Thursday , October 18 2018
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Like a Bat out of Brus

First of all let me state one thing I am a professional pedestrian and always have been. Ive never learnt to drive; living around here theres really no need to. Walking is healthy and fun the only time I ever wished that I owned a car is when leaving Asda with 6 bags of shopping and heading for the bus stop in the rain…


Cars are, on the whole, a good thing  theyve made the country smaller and enabled people to travel long distances relatively cheaply. They are convenient and having a driving licence is a prerequisite for a lot of jobs now.


There was an old public information film around in the 1970s showing how Mr Walker, a calm pedestrian, became Mr Wheeler  a crazed wolf character when he sat in the driving seat of his car. It was designed to highlight the change that some people undergo when they get behind the wheel. The film got it about right from what I see around the town.


The first thing that Ive noticed is that a lot of items are only fitted to cars as optional extras: airbags metallic paint alloy wheels souped-up brakesindicators hang on a minute  indicators Well yes If youve ever stood trying to cross an exit road from a roundabout then youll know that you take your life in your hands because a lot of motorists dont use their indicators to tell you if they are turning your way or not. Im convinced that their cars dont have them they mustve bought the L model and indicators are probably only fitted to the LS model or above!


One other thing about indicators  they mean I am intending to move and not I am moving as most drivers seem to believe  especially those on motorways who think that its OK to indicate and change lanes at the same time no warning is given to other motorists who sometimes have to swerve because the offending driver forgot to buy a car with wing mirrors obviously another optional extra!


Heres a couple of other things that both Mr and Mrs Wheeler might want to consider: Executives and white van men get off of your mobile phones please and pay attention to the road and ladies please stop doing your make up in traffic jams  Ive seen both of these happen in the last week and it just cant be safe. Another misapprehension that Mr Wheeler has is that traffic lights at amber mean speed up so as not to get held up at a red light it may be news to the selfish gits to read that an amber light actually means prepare to stop. So slow down and do it!


Cars that accelerate and speed straight on through the lights when they are amber stop those waiting in the middle of the road from turning right – when they eventually get to do so the traffic coming from the sides has already got a green light. All this hassle because a BMW driver hasnt got the patience to stop and wait for a minute.  Whilst Im on the subject, heres a question for all you BMW Drivers do you ever stop for anything? It seems to me that if theres a chance that a five second wait can be avoided then a BMW driver will accelerate and put others at risk rather than stop.


It isnt only BMW drivers that this type of behaviour applies to, but nearly every time I see a BMW it is being driven by one of three types of people who never fail to disappoint me:


1) A woman with blonde hair and too much make up  She is probably either an executive at an advertising agency or a fashion house or shes the mistress of a middle aged company director who has a wife and two kids in Saltburn by the Sea. She drives like a madwoman and thinks that the accelerator is an on/off switch its either ignored (when braking) or is flat on the floor. Shes never had an accident but has seen loads in her rear view mirror.


2) A young businessman in a sweat stained pink shirt with a pink tie – his vehicle is probably a company car – hes the kind of bloke who asks you in the pub what car do you drive and measures your place in the world against this criteria. He has taken the job because the BMW company car was the most attractive part of the package and he loves it, sitting in it to have his lunch and polishing it with vigour each Sunday morning. He will never knowingly be beaten away from the lights by any other car if he can help it – he even sees driving to the shops for a pint of milk as a race.


3) A 20 year old in a track suit  this young man either has a very rich father, has made a vast amount of money with a world shattering business idea, has had a lottery win, has stolen the car or is making money as a drug dealer or pimp.


Which one of these choices is correct I would leave up to your imagination  I know what I think. The fast, selfish and uncaring type of person who is typified as a stereotypical BMW driver will speed and cut up anyone on the road if it saves them a car length of time. They are the ones who dont seem to hurt themselves in accidents but they do sometimes kill their passengers, other motorists and innocent bystanders standing in bus queues.


If you want to drive fast or recklessly then do it on your own, on a track. Please slow down  Theres just never any excuse for speeding through urban areas at 60 miles per hour. The Council and Highways Agency dont seem to help a lot either – Are pedestrian crossings actually designed for drivers or pedestrians I always thought the clue was in the name. Those crossings with belisha beacons at either side are roundly ignored by some drivers whilst those with lights, red and green men and a lovely peeping noise usually make drivers stop but have a really annoying feature built into them  especially the ones that have radar traffic control: You walk up to the lights and, wanting to cross the road safely, press the button. Traffic is flowing past you and you wait and wait. And wait. The traffic disappears and suddenly the lights change and you can cross an empty road. Coincidence I think not!


When you press the button to use these radar controlled crossing lights they will change immediately if nothing is coming, but if the road is busy they will stay green for a predetermined amount of time (seems to be about a minute but it can be longer) before changing to red to let you cross. If the road is clear you can cross safely anyway why do the lights even need to change Clearly these are designed for ease of traffic flow and not for use by pedestrians. Lights that arent radar controlled are on a timer that changes after a while except you cross if the road isnt busy and after getting to the other side and walking away from the lights for a bit they change and you look over your shoulder to see a bemused driver sat at the lights watching the invisible man cross. Please can we just have pedestrian crossings where the lights go red and allow pedestrians to cross when the road is busy Simple really Mr Councillor.


There is room for Mr Walker and Mr Wheeler out there but the roads are dangerous places. Both parties should take care Mr Wheeler please realise that pedestrians are lumps of meat who are not protected with side impact bars and Mr Walker please respect that drivers cannot easily get out of the way so dont endanger yourselves or others by making doing unpredictable or dangerous things which may make them swerve out of the way. Oh yes I solved the problem of leaving Asda with 6 bags of shopping and heading for the bus stop in the rain by getting it delivered by one of their nice delivery men.




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