Saturday 25 June 2011

Bollard horror

Personally I think they’re kinda cute… But it seems unlikely they will ever be installed, since reaction has been adverse.

What is striking about this scene is its barbarism. If you build a long straight road like this you should not be surprised that drivers will speed. Putting up a crappy little sign that reads SCHOOL will not affect their behaviour (even if they notice the sign, since some drivers will be concentrating on sending or reading a text message).

The pedestrian crossing consists of a traffic island, which doubles as a pinch point for cyclists.

This is a road designed to prioritise fast, smooth, convenient driving at the expense of safe, convenient walking and cycling. Few parents will want to let their child cycle to school on a road like this.

The final insult, evidently, is that parents doing the school run park on the pavement, which is what the bollards are primarily designed to deter. The local council could, if it wished, obtain powers to hand out tickets to drivers who park on the footway. But Conservative councils in particular are on the side of anti-social behaviour when the offender is a motorist. The police could take action but British policing has long been institutionally car supremacist.

In any case, debates about bollards entirely miss the point. Cosmetic additions to car-centric streets never address the core issues.

And if you design cars with a top speed of 146mph, you should not be surprised if journalists on major national newspapers get caught driving them at 40 mph in a 30 mph zone – nor that this criminally dangerous behaviour in the vicinity of a local cycling blogger is turned into an occasion for some laddish just-having-a-larf humour. From his article it seems that this is not Wollaston's first speeding conviction. And see if you can spot the difference between the headlines in the website version and the hard copy: