Friday, 16 January 2015

Festina Lente

Fantasy Bob has observed the controversy surrounding the recent decision by Edinburgh’s City Fathers to introduce a city wide speed limit of 20mph with close interest.
A 20mph zone
For there has been a wailing and gnashing of teeth by those whose sole purpose in life seems to be to drive at 70mph on any road and who cite the Bible, Magna Carta, and the Collected Works of Jeremy Clarkson in support of their right to do so.

Then there is a similar gnashing and wailing of teeth by assorted cyclists, pram-pushers and jay-walkers in support of the Council's proposals.

Generally speaking, FB sides with the pram pushers and their allies.  Festina Lente, as the ancients had it.

In fact he thinks the so called blanket speed limit does not extend far enough.  For the Council's roads are not the only places where FB is concerned about an excess of speed.

The Council's clutch of prestigious cricket pitches need also to be subject to some better regulation. For as FB has pointed out many times, 20mph still pretty fast.  Too fast in fact.

Particularly when the central feature of his world famous and innovative batting technique involves him closing his eyes as the bowler’s arm comes over.  The chances of him completely missing the ball bowled at that unnaturally rapid speed are therefore high.   Quite apart from the fact that many of his opponents deliberately project the ball towards him at speeds well in excess of that - a Jeremy Clarksonite tactic that requires to be discouraged.
The Meadows - not a 20mph zone

He is therefore disappointed that the Council has not extended its regulation to these locations.  He will continue to petition.

Some of FB's worldwide readership will recall that the first numeric speed limit was created in the UK in 1860s when  a limit of 10 mph on open roads in town - wisely this was reduced to 2 mph in towns and 4 mph  in rural areas - under the so called red flag act which obliged the bowler to have a man with a red flag proceed down the wicket before him.  In 1896 the speed limit was raised to 14 mph.  This was  held to be the estimated speed of a horse being driven furiously - by coincidence it is also the speed of a under-11 bowler bowling furiously.
This legislative change was too late for Mr Walter Arnold, of East Peckham, who was fined one shilling for travelling at 8 mph in a motorised vehicle. That was 4 times the speed limit applying at the time - a proportion of offence that would excite even Jeremy Clarkson. Mr Arnold was chased and caught by a policeman on a bicycle.

Little is known about Mr Arnold or his reasons for his indecent haste.  His cricketing interests are not recorded.  How he would have fared on contemporary Edinburgh's roads must be a matter of conjecture although the prospects of him being chased by a rozzer on a bike is more than remote, rozzers having given up bikes in favour of social media.

Despite all this uncertainty, Mr Arnold remains East Peckham's most famous person.

Not Mr Walter Arnold

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