Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One solution can solve many problems; a,b,c licences

Assuming that government wants to improve dramatically road safety and reduce so much drama, one solution can solve many problems.

So far, all the indicators show that government has business in keeping problems.

Tell me if government want but cannot solve:

1. hoon behavior
2. speeding problem
3. stealing, joy riding and damage of a car
4. tailgating
5. near misses
6. road rage
7. breaking about all the rules

Perhaps you can add another many other problems to this list.

To add to it, I found what government actively does to keep road problems:

1. issues licences to untrained people (drunk uncle is not same as professional trainer)
2. issues licences to mentally compromised and otherwise not fit to drive
3. fail to investigate an actual cause of crash and the driver at fault and to require one to improve driving ability
4. does not punish offenders by fine or in court
5. road rules are incomprehensive and long outdated. Car industry advanced a lot but rules and training is a 100 years behind.

According to title, it supposed to be a talk about solution. Let me bring just one of my invention. So far all officials reject it without any rational reason. I hope that public will debate and bring any endorsement or even improvement if possible.

***Common licenses should be divided into 3 categories, a,b,c, depending on the car's performance.

Obviously the points above should be taken into account and no GP to be allowed to be a one man commision permitting license to anyone. A GP may point of someone's inability, but not fitness to drive. It is a conflict of interest and in fact irrational to allow a GP to replace commision trained and dedicated to test people's ability to drive. A GP is also biased and want to please one's patient and is not trained to screen for driving ability.

The lowest category c would require much more comprehensive training and be reviewed every 5 years for rules knowledge, for new rules, for actual driving skils. It would be available for driving least capable cars like beetle, mini morris, and many modern low power cars. Most pensioners, students and less able people will be in this category. The rule would be that category b, that is one up be available only for those who have blameless driving record on c level for 3 years, and would allow to drive middle of the range cars with faster maximum speed and acceleration. This way a 16 year student would not be able to drive a powerful car. Absolutely minumum age for those cars would be 19 years and 3 years experience and much more demanding training which would also cost much more than lower level. Perhaps most of modern cars would be in this b category. Another 3 years driving with perfect record, would enable to undergo the most demanding training for a license to allow to drive the most powerful cars. Another rule would take away the higher category of license for certain types of offenses (not once off parking violation).***

Some advantages of this system.
At present, there is huge disparity between car power and brain power of the driver. This system would solve it instantly.
The teenagers stealing car and joy riding would become rare because everybody would see wrong person driving wrong car and call police.
Many criminals and hoons would never pass the higher level license because it requires fair bit of intelligence.
Once a potential hoon, got high license, one would be afraid to do hooning, because it is an instant loss of status and cost and another 3 years blameless driving on lower level. Hooning on lowest level license is not easy if possible.
Just observing the manner of highest level drivers on the streets, would have an educational effect on the rest of drivers. For instance speeding, if you face to pay fine and lose the status, you would think more than twice before you press the pedal.

It is fair and very logical system. Nobody forces you to get higher level license, and if you on your own want it, you have to undergo strict training at considerable cost. Why? the more powerful car the more dangerous. Less likely street chasing with police or anyone, and less youth colliding with the tree or driving into someone's bedroom. I mean the professional training. Unconvinced? It is for your and public safety. No nonsense questions on exam how many demerit points you loose in what situation, but practical driving knowledge and as some driving experts say, it should be quite long and on higher (college) level training for number of weeks and at considerable cost.

Let it be clear how I think to solve the current problem with driving without license.
I've mentioned a panel of experts comprising of psychologist, GP, driving specialists, lawyer and so on. Say a hoon was caught burning tyres and creating disturbance in neighborhood and danger to motorists. One would be brought for such an offense before the panel which may decide say $200 instantly fine, and have a check of actual reasons of doing it. One may be refered to mental screening, or to driving skill training or simply have a talk with the panel without punishment or referal. In case one was punished and was suspect but not refered to mental screening, the panel warning would be for example: this is very serious matter and when caught next time doing similar offense, you may loose license instantly and even be detained in mental asylum. Offender would be asked if one understands this. When such offender would drive dangerously or hooning, one might be deprived of license and when caught again, would surely be detained not by police but in mental institution. One was offending, was warned, was deprived of license and if continued, one is not capable to understand the warning, nor the consequences of own actions, one is dangerous to self and society, one must be detained in mental hospital until one is free from this problem.
For those who object to such measure. Imagine, any young person, at new year's eve does something silly. Normal. But if warned by the panel (not one allegedly stupid cop) and still ignore it, it then become very serious. Normal rational person would never allow self to go as far. We are talking about road safety. By the way, this should apply not just to hoons, but to an alcoholics, drug users and any serious offenders like habitual speeding drivers and so on.

