishead lights-off trial - which cut journey times by over half,…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 30, 2010 at 18:00 — No Comments

Candle in a snowstorm

Every time I cycle round Elephant & Castle I remember Meryem Ozekman who was killed there last April. Entering the roundabout, you feel you're stepping off a cliff into a churning whirlpool of buses, trucks, vans and cars, their stressed-out drivers all vying for space and intent on getting ahead and beating the lights. In the eye of it, you're a candle in a snowstorm, completely exposed. So I tend to flag my presence…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 30, 2010 at 8:30 — No Comments

More improperganda

I don't buy the improperganda peddled by TfL and broadcast by The Evening Standard. Roadworks the biggest cause of congestion in the capital? Come off it. No doubt the additional traffic lights make things even worse, but the main cause of congestion is traffic control itself. As usual, the authorities deflect the blame, and the media lap it up. I've been trying to get The Standard to take an article with a dose of truth, but…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 29, 2010 at 18:30 — No Comments

VAT increase inevitable?

Treasury Chief secretary, Danny Alexander, claims the VAT rise is ‘unavoidable’. If ignorance (of the potential for kind cuts in traffic system reform) is no excuse, there is no excuse for the increase, or for many of the cuts that would be unnecessary given the introduction of FiT Roads. I’ve emailed ministers including George Osborne, Philip Hammond, Lynne Featherstone, Vince Cable. The only reply has come from Norman Baker…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 27, 2010 at 14:00 — No Comments

Beats me

Ignorance is no excuse, as They tell us when justifying a tow-away for the heinous crime of forgetting to display a valid parking permit. Actually I think ignorance can be an excuse, but They are used to having it their way. It follows that They (as opposed to Us) have no excuse for inflicting high-cost, interventionist traffic control measures that disrupt civilised human interaction and cause more harm than good. But they…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 26, 2010 at 18:00 — No Comments

Secret Love

Now I shout it from the highest hill ... Sometimes it's difficult to contain the frustration you feel in knowing that public policy is profoundly mistaken while all around you, every day of every year, you see it abusing civilised values, as well as our time, health and safety. Health & safety isn't something I often defend, at least not the runaway regulation it has come to represent. I'm talking about roads made…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 25, 2010 at 17:30 — No Comments

The Boris audit

According to the Evening Standard's City Hall editor, Pippa Crerar, the mayor has failed to deliver on congestion and the environment. Hardly surprising, since he uses advisers who support a defective system and think inside the old box marked "Priority".

Added by Martin Cassini on June 25, 2010 at 10:30 — No Comments


London News had a report about a crackdown on cyclists who ignore traffic lights. "Cyclists must learn to obey the rules of the road," said Kulveer Ranger, the mayor’s transport adviser, thereby expressing support for a system which makes roads dangerous in the first place, inspires delinquency (see last entry), and fails to deal with the structural defect at the heart of our "problems" on the road.

Added by Martin Cassini on June 24, 2010 at 23:00 — No Comments

Delinquency inspired by the law

The other day I was crossing the road at a junction with a traffic light but no pedestrian signal. A woman driver in a Golf turning left into my path hooted at me in anger. I stood my ground and tried to say that the Highway Code tells drivers to give way to pedestrians at junctions. "But I've got a…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 24, 2010 at 22:30 — No Comments

Skateboards and roads

As mentioned elsewhere, the theory of spontaneous order says that the more complex the 'dance' of human movement, the less useful are attempts to control it. Thus, any attempt to control a skateboard park would be pointless - it looks after itself, with teens of all stripes merging in harmony. Clearly this is applicable to the roads, yet the clueless authorities impose regulation that puts us at odds with each other and our…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 24, 2010 at 12:30 — No Comments

Divested interests

Ian Perry spotted these 3 excellent short pieces by California architect, Arrol Gellner:…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 22, 2010 at 11:00 — No Comments

The Home Front

Today the number of British soldiers killed in the tenth year in Afghanistan reached 300. That’s the same number who die on our roads every year. We are supposed to be at peace. But the rules of the road put us at war. What an indictment.

Added by Martin Cassini on June 21, 2010 at 22:00 — No Comments


No-one in power seems to see the irony of ever more complex traffic control technology devised to solve road safety problems that originate in the flawed rules of the road. "An exercise in self-defeat," is how Kenneth Todd characterises traffic control. Today saw the launch of a trial in pedestrian countdown, "so pedestrians can see how long they have left to cross the road," says David Brown of TfL. Brown is the guy who…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 21, 2010 at 20:30 — No Comments

Crashes at traffic lights (USA, 2002)

From (ITE Journal, April 2010). In 2002 there were 1,299,000 crashes at traffic signal intersections. They account for 21% of all crashes, and 24% of all fatal and injury collisions.

Added by Martin Cassini on June 18, 2010 at 11:00 — No Comments

New videos

No room on this site unless I delete other videos, which I might at some point. Meanwhile: The Road to Nowhere, Part 1 (7.33') - a tighter edit of an earlier piece:…


Added by Martin Cassini on June 14, 2010 at 23:00 — 2 Comments

Spaced learning and FiT Roads

Pioneering headteacher, Paul Kelley (Monkseaton, North Tyneside), uses "spaced learning", a theory which shows that children get most out of lessons when they have plenty of breaks. The biological basis of memory (Scientific American, 2005, Douglas Fields) is a pathway of cells in the brain. To link up, cells need to be "switched on". Constant mental stimulation doesn't do it. It's the gaps that count. Spaced learning allows 10min gaps between three intensive teaching sessions of 15-20min. In… Continue

Added by Martin Cassini on June 12, 2010 at 13:00 — No Comments

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