A blog about cars in Aberdeen.

This is a blog about cars in Aberdeen because most people aspire to the convenience of personal motor transport, pay dearly for the privilege, provide much employment, contribute greatly in taxes, and then people expect them to ‘leave the car at home’, while their money is spent creating cycle lanes and the like for freeloading cyclists.

Friday 30 September 2011

Speed Limits

Everyone will have noticed the Government's announcement that they aspire to raise the motorway speed limit to 80 mph. Initially we were very excited by this, for when Aberdeen's new bypass Motorway, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) is built, when we roar along the "Fastlink" at 80mph, we will not risk getting any more points on our licence.

But then we thought about this policy in more detail, And, frankly we were disgusted. Firstly, where is the corollary for other types of road? If the government are going to decriminalise going at 80 on the motorway, will they also please legalise going 40 and even 50 or 60 in town? Our endorsement points are mounting up, despite the fact that we pay dearly through road taxes for our right to use Her Majesty's pot-holed highway.

But secondly, and this is the subtle bit, we began to notice something rather sinister in this motorway speed policy. Now, pay attention:

Increasing speeds on a road leads to a proportionate decrease in capacity (i.e. number of vehicles passing a point, per lane, per hour). Braking distance is proportional to the square of the speed. So if drivers are doing 80 mph instead of 70 mph (a speed increase of 14%), the safe braking distance is increased by a factor of (80/70)^2, or about 30%. The lane capacity (ignoring vehicle length for simplicity) is the vehicle speed divided by the separation between vehicles. The throughput of vehicles at 80 mph as a fraction of the throughput at 70 mph is given by:
 (80 / 70) / ((80 / 70)^2)
 = 1 / (80 / 70)
 = 70 / 80
= 7/8 or 87.5%

So that's an immediate decrease in road capacity of 12.5% as a result of raising the speed limit. Shocking!

Seems that, while pretending to be the "motorists' friend" and with Phil "Hoverboard" Hammond declaring that "Labour's War on Motorists is OVER", our Tory government is actually intent on reallocating roadspace AWAY from we hard-pressed motorists. Horrible!

Also, the tragedy of the commons applies - a shared resource which is free to exploit at the point of use will be over-subscribed. All motorists rightly and naturally like to go really really fast; Oh the thrill of speeding along the open road; yes those deserted switchback mountain roads; night-time urban highways; laser-straight racetrack autobahn, like in the car adverts - and the new government policy speaks to this dream of unhindered open-road high-speed freedom. This will, quite naturally, attract more motorists to our newly high-speed motorways where these extra motorists will actually find constricted capacity because of that self-same increase in speeds. The prospect of driving faster will attract more car journeys onto already oversubscribed roads and will actually mean more congestion. This will, in the longer run, detract from motoring and push motorists onto alternate modes of travel. Disgusting!

So, while we naturally and rightly support faster driving, we can only support this policy if:

  1. it is rolled out across the entirety of the UKs roadspace, including town centres, school zones and residential areas, and
  2. it is supported by a massive increase (at least 12.5%, but better to be 15%, no 20%) in the amount of roadspace in the UK. This means a massive new roadbuilding programme which will bring great benefits of economic growth.

We trust that, during the consultation process, Transport Minister Phil Hammond will take our criticisms and recommendations into account. After all, here in Aberdeen, we know a few things about cars and economic growth!

Wednesday 28 September 2011

PaveParker of the Week, SV59VZN

It's great to see that the drivers of Aberdeen Cars are prepared to fight back against the many threats to PaveParking which we reported on on Monday. That's why we were gratified to see this splendid best-practice display of Full PaveParking on Aberdeen's Broomhill Road.

Yes indeed the driver of this Aberdeen Car, a lovely white Vauxhall Corsa reg SV59VZN is fighting back against the so-called politically correct brigade by parking fully on the pavement outside 165 Broomhill Road. This marginalises pedestrians and serve them right too. What do they think they're doing anyway, walking about on Broomhill Road? There's a school nearby, so seeing adults walking about is definitely suspicious. Isn't it? All the more reason to take any measure necessary to prove to these weirdos that they're just not wanted here.

