The Way of Things
AS Sir Henry Segrave has been so busy lately on new enterprises connected with aviation it has been necessary to defer the promised article by him to a later issue of MOTOR SPORT. Our thanks are therefore due to Capt. Malcolm Campbell, than whom surely no more able substitute could be found, for his remarkably fine article entitled “Speed—its Necessity” which appears overleaf.
The Pedestrians Association.
Owing to the unfortunately bitter attitude of one of its members towards motorists, a feeling has arisen that this body is anti-motorist in its aims, and that it wishes to cramp the liberty of all who progress on wheels about their lawful occasions. This however is not the case, and enquiry into the policy of the Association reveals the fact that it is a remarkably sane body, with excellent intentions, and whether these intentions will bear fruit depends largely on the measure of co-operation which can be secured from all who use the roads, whether on wheels or on foot.
It appears that the idea of still maintaining a general speed limit for all vehicles is not part of the policy, but their aim, and it is one with which we are in entire agreement, is that there should be some limit applied in towns in order to stop the thoughtless minority from feeling that, as soon as the speed limit is officially removed, they may go as fast as they like everywhere with impunity. To the majority of motorists the removal of the present speed limit will make no difference beyond relieving them from the annoyance of being stopped and fined for perfectly harmless speed on the open road. They will still drive just as carefully in towns and dangerous places, and as the present speed limit law has been broken steadily by all motorists for many Years, their behaviour on the open road will remain unchanged. That is they will go as fast as they consider safe in the circumstances, which are governed by the road, the car, and their personal driving ability. That at least is the ideal, and with the exception of the thoughtless minority referred to above should apply in practice.
Every sane motorist wishes to assist towards the safety of all road users, but naturally does not want any more of the ridiculous laws which have prevailed since the commencement of the motoring era. A general speed limit would be a relic of such laws and something to which we are definitely opposed. Speed is of great value in saving time and money, and provided it is employed reasonably, must not be hampered.
There are many occasions when a road journey of several hundred miles is undertaken with the necessity of reaching the destination quickly, and on a suitable car a great saving of time can be achieved with perfect safety. The saving may easily be a matter of hours, and very valuable.
When, however we come to the question of speed in towns with its completely different conditions, it is soon evident that a small saving of time may mean a considerable risk, both to the driver and to the public who use the roads. A difference of only 5 minutes in traversing 15 miles of the London area, will make all the difference between a safe trip in good time, and a thoroughly hectic journey, which even when achieved by a really skilled driver in a case of emergency creates a bad impression, and in the case of a less skilled man will be merely dangerous.
Therefore, we say, have a reasonable speed limit in crowded areas by all means, but leave the open road free for safe speed, and we would appeal to our readers to remember that it is not ” clever” to demonstrate the acceleration of a noisy sports car in dense traffic. A few minutes saved in a run across town are of little value, and may only serve to foster the prejudice which exists against the use of speed where it can be of real value. The old adage “he travels fastest who travels alone ” might well be altered to read “he who travels fastest should travel alone,” where risk of damage to persons or property is a minimum, and the enjoyment is a maximum. Remember that to drive a car really well is a valuable accomplishment, and one not quickly attained, therefore cultivate as much skill and quickness of action as possible, and in its application let your motto be ” Festina lente.”