The Driver's Site for the East Midlands

Welcome to Drivers' Union East Midlands.
Our Mission: Better road safety at lower cost. No unnecessary delay or slowing of road transport. No unnecessary or unjust prosecution of safe drivers.

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Friday, 31 October 2014

Bright sun? Does the rule work?

Rule 93 of the Highway Code tells drivers and motor cyclists: Slow down and if necessary stop if you are dazzled by bright sunlight.

Pretty self evident common sense I would have thought. I doubt if there are many, if any, drivers who just continue driving while being blinded. It would need someone incredibly brave as well as insane to the point of suicidal to drive blind. So is this rule necessary?

The story that raises this question is about two drivers who struck and eventually killed a cyclist, having said they were blinded by bright sunlight, and both were acquitted of causing death by dangerous driving. See more on this here

This is one of these, cast in stone, rules where we accept that, if you break it, you are automatically guilty of an offence.

But how realistic is Rule 93?

For a start it cannot be policed or proved unless a driver admits or says that he was blinded by sunlight. It depends totally on drivers incriminating themselves after an accident. And it is only after terrible accidents that the rule is cited in careless or dangerous driving cases. So is that all this rule is for? To be able to point fingers of prosecution after accidents have happened? If so, it's a bad rule for bad reasons. A loop hole covering rule. 'I was blinded by bright sunlight officer'. 'Thanks I am arresting you'. Here's a classic example

But it is also an unrealistic rule because sunlight and being blinded is often momentary and if we jammed our brakes on every instance of it, it would actually cause accidents. But it's not at all unusual for the brightness to be simultaneous with rounding a bend or coming over a hill at where, in either case, there is also a cyclist or stationary vehicle in the road too. Here you will see it's not theory. So the rule isn't at all realistic and the situation it is meant to address, isn't as clear cut as to justify a conviction; especially a term of imprisonment by citing it. Thank God another jury sees sense.

It may well be that the rule is a bad one, intended only to aid a prosecution after an accident its only practical use, but if it is giving road users the impression that they are safer with the rule to protect them then that makes it very dangerous because clearly it cannot cover most instances of commonly being blinded whilst driving.

We would be better with no rule at all than a bad one that doesn't work.

Cyclists, walkers and horse riders. If you're riding into the sun, so are the drivers coming up behind you. Just keep that in mind.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Pot Holes. Letter of the week.

I must disagree with Councillor Richard Davies when he says that 'Pot hole capital' (22/10) is due to 'generations of under- investment'. Our roads collapsed in one sustained period of extreme cold weather over a period of just one month, January 2011. and not over a long period as he suggests. I raised this then on my web site and the page is still there to this day. We should all be asking why this happened? Our roads never used to collapse like this. They dont in Alaska, Scandinavia, Eastern Seaboard of the USA or Iceland do they? So what has changed? Don't tell me that officials, in a total belief in global warming, have been laying cheaper Mediterranean surfaces have they? These roads, which retain pockets of water are fine for warm climates but are totally unsuited for northern climes when retained ice would expand within the road and break it up.

If I am correct, not only would this mean that our roads would need to be re laid in their entirety but by a much more costly and once abandoned method too. This is why I said in January 2011, our 'Third World killer roads are to stay'. And if I am correct, there should have been wholesale dismissals in all our county councils too. It isn't difficult to imagine a cover up under these circumstances; especially when valid questions are not being asked by politicians.

Councillor Davies should really be looking much closer to home for the culprits; it's all too easy to blame central government at times. Why and how did this happen?


Keith Peat

Drivers' Union

Monday, 27 October 2014

Drivers Correctly acquitted of causing death

In this story. two drivers, who hit the same cyclist and eventually killing him, have been acquitted of causing his death. One has been convicted of careless driving.

Basically both drivers were blinded by bright sun.

Driving instructions and the Highway Code are quite clear on this. If blinded, drivers should slow down and stop.

But this isn't realistic. See: Does the rule work?Bright lights, including the sun, are intermittent and at night, we are continuously being blinded by lemmings who think they must have headlamps on in well lit streets. See here. The conclusion is that if we took the rule literally, traffic would be at a standstill frequently all over the roads network. It would probably cause more accidents as, just in this case, the cyclist and first driver were stationary. We would end up killing more people, not just from that, but the economics of vital infrastructure frequently stationary too.

