Safety is not the primary concern on roads...

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GeoffM

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My primary concern is that of getting emergency vehicles to the scene of an accident. They claim that they can change the signs within seconds, and that there are refuges for vehicles to pull over. But this simply doesn't work.

Why is the lane open? Because of congestion. As soon as you have an accident, what happens? Vehicles *immediately* back up because of the congestion. Emergency vehicles come along - where do they go? Vehicles can't pull over because there is nowhere for them to go.

Daft.

Geoff M.
 

Tomnick

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I don't really see the point in providing this extra capacity anyway. Doesn't past experience show that providing extra capacity generally leads to an increase in demand/traffic until the road's once again 'full'? Since nothing appears to have been done to increase capacity on routes leading away from the M42, this will just shift the congestion elsewhere!
 

compsci

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The "Active Traffic Management" system is daft enough as it is without such madness as opening up the hard shoulder. I've only travelled on it once when the system was operating, and it seems to pick speeds to display without regard the effects when a motorist sees a speed limit sign showing less than their current speed.

For example the speed signs ahead started showing 40mph, and so the vehicles travelling at 50mph (pretty much everyone) slammed their brakes on. The next gantry (which must be only a few hundred yards away) was showing 50mph, so everyone speeds up again.

There is also a message sign on every gantry, which typically displays helpful messages such as "Congestion. Caution!" and "Queue. Caution!". Both of these should be pretty evident as you will be stuck in one.

I would say that it causes congestion, not fixes it.
 

Mojo

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I think that Active Traffic Management is a fantastic idea, it's basically an extension of the highly successful "Variable Speed Limits" on the M5. ATM is only evident on the M42, junctions 3A - 7, where it's being trialled. If a success then it'll be introduced elsewhere.

When traffic reaches a certain level, the speed limit will be reduced on lanes, to allow vehicles to travel closer together.

If the traffic keeps going up, or the lower speed limits can't keep everything moving, then "ramp metering" will come on. These are essentially traffic lights that only allow a few vehicles to join the motorway at a time, placed on the entry slip roads.

If this fails to sort things out, then the Hard Shoulder will be opened to traffic. This will only happen if it is shown as clear in the Control room by the CCTV coverage and by the traffic officers. The Hard Shoulder will only be open if speeds are below 50Mph, and normally much less, meaning that in most cases, accidents will be less severe, although signs will tell motorists to clear the required lanes. Emergency services have been consulted and are happy.
 

devon_metro

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When i saw this on BBC i thought; "What! Surely the H/S is for broken down vehicles to safely park etc and for emergency access. It's madness!"

Where are they going to go now! This once again just encourages people to use the car over the train. There should be a price to use any M road IMHO
 

David

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It may have been announced recently as a "new idea", but in practice, it's been going on for quite a while now. I've been around that stretch of the M42 quite a few times over the past few years, and I've noted that the hard shoulder has been used as an extra lane quite a few times in rush hour.

All the government has done is tell us a "plan" of what is going to happen, when in reality, it's been happening a while.
 

Mojo

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When i saw this on BBC i thought; "What! Surely the H/S is for broken down vehicles to safely park etc and for emergency access. It's madness!"
The hard shoulder will not be active when there are broken down vehicles, if a vehicle does break down, it should either end up in a refuge, which are very frequent, - and if that's not possible, - the Hard Shoulder will then close.

60006 Scunthorpe Ironmaster said:
It may have been announced recently as a "new idea", but in practice, it's been going on for quite a while now. I've been around that stretch of the M42 quite a few times over the past few years, and I've noted that the hard shoulder has been used as an extra lane quite a few times in rush hour.

All the government has done is tell us a "plan" of what is going to happen, when in reality, it's been happening a while.
Indeed, I was thinking the same, - ATM has been there well over a year.

Where are they going to go now! This once again just encourages people to use the car over the train. There should be a price to use any M road IMHO
Many people choose not to use public transport for various reasons, they might need a car for other purposes, or be travelling as a group, so taking the train isn't economical. They might need to shift large loads, which can't be done by train, they might want to travel in more comfort than can be done by train, or even get to their destination quicker.

