Monday, July 1, 2013

Anti-social behaviour

Saturday, 8th June 2013: Life  has it ups and downs and for me I can’t tell whether my aches and pains are me getting older, or maybe I have caught some weird lurgy.  I have had a pain in my right shoulder which then seemed to affect my arm.  Sometimes I find a cycle ride seems to help and then other times it seems to come back stronger.

The complication is that it is the same side as my collar bone got broken which does feel a little different to my left shoulder. The other odd thing is that it is rather like a pain I had in my shoulder 30 years ago. In those days the company I worked for had a coach service to the factory from the nearby town. The journey was around 10 miles and I used to sleep on leaning against the window. Being creatures of habit we all used to sit in the same places, more or less. During the winter the window I leant on (to sleep) was quite cold and it was my right shoulder that was in contact with it.

That pain seem to be at the core of my shoulder and when I stopped leaning against the window – or used my scarf to insulate my shoulder the pain went away. This pain was similar. Well I did start to wonder  as it seamed to ease off and then come back just as painful. So I set a deadline for a visit to the Doctor and as is often the case it has sorted itself within a couple of days.

My best guess is that it is related to a poor sleeping position and the fact it was damaged by an idiot motorist a few years ago. Oh well.  I did discuss the idea of Pilates with someone I know who has taken it up – getting old flexibility issues.

I reckon that watching too much sport is bad for you. You end up a couch potato, well I would. So I tend only to watch Formula 1. Which is at odds with my view that we need to be building a more sustainable and sociable society – but Sport has almost nothing to do with inspiration for me and much more to do with entertainment.  The slight exception to the rule is I watch a bit of the Tour de France.  I like to see how the story unfolds. Although I don’t watch it every day.

I must admit I was disappointed to see that Lance Armstrong appears to have popped up again, He is reported in the DM as saying “It is IMPOSSIBLE to win the Tour de France without doping”. I wonder what his motivation is?

As a society we have a spectrum or ways of getting along from laws, to guidelines to customs. If someone breaks the rules then there are ways of dealing such transgressions. The problem is catching those who are prepared to break the rules. Sometimes it is the fear of getting caught and punished rather than the crime itself that helps prevent rule-breaking.

Fly-tipping falls into the category of there being a selfish anti-social few who just don’t seem to care about the mess and danger of their behaviour. I presume they are just saving themselves a trip to the recycling centre or in the case of a larger amounts of waste a cost. (Mind you it is not that easy finding such information on the Cambridge City Council website so I have given up.)

I am pleased to see that some people are caught and when they are it isn’t cheap – this chap got a £1,000 fine

Does it keep things under control – well yes, however I regularly see the results of fly-tipping. As my shoulder was still a little tender I tended to stick to tarmac for this ride around Upware and Wicken Fen. As I headed up to Upware there was some distributed fly-tipping along Great Drove.

Fly-tipping along Great Drove, near Upware

The bizarre thing is that rather than dump it in one place they spread it around a bit. Was that to make it harder to pick up, or by driving slowly did they hope to avoid being spotted – by dumping on the move?

Fly-tipping along Great Drove, near Upware

It is obvious that this is anti-social as well as against the law – it impacts the countryside and I guess most people would agree it needs to be “policed”.

Strangely it seems that “dumping” aka parking a car along a public road illegally is not considered as anti-social in some quarters but rather a “cash cow”. I must admit I think that it is rather bizarre the way some motorists seem to complain about cyclists on the roads. Well some do – just read the comments on a news story about cycling. Like this rather bizarre news item – “Third of Motorists want cyclists to pay road tax”. It seems a rather weird survey and has attracted weird comments. Read bike biz for the to check out some of those inconsistencies.

As one of the commenters points out “More cyclists = less traffic jams for motorists”. I would add that “fewer illegally parked cars – less traffic jams for motorists” . So perhaps rather than it being a cash cow perhaps as the fines are not acting as a deterrent then the fine out to go up. Or maybe the fines should increase for repeat offenders. Personally I would also be in favour of such motorists attending classes or having to undertake pro-social activity.

It would seem that the French also have problems with speeding Brits – one was recently caught at more than 160mph. Apparently it “broke” the radar gun, which seems unlikely. It probably just went over-range. The article quotes someone as saying it stopped worked – which isn’t quite the same as saying it broke. Il ne marche pas, je pense.

Talking about catching transgressors – well apparently some roads are so dangerous the  “Police refuse to mount speed checks after two deaths on Cambridgeshire road – ‘for health and safety reasons’”. You can only have speed checks on roads were cars don’t speed?

As I was cycling between Upware and Wicken I saw a hare in a field – it sat there until I started to get my camera out and then shot off. Hares are faster than rabbits as well.

Mad June Hare near Upware

Here is the hare – cropped to make the picture larger.

Mad June Hare near Upware

One thing I noticed was my average speed was quite a bit higher. There were two reasons, the first being my route was on tarmac, the second was that I wasn’t taking so many pictures.

I passed this group as they cycling along Lodes Way, just by Reach Lode Bridge. I then kept up my pace to allow me time to stop, take out my camera and take a picture.

Cyclists enjoying a ride along Lodes Way

I have rabbited on about the A14 upgrade before. The CN reports that Cameras set to control £1 A14 toll. Is this the thin end of the wedge towards “micro-tolling” all roads.  Personally all I can say is good luck to the local residents who will get a new local route. Let’s face it a “better” road will bring more traffic, when problems do occur, and they will, then that traffic will flood the local roads.  When they don’t the traffic noise will flood the area.

Will this also create more isolated places along the way like Bar Hill. It is not a place that is easy  to get to/from for disabled people on mobility scooters or for cyclists. This mobility scooter user appears to he been bullied off the lawful use of the road to get out of Bar Hill.

The trouble is there are are more people who want to travel through the area than live in it. So the needs and concerns of the locals gets ignored. A consequence of majority rule perhaps. The trouble is it makes new road  developments virtually unstoppable, there is always an excuse. The trouble is we don’t seem to be vary good at looking at better alternatives. Do we really think that a good use of the time of people living in the UK is commuting.

The situation will get worse, the A14 is used by hauliers from the Port – checkout these pictures of one of the world’s largest container ships. It can carry more cargo than a 41mile long train.  New container ships – Triple E will be able to carry 18,000 20-foot containers. The article suggests even larger ships will carry up to 30,000 containers.  This A14 report suggest a growth of 182% in containers from 2005 to 2030.

I reckon the “A14 upgrade” will mean more pollution (noise and air) and more vehicles all piling through isolating communities, more blighted countryside – thanks but no thanks – get your thinking caps on plan for the future. Even at £1 a trip that will be another £10 a week in commuting costs – another drip tax. 

The report above also indicated there were 20,000 lorries across the Bar Hill/Girton stretch on Nov 1st 2011 and Figure 3.1.3 indicates 70,000 cars and vans and 16,000 lorries which implies a daily take of around £100,000 – sounds a lot – however if the upgrade costs £1.5Bn then it would take 40 years to pay for the road not taking into account the repair costs.

And finally, well some pictures – an abandoned Gold Rush town in Montana. We seem to be heading for a road rush at the moment.

By the way according to the Government there is no legal limit to road noise – gee thanks. Even more worrying a report, UKNA  suggests that road traffic is the biggest cause of noise pollution in the UK disturbing more than 12 million people.

That sounds pretty anti-social to me – can you ASBO a road?

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