Tuesday 17 March 2009

Amber = Accelerate. Or Stop. One of the two anyway.

Guilty as Charged. By 0.8 sec.

I have just got back from a 2 1/2 hour Traffic Light Awareness Course. I got done on the South Circular at the end of last year, hurrying to see a Long-eared Owl over at Beddington, so the cause at least was noble, if not solid enough to get me off completely. Frankly I was amazed I had done this (and naturally all 20 people on the course were innocent as well, it was only on amber...) But I did learn some relatively interesting titbits, for instance, did you know that for a junction to have a camera, at least one person has to have been killed and another seriously injured? I didn't. And that there are 287 of these in the London area. And that Green is the most dangerous signal. However, the main lesson learned was that of the 21 people on the course, 13 did not know the Traffic Light sequence, and that driving in London is therefore a very scary proposition indeed. Here, have a go. The first one is already filled in.

Click for my correct sequence. 13 people, working in teams, put down the order on the left hand side (I was counting, in disbelief).

Taking this one step further, for every two cars that you see driving down the road, more than one of the drivers (but fewer than two) does not know the basic rules of the road. Obviously you can't have a fraction of a driver or a car, so basically you should assume that every other driver on the road is a total and utter muppet - this in fact was the view taken by 100% of the people on the course.... Now, given where I have been all evening, I'm on reasonbly shaky ground lecturing about how stupid people are, but come on, this is appalling. But I suppose this is why we all drive past dead flowers tied round lamp-posts on almost every journey we undertake. We should all sell our cars and stay indoors and concentrate on our garden lists, as every time we go out on the road we take our life, and that of others, in our hands (which was the central message of the evening).

At £95, the most expensive pen I have ever purchased.


  1. I'm not that brilliant with stats, but this fascinating post seems to suggest that - if roughly half your co-attendees didn't know the rules and the other half did - 50% of London drivers are indeed muppets and will run the red light, and the other 50% (who DO know the rules) will run the red light anyway! And about 10% of THEM will be on a twitch.
    Only recently discovered your blog. Much fun. Keep it coming.

  2. Hi Gavin, thanks for the comments. I was definitely the only birder in the room. That said, it was a good cross-section of society. White Van Man had his fair share of things to say, as did mouthy dancer-type. Not that I pigeon-hole people of course. No idea how I found your blog, but I am enjoying it a lot. I find myself looking at Gulls more now. Is this bad?