A modest proposal for slowing down cars

Over the last year I’ve found myself getting more and more angry with motorists. it doesn’t help that I live in the UK’s motor city, designed for the car above all else, but for some reason I’ve been able to keep this anger under control. Until recently.

When I see a car speeding or jumping a red light or just being a dick, I feel this urge to do something. And because I don’t do anything, because these are cars and I’m walking, I plot how we as a society might get the car under control and bring some sanity to the streets.

Often my ideas are impractical or just insane, manifestations of a mind driven to irrationality, but this week I worked one of them into something that might… just… work…

In Birmingham we have these speed sensors that, rather than punish the driver for breaking the law, merely inform them how fast they are going with a message to kindly slow down. They are pretty ineffective. But they do exist and, by my reckoning, are pretty accurate.

My ideas is to deploy these sensors a couple of hundred metres from a pedestrian crossing. Should they detect a speeding vehicle, the crossing goes red, regardless of whether there are people waiting to cross.

You speed, you get a red light. You go at the limit, you get green.

And should some arsehole decide that they’re going to jump the red because they can’t see anyone waiting, a camera snaps them and they get a ticket.

The beauty of this system is it actually makes obeying the speed limits faster than breaking them, making speeding inconvenience the speeders, not everyone else.

I have many more ideas, but this feels like the only one worth pursuing. Who shall I send it to?

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