Monday, 13 August 2012

And Now....

Monday 13th August and the Olympic Games are over - until the Para-Olympics start at the end of the month.
I am glad it has been a success, that so many people came and enjoyed the experience. I am glad we did well, well done to all those people who have worked so hard to achieve a medal. I am glad it's all over, can we get back to normal now, please?
Apart from the athletes in Team GB who did so well, I would like to spend a moment thanking the unsung heroes of the games. The people who built all the venues and got them finished on time. The people who came in and cleaned up every night after the spectators had gone, the gardeners who kept the Olympic park looking so wonderful, cutting the grass in the dark! The hundreds, maybe thousands, of Olympic Ambassadors and Marshals, not only in London but in the other cities involved, who gave their time, paid their own expenses and gave their services for no reward other than the honour and thrill of being part of it all. Without you all doing your bit the games would not have been such a great success.
And me. Well, I'm not interested in sport. I hate being in crowds. I like my life to be stable and things to be the same all the time. I turned the telly off on the 12th August and I'm not sure I will ever switch it on again, except for the News and Doctor Who, of course. While I'm sure millions of people enjoyed the constant coverage, in this day and age I could not see why it had to be on BBC1 all day and most of the evening, too. BBC3 ran all day, so why did everything else have to be shunted to BBC2? It's not as if people can't get other channels these days. Now that the country has gone digital I would think everyone has access to Freeview, so, yes, open up BBC3 and maybe even BBC4 and leave the other programmes as normal. Or maybe it's just me.
I hope something positive will come from these games; that a few, maybe more than a few, will be encouraged to take part in more sport in the future. But the training provision needs to be in place, all over the country, if the children of today are going to be the champions of tomorrow.  And let us not forget that getting to these dizzy heights means, hours, days, years of intense training and dedication, often involving pain and injury that will last for longer than the glory of a medal. I'm too lazy, always was, but good luck to those who regularly get up before dawn to swim, run, row or whatever. May your dedication bring you the triumph for which you strive.
Now, put your feet up and buy a book!

Friday, 3 August 2012

I've Got the Hump with Humps

This blog has been brewing for a fortnight - ever since my business partner got knocked off his motor scooter going over a road hump. He slowed down, the car behind him didn't. Result. Smash. Two weeks later he is still suffering with concussion and related side effects.
   What I would like to know is - How many people have been killed, injured or had their vehicles damaged by these so-called safety measures? Does the Office for National Statistics keep such records? How can we access them if they do, or do we have to wait for figures to be released?
   I have never liked these things. They are dangerous in the dark and wet when the markings for them have worn away. You can be driving along at the correct speed and suddenly, bump, you hit one. Once installed they are immovable so humps meant to slow traffic outside schools are still there in the middle of the night, all through the weekends and holidays.
   You cannot get into some towns without going over these obstructions. On entering one road I use frequently, the speed limit sign says 30mph. Then within yards there are humps which you have to crawl over. Why not simply reduced the speed to 20mph and have done with it?
   I drive a little two seater Smart car, mainly because I am usually a solo user and don't need a bigger car. But tackling speed humps in one of these short wheel-based cars is a nightmare. You have to slow down to about 5mph to negotiate it and if you don't hit it at the right angle it feels like the car is going to turn over. I know it won't, but it feels like it. Older humps are a bit better than some of the new ones that have appeared. Going into one of my local towns which has recently installed humps narrow enough for buses and vans to pass over without effect, is like running an obstacle course. These humps seem higher in the middle than older types, and do nothing for a car's suspension.
   So how many cyclists and motor cycle users have been knocked off their machines at these things?
   How many cars have been shunted from the rear because they have slowed down?
   How many accidents have been caused at night because people have not realised a hump is there, either because they don't know the road or the markings have worn away?
   How many cars have been damaged by these?
   I have little sympathy for people who were driving too fast in the first place, but even driving at the correct speed for the road seems dangerous when these things suddenly loom up ahead of you, especially in the dark.
   So if anyone knows the answers to these questions please let me know. Are they really cutting down accidents or causing them?