Elections, Covid, E-Scooters, and Parking
By the time you read this, you will have a new president, or not, and we will be pretty much set on our exit strategy to leave Europe. Regarding your next president, I don’t have a dog in that fight, so I have no opinion as to who should or shouldn’t be celebrating. For sure, I do have a preference, but that’s not public consumption.
Let’s not forget Covid-19 in all this. Britain is falling apart under the twin effects of Covid-19 and the government’s incompetent thrashing around as an alternative to actually doing something. They make rules Monday to be introduced Wednesday. On Tuesday they change them. There’s no logic, think numbers picked from a hat, rather than a thought through evidence-based policy. So confusing are the rules that the Ministers appearing in the media can’t answer simple questions on what they mean; and when asked, police chiefs were unable to enunciate just what the rules were and what powers they could exercise.
Statements like this from Costco don’t help. I got an email today that announced:
“Following government guidelines, to protect our members and employees, all Costco members and guests must wear a face covering that covers their mouth and nose at all times while at Costco. This requirement does not apply to children under the age of 11 or to individuals who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition. Members and/or guests without face coverings will not be allowed into the warehouse”.
1) Must wear a face mask
2) Don’t have to wear a face mask if I have a medical condition, which apparently, they take my word over, but,
3) I can’t come in without a face mask.
Doesn’t 2 cancel 1 and if so, does 3 cancel 2? And if 3 cancels 2, aren’t 2 and 3 unnecessary? My brain cell hurts.
E-scooters are having a bumpy time getting into the UK. The government has allowed a number of 12-month trials. Already some trials have already been paused or cancelled and Transport for London is insisting that any Borough that wants a trial must first update all their affected cycle lanes and cycle ways to explicitly allow e-scooters before having a trial. Or NO, because by the time a Borough has done that, they will have run out of time.
The main issues are underage users (you have to be 16+ and have a license) and riding on the footway. One of the companies involved, VOI from Sweden, seems to be serious about solving this. They have introduced sensors which will shut it down within one second of going onto the footway. That’s serious geofencing, if it works. They have also introduced “license plates” so that, if one is driven badly, it and the scooterist can be identified and censured, as necessary. In one town, a dozen users have already been permanently excluded for breaking the rules.
In Birmingham, locals, presumably non-users, are letting their actions speak on what they think of the scheme. VOI has had to hire a team of magnet fishers to get their scooters out of the canals! FYI Birmingham has more canals than Venice.
Meanwhile, the police are taking a very hands-off approach to all this. Use any scooter except from a trial scheme, and you break the law. Any other vehicle would be seized, destroyed and the user would be heavily fined and have their license endorsed. Yet, with scooters they “give words of advice”! What, WHAT?
They should enforce the law, not soft pedal in anticipation of future government intentions. And the government does seem to be intent on allowing these vehicles. Notwithstanding the trials and the growing opposition from the medical profession, road safety experts and organizations representing the blind.
There is an old saying: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” Sadly, this is not understood by our present batch of political air wasters. Pretty much since George Stephenson chugged into the history books at the Rainhill Locomotive trials in 1829, railway land has been controlled by a set of by-laws which include, (finally, he gets to the business!) parking on railway land. It’s cut and dried what you can and can’t do and what happens if you don’t obey the rules.
Sadly, the railways used contractors to run the parking, and instead of using the by-laws, these nitwits used the wrong law, wrong powers and broke the law by giving out invalid citations. What does the government do, cancel their contracts, fine them, lock ‘em up? Nope, it announces (consults, same thing in government-speak) that it’s going to change the law to allow the contractors to use a law that isn’t fit for this purpose. Even worse, the BPA, which is usually the voice of reason, is supporting this proposal!