Monday, 14 June 2010

Whose road is it anyway?

"An elderly man who caused four miles of traffic jams while riding his mobility scooter along the A12 has been given a form of “roads Asbo”.The man, who is in his 80s, was seen riding at 8mph on the southbound carriageway of the A12 near Chelmsford, on Thursday June 3, 2010" says Essex Police's website.

"Police received numerous calls from drivers concerned for the welfare of the scooter rider as he trundled along the inside lane of the dual carriageway, which has no hard shoulder. Officers from the A12 Alliance Patrol Team went to investigate and formed a rolling roadblock around the scooter to hold back traffic until the man, who is from the Chelmsford area, could be escorted off at the Danbury turn-off. Sgt Jason Dearsley of the A12 Alliance Patrol Team said it was decided not to send the man to court for careless driving and after the close support of his family it was decided to issue him with a year-long Section 59 warning. The warning means that if he behaves in such a manner on any road in future his scooter could be confiscated."

"Sgt Dearsley added: “Instead of tying up the court’s precious time we decided that the best way to deal with this matter was to use powers given to us normally for dealing with boy racers. We see it as an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) for road users.”

While I have no problem with the Police coming to the aid of this guy, do we really need to make an example of him? Has he broken any laws by using his buggy on the road? (Next time I go down Chelmsford by-pass I'll see if there any orders banning cyclists, horses, tractors, pedestrians, poets and any other nuisances that stop the rest of us motorists going an illegal 80mph.)

Here we go again, demonising "boy racers" and silly old people, getting in the way of the rest of us more important people, as we hurtle down the A12 from nowhere to somewhere else, or maybe we're simply parked in a trunk road traffic jam. Maybe we should all look at ourselves, the way we expect to use the roads, who we might be sharing the road with, the speeds we take for granted, and the possibility that anytime there could be an unforseen 0 mph hazard in the road just ahead? Hello escaped cow, hello grand piano fallen off the back of a lorry. Before cheering that this wayward man has been sorted by the long arm of the law, could we reflect on our own behaviour and attitudes to the vulnerable sharing our common space?

(Picture taken on minor road in Scottish highlands near Invergarry, the fence made entirely of hub caps found in local ditches. Maybe some ASBOs are needed for all these reckless drivers?)


  1. Or for poorly trained tyre shop workers who dont fix the things on properly in the first place.

    A very fine and thought provoking post this one Swifty. I'm with you 100%, especially as he was on the A12 and not the A1.........


  2. I can't bear certain sectors' attitude to people who are "old and in the way", but the police probably acted for the best with his safety in mind. Oh well....

  3. You might find this interesting:

    It's a stretch of the A120 in Braintree which is seemingly off-limits to cyclists, horses and horses-and-carts. I've been curious for a long while about how enforceable these are, unless there's been a sneaky redesignation to the A120(M) without anyone noticing!



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