Free to Move
Why stop at a red light? Once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Seriously, why should we stop when there is no conflicting traffic? Adulthood is supposed to be about independence and responsibility. What do traffic lights and speed limits do? Outlaw independent thought and action. Remove responsibility. Infantilise us. Yesterday I had the dubious pleasure of driving through Oxford and Swindon. In Oxford especially, there is a hardly a crossing that is not governed by traffic signals.…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on July 18, 2012 at 14:41 — No Comments
The transport select committee, chaired by Louise Ellman, is concerned about the rise in road deaths, 51 up on last year to 1901. It took no notice of submissions from me and Kenneth Todd about the role of traffic lights in causing congestion, so it’s doubtful they would listen to our critique of road safety policy. Is it surprising there are fatalities when the root cause of danger on the road – priority – goes untreated? Ellman is “shocked” that 27% of young male drivers are involved in…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on July 18, 2012 at 14:39 — No Comments
Ken Livingstone, who during his reign added 1200 sets of traffic lights to London streets, now “pledges to install traffic lights to give cyclists a 5 second head start,” reports The Times. Boris too “is considering early green lights,” chirps the Evening Standard. In an editorial, it says, “this is a simple and sensible idea. We need more imaginative thinking to make our city safer for cyclists.” This pitiful coverage lays bare the total ignorance among editors and politicians alike of the…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on February 10, 2012 at 22:00 — No Comments
According to today’s news, NHS red tape is being cut to release nurses from the burden of form-filling so they can devote more time to patient care. As we know, there are moves to cut police red tape too, presumably so they can devote more time to their proper job. Same goes for traffic lights. Isn't it time for a major cull of those weapons of mass distraction and delay so that all road-users could squander less time stopping needlessly and devote more time to the proper job of getting from…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on January 6, 2012 at 13:17 — No Comments
In his Mansion House speech last night, the Foreign Secretary called for funding to help emerging democracies in North Africa avoid a reversion to autocracy. It’s not too far-fetched to see a parallel with roads. Britain is known for its democratic freedoms, yet roads are subject to autocratic control. If you arrive at a junction and can see it’s clear, are you free to go? Not if…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on May 5, 2011 at 8:30 — No Comments
Ken Livingstone says (ES, 7.4.11), "We now know that at least 4,000 people die prematurely every year because of poor air quality." Bizarre that it has taken him so long to wise up to this well-known fact. Under his watch as Mayor, over 1000 sets of traffic lights were added to London streets, each costing hundreds of thousands to install, more to maintain and run, making congestion…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on April 7, 2011 at 20:00 — No Comments
The FA demands respect when it should be earning it. How can you respect an organisation that fails so abjectly to adopt umpiring techniques that have been around since the advent of TV action replay? In the same way, how can you respect traffic controls that subvert age-old social instinct and common law principles of equal rights and…
Added by Martin Cassini on April 4, 2011 at 17:30 — No Comments
22-year-old student, Dorothy Elder, met a terrible end on 11 November 2009 at the junction of Southampton Row and Holborn. Bus driver, Leola Burte, is facing a charge of dangerous driving. The bus was stationary at red when Dorothy cycled up the inside. As the lights changed and they moved off, Dorothy was dragged under the bus. Speed wasn’t a factor. The prosecution alleges the driver…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on March 30, 2011 at 15:00 — No Comments
As well as defying commonsense and denying discretion, traffic signals foster dependency. Every day in London you’ll see pedestrians walk straight up to a Pelican crossing and press the button. Then they look up, see nothing coming, and cross. When the light changes, traffic has to stop for no reason other than the light is red. If you are driving and, like the pedestrian, use your…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on March 15, 2011 at 14:30 — No Comments
You’re sitting at a red light with nothing happening on the junction. You can see it’s safe to go. You know about global warming. Every second of pointless waiting is an insult to the planet and your intelligence. Do you stay or do you go? If you go, you are acting according to commonsense and environmental imperatives. If you stay, you are obeying the law, but neglecting those other…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on March 10, 2011 at 13:30 — No Comments
Chris Kelly reminded me that Milton Keynes is installing signals at roundabout junctions which by all accounts used to flow perfectly well. A case of regression to the mean-spirited and counterproductive?
Added by Martin Cassini on March 5, 2011 at 12:30 — No Comments
"What don’t you like about traffic lights?" I was asked by The One Show’s Anita Rani in Portishead today for an item that is due to air tomorrow (Wed 2 March). "They make us stop when it’s safe to go. They take our eyes off the road. They encourage inappropriate speed, generate hostility, extend journey times. They deny infinite filtering opportunities and expressions of fellow…Continue
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…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on February 28, 2011 at 14:00 — No Comments
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
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
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
Manchester Council is closing libraries, swimming pools and public toilets to meet budget cuts, but it’s OK: traffic lights will continue to operate (to general detriment) as usual.
Added by Martin Cassini on February 8, 2011 at 11:30 — No Comments
Sometimes I comment at the end of articles that hit my Inbox, like the following in response to this about the NYPD cracking down on cyclists who run red lights. "So much blame going back and forth! The real culprits are policymakers who force us to live and die by a flawed system. Why do we "need"…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on January 25, 2011 at 17:30 — No Comments
Re the Guide Dogs Association for the Blind in the Telegraph: in the inimitable line uttered by the chain gang boss in Cool Hand Luke, "What we have here is a failure to communicate." From Boris…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on January 13, 2011 at 16:00 — No Comments
Comment on my mjcassini YouTube channel: "I am a police officer in a large town in Western Australia with a population of approx 32,000 people. We have countless roundabouts and not one traffic light. These roundabouts keep traffic moving and drivers only have to 'give way' to traffic in one direction, so are far safer. Sure, there are minor bumps, mainly caused by inattention or inconsiderate driving, but the number of serious or fatal…Continue
Added by Martin Cassini on January 5, 2011 at 11:00 — No Comments