Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Chancing your arm in the fast lane?

AN incident between King Street and the Swannery Bridge underlined the dangerous change in driver habits which has happened since Weymouth’s new traffic lights were unveiled.

Approaching the King Street lights from the seafront I found myself pulling up behind a giant lorry towing an empty flatbed trailer.

Drivers in more of a hurry than I was ignored the inside lane in favour of the outside one in the hope that when the lights changed they would be able to dart forward and avoid the slow-moving lorry.

Well the lights duly changed and I had to wait behind the lorry as it ground forward while cars in the outside lane showed off their Grand Prix starts and shot forward in front of the huge vehicle.

The first car made it easily and the second car just got through ahead but by this time the lorry was moving and 40ft of vehicle proved too much of a barrier for the third car which then tried to force its way between me and the rear of the lorry.

I held my place and was rewarded by a horn blast from the driver who then stuck her fingers up in a V-sign to which I responded in kind. We parted into different roads a few yards later, but that wasn’t the end of it.

So many drivers have talked to me about “fast getaway” incidents at these new junctions where a double lane entry is followed by a double lane exit merging into a single lane.

I began to wonder if perhaps I’d done something wrong and should have braked to allow that third car through even if it was trying to make progress at my expense, so I rang the police.

A senior officer didn’t just tell me that my actions were completely legal and wholly appropriate to the situation but he added that they, too, were worried at the change they had seen in drivers’ behaviour.

He said that drivers in the inside lane were entitled to their place and the onus of responsibility was with those drivers who had chosen the outside lane. They should only turn inside when it was safe to do so and had no right to a space ahead of those vehicles already in the inside lane.

The officer went even further and said police were concerned at the way the new traffic light system had generated a change in driver habits with revving engines, fast starts when lights changed and an almost “race” mentality between the two lanes of drivers pulling away, all of which officers felt was not helping safety.

So there you have it. Outside lane drivers can try their luck at saving a few seconds but, if they run out of space, it is their responsibility to only return to the inside lane when it is safe to do so.

The police guideline is very useful, so I would suggest that responsible drivers show courtesy and do make way for outside lane drivers provided they are not just trying to force their way in regardless at your expense. It is up to you.

Giant jigsaw is halfway there

MASTER jigsaw maker Dave Evans is halfway through his Weymouth attempt to set a new world record by making a 40,000-piece puzzle by hand.

His puzzle making is being streamed live all over the world and has attracted massive attention from America to Hong Kong.

Her Majesty the Queen will be the centrepiece of his enormous jigsaw which is using scenes from her Diamond Jubilee year. She has even given permission for the finished work to be displayed at her Sandringham country residence.

Dave said: “I hope the entire puzzle will be completed in about ten days time.”

He has been making jigsaws for nearly 50 years and hopes to complete his giant 33-image creation around April 21st which will be the Queen’s 86th birthday.

His jigsaw marathon, which is being sponsored by Axminster Tool Centre and Voltz energy drinks, meets all criteria for a world record attempt and, if he succeeds, Dave is hoping to have the new record ratified by Guinness.

The Queen is very interested in his project and is understood to be keen to try and do a copy of the puzzle herself, Buckingham Palace having contacted Dave to ask if the copy of the jigsaw he is doing for her could be supplied without a picture guide because Her Majesty likes a challenge!

Dave said: “Everything has been locally supplied and I am using 6mm birch plywood which is traditionally used for jigsaws because it doesn’t splinter and it gives a lovely silky finish to the pieces.

No shame for dirty dog owners

NOTHING infuriates a householder more than discovering some dog has dumped a pile of mess outside their front door and its owner has just walked off and left it.

It has happened to me, it has happened to my neighbours and it has happened outside the homes of many of my friends all over Weymouth and Portland.

Some angry homeowners put up signs, others try and catch dog owners red handed and give them a piece of their mind while others report incidents to the police, the council or take legal action themselves.

But none of them have quite such a tale to tell as one resident who time and again found dog mess dumped on the pavement right outside her home.

Nothing seemed to stop these dirty owners and she finally resorted to a very prominent and very public way of highlighting the problem and shaming dog owners into doing something.

She got hold of an old wooden toilet seat and left it outside her home with a message that if owners wouldn’t stop their pet leaving piles of mess could they at least make sure their dog used the toilet seat!

A response wasn’t long in coming. Someone stole the toilet seat. They stole the sign too.

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