And it's not even from the BBC ;-)

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Dirtylitterboxo, Mar 6, 2004.

  1. Interesting article on the culture of speed, and worshipping the car. Which
    does affect us when we are cycling - so it isn't OT :)

    Cheers, helen s

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1161862,00.h-
    tml

    "The quick and the dead

    Anne Karpf Saturday March 6, 2004 The Guardian

    News isn't supposed to hang around in the air like stinky
    fish, but here's a piece that simply refuses to go away, no
    matter how often I command it to. It's last month's story
    about Heather Thompson, the mother who, boasting that she
    could get her daughter and friend, both 12 years old, home,
    20 miles away, in less than 20 minutes, drove at over 80mph
    and killed them both. With the industrial quantities of
    guilt she's for ever doomed to feeling, this surely belongs
    in a Greek tragedy - how Thompson must have railed against
    Fate for not doing its business and carting her off, too. By
    grisly coincidence, a case came to court in Florida last
    week. Mary Hill, allegedly driving at 70mph, killed her 13-year-
    old daughter and 14-year-old best friend but, again,
    survived herself.

    At first, these stories wind you so strongly because mothers
    are meant to be protectors, not killers. But then another
    thought begins to thrum: just as Myra Hindley, and not Ian
    Brady, became the emblem of evil, so speeding is more
    heinous when done by a woman. In fact, most reckless
    driving, we know, is carried out by young men. What's more,
    they tend to get 10 minutes in jail for the topping of
    lives, compared with those young female shoplifters
    sentenced to five years for nicking a cracked Rimmel Peachy
    Pink lipstick tester.

    You think this journalistic hyperbole? Last week, just
    before David Blunkett raised the maximum sentence for
    causing death by dangerous driving from 10 to 14 years, a
    30-year-old male driver who'd killed a 17-year-old walked
    from the court with just six points on his licence and a
    £500 fine. That's because he was done for the lesser charge
    of careless driving. If he carelessly totals another
    teenager, he might get the maximum fine of £2,500, and
    between three and nine points on his licence. It sounds more
    like a board game - Automobility? - than real life, or
    rather its ending.

    We've got ourselves into an awful mess here: four wheels
    good, two legs bad. Courts and law-makers seem to believe
    that killing, when conducted through the intervening
    instrument of a car, when the murder weapon isn't held in
    the hand, only controlled by it, is an altogether
    different affair. It's as if it then becomes a matter of
    transport rather than crime - the very language, "traffic
    accident", allowing it to shelter beneath the carapace of
    accidental death. Overall, it's made to seem as though the
    car drives the driver, rather than the other way round.
    Car accidents are crimes almost without agency, without
    stigma, without a criminal.

    iconoclasm, balls. We can't sanction glossy ads puffing
    cars that do 0-350mph in three seconds, and then go and
    pillory young men for trying to emulate them. Especially as
    it's behind the wheel that these muddled young males often
    try to express potency and indifference to social mores -
    the car may have contributed to anomie, but it's also
    touted as its antidote.

    Anyway, we're a culture in love with velocity. We admiringly
    call amphetamines speed, but don't approvingly name
    barbiturates slow. When politicians are caught speeding -
    last year Harriet Harman doing 99mph, three years earlier
    Jack Straw's official car careering at 103mph - it is
    indulged as the peccadillo of the hurrying harried, the
    cojones of the too-busy. For while speed is commonly linked
    with gender - I've just done it myself - it should more
    properly be bound with class. It's the privilege of what
    writer Susan George calls Fast Castes.

    The radical thinker Ivan Illich showed the zero sum way in
    which it operates: "Beyond a critical speed, no one can save
    time without forcing another to lose
    it." Speed creates places and people that are sped by,
    passed over. Ask the elderly people trying to cross the
    road at a traffic blackspot in Thatcham, Berkshire, who
    had a princely seven seconds of pelican crossing time in
    which to do it. Timed by the Pedestrians' Association, it
    actually took them nine to 18 seconds. What are they
    meant to do - levitate themselves over?

    Last week's yes-we'll-have-them-no-we-won't on speed cameras
    simply expresses our ambivalence about speed. "Drivers face
    hundreds more speed cameras," blared the Sunday papers.
    "Huge speed camera cuts," trumpeted the Monday ones. This is
    the revenge of the accelerated. There's even a group called
    Mad - or Motorists Against Detection - that goes out and
    sabotages speed cameras. Naturally, they say that they're
    not in favour of speeding, just against the cameras. Funny,
    that's just what those waging war on speed humps claim. Both
    are defending their right to velocity, perhaps the most
    unequally distributed one in the world.