Very likely that car manufacturers would dedicate their cars to fall into one of the category.

Hopefully there is clear that 3 years blameless driving record is required to become eligible to do training for higher level. All common sense.

Hopefully it is clear that money you spend to have good skills to avoid crashes, near misses and to tolerate others less able, is well spent so you would not be killed nor you less likely kill anybody else on the road. Hopefully it is clear that traffic flow would increase, driving become more relaxed and less stressful.
I deliberately have not included any figures of car speed and acceleration. I let it to be decided by experts, or if they fail, I may suggest some figures.

It would be shame when the world would adopt this system before Australia.

Any rational comments and suggestions are welcommed.

p.s. based on experience, many police offiers would struggle to get higher level license. Perhaps any road safety minister, transport minister, attorney general and all police force must have a minimum b level license current.

safety campaigner

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009 Tour Down Under - cycling promotion or business?

If you just accept what you are being fed in media, the tour and an invitation of Lance is nothing but positive thing.

But if you start to think and see the facts, the reality is somewhat different.

It is nice to watch the cyclists at tour down under, it is even nicer to be able to cycle like them.

Have you noted the dark photo? Read the sign on government building: no cycles in foyer.

This government saw that cyclists are desperate to park their bikes, and rather than providing bicycle stand, government decided to ban cyclists. Not very interesting? Would you classify the taking of this photo as a terrorist activity? Government does. I was actually stopped by secret police while taking this photo and warned not to make such photos again. Leave you to comment further.

The above link shows many photos, just some examples of government anti-cycling activity.

My favourite Lance Armstrong, I thought that he is so good cyclist and health promoter, but now... Perhaps you may help me to make an opinion. I've contacted Lance through his webpage, begging him to do something about road safety in SA. No reply. How can I interpreat it?

Yes, as a health professional, I do promote cycling, and the absolutely most common answer from average people is: no way, I let my children to cycle on  our roads, it's far too dangerous.

The essence of my criticism is that inviting Lance Armstrong as cycling undisputed champion and health campaigner, and absolute determination of the government not to improve cyclist safety on our roads, sends actually very confussing message.

In fact it is once off, the entertainment like a circus. I am not ment to bring a comprehensive analysis of road probems in SA, but just turn your attention to the purpose of this Tour Down Under. (please find the service hole on the picture as per link, which is next to parliament house, which caused me to crash on the road what could be fatal in heavy traffic. They paid for wheel damage but are determined not to fix this service hole.)

Having some opportunity let me bring a few of many points on what government does wrong on road safety.

1. Refuse to train car drivers for safety.

2. Refuse to legislate cyclists as more vulnerable road users, making car drivers faulty in case of crash unless they prove innocence.

3. Refuse to legislate 1m space to cyclists whenever car overtakes them.

4. Refuse to investigate all crashes, particularly with cyclists, and to take all reasonable steps to improve guilty driver's driving ability.

5. Refuse to take reports of dangerous driving incidents and to include them into statistics.

6. Police offend cyclists and this is classed as normal job of police.

7. Police in general have extremely poor understanding road rules and road safety, and also push to dangerous driving.

There are many more points, but anyone can check the above and have own experience.

In a few words, all relevant ministers and the Premier do everything they can not to improve safety and police does everything not to improve safety but to raise their revenue. 

Adelaide City Council refuse to take responsibility of damaged wheels of cyclists, no cost reimbursement, no fixing of their negligence in sense of holes and so on.

It seems that there is no business in right doing but lots of business in wrong. 

If you read this message as positive message, as the desire to cycle safely and freely, you are correct. The more cyclists, the heathier whe become, the more free space on the roads, the cleaner air. Killing, injuring or near missing cyclist, will not solve any problem some drivers try to "solve". Cyclists have right to use roads. If you are upset on cyclists, you are surely wrong. If there is something to improve, do not teach cyclists or other drivers, teach politicians, ask them to improve.

If my blogs will not be blocked, I intend to publish lots of details on road safety. Latest is the research I've conducted to show what is the actual situation on the roads. Will publish results and some ideas to improve safety.

Honestly, sure, tour was nice, and with Lance will definitely be much nicer, but will it persuade any single person who is today afraid to cycle, to take bike and cycle regularly?

safety campaigner