Saturday 31 January 2015


From The Guardian (and not, as it might appear, The Daily Mash):

Pedestrians in Spain could soon be breathalysed and made to obey speed limits in proposals by officials hoping to make the country’s streets safer.

The plans have sparked a dispute, with the government’s top advisory council calling it a violation of Spaniards’ rights.

Earlier this year, Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic, the government body responsible for managing traffic, proposed a new “tool to foster better relations and coexistence between pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and vehicles”.

Tucked between suggestions for increased fines for drunk-driving and better regulation of driving schools was a change that would define pedestrians as “users of the road”, putting them on a par with drivers.

Pedestrians could be required to take on-the-spot alcohol and drug tests if implicated in a traffic accident or traffic offence.

The proposal also sets out a speed limit for pavements, limiting the pace to “not surpassing that of a normal stride”.

The Council of State, the government’s top advisory council, in a report seen by Europa Press, urged the government body to overhaul the proposal.

The measures would hinder the freedom and personal privacy of Spaniards as well as their right to circulate freely, it said.

Spaniards, continued the report, “could possibly abstain from fiestas or from attending weddings and celebrations where alcohol is consumed, since they could be subject to an alcohol test if a vehicle near them is involved in an accident”.

As for the speed limits suggested for pedestrians, the report worried it would amount to a “prohibition on jogging”.

If it saves just one life, etc. And the UK is not far behind.


Christopher Snowdon said...

GAWD, this is getting silly. Reminds me of a true case that happened in my town a few years ago. We had an old guy that used to ride his horse to the pub, because if he got too drunk the horse knew the way home, and would get him there safely. (There is also a law on the books in my state that requires a publican to provide food and water to horses of patrons). The old guy was on his way home one night, (he rode on the cycle path not the road), and was booked for being drunk in charge of a vehicle. He successfully challenged the charge, as the horse was an animal, not a vehicle, and the horse was sober and knew its way home, and he was not effectively in charge of the horse, as it did not have a bridle or halter on, so there was no way for the old bloke to determine it's direction of travel, or its speed.

Silly laws are made to be broken.

Christopher Snowdon said...

It will probably help to protect The Children though. Surely.

Christopher Snowdon said...

Of course one unintended benefit of this would be that cyclists would have to be breathalysed too

Christopher Snowdon said...

And prevented from exceeding walking pace on the pavement.