    Information technology, it was said, would diminish the need
    for speed and travel. It hasn't, and slowcoach remains a
    term of abuse. Driver re-education is the new slogan:
    speeders can trade docked licence points for speeding
    workshops. Myself, I think we need to see David Beckham
    pootering along and Thierry Henry va-va-vooming in low gear.

    Until then, two contrary facts are undeniable. Speed
    can intoxicate, or so it seems. But speed
    simultaneously scorches the universe, ravaging it also
    for those who'll never be wealthy enough to enjoy its
    thrills - the speed-poor."

    --This is an invalid email address to avoid spam-- to get
    correct one remove dependency on fame & fortune h*$el*$$e**-
    nd***$o$ts***i*$*$m**m$$o*n**[email protected]$*$a$$o**l.c**$*$om$$
     
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  2. Bens

    Bens Guest

    On 06 Mar 2004 12:35:05 GMT, [email protected]
    (dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers) wrote:

    >Interesting article on the culture of speed, and
    >worshipping the car. Which does affect us when we are
    >cycling - so it isn't OT :)
    >
    >Cheers, helen s
    >
    >
    >
    >http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,116186-
    >2,00.html
    >
    >"The quick and the dead

    Was it really necessary to post the entire article and
    post the link? Why not post the link and a summary or post
    the article?

    And in other news people do very high speeds daily without
    dying, killing anyone or even driving dangerously. I for
    one topped 150mph several times this morning and now I'm
    off out cycling.
    --
    "We take these risks, not to escape from life, but to
    prevent life escaping from us." http://www.bensales.com
     
  3. > Was it really necessary to post the entire article and
    > post the link? Why not post the link and a summary or post
    > the article?

    No it wasn't necessary, but it's greatly appreciated by
    people that read offline.

    Oh, and if it also annoys dickheads that's a bonus too.

    ---
    Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-
    virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). Version: 6.0.614 /
    Virus Database: 393 - Release Date: 05/03/2004
     
  4. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    BenS wrote:
    >
    > Was it really necessary to post the entire article and
    > post the link? Why not post the link and a summary or post
    > the article?
    >

    Perhaps its because people here requested that links were
    posted with the article so you didn't have to go to the link
    to read it. So why keep the link? So you can refer to the
    original if you want to check or reference it. Personally I
    find it useful done Helen's way.

    Next

    Tony
     
  5. >Was it really necessary to post the entire article and
    >post the link? Why not post the link and a summary or post
    >the article?
    >

    If it even slightly annoyed you, then, yes, it was.

    Next.

    Cheers, helen s

    --This is an invalid email address to avoid spam-- to get
    correct one remove dependency on fame & fortune h*$el*$$e**-
    nd***$o$ts***i*$*$m**m$$o*n**[email protected]$*$a$$o**l.c**$*$om$$
     
  6. "dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message news:[email protected]...
    > Interesting article on the culture of speed, and
    > worshipping the car.
    Which
    > does affect us when we are cycling - so it isn't OT :)
    >
    > Cheers, helen s
    >
    >
    >
    > http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1161862-
    > ,00.html
    >
    > "The quick and the dead
    >

    I thought it was a good article, well written, but I still
    feel that speed is _not_ the main causative factor in most
    RTA's, even if it is a factor in them. Agreed that above a
    certain point - and that point may be a point above or below
    the posted speed limit - speed alone can be the main or only
    causative factor - but below that point for an accident to
    occur there has to be some other factor combined with speed
    to cause it. That is mostly lack of sufficient care and
    attention to road and traffic conditions, ie failure to
    exercise basic skills of observation and anticipation, and
    that I would suggest is the main causative factor of most
    accidents.

    If I had the choice to be on the road as a cyclist with
    other road users travelling at _modest_ speeds above the
    limit but looking where they are going or with users
    travelling at or within the limit but not looking, I know
    which I'd prefer and it's not the latter. The single-minded
    emphasis on speed as an issue irks me.

    Rich
     
  7. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "Mark Thompson" <[email protected] (change warm for hot)>
    wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Was it really necessary to post the entire article and
    > > post the link? Why not post the link and a summary or
    > > post the article?
    >
    > No it wasn't necessary, but it's greatly appreciated by
    > people that read offline.
    >
    > Oh, and if it also annoys dickheads that's a bonus too.

