Properly punishing deadly drivers

Scotland could soon have new sentencing guidelines for cases involving drivers who kill pedestrians and cyclists. I’m not holding my breath on the rest of the country adopting them, though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tories campaign against them. On past form, that would lead to Kier Starmer saying Labour are against them too


This statistic explains so much

52% of 1000 drivers surveyed by a used car retailer didn’t know the correct sequence of traffic lights. This would explain, but not excuse, the excessive number of idiots who speed up on amber. Could the new Transport Secretary spend a little money educating dangerous drivers? I’m sure the country would save much more than it cost in the long run.

Bloody hell, I’m in a mood today. Here’s another reason- cyclist endangering advice from the Telegraph

Cross posted from my Manchester Evening News cycling blog, with a version emailed to Honest John and copied to the CTC’s campaigns officer-

A question and answer in the Telegraph’s Honest John motoring column

Spin cycle

I had an accident on January 31. I have now been told by the police that I am going to be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. The statement from the police says the accident occurred on a different road to the one on which it actually took place. As the accident also involved a pushbike, should the adult cyclist have been breathalysed, as I was? Incidentally, mine was negative. I have been told that if I plead guilty it will only cost me £43 and three points. If I plead not guilty then I will have to travel 100 miles and may have to pay witnesses that may be called. I wouldn’t mind doing this if I thought I could get away with being found not guilty. Could it go in my favour if I stated the truth, that the cyclist wore no helmet or fluorescent coat or markings?

W.R., Wem

You need to talk to a good solicitor and appraise him of the full facts. If you are saying the cyclist wove into your path and caused the collision, then that, combined with him not wearing fluorescent clothing, might lead to a decision in your favour rather than his.

This is full of wrong assumptions. The rider’s lack of helmet and fluorescent wear is irrelevant. The driver should have been paying enough attention to the road to see him. Perhaps the cyclist should have been breathalysed, but again, I think it’s irrelevant. If there had been any indication he was intoxicated the Police would certainly have made him take a test.

But what’s worse is the advice given by Honest John. He suggests claiming the it was the cyclist’s fault and blaming him for not wearing something he isn’t obliged to wear. This is a blame the victim mentality. Drivers shouldn’t be so blind to other road users that the only safe thing to do is wrap yourself in metal or glow like you’re radioactive. And motoring advice columns in serious newspapers should not hand out loophole suggestions to someone who wants to “get away” with an offence that could have killed or seriously injured someone.

I shall be emailing Honest John about this (letters@honestjohn.co.uk if you’re interested) and sending a copy to the CTC, who may be interested in what he has to say.

Fast-track idiots

I realise that this post may attract the ire of any motorists, but I personally feel that these people are complete idiots and thoroughly deserved to lose their case.

Anyone caught on a speed camera doing 47mph in a 30 zone is clearly breaking the law. Given that these days speed cameras are only put up in accident blackspots, they were being reckless too. Finally, given that every camera is well signed beforehand, painted bright yellow, and has little white lines on the road, they were probably too blind to be able to see where they were driving anyway.

I agree that not every speed limit is appropriate for the road its on all the time – for instance, I think faster speed limits could be introduced around schools out of term term, and in the evenings. However, there is a law, and like it or not, people should obey it or at least not be quite so blatant about breaking it.

I reserve the right to change my opinions if I ever get caught speeding.

"I've just played two hours of Gran Turismo. Dare me to drive?"

Playing driving games encourages people to take risks when they get in their cars. This is particularly true of young male drivers, who are already a menace to themselves and others anyway.

We play a lot of driving games in casa Spinneyhead. It’s probably for the best that two of us don’t have cars.

Our current favourite, FYI, is Midnight Club 3: DUB edition

There's a killer on the road

And he’s talking on his phone.

The comment I left on the MEN’s news item about the crackdown on drivers using phones in their cars

A couple of weeks ago I was nearly flattened by a driver who sailed through a red traffic light whilst talking on his phone. He stopped at the next set of traffic lights, so I cycled after him, bashed on his window and uttered a few choice words about his idiocy.

He ignored me, of course. As the phone call was so important he’d risk killing people for it, he wasn’t going to let an irate cyclist put an end to it.

I should have used my phone to photograph his car and post the picture to my website to shame him.

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