In the dark
I was out running the pavements in the middle of town the other evening and was slightly alarmed to notice how many street lights weren’t working. Plodding along, I had been amusing myself with the thought that perhaps the lights were off in areas where people had not paid their council tax. Then later, reading this esteemed publication, I discovered this is in fact a ploy by local councils to save money. And, lest you think I keep very odd hours, they weren’t sticking to the suggested hours of midnight and 5am; this was early evening.
So drivers are warned to look out for vulnerable road users – which will be me when I fall flat on my face because I’ve tripped over an uneven surface I couldn’t see, or slipped up on wet leaves. We won’t be able to see potholes so well either when we are in the car, so we can expect even more damage to our wheels and suspension. Oh, and given the poor state of the average Brit’s eyesight, they won’t be able to read road signs either.
I wonder if these councils have calculated the actual cost saving in electricity, versus the clear-up cost of each additional accident which happens as a result of poor street lighting?
Moving on, recently there has been a series on TV about the rise of the British cycling team to take honours at the Tour de France and then Olympic Gold shortly after. Cycling is big in Britain as a result of their success and so the top names have the added responsibility of all sportsmen to act as role models for those who look up to them. I include among “sportsmen” those former sporting heroes who are now members of the team, but in supporting roles.
So, imagine my dismay when we are treated to a TV camera inside one of the team cars, and the team director – a former well-known competitive cyclist – is not only driving the team car but also talking to the riders on ship-to-shore handheld radio, and watching them on some kind of monitor in the front of the car; all this while on the move amongst other traffic. The passenger is sitting with his hands in his lap apparently doing nothing. In this day and age, how does that set any kind of example to young drivers that driving is the primary job in hand and that it requires total concentration. I shall, of course, complain to the team.
And finally for this month – top marks to leasing company Zenith who have launched a new “E-Motion strategy” offering all types of electric vehicles to both company car drivers and salary sacrifice, with leases including several days’ daily rental of a traditionally-fuelled car, for occasional journeys outside of the electric vehicle’s range. Now I can see that encouraging take-up in greater numbers. Electric vehicles continue to evolve although I see that electric sports car manufacturer Tesla has had no less than three instances of the battery pack catching fire. The Tesla however is one sexy motor car and a far cry from the Enfield Thunderbolt.
If you haven’t heard of the Thunderbolt before – and I thought the name sounded more like a motorbike or perhaps a steam train – these little beauties were built on the Isle of Wight from 1966, as the result of a competition run by the United Kingdom Electricity Council. Even then, the car had a range of up to 56 miles. Production later switched to a Greek island (the company owner was Greek) although they were still assembled in the UK, but ceased 10 years later, allegedly because it was too expensive compared with cars like the Mini, but perhaps in reality it was just too far ahead of its time.