    Hear hear. I enjoyed Helen's post too and read it from the
    text she copied. Thanks.

    --
    Simon Mason Anlaby East Yorkshire. 53°44'N 0°26'W
    http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
     
  8. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 6/3/04 4:42 pm, in article [email protected], "Richard
    Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > If I had the choice to be on the road as a cyclist with
    > other road users travelling at _modest_ speeds above the
    > limit but looking where they are going or with users
    > travelling at or within the limit but not looking, I know
    > which I'd prefer and it's not the latter.

    You don't have that choice. What you do have is a choice
    between a bunch of dickheads who may or may not be paying
    attention just 'creeping' 10-15 mph over the limit or the
    same bunch of dickheads with the same distractions, radio
    etc travelling at the speed limit. As a cyclist I know
    which I prefer.

    ..d
     
  9. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 16:42:46 -0000, "Richard Goodman"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I thought it was a good article, well written, but I still
    >feel that speed is _not_ the main causative factor in most
    >RTA's, even if it is a factor in them. Agreed that above a
    >certain point - and that point may be a point above or
    >below the posted speed limit - speed alone can be the main
    >or only causative factor - but below that point for an
    >accident to occur there has to be some other factor
    >combined with speed to cause it.

    When you start examining accidents in detail you discover
    that there is very rarely a single cause. There is nearly
    always a chain of events that leads up to it. If you break
    the chain you prevent the accident, or at least lessen its
    consequences. To argue that speed alone is rarely the single
    cause of an accident is to miss this vital point. If
    excessive speed is a factor in an accident then reducing
    that speed might well have avoided it.

    --
    Dave...

    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live. -
    Mark Twain
     
  10. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 6/3/04 6:52 pm, in article [email protected],
    "Doki" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >
    > David Martin wrote:
    >> On 6/3/04 4:42 pm, in article
    >> [email protected], "Richard Goodman"
    >> <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>> If I had the choice to be on the road as a cyclist with
    >>> other road users travelling at _modest_ speeds above the
    >>> limit but looking where they are going or with users
    >>> travelling at or within the limit but not looking, I
    >>> know which I'd prefer and it's not the latter.
    >>
    >> You don't have that choice. What you do have is a choice
    >> between a bunch of dickheads who may or may not be paying
    >> attention just 'creeping' 10-15 mph over the limit or the
    >> same bunch of dickheads with the same distractions, radio
    >> etc travelling at the speed limit. As a cyclist I know
    >> which I prefer.
    >
    > Nobody pays attention when they're driving? Really?

    People only pay attention if they are driving over the speed
    limit? Really?

    Read what I wrote. The same bunch of people with the same
    pressures will be safer driving slower. A moments
    inattention at a slower speed is less hazardous than the
    same amount of time at a higher speed.

    If you can find a point where I said that nobody pays
    attention then I would be glad for you to point it out.
    Until then, learn to read.

    ..d
     
  11. Bens

    Bens Guest

    On 06 Mar 2004 16:27:30 GMT, [email protected]
    (dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers) wrote:

    >>Was it really necessary to post the entire article and
    >>post the link? Why not post the link and a summary or post
    >>the article?
    >>
    >
    >If it even slightly annoyed you, then, yes, it was.

    Doesn't remotely annoy me. I just fine it slightly
    pointless. It's like saying the same thing twice.
    --
    "We take these risks, not to escape from life, but to
    prevent life escaping from us." http://www.bensales.com
     
  12. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 18:52:40 -0000, Doki <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > David Martin wrote:
    > >
    > > You don't have that choice. What you do have is a choice
    > > between a bunch of dickheads who may or may not be
    > > paying attention just 'creeping' 10-15 mph over the
    > > limit or the same bunch of dickheads with the same
    > > distractions, radio etc travelling at the speed limit.
    > > As a cyclist I know which I prefer.
    >
    > Nobody pays attention when they're driving? Really?

    Eh? How on earth did you get to that?

    David said "may or may not be paying attentuion", and you
    imply he said "nobody pays attention when they're driving".

