BREAKING NEWS from Condor Ferries: ‘This afternoon 14/7/14 Commodore Clipper is believed to have made contact with the bottom in the Small Russell en route to Guernsey. Clipper is now safely alongside in St Peter Port. All passengers and crew are safe and there are no injuries. Commodore Clipper services are suspended for 24hrs pending a dive to investigate any damage. Passengers due to travel from Guernsey to Jersey or to Portsmouth tonight are being contacted by our customer services team to rearrange travel. Fast ferries continue to operate as does Commodore Goodwill. Where possible guests are being offered alternative transport to the UK.’
TODAY: a truck ban in France, a pedestrianized Champs Elysee, and busy roads this evening after national holiday ‘Bastille Day’, see below.
Plus, more on the Oresund Link’s new self raising speed bumps; a crunch meeting between the Germans and Austrians on the ‘foreigner vignette’, the first ever left hand drive driving lessons, a new truck toll starts in Latvia, and more roads are shortly to be included in the Belarus road toll network.
GIBRALTAR FRONTIER WATCH: hovered around 30mins mid-afternoon, quiet before and since.
ORESUND ACTIVE SPEED BUMPS
60mm hole delivers ‘physical reminder to slow down’.
Sweden has the safest roads in the world* so any new initiatives deserve the benefit of the doubt.
However, eyebrows are raised – here, at least – over the recent introduction of ‘active speed bumps’ on the Oresund Link between Sweden and Denmark. The devices were installed on the lanes from Sweden in the spring.
Developed by Linkoping-based Edeva AB, called ‘Actibump’, a wide plate in the roadway drops by 60mm whenever a speeding vehicle is detected. It gives the driver ‘a physical reminder to slow down’.
The maker claims many benefits over the static, raised ‘speed humps’ in widespread use across the Continent. Vehicles under the speed limit pass unhindered meaning more comfortable journeys for bus passengers, for instance, and less wear and tear generally. Emergency vehicles carry transponders to disable the system while the bumps can be easily avoided by two-wheeled vehicles. Meanwhile, Actibump collects data on traffic levels.
The company has received press coverage in Germany, Spain, Finland, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Serbia though it is not known if the system has been installed elsewhere.
Apart from the costs and emissions due it being electric powered – not an issue in cheap hydropower Sweden – the issue surely is the significant jolt it causes, akin to a 6cm deep pothole, and the potential for tyre damage, especially since the speed limit on the Oresund Bridge is 110kmh (and 90kmh in the tunnel).
There are no reports of Actibump causing any problems. We contacted Edeva to set our minds at rest by they are on holiday until 6 August. Will update.
UPDATE 15 July: Edeva AB managing director David Eskilsson tells @DriveEurope, ‘The edge of the “artificial pothole” has a smooth radius and will not damage tyres. After four years in traffic in the municipality of Linköping we have had no damage claims. The system is designed to give the driver a wake-up call, not damage the vehicle.’
He adds the company is currently looking to appoint a European sales agent and expects to make its first export order later this year.
* In 2013 there were 28 road deaths per million inhabitants in Sweden putting it at the top of EU and world wide road safety tables. The UK was just behind on 29 road deaths per million inhabitants.
roundup: GERMANY. The man behind the ‘foreigner vignette’ is to meet his Dutch and Austrian counterparts tomorrow to discuss the issue. The Austrian TranMin Doris Bures says a European Court case will follow if no solution is found. DRIVING. A company in south London is offering driving lessons in left hand drive vehicles to make people more confident driving hire cars on the Continent. See www.skyscanner.net. LATVIA. Trucks 3.5t+ have to pay a toll to use the main state roads since 1 July. It does not apply to heavy motorhomes. See www.lvvignette.eu for more. The toll is paid via the internet and stored electronically; no need to carry any documents. It costs from €8 per day up to €400 per year for Euro IV and above. BELARUS. From 1 August another 256km of highways will be included in the digital road toll system. Sections of the M5 Minsk-Gomel, M6 Minsk-Grodno, M7 Minsk–Lithuania and R1 Minsk-Dzerzhinsk will come under the scheme which will then include 1,189km of roads. See beltoll.by for more.