Tuesday 16 April 2013

What kind of role models are these?

There's a series on BBC3 right now, something like "fucking dangerous new drivers", or similar, though they don't actually question why these teenagers think driving is so important.

The first week, one of the fucking dangerous new drivers was described as being from Bristol, but she wasn't. She was from Thornbury, S. Gloucs. She'd had to sell her first car after earning a few thousand pounds worth of parking fines, and now she was being considered for a second one.

During that week's filming, she was seen: texting while driving. Screaming in rage at some vehicle in front for not being aggressive enough at a junction for her liking. Driving on the motorway while waving her hands around signing. Enough in a single week's filming to have earned her a license disqualification. The only reason she "won" is that the other subject -some idiot who could be shown as proof that university acceptance criteria is too low- had to be stopped by the camera crew themselves from driving home from a club while twice the legal limit.

Hopefully they aren't representative of the majority of their age group, but if you wonder where the cycle haters on twitter come from (and no doubt many more on facebook), these fuckwits give you a clue.

So why do they drive? For the fat-arsed Thornbury resident, its obvious: its a dormitory town where you either stay in the town or get out via the A38 or M5. There is a bus service, but it is getting progressively worse. Most people who work -presumably in Gloucs, Bristol or the Bristol North Fringe- will be driving. If you area teenager, unless you can fit your life around the dire bus service, a car gets you out of the dormitory and into the city. Though if you can run up a few thousand pounds of parking tickets, you need to think more about where to park -and whether your journeys are economic.

The program did cover some of their journeys -one of them was to a Range Rover dealer near to Thornbury. The idiot said how she admired Katie Price and wanted a range rover too, sitting in one and dreaming of being famous and driving round in a black range rover with tinted windows.

Which comes  to the title of the post "What kind of role models are these?".

Today the Former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding has been banned from driving for six months. According to the BBC, "she was pulled over in her Range Rover on 4 April after swerving into the path of a cycling policeman on Charing Cross Road in central London."

Pretty unlucky there: if it had been anyone other than a policeman there'd be a video on youtube and another futile complaint to Roadsfe. It's notable that this is the second time this week that something appears to have happened after a cycling policeman was nearly hit -which shows how important it is that they do, and, given how few do, how common near-misses really are.

Because this former celebrity had totted enough points, she was banned from driving for six months. Her lawyer, trying to weasel her out of this, argued that his client had "suffered more than a normal person because of the media attention her arrest had attracted".

See that? trying to get someone out of a driving ban "because they weren't a normal person"? At least this time the judge declared that to him she was normal -another dangerous driver- and there'd be no exemption. But it shows the arrogance of the elite -and sets the example for everyone else.
  • Chris Huhne: tries to get out of a ban by getting his wife to say it was her. This must be ubiquitous -all Chris did was show that MPs were prepared to do it too. Caught on the phone a few months later and banned anyway.
  • Katie Price, role model for the Thornbury road rager. Gets off on a 12 month ban on December 3rd, "we don't read our own post" and "the white ranger rover isn't the one I use" Spotted texting on the M25, in her pink range-rover December 23rd.
  • Carlos Tevez, banned in January for speeding, "didn't understand the letters". Arrested for breaching the ban in March in a Porsche Cayenne, excuse "I only live down the road, two minutes."
  • This week, Sarah Harding, penalised for having the misfortune to nearly hit a cycling policeman, rather than nearly hit any other cyclist.
What you can see is the general belief amongst the rich, famous and powerful that they are exempt from little thinks like speeding, driving bans, laws against texting. And when they do get caught, their lawyers will try everything they can to get them out of any punishment, including saying they don't deserve a ban because the press coverage means they suffered more than a normal person.

These are the role models for the majority of the country's teenagers (excluding Chris Huhne, who is just a selfish wanker). People who drive high end cars, drive dangerously and then think they exempt from what little enforcement and justice there is in road safety today.

This shows a cultural problem. The Netherlands and Denmark have their cycling royalty. Instead we get royalty, footballers and celebrities who all drive round in range rovers -while the "normal people", including the aspiration fuckwits of Thornbury and elsewhere, aspire to the same lifestyle. They too want a ranger rover -and in the meantime, they can at least drive round texting and speeding.


  1. This area is better than the South East where I come from! I feel a load safer here and around Bristol - but there are dickheads everywhere. This morning on the was back from Stroud in the car, I was waiting to overtake 8 cyclists, when a car over took me, on a blind left hand bend, crossing a solid white line, - on finding a car coming the other way - he had to swerve between car and cyclists - I really wanted him to hit the other car - but at the time - I just was looking where to go if he really did fuck up big time

  2. There's a problem with all those rural S Gloucs roads -what should be pleasant rides become high speed commuter rat runs by people trying to avoid the A38 or trying to sprint to it and the A4174.