    Is that really what you meant? If so, can you explain how
    you get from "may or may not be paying attention" to "nobody
    pays attention"? If not, can you explain what you did mean?
    I'm sure you weren't doing anything silly like trying a
    straw man argument, were you?

    regards, Ian SMith
    --
    |\ /| no .sig
    |o o|
    |/ \|
     
  13. "Dave Kahn" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > When you start examining accidents in detail you discover
    > that there is very rarely a single cause. There is nearly
    > always a chain of events that leads up to it. If you break
    > the chain you prevent the accident, or at least lessen its
    > consequences. To argue that speed alone is rarely the
    > single cause of an accident is to miss this vital point.
    > If excessive speed is a factor in an accident then
    > reducing that speed might well have avoided it.
    >

    .. As might removing any of the other contributory factors,
    and if you could remove lack of care and attention you would
    avoid even more accidents than you would by reducing the
    speed of all traffic to a speed within the limit. To
    emphasise speed alone is to miss this vital point...

    Rich
     
  14. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 16:42:46 -0000, "Richard Goodman"
    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    <[email protected]>:

    >I thought it was a good article, well written, but I still
    >feel that speed is _not_ the main causative factor in most
    >RTA's, even if it is a factor in them.

    No, it's a principal causative factor in about a third. It
    is, however, the prime determinant of the severity of
    outcomes - which is why the likelihood of fatality given a
    crash is higher on the motorway, although the likelihood of
    a crash happening in the first place is lower because of the
    way the motorway is designed.

    >If I had the choice to be on the road as a cyclist with
    >other road users travelling at _modest_ speeds above the
    >limit but looking where they are going or with users
    >travelling at or within the limit but not looking, I know
    >which I'd prefer and it's not the latter. The single-minded
    >emphasis on speed as an issue irks me.

    The problem here, as others have said, is that there is no
    either/or. The choice you actually get is inattentive
    drivers exceeding the limit or inattentive drivers not
    exceeding the limit (well, actually you don't even get that
    much choice, as they do all the choosing based on the
    perceived risk to them).

    --
    Guy
    ===
    May contain traces of irony. Contents liable to settle after posting.
    http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk

    88% of helmet statistics are made up, 65% of them at Washington University
     
  15. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 6/3/04 7:51 pm, in article [email protected], "Richard
    Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > "Dave Kahn" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >> When you start examining accidents in detail you
    >> discover that there is very rarely a single cause. There
    >> is nearly always a chain of events that leads up to it.
    >> If you break the chain you prevent the accident, or at
    >> least lessen its consequences. To argue that speed alone
    >> is rarely the single cause of an accident is to miss
    >> this vital point. If excessive speed is a factor in an
    >> accident then reducing that speed might well have
    >> avoided it.
    >>
    >
    > .. As might removing any of the other contributory
    > factors, and if you could remove lack of care and
    > attention you would avoid even more accidents than you
    > would by reducing the speed of all traffic to a speed
    > within the limit. To emphasise speed alone is to miss this
    > vital point...

    The easiest to police is speed. It is entirely objective as
    to whether the driver is travelling faster than the legal
    limit. This gets people travelling slower and used to
    travelling more slowly. Ideally all drivers would be perfect
    and be able to perfectly judge not only the action of their
    car in respect to the road but the impact of their
    activities on others. This doesn't happen.

    Speed is targetted so widely because it is so easy to
    target. The same amount of effort (or more) goes into
    policing other forms of poor driving but the return on
    investment is much lower (and harder to bring a subjective
    case to a successful conclusion).

    ..d
     
  16. Dave Kahn

    Dave Kahn Guest

    On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 19:51:30 -0000, "Richard Goodman"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"Dave Kahn" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...

    >> If excessive speed is a factor in an accident then
    >> reducing that speed might well have avoided it.

    >.. As might removing any of the other contributory factors,
    >and if you could remove lack of care and attention you
    >would avoid even more accidents than you would by reducing
    >the speed of all traffic to a speed within the limit. To
    >emphasise speed alone is to miss this vital point...

    Not at all. Removing any of the factors would help. Speed is
    the easiest, the most easily identifiable, one of the most
    often present, and one that predictably increases the
    severity of the outcome. You are of course correct when you
    state that driving within the speed limit is not enough by
    itself to avoid all accidents.

    --
    Dave...

