|TOPS NEWS MAY 2010
The world's first sustainable F3 racing car is fuelled by leftover chocolate and components made from carrots, potato starch and flax. It has a 2 litre BMW engine, top speed 135 mph and 0-60 in 2.5 secs.
Pictures of nearly every street in the country, are available via Google with 360º images of more than 99% of the UK’s roads, covering a total of apx 238,000 miles.
More than two million potholes now need fixing in Britain but a baffling array of official definitions regarding what exactly constitutes a pothole. Worcestershire CC: "dinner plate" width hole (7.9in); Suffolk: "large dinner plate" (11.8in) but on minor road about the size of a "dustbin lid" (23.6in). In Bath and N.E. Somerset a crack in the road only needs to be 1” whereas in Cheshire it is holes deeper than 2” and Hounslow will fix potholes on residential streets if 3” deep. Now you know!
Autoglass has had to recruit 200 extra staff to cope with the number of motorists calling for replacement windows and manufacturers have increased production by 40% to 600 p.d. “Councils in England and Wales spent £29 million last year meeting drivers’ compensation claims, mainly caused by potholes but that is likely to be the tip of the iceberg." Said an RAC spokesman.
Local authorities throughout Europe have abandoned pothole repairs because they've run out of cash. But students Domenico Diego and Cristina Corradini have persuaded Italian road safety experts to adopt their plan to simply paint all the potholes bright yellow.
The Carbon Trust has announced how using microwave technology could turn grass cuttings into biofuel for cars by heating the waste in the absence of oxygen through a process called pyrolysis. The claim is to save 95% of carbon compared to fossil fuels. TOPS reported last month on the destruction of rainforests to make biofuels.
A woman, known as "Kylie", alleged that the massage parlour's boss dismissed her for choosing her clients and for spending time with her mechanic boyfriend, who did not pay for her services, but prostitution is illegal in South Africa, and the judge said he was not sure whether a person engaged in illegal activity could challenge a dismissal in court.
Colin Furze, 30, was sick of drivers cutting him up on the road so he fitted a flamethrower on to the back of his moped and was arrested for an alleged firearms offence.
Guinness World Records officials confirmed that Senturk, a blind Turkish pop singer, had broken the blind world speed record in his Ferrari F430 at Urfa airport in eastern Turkey at 292.89 kph. Following Senturk in a separate vehicle was a rally driver who guided the blind man by radio.
A man who claimed to have been sent by Jesus to punish sinners, rammed his car into a parked plane at Calabar international airport in Nigeria. The United States put Nigeria on a list of countries needing to improve security after Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested on suspicion of trying to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner in December using explosives hidden in his underwear. "There is no problem at all at our airports, no cause for alarm, as we have the necessary security on the ground," said Akin Olukunle, spokesman for the Federal Airport Authority. He said the driver had broken through 2 security gates and rammed his car into the Arik Air plane.
343 petrol stations closed in 2009 leaving 8,921 still operational but concerned about the business rate rise.
The OfT is considering revised motorway speed limits for buses, coaches and goods vehicles because new vehicles are fitted with speed limiters but older vehicles are not.
A 20-year-old girl having her second driving lesson managed to roll the BSM’s Fiat 500.
A French couple drove their car straight into a lorry as it attempted to overtake another vehicle in Gollion, Switzerland. The car was dragged 50 yards, with the impact sending the doors and the boot lid flying off. No-one was hurt.
The number of cars on the roads has fallen for the first time since the Second World War, to 31,035,791 according to industry figures. However the population is forecast to rise by 10 million in the next 20 years so car sales should improve eventually.
Nissan is to spend £420 million at its plant in Sunderland producing electric cars (government backing of £20.7 million). Ford is to invest £1.5 billion in its 4 UK plants over 5 years (government backing £360 million). McLaren expect to increase its investment in its new supercar MP4-12C to £750 million over the next few years. Sales of Jaguar rose 8% last month to 4,642 and Land Rover sales rose 55% to 18,896, making March 2010 the best month in the 62 years of Land Rover.
Gatsos are being replaced on a 7½ mile section of the A13 in E. London by 37 average speed cameras.
The DfT says that in 2009, 91,280 of the 1,140,500 excavation works undertaken required remedial work straight after completion.
The Dutch Government is considering a nationwide road pricing scheme, charging per kilometre – The UK Government is watching with interest – of course.
The Home Office is testing the `SpeedSpike’ new ‘average speed’ cameras which combine number plate reading technology with a global positioning satellite receiver.
Changes to the MoT test, which shortly come into force, will include style and legality of number plates.
An average of 427 drivers a month have been caught exceeding the 50 mph speed limit on a 10-mile stretch of the M1 in Hertfordshire.
Poole Borough Council has built a cycle lane which is 6.5’ wide compared with only 4.5’ for cars and buses. The cycle lane is only on one side of the road and stops completely before the top of the hill. The Council said the lines were for guidance only and drivers were permitted to cross them. "The lane has been marked in accordance with national guidance but further signs and cycle logos are scheduled to be added and we hope this will make the situation clearer for all road users”.
Police in the Scilly Isles now have a radar gun to target drivers on St. Mary’s which has 9 miles of roads with no traffic lights or pedestrian crossings. The roads are twisty, the speed limit of 60 mph has never been reached!
Car sales in China surged by 45% last year and sales of Rolls Royces are up 300% already this year – an £800,000 Rolls Royce Phantom sold immediately at the Bejiing Auto Show and a 35-year-old bought a Bugatti Veyron.
Doctors have urged governments to launch an enquiry into alleged 'subliminal' tobacco advertising on Ferrari F1 cars. It is claimed the red, white and black bar code on Ferrari cars and overalls is intended to remind viewers of Marlboro cigarettes branding. Australia will force tobacco companies to use plain packaging with no colour or branding by 2012.
Maxwell Cannon was told that he was committing a traffic offence for waiting on the zigzag markings of a pedestrian crossing outside his home in Harrington, Cumbria in order to reverse onto his drive. A police officer said he should have driven in but Cannon pointed out that reversing onto a main road was against the Highway Code. He was issued with a £60 fixed penalty notice.
State-owned Deutsche Bahn has acquired UK’s Arriva transport company which operates in 12 European countries.
The AA say that on average motorists are paying an extra £6 since January to fill their cars, despite a reduction in wholesale prices.
An abridged version of the TOPS NEWS sent to members by Trisha Pilkington