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Motorway madness

First publishedin World Highways
July August 2019
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Wheel done: This green machine offers an alternative view of transport
Our Skidmarks page is highly rated by readers. Your input could help make this page even more entertaining. If you come across any amusing road-related stories or pictures email me at mwoof@ropl.com

A cyclist was recently spotted on the UK’s busy M25 motorway pedalling along the hard shoulder in the wrong direction. Police were alerted by a CCTV operator who saw the rider as he rode past a camera. Officers quickly responded and escorted the cyclist to a place of safety after providing a few words on safety. Cycling is banned on the UK’s motorways.

A Scottish cyclist riding round the world showed his softer side, when he adopted a stray kitten he found by the roadside. The man spotted the cat when he was close to the Bosnia-Montenegro border. The animal pursued the man and seemed hungry, so he stopped and gave it some food. From there he took it to a vet, made sure it had its necessary shots and has since then adopted it as his riding companion on his trip.

An inhabitant of one small UK town has been left feeling rather embarrassed. The person had complained about drivers passing through the town at excessive speed in their vehicles. In response to the person’s complaints, local police started a campaign using speed detectors to trap those driving too fast. One of the three drivers caught speeding was the person who had complained.

Officers in the US state of Rhode Island recently had a close encounter with an unfamiliar type of vehicle, and opted to bring it to a halt. The unusually-shaped vehicle was a self-driving shuttle, being used for the first time. The police officers spotted the vehicle trundling along the road and stopped it when the vehicle came to a halt to drop off some passengers. The firm operating the vehicle said it had publicised that it would be going into service locally, but admitted that the officers had somehow missed the announcement.

A driver in Germany had a lucky escape from a speeding charge. The driver was photographed by a speed camera when driving in excess of the posted limit and should have been hit with a fine of e105. However, as the camera took its shot a bird flew past, obscuring the driver’s face. As the driver’s identity could not be confirmed, the person was able to avoid the fine, even though the registration number of the car was noted.

A truck carrying honey overturned in the US on a major highway recently due to a mechanical fault. Around 18.5tonnes of honey spilled onto the roadway when the driver lost control of the truck. Three of the highway’s lanes had to be closed by local police, with drivers having to take other routes unable to cope with the traffic and vehicles quickly becoming stuck in the jam. The road took eight hours to clear but unfortunately, none of the honey could be saved as it had been contaminated with diesel fuel that had leaked from the overturned truck’s fuel tank.

With 149kW available from a 1,000cc Honda Fireblade SP motorcycle engine, mated to a six-speed transmission and bolted into a special T45 steel frame, a lawnmower has set a new world speed record. The so-called Mean Mower II features the ECU from the Fireblade motorcycle, titanium exhaust system, racing quad wheels and brakes. A high power-to-weight ratio allowed the modified Honda 2622 mower model to accelerate to 160km/h in just 6.29 seconds. The 69kg Mean Mower II achieved this record acceleration at the Dekra Lausitzring track in Germany and was driven by Jess Hawkins. It was also able to achieve a top speed of 241.6km/h. To meet the requirements of the record, the mower also had to retain grass cutting components. But how efficient it is for cutting grass has not been revealed. The firm previously set a speed record with its original Mean Mower in 2014.

A man set off in his car in the UK to drive to Italy’s capital, Rome, but ended up in a German village instead. The man had followed the directions suggested by his GPS unquestioningly, as the system suggested a shorter route than the one he had used while making the journey on previous occasions. However, he was somewhat nonplussed when the GPS announced that he had arrived at his destination as he drove into a small German village, lying to the east of Cologne. Only when he saw the name, Rom, did he realise he had miskeyed the name into the GPS device. His misfortune did not end there, as he had neglected to apply the handbrake on his car, which then rolled backwards and knocked over the sign to the village. As the car began to move the man tried to jump inside to apply the handbrake, but was instead knocked over. He was taken to hospital after the incident but was not seriously injured and following repairs to his car, recommenced his journey to Rome in Italy, this time making sure to spell the name correctly.

A family in Manchester in the UK is facing serious inconvenience following work by the local council to paint double yellow lines on the road outside their home. The council took action to have the lines, which disallow parking, installed after a serious incident in which a child was injured while crossing the road. The child is a member of the family, which was one of several in the street to petition the council for the lines to be painted. However, either by accident or design, the lines were painted rather longer than originally expected, extending past the family’s home. As a result, this unfortunate family has now been issued with a string of parking tickets and fines of £4,000, just for parking their vehicle outside their own home and on a stretch of road not considered dangerous. When the contractor was carrying out the work one of the local residents asked why the lines were being painted so long, to be told that the firm was merely following orders. The family has complained but the council say this is not an issue as there are other stretches of the street where vehicles can be parked and that all the houses have off-street parking in any case. However the family has pointed out that it has two cars, with space only for one on the driveway, and that insurance requirements stipulate that its cars have to be parked outside the home.

A driver in Austria has been fined €3,000 for a series of speeding offences. The man drove along the same stretch of road no less than 42 times in excess of the speed limit. The man claimed that as he was driving at night, he had not seen the signs showing the posted limits.

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