    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it. If you live. -
    Mark Twain
     
  17. Pete Barrett

    Pete Barrett Guest

    On Sat, 6 Mar 2004 19:51:30 -0000, "Richard Goodman"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >"Dave Kahn" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    >news:[email protected]...
    >> When you start examining accidents in detail you
    >> discover that there is very rarely a single cause. There
    >> is nearly always a chain of events that leads up to it.
    >> If you break the chain you prevent the accident, or at
    >> least lessen its consequences. To argue that speed alone
    >> is rarely the single cause of an accident is to miss
    >> this vital point. If excessive speed is a factor in an
    >> accident then reducing that speed might well have
    >> avoided it.
    >>
    >
    >.. As might removing any of the other contributory factors,
    >and if you could remove lack of care and attention you
    >would avoid even more accidents than you would by reducing
    >the speed of all traffic to a speed within the limit. To
    >emphasise speed alone is to miss this vital point...
    >
    Excessive speed is something which can be legislated
    against, unambiguously measured, and punished if detected.
    Lack of care and attention can be (and is) legislated
    against, but is much more difficult to measure and detect.
    In other words, doing something about speeding is relatively
    easy; doing something about lack of care and attention is
    relatively hard.

    Pete Barrett
     
  18. Simonb

    Simonb Guest

    BenS wrote:

    > Doesn't remotely annoy me. I just fine it slightly
    > pointless. It's like saying the same thing twice.

    That's just fine (;-)) then. Just be aware that you don't
    have to actually read it twice, trollboy.

    Simon
     
  19. Andymorris

    Andymorris Guest

    BenS wrote:
    > On 06 Mar 2004 12:35:05 GMT, [email protected]
    > (dirtylitterboxofferingstospammers) wrote:
    >
    >> Interesting article on the culture of speed, and
    >> worshipping the car. Which does affect us when we are
    >> cycling - so it isn't OT :)
    >>
    >> Cheers, helen s
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0,3605,1161862,-
    >> 00.html
    >>
    >> "The quick and the dead
    >
    > Was it really necessary to post the entire article and
    > post the link? Why not post the link and a summary or post
    > the article?
    >
    > And in other news people do very high speeds daily without
    > dying, killing anyone or even driving dangerously. I for
    > one topped 150mph several times this morning and now I'm
    > off out cycling.

    Give it time mate, give it time

    --
    Andy Morris

    AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK

    Love this:
    Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
    http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/oe-quotefix/
     
  20. Andymorris

    Andymorris Guest

    Richard Goodman wrote:
    >
    > I thought it was a good article, well written, but I still
    > feel that speed is _not_ the main causative factor in most
    > RTA's, even if it is a factor in them. Agreed that above a
    > certain point - and that point may be a point above or
    > below the posted speed limit - speed alone can be the main
    > or only causative factor - but below that point for an
    > accident to occur there has to be some other factor
    > combined with speed to cause it. That is mostly lack of
    > sufficient care and attention to road and traffic
    > conditions, ie failure to exercise basic skills of
    > observation and anticipation, and that I would suggest is
    > the main causative factor of most accidents.
    >
    > If I had the choice to be on the road as a cyclist with
    > other road users travelling at _modest_ speeds above the
    > limit but looking where they are going or with users
    > travelling at or within the limit but not looking, I know
    > which I'd prefer and it's not the latter. The single-
    > minded emphasis on speed as an issue irks me.
    >

    I don't buy that whole "high speed's OK if your a really
    skilful driver like me and pay attention, its all those
    other idiots who aren't as good as me who cause
    accidents" thing.

    If you look at insurance premiums and accidents stats, its
    clear that young men are heavily over represented in
    accidents stats, as are people with previous speeding
    convictions. They think they are fast but highly skilled
    drivers who can get away with high speed because of their
    high skill and attentiveness.

    They are wrong, they are addicted to speed and the sport
    driving fantasy, their self esteem is dependant on their car
    ownership and their self perception as quick drivers.

    Society needs to make clear, its condemnation of their
    behaviour and remove the glamour of high speed or 'sporting'
    driving on public roads. Twenty years ago the ability to
    drive with a skinfull was considered by many as a sign of
    masculinity, now its the sign of a dick-head. Lets hope it
    doesn't take that long to realize that only dick-heads break
    speed limits or suffer a red mist when held up by slower
    traffic, or can't control the adolescent urge to show off on
    an open road.

    If you want to race get on a track. You find out that its a
    lot harder than it looks, it takes a lot more than a flash
    car and a bit of nerve and you'll be crap at it unless your
    practice and train a hell of a lot.

    --
    Andy Morris

    AndyAtJinkasDotFreeserve.Co.UK

    Love this:
    Put an end to Outlook Express's messy quotes
    http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/oe-quotefix/
     
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