Thursday, 9 October 2008

Drivers: Pity them all

Motorists have a tendency to annoy me. Certain types of motorists, as I've discussed before, go beyond that.

I've never been convinced by the argument that all those who drive in London need to do so. Granted, some do. But for many it probably falls within the other categories:

1) Those who prefer to drive, maybe because they have an inherent fear of public transport and the "high-pitched beeping noises" they make.

2) Those who drive just to make a point: "It's my human right to drive" types. The sort of people who get in the car just to go to the corner shop 100 metres down the road, struggle to find a parking spot nearby, spend ages hunting for a space, and then inevitably end up walking 200 meters to get back. But it doesn't matter to them. Because they have made a principled stand, even if they do end up looking like a pr*ck.

The last group are the sort of f*ckwits who have Clarkson's crap books on their shelves (I think I've made it quite clear before exactly what I think of him).

Which brings us to recent news. First is the less than shocking news that Boris has decided not to follow Ken's idea for a 20mph city-wide speed limit.

Let's ask the Standard's readers what they think:

"I always wondered where the surveys were to see how many people get hit in 20mph zones rather than how many survive – I suspect the total is very high given that in a street where children might be playing, a driver would be much safer with his eyes on the road than constantly on the speedo."
- St, London

You suspect? By this logic why have a speed limit at all? That way you needn't look at the speedo at all. Brilliant.

"refreshing to see that you will still be able to drive across london in less than a day. spend the money on teaching kids not to run in the road! 0% of people not hit by a car because they looked where the hell they were going died."
- Jonty, london

Yeah, f**king pedestrians. Make them run.

"People of London - this is what you voted for.
and it's flippin fantastic news....Yippee!
Common sense makes return to London. KenCuckoo world voted out!"
- Ethan, UK, formerly East London

Some great analysis there to round it off.

On the same day the Standard provided a nicely spun article which apparently was supposed to persuade everyone just how badly the congestion charge is hitting some of us:

”Company car drivers have collected more than £1 million in fines for driving in the western extension zone without paying the congestion charge, new figures show.”

What? They have been fined for not paying it? The cheek!

David Brennan, managing director of LeasePlan, was given a chance to air his peculiar take on it all:

"Drivers will pay the majority of these fines themselves but employers spend a great deal of time processing the documents.

The charge itself is a big enough burden for companies to shoulder, but there are also implications due to the administration costs that come with these rocketing levels of fines.

With many businesses already struggling in the downturn, the last thing they need is the hassle of managing so many fines.”

The administration costs? Is that a joke? How about you pay the damn charge in the first place and you won't need to worry about administration costs.

So, using the Standard's regular policy of having no right to reply, the article apparently teaches us that fine evaders are hard done by, deserving of our sympathy and form the basis of another reason why we should abolish the charge.

This is just taking the p*ss.

To be honest I'm just in a foul mood. If you want to know what I think then you can read my earlier, (relatively) calmer post. For now though I'm going to log off. Otherwise I might decide to track down Ethan, Jonty and co. and beat them to death with their gearsticks.


Anonymous said...

Previous goals of getting in a car involved:

a) Get from A to B safely, without dying or
without vexing your insurance company.

b) Get from A to B while being seen in a
positive light/ being gawped at and envied.

c) using the least fuel, or alternatively,

d) not caring about how much fuel you use, then blaming the taxman/saudis when you realise you cannot afford not to care.

As you can work our for yourselves, c and d
are, in a bitchingly inconvenient way, mutually exclusive, so you have only a single reason to take the following advice:

Use less fuel.

This is getting some prevalence recently. Some renegades are even forming small sect-like cells tanking ways to show those men-in-black where to stick their policies of cheap fuel.

Subsidised fuel does not actually 'help' the poor particularly in my opinion, not compared to actually running enough buses/trains, giving them the change and not boiling their grandkids to death.

Even those wanting to keep cars just for reason b) I would like to see switch their thinking to "keeping price the same if not higher', then educating.
On, say, if we really have to have cars each and every last one of us can we at least make them hybrids.

Even the driving experience of hypermiling (driving your prius in ultimate fuel-conserving way) can be described in language that has a tint of the boyish-racerish adrenaline to it, the escape and unchartered territories (of mass produced metal on 50yr old roads):

"Our first successful P&G was in a Nissan
Altima....The engine's off, motor's is engaged and your vehicle's coasting for free".

One site makes a reference to 'thrifty drive', which perhaps, cannot be square with b), save for in Brighton maybe.

But these auto-city hippies are no apologists, using language attractive to any rush-junkie, replacing 'ridge racer' lust with the tang of "ridge riding"

(driving at the side of road to avoid uneven surfaces, thougb presumbaly not in eartquake prone/undeveloped alpine regions in the 3rd world).

Well, actually, they didn't say it was safer ("Draft Assisted Forced Auto Stop - This technique involves riding in the wake of a large trailer truck at highway speeds. It's not safe, DON'T DO IT.) for you, just safer to the billions of humans not in the vicinity of your extremely left of centre car.

What the UK government [King Review of low-carbon cars] has done has been to also look at it the other way round:
"At 70mph you could be 2 using up to 9% more fuel than at 60mph and up to 15% more fuel than at 50mph".

They are apt to convince people that driving safely is also better for the environment,
giving us the good fortune of having two ways to think greenly when we drive.

If you want three then you can choose efficiency over b):

Choosing the appropriate class of car: opting for the class below reduces emissions by around 15%.

Choosing a low-carbon car in its class: going for “best in class” reduces emissions by around 25%.

A casual observer said...

Ridge riding? That got me excited just reading it.

Point d) seems to be the one that I associate most often with drivers, I'm sad to say. But that is because my emotions about the issue have a tendency to kick my biases to the forefront.

From a government's perspective, selling the idea of using less fuel (therefore saving cash) is always going to be an easier job than selling the green issue, based on the reality that some people are so cynical as to believe in some mad conspiracy theory involving 99.9% of the scientific community.

That, or they don't give a damn.

SidecarBob said...

Because I am not Einstein and cannot come up with a decent argument why people shouldn't drive at all, I think I should add this resource a link you can share with your energy challenged friends.

Vehicle Certification Agency, an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport compiled data and, using What Car?'s car classification system (supermini, small family, executive and so on), have provided a resource where you can find the 10 lowest CO2 emitters in each category.

So, for example, when Boris goes to buy his deluxe car to drive to his 'unprecedented recession' kness-up he should opt for a BMW 7 series 730d 7 Series F01/F02 saloon (with particle filter) and not a 7 series 7 Series F01/F02 740i saloon. Or he could just buy a Morris Minor and save the energy spent remembering the names!