I travel to South Birmingham most weeks, about half the time I choose to drive or get a lift, not because its quicker, petrol costs are about the same as train, (train costs £9.10 (Open rtn + 2 singles with Priv) + bus at each end (2x£1.50-£2.50 in Bristol + 2x£1.20 in Birmingham), but because it's a damn sight quicker. 40 Mn need to journey to station and buy tickets, 1h20m train, plus 30-40 Mn on the bus, whereas driving takes just over an hour, door-to-door.

Until Public Transport gets a lot better, taxing people even more off the roads won't be a popular idea with the electorate.
 

TheSlash

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A few views on this

Driving back from Kent the other weekend, a lorry has broken down in Lane 1 of the M25 about 0.5 miles from the junction of A3/M25, some kind of tyre/wheel trouble.
About 5 miles in the rear of this lorry are signs first indicating move out of that lane, followed by this lane is shut, both displayed by the lane marker things {not the message board things}. The message board things were also telling people to move out of this lane. As we approached the "This lane is shut" signs at about 3 miles, some people still carried on in that lane. At 1 mile off, the flashing lights of a Highways agency range rover came into view in lane one, still people used lane one, despite closed signs.
Even as close as 100 yards, people were still in this lane, leaving it until the last minute to force they're way into lane 2

I had a rear tyre blow out in the Spring. I nursed the car into a very nearby layby on the A2, a bus stop to be precise. Here, i uncomfortably changed the off side rear tyre while traffic went past inches away at a minimum of 70mph.
Tyre change complete, i was ready to re join traffic. A quick check of the mirrors suggested i was in a tight spot. I had the length of the layby, around 50 metres, to get upto a speed suitable to re join the carriageway.
I carefull reversed the car to the physical limit of the layby and monitored my mirrors for traffic approaching from the rear. Thankfully a quiet Saturday morning meant it wasn't too long before i saw an opening.
I floored the accelerator and indicated right. By the time i was forced to re join the carriageway by the layby physically running out, i was doing around 40mph. The gap i had seen involved a vehicle forming oncoming traffic. As the car reached somewhere between 50 and 60 mph, this vehicle indicated right and sped past me in the right hand lane {2 lane carriageway}
Just think if i had been going out of an M42 refuge
 

Nick W

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Safety is not the primary concern on roads...
here's the proof:
Lack of Police patroling
Bumps
Chicanes
Narrow roads
Bendy roads
Cameras
Cycle lanes/tracks
Middle islands
Traffic lights with little warning
Mini roundabouts
Tangental (not perpendicular) roundabout/road approaches
Railings
On-road parking
Lack of lane discipline enforcement
Limiters
 

Nick W

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I had a rear tyre blow out in the Spring. I nursed the car into a very nearby layby on the A2, a bus stop to be precise. Here, i uncomfortably changed the off side rear tyre while traffic went past inches away at a minimum of 70mph.
Hmm the highway code says "do not stand (or let anybody else stand), between your vehicle and oncoming traffic" but doesn't mention how you would change the tyre. Guess you should pay for AA if you value your life.

Just think if i had been going out of an M42 refuge
"Additional rules for the motorway"
*snip*
"do not attempt even simple repairs"
"walk to an emergency telephone on your side of the carriageway (follow the arrows on the posts at the back of the hard shoulder) - the telephone is free of charge and connects directly to the police. Use these in preference to a mobile phone "
 

David

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Nick, out of the following in your list, the following are there to improve road safety.

  • Speed Bumps
  • Chicanes
  • Traffic Lights
  • Cameras
  • Cycle Lanes
  • Traffic Islands

Of the rest of you list, how do you propose the rest is sorted?

Narrow and twisty roads for example. Do you think they should be completely re-built? If so, who's going to pay for it?
 

Nick W

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Now as I proffesional driver, you will probably be better than most drivers (though not taxi....). But from the point of view of a cyclist who spends about 1hr a day cycling....

Nick, out of the following in your list, the following are there to improve road safety.
  • Speed Bumps
Have been known to kill people. Also delay ambulances and fire engines.
Also temporarily reduce traction and cause congestion which isn't good.

Cause traffic to be forced down the wrong side of the road. Narrow road bridges are bad enough for us cyclists.

Anyone can see that they traffic calmings only reduce accidents because cars use other roads instead (transfering accidents).