I know I will be accused of victim blaming here but how wrong are the cyclist's family to imagine that he was entirely blameless. He was riding into the sun too. Didn't it worry him that approaching drivers may not be able to see him? The problem with cyclists is that they refuse to accept that, in exposing themselves to big fast approaching machines operated by complete strangers of varying skill, they depend too much on their right to be there and their right not to be killed and injured and that is to ignore the obvious. Would this poor victim do this again given the chance? Are any cyclists to heed this warning or will they rail at me as the only person prepared to state the obvious?

Another aspect of this story should be heeded by drivers too. The first driver told police at the scene
At the scene, he told police: “I was coming up the hill and the sun was facing directly towards me.
“I couldn’t see anybody in the road until the last second. I basically heard a thud and saw something.
“I immediately braked and stopped and it was only when I got out of the car that I realised I had hit a cyclist. “I went over to talk to him, he was conscious and talking and leaning on his bike at the side of the road.”

The other told police 'he was doing between 30 and 40mph at the time of accident.' He added: “I started to slow down because of the car and because the sun was shining over the top of the hill. I had the sun visor down but it was still difficult to see.”
These comments made at the time of trauma and stress meant that they were rewarded for them by being sent for trial with a potential of 14 years imprisonment. Had they not made them, not only would they have saved themselves a lot of worry but possibly the cost to the community for their trials too.

Of course the police in this case may be able show that the sun was in the drivers' eyes at the time and that could have been put to them then or in the trial but no instant response is wise at the time. Let police do their investigations and then, if it's necessary for your interview, it can be done at a more appropriate time and with legal representation; even then, you are entitled not to make incriminating statements and responses.   

The best advice that I can give drivers under these terrible circumstances, is not to make such comments, even if arrested and without legal representation.

Don't believe that a failure to comment, under these dreadful circumstances, will be held against you. The courts are very fair places but it's far better to avoid putting the matter to the test isn't it?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Why no parliamentary drivers group.

There are some 620 All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) in Westminster covering subjects like, every country in the world and things as diverse as cycling and boxing, autism, the Baha'i faith, aviation, several on rail travel and even Bingo but not one for the 35 million UK drivers and the 60 million who depend on them. See the full list here.

Oh yes the anti driver is well represented in spades. In fact, the nearest one for drivers that we could find called the APPG on Motors, is sponsored by people who are not pro driver such as The RACF. Read RACF nonsense here and The Society of Motor Manufacturer's & Traders who make lots of money from the legislation emanating from anti driver nonsense and inappropriate legislation of drivers too. The one on Motors is even to co host a talk by that doyen of cyclists the anti driver Carlton Reid He thinks roads weren't for cars 

We have found a very unhealthy link with this APPG and Road Peace, yet another anti driver amateur charity, whose founder is, yes you have guessed it, already an MBE via an APPG that screams out for more driver incarceration and jail. See  Oh who's on that one? No less than  Caroline Dinenage who was recently screaming in Parliament for more jail for accidents  Read about it here.
So now we know what's going on drivers. This is why, up to now you are pilloried, over-taxed, prosecuted in your many thousands, why road safety is based on profit and ideology and on the whim of minority lobby groups and more than anything, a probable reason why my efforts are being marginalised, ignored and even ridiculed. See who supports an anti driver imaginary doggy.Every Tom Dick and Harry has a voice in Parliament except UK's 35 Million drivers and those who support them. And worse still, anti driver groups who enjoy charity status are actually being allowed to fund anti driver APPGs with the charity money too.

We must take amateur charity out of road safety influence. And we must push for a totally dedicated solely for UK drivers APPG too.

We can do it.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Roads weren't built for cycling either.

Roads were not built for cars

I have had much discourse with Carlton Reid on this matter and I can say that he is so anti driver and anti car, that he cannot even accept the fact that, whereas society would totally collapse without drivers & indeed cars, the same isn't true about cyclists. That isn't anti cyclist or pro driver but a simple truth. When an author cannot accept truth, how true is his work? 

