Thursday, January 20, 2005

Happy Metrification Day

Today is the day that the speed limits move from MPH to KPH. I said before that I didn't think this was too big a deal, really, but the press has tried its best to make it a big deal.

In order to unnecessarily conform with this unnecessarily conformist change, Met Éireann will now report wind speeds in KPH rather than MPH.

The Toronto Globe and Mail, New York Times, CNN and others all have reports on the big day. The CNN report deals with driving in Ireland generally and has more than a soupçon of "the Irish are nuts" to it. Try this:
The government says about 250,000 people -- or 17 percent of drivers -- have either failed to pass a driving test or are still waiting to take one. Yet under Ireland's unusual licensing laws, people who fail a test are issued with a "provisional" license anyway.

It's little wonder then that encountering jaw-droppingly bad drivers in Ireland is an everyday occurrence.

"Ireland remains Europe's Wild West in terms of enforcement. Nowhere in the western world is it safer to speed or drink-drive," said David Maher, director of a bicycling rights pressure group called the Irish Cycling Campaign.
{Note, also that the CNN report has a picture of an American speed limit sign. Tell me those aren't clearer and easier to see than the little red discs we have here.}