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Nineteen Eighty-Four……Twenty-Six Years Late!!

January 27, 2010


Cardiff, Wales – Room 101? The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world. Room 131? Curious?……..

Room 131 does it exist or is it merely a figment of an author’s imagination, like Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at London’s Kings Cross Station. Room 131, is it secreted in some dingy metropolitan tower block? The one with twenty floors but only nineteen buttons on the lift, only very ‘special’ people visit the thirteenth floor and have the security code for meeting room one.

Room 131. It’s the place ‘they’ meet. It is the place ‘those people’ go to consider any, anti-democratic, anti-libertarian, authoritarian idea that ‘normal’ people dream about in their worst worst nightmares. In Room 131 these ideas become strangely reasonable, acceptable, in the public interest, election winning, spinnable.

Ideas like: The UK Police using unmanned spy drones, currently deployed in Afghanistan, for the ­monitoring of antisocial motorists and motorcyclists, protesters, agricultural thieves, fly-tippers and anything else that my get up the Chief Constables cleft.

Ideas like: The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), recommendation that average speed cameras be installed on all UK motorways to cut CO2 emissions and err bump up income from speeding fines.

Ideas like: Enabling the widespread introduction of Intelligent Speed Adaptation technology, setting out a clear timetable for implementation of the recommendations made in the joint Commission for Integrated Transport / Motorists’ Forum report. Who?

Even ideas like: Research to see if sat navs cause car crashes.

Not to mention ideas like: Banning drivers over the age of 70 years from motorways.

Oh and ideas like: Licensing mobility scooters and there riders.

Also ideas like: Monitoring ‘traffic movements’ via driver’s mobile phones, to calculate vehicle numbers and speeds, and to spot congestion. No security service feed of course!!

Room 131. The place where everything is feasible, anything is possible and where no one takes notice of YOU!

© Back Roads Rider 2010

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Sooty and Sweep permalink
    January 27, 2010 9:55 am

    Well if banning drivers over 70 and speed adaption technology is on the agenda, that’s the least of our worries.

    If you wander over to a town in Euroland famous for a statue of a kid peeing in a public place, there’s a building in Avenue d’Auderghelm, where an equivalent room 131 exists. In this room lots of decisions are being made to “simplify” legislation for motorcycling.

    It’s called Framework Regulations – but if the proposals for this legislation go through, the only thing that riders will be able to put on their bikes will be handlebar grips, fancy stickers if you ride a Harley – some leather tassles.

    But you say – our defenders in Rue des Champs are dealing with it – they’ll fight for our rights!

    Ya think??

    • backroadsrider permalink
      January 27, 2010 5:07 pm

      I detect a slight whiff of euro scepticism motorcycling issues wise!!

  2. Sooty and Sweep permalink
    January 27, 2010 8:04 pm

    there are lots of really great people in Europe, lots of friends. But Brussels now seems be more akin to…..

  3. Dave permalink
    January 28, 2010 12:25 pm

    ISA could have been introduced years ago, the technology exists and has been tested by all sorts of agencies and researchers. The reason it hasn’t and is unlikely to become compulsory is that if no one speeds the revenue from speed cameras will be lost, the speed camera partnerships will become defunct and 85% of road deaths will continue to occur making a mockery of the Governments ‘speed kills’ message and forcing them to do what they should have done 20 years ago and invest in proper driver and rider training and testing and putting traffic officers on the streets not relying on enforcement cameras. The real issue is that insurance companies might start offering discounts for ISA equipped vehilces. Surely a better form of technology would be one that jams mobile phone signal while the engine is running? The US military must have something that could be adapted for civilian use…

    • backroadsrider permalink
      January 28, 2010 9:48 pm

      Considering the number of people I see every day using handheld mobiles whilst driving its time for some action.

      This usage seems particularly prevalent amongst commercial drivers who should not only know better, fleet training, but should be provided with a hands free system in their vehicles by employers. I can only assume they are making calls they don’t want logged on the company system!!

      Mobile phone jammers are widely available in the US, not sure on legality but are illegal here. While I see the sense in your comment on fitting such devices to cars, why not alco locks too, why should the majority law abiders once again have to put up with draconian interventions to sort the actions of the idiots?

      Perhaps if we made the punishment fit the crime, proper sentencing for driving offences, we may get some deterrence and make the idiots and ‘I can get away with that’ posers think twice. Like a five year mandatory ban for picking up two offences for hands free mobile use while in control of a vehicle. How about a twenty year mandatory jail sentence without remission and a lifetime driving ban for drink driving involving a fatality. I both cases I cannot see how the ‘usual’ defence and DfT position of, it was only a momentary lapse applies.

      Ok I know in English law its all about culpability, but I’ve met bereaved families whose lives have been completely ruined by drunk drivers. Most of whom, the drivers, get an 8 stretch are out in 4 and can drive again a year later. Yes the driving ban still runs while you are doing the bird. My way the drivers get a little grief too, sod their human rights what about the rights of the victims.

      As for safety cameras. Well I meet geezers with 9 and 10 points who think it’s a good laugh and get treated down the pub like they have done two tours in Afghanistan. Crazy!

      • Dave permalink
        January 29, 2010 8:44 am

        The problem with deterrants is that they only work on people who can think in terms of cause and effect. Those that don’t consider the consequences of their actions wont be stopped by the idea of a longer ban or a longer stretch inside, and these are the people who are most likely to commit an offence. The only time they might is just after they’ve hit someone and then they’ll do a runner and everything they can to avoid being caught. The death penatly ‘deterrant’ in the states hasn’t stopped people commiting murder… Hand held mobile phone use in cars has increased since they upped the fine, it’s not working.

        The lack of traffic policing makes any real increase in punishment a paper exercise anyway. The only time someone will get caught and punished is when they’ve caused or been involved in a serious collision, by which time it’s too late.

        Why is not having mobile signal in a car with the engine running a bad thing? In a choice between having someone in a car on their phone knocking my wife off her bike and having my civil liberties infringed by not being able to use a phone in the car then I know which I would chose, everytime.


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