Monday, March 22, 2004


Fascinates me how a government so worried about its nation's health that it will ban cigarette smoke from public spaces displays so little concern for its citizens when it comes to road maintenance and regulation.

I've been writing about the M11 over at my local blog, but after a weekend spent driving to and from a wedding in the middle of the country, I realize that the haphazard concern for safety is more than a local issue.

I get the distinct impression that cost savings are the reason for safety being overlooked. Again, if this government were pursuing a "hands off" policy, some of this might make sense or at least be consistent. But, given this government's obsession with protecting us from ourselves, I can't understand why they ignore the following:
  1. Bushes are not going to prevent a car, bus or truck from crossing the divide and causing a head-on collision in the on-coming lanes.
  2. Traffic cones are insufficient markers for significant dangers at a work site - particularly at night. They're practically invisible on a dark night or in a heavy shower. Flashing yellow lights should be employed as well.
  3. Slapping up a new speed limit sign when construction starts is a danger if (a) that limit is not enforced and (b) the sign is not covered when there is no work on-going. Locals soon learn to ignore such signs, but those who are unfamiliar with the road will try to obey - creating huge disparities in the speed among cars sharing a road.
  4. Someone going 75MPH on the M4 is far less a danger than someone going 60 (the limit) on the road between Athboy and Oldcastle (this can be substituted by any of thousands of roads in Ireland).
  5. Speed as a concept is a problem, but exceeding the speed limit may not be it. Passing someone on a blind bend of a narrow, twisty road is a much greater danger than doing 65 on the M50 near Marley Park.
  6. And, a corollary to the one above — tailgating seems to me to be a far bigger problem than simply exceeding the speed limit. I don't think too many Irish people know about the two second rule.
  7. UPDATE: I should also have added that motorway entrance/exit ramps are too short and drainage is poor.