Pathways, kinks, apples and speed gangs

My wife and I went for a walk in Bacton Wood the other day. In case you want to follow in our footsteps, I should warn you that Bacton Wood is not exactly in Bacton. It is sometimes called Witton Wood. I don’t want to be more precise, in case you have a dog. There are quite enough dogs in Bacton Wood already.

Someone has made an attempt to direct people round two or three marked walks. The one we chose was interesting, but it would not be unfair to say that a totally random placement of the guide posts would have been just about as helpful.

It goes toward confirming my suspicion that there is a law that states that anyone put in charge of a road or track must have no concept of what is needed. For example, the sparkling new Norwich Northern Distributor Road (or Broadland Northway, as it is much less known) has a very large kink in it that can only be explained by the constructors merrily setting off in one direction, realising it’s wrong, putting in a roundabout and coming halfway back again. 

And while we’re on the subject of roundabouts, whose idea was it to design them like an apple, so that it seems obvious that people have already turned left when in fact they are mysteriously still on the roundabout and about to hit you when you pull out? I know anyone within any sense would shift into the middle lane to go straight ahead, but drivers have been so indoctrinated into driving timorously that changing lanes rarely occurs to them. 

Which brings me to speed limits, without which local newspapers would go out of business. Take it from me, nobody walking through a village has the slightest idea how fast passing cars are going. But people of a certain vociferous type know it must be too fast, because it’s a car, and if they can get into a gilet jaune and start a gang of speed watchers, they’ll jump at the chance. 

I have driven in Norfolk for well over 50 years, and I can tell you that the main problem with Norfolk drivers is that they drive too slowly. They are also incapable of overtaking, but I blame that on the inept road organisers who brainwash them into thinking that speed kills. Slow drivers are far more dangerous, because they don’t concentrate, they do other things at the same time, and all the other drivers get so tired of the endless processions that they doze off. Since almost all accidents are caused by not paying attention, this is a Bad Thing.

Police and councillors trot out all the old misleading statistics, but despite the plague of “safety” measures that afflicts us more and more, road deaths are roughly the same now as they were in 2012. All those speed cameras and ridiculously low limits have never had the desired effect – unless by “desired effect” you mean extracting huge amounts of cash from people who are driving perfectly safely.