# Do they care ? ? ?

Over the past couple of years, I have realised that many car, van, lorry and even bus drivers need to learn the basics of numbers. It seems to me that the most challenging number to grasp is the number 20. We are seeing increasing use of the number 20 on our roads in the form of a maximum speed sign. All the roads within the boundary of our village have a maximum speed of 20mph. However, many drivers seem to be of the opinion that this limit doesn’t apply to them.

A couple of the roads have another sign. This has been given the nickname, SID. Apparently, this is an acronym for its real name of “Speed Indicator Device”. In our village, if you are travelling at the speed limit of below, then the sign alternates between a Green Smiley face and your actual speed. Go 1mph over the limit and the face turns to a Red Angry face.

This red face is supposedly designed to make you instantly change your speed down to the limit or below.

It doesn’t work.

The reason it doesn’t work is simple. Enforcement! Without anybody enforcing the limit, the limit is pointless.

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In another motoring gripe, I must ask this question. Why does the driver behind me think that ‘tail-gating me will make the line of cars in front of me go faster? It seems to happen whatever road I’m on. I was, at one point beginning to think it was just me, but other people have said the same.

And it’s not just small vehicles. Thursday was a good example. The speed limit on the particular stretch was 40mph, and I was travelling at, and I must be honest at around 42mph. But behind me was one of those tipper wagons that was returning to a local quarry. It was so close, that I could not see the driver’s cab and could only make out the make from the front grill. If I had to make an emergency brake, the impetus from the wagon would have carried me quite a long way. Is there any need?

# It ain’t going to work …

We have had a 20mph speed limit in the village for about a year now. Maybe a bit longer, but I would say that well over 80% of drivers take no notice at all. The problem is, and this is my opinion, there is no enforcement. None whatsoever. We have the main 20 mph zone signs as you enter the village together with smaller repeater signs, but that’s it basically. There is one of those ‘smiley’ face signs near the school, but that is mainly ignored by the majority.

A great deal of the time, these “speed merchants”, (and again, my opinion) are local people. People who know that they are not going to get caught. I was at the local bottle bank last week, when a van went past. The sign showed that he was travelling at 35mph. The lady who was walking past stated that “… they should not be allowed to enter ...”. I had to explain that the van and driver was from the village and in fact from the same road that I live on.

It was announced in the Parish Magazine, that the Parish Council was putting a bid to purchase a Mobile SID (Speed Indication Device) to raise speed awareness in areas of concern. I don’t think it will have any effect. If drivers already ignore the sign near the school, are they going to take any notice of any signs. Back to my opinion again, but the only thing that will stop this is proper enforcement. Signs at the entrance roads saying that mobile Speed Cameras are in use, together with a Police Office with a Speed Gun would be the better idea. Nothing gets a message home better than a fine.

However, the latest idea is to have a sticker on your refuse bin that tells drivers to slow down. A sticker! On a bin that is only put out one day a week. Really? Is that the best they can come up with?

# Nearly forgot the title …

Some people are really quite lazy. I had to take some bottles to the recycling bank in the village. The banks are about 300 yards away from the house so for me I have to use the car and I usually combine the trip with a visit to some local shops. I set off and as I approached the main road, a car reversed out of a drive at the end of our road. I stopped to allow him to get out and he waved a thankyou. He turned onto the main road and sped off quickly reaching 30mph (in a 20mph zone) before turning into the bottle bank site. He was out of the car, lighting a cigarette when I pulled up. He opened his car boot, took out 2 small glass Coke bottles and dropped them into the recycle bin. He climbed back into his car and sped of back the way he came. As I passed the end of my road on the way to the Post Office, I saw his car parked back in his drive. Considering that the recycle area is only about 100 yards from the end of our road, I thought it was amazing that he drove there.

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We had some hopeful news yesterday. Our youngest son, who is in lockdown at his residential care place my be able to come for a ‘home visit’ from 22nd of February. I say hopefully, as it all depends on there being no more Covid-19 outbreaks.  All the residents and staff will have had there vaccinations by then so it is quite possible. However I’m not that optimistic. Things like this have a knack of “coming up behind you and smacking the back of your head“, which was a phrase my ex-manager used to say. But we shall wait and see and keep everything crossed.

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Looking like we are heading for a good week of snow and cold winds again. It is also looking like it might be a lot worse than last time. We are told that is very cold wind coming in from Northern Europe which will prevent the fast thaw we had before. Although the weather forecast seems to depend on which television/radio/app that you use. It also depends on what time of day you check the forecast. I have doubts on the accuracy of the outlooks sometimes. I’m sure the forecast on my phone app has changed more than once in the past couple of days.