Dear Chief Secretary to the Treasury,
I'm afraid to tell you there's no money left.
Signed, Liam Byrne

(Outgoing Labour Chief Secretary to the Treasury. May 2010)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Starry, starry nights?

The Mail has highlighted the 'fears' of an increase in road accidents when some motorway lights are turned off between the hours of midnight and five in the morning. Turning off some lights is meant to both save the environment and quite a bit of money.

According to the Campaign for Dark Skies the idea has already been trialled in some counties, with no increase in the number of road accidents and, where urban lights have been turned off it has been deemed a success ...
... "A year on year comparison for April 2006 to May 2007 [when street-lights were left on all night] and April 2007 to May 2008 [when street-lights were turned off at midnight] has shown that night-time crime has almost halved in Saffron Walden and reduced by over a third in Dunmow."
Mrs Rigby's experience is that, when it's raining and there are bright metal halide lights, it's almost impossible to see white road markings and also, at the end of a run of bright white lights, her eyes take a moment or two to adjust to the sudden darkness.

She has noticed that, in brightly lit urban areas, car headlights are almost invisible, and she thinks it's easier to see cars at night when there's no street lighting - simply because it's possible to see their headlight beams approaching a junction or from around a bend etc. etc.. It's because of this some of the unlit winding rural roads near Rigby Town seem safer to use during the darker winter months.

Mr Eugenides, however, spots an interesting conundrum
So we live in a society where head teachers make kids wear goggles to play conkers and policemen are forbidden from rescuing drowning people on health and safety grounds... and then they make you drive at 70mph in pitch darkness to save the polar bears?
Hmm, it almost makes Mrs R wonder who'll be first to trip over on a newly darkened motorway and then blame the lack of street lighting - and after that maybe all cars will have to be preceded by a pedestrian waving a red flag. Or did they do that once before?


Witterings From Witney said...

Mrs, R,

Mr E makes an interesting point which, to a certain extent, illustrates the stupidity of the environmentalists.

On the subject of lit and unlit streets, surely it is a point of limiting one's speed and adapting one's driving to the prevaling conditions plus the sensible use of dipped and full beam headlights? Commonsense?

On your point about car lights on lit roads, it does not help when people drive round using sidelights only!

Then of course one has to feed into the question pedestrians and their need to see where they are going.....?

Mrs Rigby said...

Mr E does indeed make an interesting, and valid, point.

But, WfW, surely you know that these days drivers aren't meant to use their own judgement or common sense, they have to be forced to follow rules dictated by somebody in an office somewhere. Why else would there be 20 mph zones outside schools - that must be obeyed at night when the schools are closed?

If streetlighting weren't so bright then some less-than-aware drivers would know they were only using sidelights or, indeed, that they'd forgotten to turn their headlights on!

Anonymous said...

We managed right fine during the war ... No lights and no signs.

And it is surprising just how well you can see when you don't have bright lights stuffing up the irises!