Discuss: Do police concentrate on the wrong offences?

Visordown’s industry expert, who in his own interest cannot be named, argues it's time the law concentrated on a different group of bad drivers - those who simply don't care

WHEN it comes to law enforcement on the roads we barely ever hear about campaigns other than speeding or drink driving. But I’m fast coming to the conclusion that there’s a more serious issue that simply isn’t being addressed by the law; drivers who just don’t care about what they’re doing.

Virtually every day I see appalling driving. Sure, sometimes it’s inappropriate speed, or somebody who’s obviously on their way home from the pub after a couple too many, but far more often the dangers are caused by drivers who clearly have no interest in operating a vehicle well. It’s a reminder that, as riders, we’re rare in that we actually have more than a passing care about our mode of transport and about how capable we are of handling it. For the vast majority, the car is just a device for getting from one point to another. They don’t know how it works, why it behaves the way it does or, crucially, how to look after it properly. And they don’t care, either.

The result? Bad driving. Not bad in the same way as a boy racer speeding through a housing estate is bad, or bad like a drunkard weaving his way down the road in a couple of tons of metal. But bad nonetheless and often dangerous as a result.

My personal bugbears? Let’s start with failure to indicate. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to be getting worse. Not only is it annoying (how frustrating is it to have to stop at a roundabout simply because the person approaching from the right can’t be arsed to indicate that they’re turning left?) but it shows an incredible lack of regard for the whole process of driving. I mean, how hard is it to indicate? It takes the movement of a single finger, and yet whole swathes of the population can’t be bothered to do it. And if they can’t be arsed to do that, what else are they not ignoring when they’re behind the wheel?

Even worse are those who see their cars as some sort of shop window for their (usually stunted) personalities. The ones with stuff dangling from their mirrors, for instance; they don’t care that their teddy bear/fluffy dice/miniature football or whatever means they’ve added a massive blind spot – just that there’s a swaying thing to occupy their tiny minds, rather like a baby’s mobile.

And speaking of babies, ‘baby-on-board’ signs, ‘Mum’s taxi’ stickers and ickle-tiny football shirts in the back window are just as bad. Believe me, I don’t care what team you support, I won’t be altering my riding because there’s a baby in your car and it makes no odds to me whether you’re a mum or not. What does matter to me is whether you’ve actually seen that I’m behind you, and those things obscuring your vision mean that the chances are you haven’t. Today I passed a car with its whole rear window blocked by a huge mountain of teddy bears on the parcel shelf. What’s the chances that its driver was later telling her friends about the scary motorcycle that ‘came from nowhere’ and overtook her? Oh, and yes, it was a woman driving on that occasion, but both sexes are equally to blame most of the time.

It seems crazy that modern cars are increasingly packed with electronic safety gadgets – telling the driver whether they’re straying from their lane, warning about vehicles in their blind spots, beeping if they’re about to reverse over a small child. The very existence of these things says that the lack of care and attention is of epidemic proportions, and yet if anything they only further encourage the car operators (‘driver’ suggests too much engrossment and interaction in the process) to pay even less attention to what they’re doing.

In amongst the ‘speed kills’ propaganda and police crackdowns can’t we please have the occasional campaign to get those people who simply have no interest in what they’re doing either off the road or into some sort of rehabilitation programme to re-engage their brains when it comes to operating a vehicle?

With that lot in mind, what winds you up when you’re out on the road? Let us know and we’ll come up with a list of the biggest irritations, and maybe even see what can be done to eliminate them.