Why when it rains?

I’ve long ago noticed that the general standard of road use falls when it rains. This was all filmed on last night’s ride home from Walsall. The white courier type van at the beginning was marked ‘Internal Mail Only’, and I think is a Walsall Council vehicle, notably disobeying the right-turn prohibition from Hatherton Street, imposed by his employers.

[It seems this wasn’t a Walsall Council vehicle – but who else is big enough to have an internal mail service in Walsall? The NHS, perhaps?]

The white Mercedes followed me down Lichfield Street, and came down the bus lane. He was trying to overtake me on the junction, but I moved over a little to stop him as I knew he’d cut back in ahead of the refuge. Clearly, if you can afford a big Merc, the rules of courtesy don’t apply.

Watch out for the moped kid waiting behind the bus. He keeps moving to go up the nearside, but thankfully, can’t quite develop the bottle.

Finally, West Midlands Police demonstrate ideal lane discipline and use of indicators. Long term readers will remember the police in Walsall often exhibit remarkable driving standards. These guys clearly aren’t in a hurry to a call, and the driver was discussing something in a very animated fashion with his passenger. I was speechless at the way he cut up the bus and turned into Pelsall Lane. Nevermind – he won’t have filled in the driver log and was probably late for a kitten rescue or something as usual.

Why is it always like this when it rains?

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9 Responses to Why when it rains?

  1. Splot says:

    That isn’t a council van, looking at the reg no it is too old, and all the vans have walsall council on the side.

  2. It may or may not be a council van in the VT but I have seen plenty of clearly marked council vans perform the same maneuver. Some time back the police were stopping private cars and booking the drivers but waving council vans through.

    As for the Arboretum junction; it`s lethal. After coming down the hill from the Broadway, I have yet to turn right towards Rushall without a near miss. Two lanes merge without warning into one in the space of about 20m with two lanes of oncoming traffic. An accident is as certain as the next myserious burning of a nice old building. There was an experiment with cones some months back but it didn`t last long. Remind me on how much was spent on this death trap.

    As for the old bill boy racer; perhaps habit put him in the lane that turns towards MacDonalds but then realised he was supposed to be fighting crime in Pelsall. Might be difficult to explain T-boning a bus is his log book.

    You must have nerves of steel taking the Arbo junction on a bike. The only thing I would comfortable in is a Chieftan tank.

    Nice VT – keep safe.

    • stymaster says:

      The arboretum junction is an incredibly poor bit of design. Approaching Lichfield St from Littleton St, the give way is unclear and the angle awkward. The merge you mention is sheer lunacy- it should have been desgned as one lane, there is too much going on in a small space.

  3. Grande Pablo says:

    If any of us had done that manoevere the police car did across the bus in Pelsall Lane we’d have been up before the beak! Unbelieveable.

  4. Neil Harris says:

    The standard of road users is appaling at the best of times but in poor weather it escalates. Being a non-driver people ask me how I am qualified to have this opinion, but travelling on public transport or being a passenger opens your eyes a lot.
    The idiotic manevoures and speeds that people drive at during these conditions is mind boggling, do they not realise they are driving killing machines.
    Last Monday when the weather was at it’s worst I had a lift into work, which meant I took a lot of notice what was going on (rather than ranting on twitter and listening to music to wake me up) it was shocking, there were flooded roads springing up yet people were breaking the speed limiit where possible, trying to overtake and driving with no lights on. Absolutely astounding.
    I was a few minutes late and one know it all asked the question “On days like this don’t you wish you could drive”
    She got her answer.

  5. stymaster says:

    Most of that is fairly typical unthinking stuff- nothing remarkable, but the police car is stunning. Out to the RH lane, giving you little room, then a sharp cut across in front of the bus? OK, he may have been going the wrong way, but should have continued, to avoid a stupid move like that. Mind, I’ve been witness to, and reported a stupid overtake by a marked police car before: sadly, as I don’t have a video camera in the car, I couldn’t give a registration number.

    The rain does bring out then worst, never worked out why.

  6. Tim Lewis says:

    Watching the video from the START I noticed several traffic violations.. Just how do us Cyclists survive all this.

    I regularly cycle from Walsall (Beechdale) to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. I have to say on a weekly basis, no matter what the weather, I get several uncomfortable incidences of various types.

    And I’d say around two per month that make me think – SHIT, I’m still alive? And yes, I have lights and Hi-vis clothing.

    You see bad driving everywhere – and at all times of day and night (I work mad Shifts). How many people would pass their tests if they had to retake them?


    • Neil Harris says:

      Tim, A question I quite often ask myself.
      I think it should be mandatory that at intervals you should have to take a re-test to keep your licence. Perhaps every 20 years.
      Just because an instructor deemed you fit to drive a death trap in 1992, doesn’t mean you can still drive one in 2012.

      • stymaster says:

        I have to take exception to the repeated reference to cars as death traps or killing machines. To paraphrase Goldie Lookin Chain, “Cars Don’t Kill people, (bad) Drivers Do”. A car is just a lump of metal, and it’s not designed to kill (unlike a weapon). In responsible hands the car is a safe mode of transport. It’s the responsible bit that is the problem.

        I do think retests might be a good idea, but 20 years would be a long enough interval to make it meaningless. I also think that making people actually think when they are piloting a tonne and a half of metal, and the physics involved might be a very good idea: While age and time driving may bring in bad habits and slowed reactions, it also brings experience and an aversion to risk: I’m pretty sure I would be shocked at the 18 year old me driving, although of course the test was less comprehensive back then- but even so, a shocking amount of single-car accidents (i.e: where someone has run out of talent) involve young male drivers- this is reflected in insurance rates.

        Certainly, something needs to happen about our declining standards of road use (note that I’m not using the term ‘driving’ just like Bob doesn’t at the start of this post, as some pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcylists also get stupid in the rain- pedestrians will think nothing of running out into traffic to reduce their exposure to the rain) and I don’t know what it is. Current road safety information falls very short in my opinion.

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