I really am grumpy today. I've listened to the news on my commute into work. Apparently the Government is going to continue the good work of the last Administration in the persecution of motorists, by introducing a set of on-the spot fines (£80-£100) for minor driving offences such as undertaking, pulling out in front of other motorists, etc.
What the news article didn't say is who gets to keep the money. Perhaps if it is to fund the police force, then we might actually see some police on the streets, as they strive to earn money. (I can't remember the last time I saw a 'panda' car driving around - probably because they can't afford the petrol.)
I don't know where to start with my rant. The first and most obvious thing is that they are offences, and often offences that are caused by or lead to road rage. Under-taking being the first offence. I see this every morning. It is caused by another motorist who thinks that it is his/her divine right to drive in the middle/outside lane, because the inside lane is for lorries, the middle lane for cars and the outside lane for faster cars. I've even heard it described as the 50 mile an hour lane on motorways. Wrong, each lane apart from the inside one is an overtaking lane. Once you have overtaken - move over. It's surprising how much congestion there is around your stupid actions, and who can blame the professional driver from becoming impatient and using the inside lane. It also happens on the A38 through Birmingham, which 5 years ago had a bus lane, which no one used. This caused an incredible amount of congestion, and a change in colour of the Council removed it. Five years on, many drivers are not aware of this and still continue to drive in the outside lane while the inside lane is empty. Am I going to use it, until I need to move into the right hand lane - too right I am. The same goes for our two wheeled friends. As a matter of course, they regularly undertake, to move up a line of stationary traffic, because they are thinner. Is this an offence? Probably if it means another £100 in the coffers.
Cutting drivers up is a frustration that I see everyday. Why do lorries pull out at the last moment on the A38? I mean that tractor (which shouldn't be on a road with a speed limit of 70mph anyway for safety reasons) didn't appear like a genie in front of them. As for the idiot on the trike, I could go on for hours about his lack of concern for his own personal safety. Yes he's entitled to be there, but so are the other faster wheeled vehicles who are prone to go faster, and may make a mistake. Still you'll have the moral high ground in heaven. Lorry drivers - I know that there are a lot of idiot drivers on the road, I'm one, but using your indicators a nano second before you pull out is not appreciated, as I am already braking.
How will the police monitor all these offences? The only way at the moment is if there is an accident,as surely they are not going to drive up and down different roads all day waiting to pounce. Of course we have those wonderful cctv cameras. As the most watched nation in the world already, I am sure that these could be extended to include roads. In fact, we could also have them over fat people's fridges as well, and make eating a cream cake an offence for anyone with a BMI greater than 23. Now that would have an impact on the economy, (and Greggs), as the NHS would then get more resources for their obesity clinics.
It's the sense of motorists being an easy target that frustrates me. Of course it is only the motorist that is causing global warming. (We must have been around when the Midlands had a tropical sea, and the UK had mammoths). The electronic goods such as computers, which are seen as the savious of the economy, don't use energy do they, nor are they made of oil based products, or use the roads to get to the shops. The food we eat doesn't need pesticides does it or need picking in the fields? We all enjoy finding half a grub in ours apples. Pesticides= oil based product.
However, it is solely the motorist bearing the brunt. I analysed my mileage recently. On a normal week, I do less than 40 miles a week unrelated to getting to work. Less than a gallon, Less than £6 worth. Yet I put £60 a week in petrol in the car to come to work. I use my taxed earnings to put that in my tank. So I need to earn £90 gross to do that. 80p of each litre goes in taxes, excise and VAT on that excise. So to have the privilege of going to work, of that £90 earned, £30 is income taxes and NI, £35 is excise and VAT, and £25 goes in the price of fuel. Bad oil companies or bad Government? (I used £1.35 per litre as a ball park figure).
For that I enjoy the privilege of speed bumps, which means I drop down into 3rd or 2nd gear dependant on height - more petrol used, so more revenue to the Government. No wonder they are everywhere now. Even the main roads aren't maintained now. Repair seems to consist of re painting new white lines or different coloured tarmac. That is unless they can think of putting parking metres or yellow paint in to earn more money.
And then when they repair roads, it takes years even though the Japanese repaired a road within a fortnight of the earthquake, as the Japanese realised that people go on roads to earn money. Yep to carry round the food and drink, pointless electronic gadgets that we are told we must have to generate earnings for American or Japanese conglomerates and Chinese manufacturers. There's over 20 miles of roadworks on the M1 being 'worked' on at the moment. Speed limit 50mph to protect the workforce. Who are invisible, underground, or perhaps not there for the majority of the time. So actually we could go faster couldn't we? Probably during daylight hours as most roadworks are overnight jobs now. The Ministry of Transport could also do what we are taught as kids. Just take what you want and when you've finished that, you can have more.
Of course we could use public transport, Apparently more people are using the train now. Yep, driving to the station, paying the extortionate parking fees to stand until they get to their destination. Usually standing next to someone with BO, or a garlic eater, or halitosis, to have to walk in the rain to their workplace. Still High Speed Rail 2 will sort that. I am sure that the motorists are paying for this, as well. That 15 minutes will make all the difference to Birmingham, even though the station is on the edge of the city and the journey into Brum will take the 15 minutes saved. Or we all commute to London on it. So really no benefit to lifting the strain on the train network at all hey? But a new toy for the boys to play with.
Of course we could catch the bus. If there were any. I think I started off with this rant when I started my blog, so will stop now.
There was a time, when there was a more vertically integrated society. You worked and lived locally, goods weren't moved around the world, you ate locally, and bought what you could locally. As the world has globalised, and we've chased cheaper and cheaper goods by exploiting Pakistani or Indian child labour, then more and more of the costs have externalised, and been put back on us as taxes. I am sure once I've thought that through, there's a blog in that.
I like policemen. I've had some good banter with them many a time. Most joined to protect their communities against crime, and violence. Which obviously doesn't necessarily generate income, unlike motorists. I worry for their morale. They can issue tickets to motorists or they can make the streets safe, and our homes secure. I just wonder what they'll be told to do.
'Driving in my Car' Madness. The name of the group says it all. Driving was once fun.