  • Traffic Lights
I agree, 99% of the time they are good. But 30 minutes ago i had to pass a red because it wouldn't detect my bike.

Have not been proven to work. Again people have been killed by them.

  • Cycle Lanes
Takes the rights of way out of bicyles, as part of a pro-car policy. This. meaning we now have to indicate right out when turning left. Also if you use one you can end up being the wrong side of 3 lanes at a junction.#
  • Traffic Islands
Not to be confused with pedestrian refuses, which in a wide road, are very useful.

These act as bike traps and make overtaking more dangerous.

Of the rest of you list, how do you propose the rest is sorted?

Narrow and twisty roads for example. Do you think they should be completely re-built? If so, who's going to pay for it?
It's a bit too late now. Unlike the Victorians who gave Felixstowe nice straight wide roads, the more modern planners just want to cramp houses in.
 

David

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I've just got to correct 1 major minor point from your last post.

If there is traffic islands on a road, that means you shouldn't be overtaking in the first place....
 

Dennis

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Using the hard shoulder as a traffic lane...why not? Modern vehicles are a lot less likely to need this facility than in the days when most of the motorway network was constructed. If it is only to be used as a traffic lane when speeds are low and additional refuges are provided I don't see the problem - no less safe than having a breakdown on a narrow winding road.

Straying OT,

On the subject of cycling, the one thing I always keep in mind when I'm out on the bike (about 65 miles a week) is that I have whats called 'priveliged access' along with pedestrians and horse riders (some arcane law dating back to goodness knows when). This means that I do effectively own the roads, unlike motorists who require a licence to use them. I understand that legally, this does give me priority over motor vehicles (although normal rules of the road still apply - give way, red lights etc).

re chicanes; I have to negotiate a few of these everyday on the bike and find nothing beats a good game of 'chicken' when a car driver dares to come at me when I have priority (afer all I usually get a good beeping if it goes the other way). Some of the looks of horror when I take a bit more road than is strictly necessary certainly brighten up my day. And before any motorist asks why, it because I would like more than a few centimetres clearance when the closing speed is in excess of 50MPH).

re cycle lanes; anyone caught queuing in a cycle lane when I want to use it are liable to either be rammed gently at the back or get a good thump on the roof or side panels if I can squeeze by. This happens quite often on the way home from work - hilariously, one day some woman driver followed me all the way home and apologised profusely as I was unlocking my front door, thinking she had hit me. When I explained that she had cut across the cycle lane in front of me and that I had just given her car a thump, she still kept apologising!

My top tips for cycling safely
1....make sure your brakes work well
2....never overtake on the left
3....make sure you are seen
4....remember that motor vehicles are harder than you
 

Nick W

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I've just got to correct 1 major minor point from your last post.

If there is traffic islands on a road, that means you shouldn't be overtaking in the first place....
I wish that all drivers knew that. Though one particular road in Felixstowe is very nice and is almost the width of a dual carrigeway so it doesn't matter if a car passes a bike. Trouble is on the majority of roads, I often have to stop and wait because a bike will always lose if a car tries to race.

Dennis said:
re chicanes; I have to negotiate a few of these everyday on the bike and find nothing beats a good game of 'chicken' when a car driver dares to come at me when I have priority (afer all I usually get a good beeping if it goes the other way).
Hmm I'm sadly not that brave.


Some of the looks of horror when I take a bit more road than is strictly necessary certainly brighten up my day. And before any motorist asks why, it because I would like more than a few centimetres clearance when the closing speed is in excess of 50MPH).
I can't blame you. Sometimes even the DfT reccomendation distance from the curve puts you near the middle of the lane on the worse roads.

re cycle lanes; anyone caught queuing in a cycle lane when I want to use it are liable to either be rammed gently at the back or get a good thump on the roof or side panels if I can squeeze by. This happens quite often on the way home from work - hilariously, one day some woman driver followed me all the way home and apologised profusely as I was unlocking my front door, thinking she had hit me. When I explained that she had cut across the cycle lane in front of me and that I had just given her car a thump, she still kept apologising!
Watch out for cycle lanes. If the line is dashed cars can do what they like in it. Again I don't have the courage to squeeze by, so i will indicate pull back into the main traffic stream so as not to lose my place.

2....never overtake on the left
Hmm I only go past cars on the left if there's a queue.
 
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