Friday, March 02, 2007

Road Rage

Jeremy Vine is holding a poll on Radio 2 to find out what vehicle the Great British public - or at least the listeners to his show - want kicked off the roads.

Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t classify a horse as a vehicle. A cart, yes, a gig or a coach, obviously - but not a horse and rider. However, members of the anti-horse brigade are coming out of the woodwork for their perennial moan about being forced to slow from the 90mph they think is justified on narrow country roads.

The majority of the drivers where I live are decent but the place is a tourist trap in the summer and you don’t know what you’ll meet when you sally forth. What these big boy racers – and I used the term advisedly, because most young boy racers round here are gentlemen when they pass a horse – don’t realise is that it isn’t just the horse and rider that might die: they could too.

I wave, smile and acknowledge motorists who do the right thing. Riders that don’t are doing their peers a disservice. But idiots receive the Paddington Bear hard stare - I am the mistress of the hard stare - and if they’ve been particularly stupid, they are treated to a range of gesticulations and the full complement of curses. I think the Highway Code should include a section whereby riders are encouraged to whip the roofs of cars that pass too close and fast.

I find it ludicrous when they start on the “You don’t pay road tax” tack. Perhaps not, but horses don’t cause potholes or belch planet-and-people-destroying fumes into the atmosphere either. Most riders are also insured up to the eyeballs, partly because of our compensation-driven culture. We live in a world where if a car speeds past a horse, spooks it, and the horse sits on the vehicle, the rider is at fault.

"You should ride off the roads,” also cracks me up. We don’t all own swathes of land and Britain’s bridleway network is a long way from being joined up. Often, the bridleways that do exist attract 4 x 4s on a jolly away from the city or horse-scaring scrambler bikes turning the track into muddy ruts.

Horseboxes are also scoring highly in Jeremy Vine’s poll. So - horses shouldn’t be on the road, nor should they be transported to the bridleways. Ken Livingstone will effectively stop horses being moved across the capital if his Low Emission Zone gets the nod.

I don’t get it. And for those of you who don’t get where I’m coming from, I’d refer you to my favourite poem.

Besides, we were there first.

6 comments:

mutleythedog said...

I'd go for Caravans from The Netherlands, cars being driven by very old people and Smart Cars, beacuse they annoy me.

mutterings and meanderings said...

In addition to the horse-scaring idiots, I'm with you on caravans in general, people who tootle along the single-carriage part of the A1 then speed up when you finally get a chance to overtake them, people who tailgate and flash their lights when you're doing 80(I slow down and refuse to move)... I could go on, but I won't!

Arthur Clewley said...

lots of horses around here, I'm always careful when I pass them although that is mostly because my car isn't much faster than a horse and I usually get a friendly wave from the rider. I'd better not go into caravans because those folks can get a bit sensitive as I found out when I moaned about them a while back! horses seem to go faster when they are trotting under their own steam compared to when they are in a horsebox though...

mutterings and meanderings said...

Hi Arthur, glad to hear you're one of the nice ones! However, if you trot all the way to your destination, your horse has no energy to compete or whatever else you are taking them in the horsebox for. Unfortunately, it's not like the old days when there were shows in every village and you could dander a couple of miles along the road to the local gymkhana. Thanks to our health and safety-obsessed compensation culture, there are few local shows that can afford the insurance...

But that's another rant for another day ...

Arthur Clewley said...

I'm sure you must have been down our way M&M, there are big horse event at Aske and sometimes the roads around Gilling eem to be lined with horseboxes for miles.

I don't ride but I love to see horses about, especially when they are all done up in their sunday best like at the summer agric. shows or things like the lowther trials where we sometimes go in the summer.

Jennyta said...

I'd go for tractors in rush hour, especially on the A483 and A55! ;)