If you were about in Oxford’s Broad Street or Parks Road today, you could be forgiven for thinking that a terrorist attack was imminent. More policemen than I thought existed here were gathered in mobs. What had dragged them away from their paperwork?
It was a crack-down on cyclists jumping the lights at the King’s Arms junction. 93 people were fined £30 each, netting nearly £3,00o, until the police ran out of penalty notices.
I approve, though I am not sure why most of Thames Valley Police were needed. I have argued here that no amount of frigging around with the road layout will make a difference to the attitude of those who race across these lights. They do not need signs and lines and speed-tables and all the other junk which the weak-minded demand. Even the modern Oxford undergraduate, selected more for the disadvantage of his birth than for his brain or education, knows that this is both illegal and (more importantly) stupid.
I nearly got two of them last week as they cut across in front of my bonnet. My objection, as with the pedestrian who strolled across in front of me there a few days before, is that the “something must be done” whiners would have used the incidents to prop up their argument that the streets are dangerous and need more restrictions. It is not the streets which are dangerous but the users.
It is not just cyclists and pedestrians. I watched a taxi pull out of Magdalen Street East last week (white taxi, black driver in case you come across him yourself). He pulled out in front of two cyclists who were clearly visible, proceeding at a sensible pace and with the right of way. It was not clear to me whether he was dim or rude. Either way, he does not deserve to hold a driving licence.