It is no surprise to me that the foreword to the book is by Edmund King on the pretence of representing drivers. He is so pro cyclist, and what I call an anti driver driver, it's like getting Captain Ahab to endorse a book on whale killing. 
Carlton Reid

Roads weren't built for cyclists either but for Roman legions. From the time mankind took to the horse bullock and camel, our society wasn't built on any manpower transport at all. Why did people like Ford apply their minds to cars? Because the pushbike was never a viable load bearing long distance transport mode and not fit for purpose.

Road cycling is a very dangerous business and is uncomfortable, hard work and miserable in wet windy weather and even riskier on ice so most of our 65 million don't do it. Like joggers, only a tiny minority of self flagellators feel the need. If it was viable, all of us would choose to do it as long as we are able.

The present day motor vehicle is the successor to the horse and cattle drawn chariots,carts, waggons, stages, traps and carriages of yesteryear and their part of the road is called the Carriageway to this day.

The cycle enjoyed a very brief heyday around the start of the last century as the poor man's answer to the horse and carriage so
of course cyclists played a part in developing all sorts of things since; although in those days, most couldn't afford anything else, they were clearly looking for something more fit for purpose than the push bike.

Today, there are only two types of road user that we must have to maintain our lives: Walkers and drivers. That is another truth that Carlton Reid cannot accept but for the sake of society, it's about time politicians woke up to the reality.

For doing no more than stating truth, Carlton Reid has blocked me from following his twitter account. @CarltonReid any pro drivers willing to join his followers to provide some balance would be most welcome I am sure.

Note: The ball bearing was invented and conceived by Leonardo de Vinci between 1498 & 1500. In 40 AD the Romans were using them in food rotarys. John Metcalf, who was blind and didn't cycle, built the first surfaced road in 1765. It was called the Stockport to Mottram Turnpike and was a toll road. He built about 180 miles of road in Yorkshire  His well drained roads were built in three layers of large stones, hardcore and then gravel. 

Friday, 10 October 2014

Amateur Anti People People want to cripple road transport.

 Much is being made of rural road fatalities. 'Three a day' they exclaim. In this Mail on Line piece. So let's start by getting road death in perspective shall we? See the list here. But for now there are about 4000 people killed every year from accidents in the home alone. A total of about 2000 a year from every cause on the roads after 300 billion driver miles a year.

And when they talk about 'rural roads', let's be clear, they are talking about all of UK's trunk routes, including dual carriageways, not just country lanes. 

The economic cost of hamstringing a major infrastructure, more spent on camera profiteering and dishonest courses, would save far more lives if in the NHS, and rescue services.

Who are these people? Who is Liz Brooker?
Well all she is is one of the local authority road safety managers we have exposed already with no credentials in the subject at all. Top road driving qualification? No. Dealt with accidents? No. Prosecuted from accidents? No. Investigated accidents? No Do read more about RSGB Ltd here

The AA are cited as a 'motoring organisation' in the piece, but my followers will know that like Liz, they have no credentials either
 and how does fixing cars, fixing plumbing and selling insurance, make them a motoring organisation? In fact, on the contrary, their President told a Select Committee that he wanted more motorists prosecuted and more sent on lucrative and dishonest speed awareness courses that the AA run too.

This is nothing to do with road safety, any more than the 20 zones being rolled out countrywide. It's part of the Green anti people agenda with the usual profiteers licking their lips in the background and for those reasons makes no economic sense whatsoever.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Head Cam Vigilantes

Drivers' Union has already commented on Head Cam vigilantism In this item. but now the hostile use of these head cams is being stepped up by the kind of cycling anoraks who seem to think it their duty to spy on all and sundry unsolicited in case they do something wrong  See story here 

and Here    and this lunatic: justice-on-two-wheels-in-the-heart-of-london

Without question, these cameras are emboldening their aggressive wearers to accost and rebuke other road users about issues which are very often no more than subjective perception like self appointed police officers. This is causing violent confrontation and is bound to lead to tears before long. See this good example.

