Taking responsibility on the roads
Most traffic lights should be torn up as they make roads less safe, one of Europe's leading road engineers said yesterday.
Residents of the northern Dutch town of Drachten have already been used as guinea-pigs in an experiment which has seen nearly all the traffic lights stripped from their streets....
There have been a few small collisions, but these are almost to be encouraged, Mr Monderman explained. "We want small accidents, in order to prevent serious ones in which people get hurt," he said yesterday.
"It works well because it is dangerous, which is exactly what we want. But it shifts the emphasis away from the Government taking the risk, to the driver being responsible for his or her own risk.
"We only want traffic lights where they are useful and I haven't found anywhere where they are useful yet."
Mr Monderman, 61, compared his philosophy of motoring to an ice rink. "Skaters work out things for themselves and it works wonderfully well. I am not an anarchist, but I don't like rules which are ineffective and street furniture tells people how to behave."
In short, if motorists are made more wary about how they drive, they behave more carefully, he said.
There are small trials of a similar approach in my local town of Devizes and it works! Of course the idea of putting responsibility back onto people's own shoulders and not just putting up more and more hectoring signs is alien to most councils...