So congratulations to the driver of Aberdeen Car reg. SV59VZN, you are this week's PaveParker of the Week for services to the eradication of pedestrians from the streets of Aberdeen "City and Shire".

Monday 26 September 2011

PaveParking - threatened?

With thanks to citizen contributor "Iain" for drawing our attention to one aspect of some disturbing developments. "Iain" sent us this photo:

Which shows something truly dreadful. Now, as we all know, PaveParking is not 'all that' illegal. According to the Scottish Government:

Enforcement of footway parking where there is no other parking regulation in force is currently a police matter, under the “causing danger to other road users” and obstruction provisions of the Road Traffic Act (1988) and the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations (1986). However, in some cases police forces take the view that they need to observe the vehicle being parked on the footway and then demonstrate that the driver had the intention to obstruct in order to be able to enforce the law, and in practice it is rarely enforced.
So what's going on? What does the hated warden think he's doing? Is he operating as a throwback to the past, and enforcing that informal "no parking" sign painted on the wall? Further contextual research was required.

We seem to remember Lib Dem MSP Ross Finnie was trying to bring forward a "Regulation of 
Dropped Kerbs and Pavement Parking (Scotland) Bill", so we heaved a big sigh of relief when he wasn't re-elected during the Hollyrood poll last year. We thought that we'd seen the end of it. Turns out no, according to newbie local MSP Kevin Stewart, his SNP colleague Joe Fitzpatrick is now championing the bill from within the governing party and Mr Stewart has gone on record as saying that Mr Fitzpatrick has his support in this matter.

Additionally, we note that the UK.gov petition website now carries several petitions calling for the outlawing of PaveParking, and only one which calls for the banning of parking outside someone else's house during non-working hours.

Finally, who can have failed to notice the recent trouble at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary where visitors have been hit with £20 fines for leaving their vehicles on grass verges and pavements?

All in all, this paints a very disturbing picture, we think. A picture of a distopian future where our right to park is severely curtailed by jobsworths operating on behalf of the so-called "PC brigade" and the sinister forces of road-space reallocation. It seems that a tide is turning. There are dark days ahead - vigilance must be our watchword. We here at Aberdeen Cars will monitor the situation and keep you up to date with developments.

Friday 23 September 2011


This really is the worst thing we have ever seen. Really. Check it out on the website "Walk-o-dile". We saw this item being used by kids in the city's sought-after and ever-popular Ferryhill district the other day and we were just horrified.

Here are some pics:

Yes indeed this is truly horrible. Imagine, a company here in the north east of Scotland - in Aberdeenshire - which has as its main aim the manufacture and promotion of a system which enables young children to be taken outside - without a car! Disgusting. It's a kind of abuse, isn't it? We must assume that these are the children of poor people because otherwise they would be in a car, wouldn't they? In which case, what were they doing in Ferryhill? We considered calling the police.

On the other hand, if children must go outside (and we suppose that in these PC-brigade-dominated days it is necessary to do a bit of greenwashing here and there), there is something to be said for a system that teaches young children that walking about outside is something which requires special planning, special high-visibility clothing, special equipment and special permission. It is not something you can do independently; you are required to be part of a team which is tethered in a rigid and arbitrary hierarchy. Moreover, it teaches these kids that they will, for the rest of their lives, be constrained and chained. Freedom but a dream, they will be forced into rigid and arbitrary hierarchies, ordered where to go and when to go there. It is great that this lesson will be forced upon the coming generation from their pre-school days - by the time they are ready to join the workforce they will be pre-conditioned for unquestioning obediance. Indeed, they will have become dependent upon the constraints and chains which are put upon them from their earliest memory. They will be unquestionably and unquestioningly ready to service capital in the pursuit of endless economic growth. And that's all that really matters, isn't it?