It is not the right of any road user to rebuke others whilst pointing a camera at them in a threatening manner 

It seems that the Police Chiefs agree. 
I have already raised the very valid observation that, in an age when we are stopped from filming our own family at Nativity or in a swimming pool,  these people can use a camera discriminatedly to film whoever they happen to be peering at at the time. School kids, babies, young mums and so on. This Sneeky Pete is doing just that.  In my view this unsolicited filming of people could, and indeed, should be challenged whenever it happens. In fact, until tested, it could be deemed to be conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace. So far the police and Home Office, who I have raised this with, have not denied this is so. But usually the police don't like us being vigilantes in case we get hurt although they do seem to encourage it if against drivers; a discrimination if ever there were one. 

But for now I will concentrate on whether or not the police are able, or have the resources to examine every inch of weirdo footage submitted to them by sneaky Petes. Of course they don't. So let's get their role defined straight away. The police are meant to find their own cases, investigate them and instigate due process once the CPS is satisfied with their case. Of course they pursue allegations and compile evidence for prosecution but this role isn't confined to police. Any person is able to lay an information to the courts and present their case in due course. That is exactly how the head cam mafia should be dealt with. If they think they have produced enough evidence to convict a member of the public, then they should put their money where their mouth is and make the case themselves so that our police can get on with real crime as the majority of us would like them to do.

Unbelievably the new ACPO Ltd, NPCC, are saying they support aggressive head Cam vigilantes, accosting and rebuking other drivers whilst filming them without consent. See it here.   

Monday, 6 October 2014

Boardman does it again.

Chris Boardman
In this Sun article
 Chris Boardman, who manufactures and sells expensive push bikes says that the NHS should buy thousands of bikes and then hand them out on prescription to the obese.

What a surprise. Doesn't a financial vested interest rather undermine Chris' motives somewhat? Most of our 65 million people don't road cycle because it's had work, uncomfortable, highly dangerous and as a transport option, unviable. The fact is, the more that do it, the more killed or seriously injured by it so there are much healthier ways of getting exercise anyway.

 I have already raised questions about his evidence to a Transport Select Committee, who have endorsed his request for £10 a head from all of us (Some £600million plus) to promote cycling, See The Cheek of Chris Boardman but how brazen can he get?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Garmin v Tom Tom

  Ok. So you want a Sat Nav? Which one to choose?

Believe it or not it may depend on if you want to tour Europe or the U.S.A. Or if you just stay in the UK.

Last year on route to one of my Europe trips, I knew we would be going outside the EU into Poland and the Czech Republic, and my old trustee original Tom Tom 300 
didn't cover them, I stopped off at Halford's and bought the latest Garmin.
Two Sat Navs in one vehicle was too irresistible and to see how they compared or differed was an interesting prospect too. 

I could not help than to be very impressed with the options, displays and layout of the new machine, and of course, as one would expect with development, the smaller mounts and housing too. The display is much brighter than my old machine, so much so, I can't believe it always was so dim in bright light but what about navigation?

There are aspects of the old 300 that I like much better than the new Garmin, but the reverse is also true in other aspects. Madam TomTom is much calmer and clearer in vocal directions, and I can visualise yards better than I can decimals of a mile for example. I also like an ETA as opposed to time to run and the compass direction is very useful even without any mapping. So that even out of area, Tom Tom still gave a compass heading. But why oh why was Madam Garmin losing satellite connection so much when Tom Tom wasn't? If satellites are geo stationary? Why does this happen? And are both systems using different satellites?

Losing Sat Nav on a long leg of motorway with no expected turn offs is quite bearable, but certainly not when negotiating a large metropolis for a specific location, or a series of major intersections. The last thing a safe driver needs is confusion about direction. Garmin dropped out on us so regularly in Europe at crucial moments, I was so glad that I still had Madam Tom Tom guiding us in instead.

So if you ask me 'Which one to buy?'. For Europe it has to be TomTom.

But I will add that a lesson learned when staying in a large city, is to always carry city street maps so that if Sat Nav fails, as both did one night just before negotiating Paris, you can at least revert to the old fashioned method. We now have maps of Paris, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva, Prague and Dresden in our door compartments because Sat Nav can be very unpredictable no matter which brand.