It seems to me that the Nanny State obsession with speed aversion is simply nuts when one considers the popularity of fast cars and bikes. This is evident in the fact that Top Gear, those unashamed speed freak evangelists, continue to raise the BBC programme rankings, thus indicating how popular fast cars and fast driving is with the general public.
So where does this constant argument about "the public" being anti-speed come from? Or is it simply the bureaucrats, out of touch with those they "serve", who believe they are the only ones who can see these true inherent dangers of driving modern cars at speeds that are about 50% to 30% of their capability.
Seriously, there is nothing more hilarious than watching a Ferrari whine its way at the speed limit. The engine simply doesn't know what to do. So the question remains in my head - if the powers that be deem speed to be obnoxiously detrimental to society, a scourge and evil to be eradicated - and, if society apparently agrees with our semi-voted officials - then why are vehicle manufacturers allowed to make vehicles that can do the highway speed limit in first gear? Surely these vehicles should be deemed a hazard to public health and either restricted as the superbikes are, or banned from production. Interestingly, the hyper bike manufacturers decided to limit production bikes to 300 km/hr for fear of European legislators banning them from the roads.
I never take any accidental death flippantly, but I have to wonder how the major accidents on the road really relate to modern vehicle speeds and how many relate to causes unrelated to speed, like alchohol and drugs, tiny, narrow bridges and other ridiculous road conditions, driver error (tourists driving on the wrong side of the road) and massive trucks barreling down in built up and rural areas, and of course cyclists who somehow feel that the road belongs to them because they are vulnerable.
I am not advocating high speed limits in built up areas, but surely some open roads can allow for speed limits that reflect the technology of the day and age we live in?
Of course speed plays a role - an accident at slower speed will presumably result in less damage than one at higher speed, but at what point can we legislate total safety? It is the same argument that Nanny State uses to protect kids - why not ban trees and tree-houses in every garden? And swimming pools if kids are present? Likewise with vehicles, at what point do we decide that the speed limit mitigates the risk to an acceptable level? Why 50 km/hr and not 35 km/hr in residential areas - surely this will eliminate more accidents?
Clearly a large slice of the public loves speed and performance as they watch car programmes, buy car magazines and, more importantly, continue to vote by buying high performance vehicles but, according to the Nanny State Cottonwool Clad technocrats, their appetites are natural but unhealthy and needs to be controlled. Apparently backed by the infallibility of the numbers derived from Statistics and Science, they can determine the perfect speed to keep us all safe, even if this means that most times one feels it would be quicker to get out and walk and, judging by the revenue collected in fines, most of the public clearly find the speed limit impractical and intolerable.
An example of how the public simply get led into a mode of thought by Cottonwool Technocrats is the motorcycle license process. Young new car drivers can find themselves behind the wheel of a powerful Skyline or Evo that will rival any high performance vehicle, while fresh motorcycle riders have to crawl their way over an ardious length of time along controlled engine sized bikes. If the aim was to achieve better drivers, then surely the same logic would apply to cars and motorcycles. Alas no, it is the group-think, psychological drivel that is simply accepted by the public as "in societies' best interests".
At 10.3 Road Traffic Accident Deathsper 100,000 heads of population, New Zealand ranks quite low down at number 137 but still higher than Azerbaijan at 8.5 which ranks at 149. So, assuming that the state of vehciles is older and slower in Azerbaijan than New Zealand, this could be more Statistics and Science to support our Cottonwool Tecnocrats. However, if one looks at the number of vehicles per 1000 head of population, one sees that Azerbaijan has 95 while New Zealand has about 600. And we rank higher than backward Cuba at 7.9 road deaths but one only has to see the quaint condition of the yester-year cars on Cuba's roads to see that they probably don't have many vehicles on the road. So should we be aiming to rank alongside Cuba and Azerbaijan's ranking by banning new cars and bringing in old, slow cars so there are fewer road deaths? Pretty ludicrous logic, right? Yet this seems to be the pervasive hysteria that surrounds any decision on road speeds.
I want safe roads. I want to feel my kids and grandkids are safe out and about. But I also want to open the throttle one beautiful straight roads and lay the bike down on the twisties. Are you seriously telling me that the only place for this is on a race track at $150 a pop a few times a year? Say it ain't so Shirley, say it ain't so...