Check out the inventor, she is really clever:

Thursday 22 September 2011

Know your priorities on Great Western Road

Everyone knows that Aberdeen's Bypass, the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) is much needed. It is long overdue, and it is commonsense that it should be built as soon as possible. The major reasons for building the bypass are:
  • It is commonsense
  • It is long overdue
  • It is much needed
  • Everyone know this
All very self-evident. But there are more subtle reasons that that. Yes. One of the things about the bypass which is so very clever is the effect that it will have on traffic going into the city centre. As economic growth is at a premium these days, and because Aberdeen "City and Shire" is the key area to drive the economic growth necessary to pull UK plc out of recession, it is vital that traffic flow into the city centre not be compromised by the bypass. One of the main justifications for bypasses elsewhere is to keep traffic out of town centres - but, our city fathers are wise to the fact that this would send out all the wrong messages. Only by prioritizing traffic flow into the city centre can it be demonstrated that Aberdeen is a city on the up and up - a city that knows where it's going - it's going shopping!

That's why we were pleased to read in the NESTRANS document "AWPR - Locking in the Benefits" (PDF) that east-west traffic flows are to be prioritised once the bypass is built thus making sure that the bypass road does not impact upon the necessity to deliver as much high speed motorised vehicular flow into the very heart of the city as possible. Indeed, it is heartening to know that one of the aims of the AWPR is to deliver an enhancement to the flow of traffic going towards the city centre. You see, at the moment, Anderson Drive - being used as the main north-south road interrupts the flow of traffic going west-east into town. Once this north-south traffic is displaced onto the AWPR, more and more traffic can be directed at higher and higher speed on prioritised routes into the very heart of the city centre.

As the above video demonstrates that so intense has the pressure become on the drivers of Aberdeen Cars to provide the necessary economic growth to lead UK plc out of recession that somethings gotta give!

And yes, we can actually understand and sympathise with the pestestrians who we're told feel intimidated when a busy important motorists bend the rules just a little like this, when the "green man" (who he?) is about to come "on". We can only sympathise a little bit, though, because these people only have themselves to blame. If only they were cleverer, worked harder, had more money, were nicer etc, then they could have a nice car and feel all safe and prioritized at the junction of Great Western Road and Anderson Drive.

Yes we have sympathy (although our sympathy is evaporating a little with each frown, each flap of the hands, each arrogant gesture from these people - why don't they just get their act together and get a car?). Ideally, cars should stop at red lights. But, when there is no by-pass round Aberdeen, there is no alternative but to jump red lights when commuting or rushing to the shops. That is simple fact.

Which leads us to hope that these self same moaning arrogant pedestrian people are not among the ranks of people who are opposing and delaying the AWPR with court orders and other such nonsense. If they are, I have a simple message: You can’t have it both ways!

Either you help expedite a by-pass, or you have to accept red light jumping by traffic going towards the city centre. As demonstrated by the drivers of all these Aberdeen Cars.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

PaveParker of the Week! Wannabe WVM in B&Q hire van BJ11FVN

It's been a few weeks, but at last the PaveParker of the Week is back! And, what's more, it's back in one of the "City and Shire's" favoured paveparking spots - Aberdeen's "historic" Holburn Street, just below the new-ish bridge on the Old Deeside Line former railway track path.

Yes, this week's PaveParker is a wannabe WVM. You see, it's not really his or her white van, it's on hourly hire from B&Q. But, this confers an advantage, for this wannabe WVM is not only demonstrating the gentle art of FULL PaveParking, but is also showing the advanced skill of PaveParkVertising too. Brilliant.

Also worthy of note is the fact that this clever PaveParker wannabe WVM has crossed the cycle lane, crossed the double-yellows and used the dropped kerb of the pedestrian refuge crossing to enable the PaveParking maneuver. Graduation to full WVM status cannot be far off!

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Subtle Linguistic Conditioning from First Bus

A little while ago, we wrote about the risible and disturbing idea of a bicycle-sharing scheme for Aberdeen "City and Shire" as subtly (un)promoted by local anti-cycling pro-car greenwash outfit GetAbout.

On the subject of this proposal for "Boris's Bikes" in Aberdeen, GetAbout partners FirstBus were quick to issue a statement to local freesheet "Aberdeen Citizen" in which they said:
"We welcome any move which will reduce the amount of traffic within the city centre and which will allow our services to move more freely and speed up journey times for our customers."
At first glance, as one might expect from the world's largest public transport operators, FirstBus appear to be issuing an anti-car rant with this statement. They seem to be saying that cyclists and buses are all in it together to reduce the amount of cars in Aberdeen.

But then, if you look closely, you'll see the true meaning of the statement. The spokesman says "reduce the amount of traffic"; where he means "cars" he says "traffic". The message is clear: bicycles are not traffic, they are something else (what that might be is not specified). Only cars are considered to be "traffic", and therefore only cars can provide the sort of transport which delivers economically active consumers and important business people into the city centre. Anything else is just something we don't, can't and won't understand because its outwith our conceptual framework.

Of course, for every motorist who might (Ford only knows why!) be tempted out of his or her lovely car and onto one of Boris's Bikes, that would be one less car on the city centre streets of Aberdeen. But it wouldn't be a reduction in the amount of traffic, it would be a shift in the kind of traffic - a qualitative shift, not a quantitative reduction. We thank FirstBus for concealing this fact and raising the spectre that the introduction of a bike sharing scheme in Aberdeen would reduce the total number of people entering the city centre, thus impacting the vibrancy and economic viability of our city.

Yes, by their subtle and disingenuous misapplication of the word "traffic" FirstBus have, thankfully, managed to endorse the status quo. They are confirming that cycling is not a form of traffic, and therefore they are confirming that traffic planners should make no provision for cycling. Why should they - when cycling is not a form of traffic?

Monday 19 September 2011

In Town - Without My Car!

In Town Without My Car
But with my car and/or White Van

Useful local Aberdeen "City and Shire" greenwash outfit "GetAbout" staged an amazing display of plausible-deniabilty anti-cycling fummery at the weekend on the city's Belmont Street. As part of "Alternative Mobility: European Mobility Week" they put on an "In Town - Without My Car!" event. Elsewhere, the event is know as "European Car-Free Day", which is why our city chose to hold the event on a street which is already part of a pedestrianised area. In other places which value economic growth less than we do, they close normal roads for the day! Imagine! Aren't they funny?!

In order to stage the event, many motor vehicles (which are normally banned from Belmont Street and its feeder lanes) filled the streets and the roadspace was hemmed in by crowd-control barriers to create a couple of circuits for novelty-cycling demonstrations involving pre-teen children on recumbants, a clown bike, tricycles, a hand powered bike and other such useless non-transport stuff. There was even a climbing wall. Officials were on hand to ensure that anyone who wanted to participate on a novelty bike was suitably attired with high-vis tabards and crash helmets, which are of course necessary when riding a bike. So great was the emphasis on safety danger that there was an entire stall set up to hand out high-vis tabards.

All in all, we thought that GetAbout's handling of the event was a great success because:
  • It greatly reduced the amount of space available to pedestrians in the Belmont Street pedestrianised areas, inconveniencing them and making them blame cyclists.
  • It reinforced the impression that cycling is a funny novelty which is mostly just for children. Or clowns on comedy bikes.
  • It reinforced the feeling that cycling is a special activity requiring special planning and permission, and necessitating the use of special safety apparel.
  • It confirmed the fact that cycling is dangerous - like the rock-climbing demonstration which was run in parallel. Indeed, it seems that, according to GetAbout, cycling and rock-climbing require almost identical safety equipment. Cycling is therefore as dangerous and frightening as rock-climbing.
  • Because (as has already been established) cycling is as dangerous and frightening as rock-climbing, it has no place in the city centre. Don't be silly.
  • By refusing to close any roads which were not already pedestrianised, the event confirmed that motor traffic will never, never give way to cycling or make space for it as a useful mode of transport in Aberdeen City and Shire, and nor should it be asked to. Don't be silly.
  • It insulted people who actually do use bikes in Aberdeen City and Shire, reinforcing their status as an out-group to be regarded with suspicion and contempt.
So, all in all, a great day's greenwash from GetAbout, paying lipservice to cycling while actually pointing out that cycling is at best a laughably comedic novelty pastime for children, but is at worst a dangerous inconvenient menace. Yes, GetAbout achieved all this, with great fanfare and hulabaloo, and all the while did nothing, in fact - less than nothing, to reduce the number of cars in the centre of Aberdeen. Genius. We salute their kung-fu skills!

These vehicles are expected to replace cars by 2020. Hahahaha.

Just right for the commute!
Off to the shops - all she needs is a pannier.

On the way to a business meeting.

All future entrepreneurs will be driving one of these.

A Clown
Children only!