A road accident on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius saw a car overturn and end up on its roof today in the town of Bagatelle, famed for its popular shopping mall, the French-language Defimedia.info website reported today.
Few details of the accident or its cause were published by the news outlet but a picture shown with their report shows bystanders clustering around the stricken auto, which had completely overturned, its four wheels hovering in the air. It is not known if there are any injuries or fatalities. What appeared to be the front of the silver-coloured car is entirely mangled and the doors were open, possibly as people were helped or removed from the vehicle.
The exact location of the accident was not published, apart from a mention that the incident took place in the ‘heights’ of Bagatelle, an area of the Moka District which lies less than two kilometres from the town of Rose Hill-Beau Bassin, about 20 minutes’ drive south from the Mauritian capital, Port Louis. The area draws many shoppers to its signature Bagatelle Mall, the Mauritian equivalent of Westfield.
Rising prosperity on the island has seen an explosion in the number of vehicles on its roads, leading to frequent traffic jams even in smaller towns. Accidents have also become more commonplace. According to the government agency Statistics Mauritius, 149 people are killed annually on Mauritian roads with 268 serious injuries in the same time period.
The first zebra crossings appeared on the streets of the United Kingdom in 1949, where they were introduced on a trial basis at 1,000 different locations. Originally, they were anything but zebra-like, being kitted out in blue and yellow alternating stripes, before the current standard was adopted a couple of years later.
These days, in much of the world, zebra crossings are an important feature in both road safety and pedestrian locomotion, but have always stuck out as rather mundane. A line of black and white stripes is not much of a crowd pleaser when you look at it. The only time zebra crossings became famous was the Abbey Lane crossing in London, which was immortalised on the front cover of the ‘Abbey Road’ album released by The Beatles in 1969. That humble north London road feature was catapulted to fame, much like the band themselves, and is still a tourist attraction.
That is until today. In 2017 a small Icelandic town decided to install a zebra crossing, mainly to keep the brakes on speeding drivers passing through the area. Ísafjörður, a fishing community in the north-west of the island, however was not interested in the bog-standard black-and-white flat road markings zebras normally use. Being Scandinavians and talented at combining function and design, the town council instead opted to create a roadside optical illusion, as beautiful as it is functional.
They painted a line of 3D stripes across the road, and using shadows, the painted stripes resemble solid rectangular white blocks that look like they are floating above the ground. This exciting development in road safety is not just aesthetically pleasing. It also gives pedestrians the feeling of floating on air as they cross the street and drivers are so entranced by the floating stripes they have to slow down to take the peculiar sight in. It is a win-win for everyone.
The 3D crossing was designed as an art installation by street painting company Vegmálun GÍH, who were requested for assistance by Icelandic environmental commissioner Ralf Trylla. Trylla drew inspiration from similar road crossings in New Delhi, India, produced by the city’s New Delhi Municipal Council, albeit with yellow ‘blocks’. The Delhiite crossings proved so successful that the council there plans to paint forty more of them. Similar crossings have also been installed in China and the Republic of Ireland.
You can see specially commissioned photographs of the Iceland 3D zebra crossing by Ágúst G. Atlason of Gústi Productions in the article by Bored Panda, which originally covered this feature, in the Sources section below. You can also see the crossing in action with the mini-documentary featured with this article.
The average British commuter will spend around GBP £48,000 (USD $60211) of the course of a lifetime, just on travelling to their workplace, a recent survey of 2,000 commuters in the U.K. has discovered.
The figure is not surprising to many observers. Britain has some of the highest transport fares in Europe, with many tickets around ten times their European equivalent. In addition, the average Briton will also spend up to a year of their life on the commute, assuming they work for 47 years of their lifespan. The survey showed that 68 per cent drive to work, 11 per cent take the train and eight per cent get to the workplace via bicycle or motorcycle.
Interestingly, the survey also picked up the fact that a third of the £48,000 figure will be spent on snacks, refreshments and other items consumed or used during the journey, especially for those on long commutes.
The research was commissioned by the motorcycle insurance company Lexham. The firm’s head of sales and marketing, Andy Goodson, commented: “While many commuters think their journeys to and from work are barely worth considering, the amount of time we spend on them shows we should give them a bit more thought.
“With an average commute time of almost an hour a day, for many Brits this is wasted time as they’re stuck behind the wheel in traffic.
“Some of the happiest respondents in our survey were ones who were able to walk to work – giving themselves the shortest commute possible.”
The average journey on a commute is seven miles (eleven kilometres) long, which means over a working life, commuters will have clocked up 171,080 miles (275,327 km) going to and fro from the office or work site – the equivalent of circumnavigating the Earth more than six times. Those who drive to work suffered the highest stress levels, according to the Lexham research, with biking the least likely to leave people grumpy when they arrive at their desks. Sixty-two per cent of commuters told researchers that a bad journey to work would wreck the rest of their day.
Over the course of their working life, the average commuter will read 67 books, 2248 newspapers and listen to 3617 albums.
They will also send 1710 work emails, consume 977 bananas and play 2,077 gaming sessions on their phones.
Andy Goodson said: “One of the best ways to make your commute happier is to cut down how long it is.
“Motorbikes and scooters are a convenient way to bring down your commuting time, as they can beat traffic so easily.
“Nobody wants to have their day made any more stressful than it needs to be – and sitting in traffic, other commuters’ personal hygiene and constantly late trains definitely don’t help.”
A LIFETIME OF COMMUTING IN NUMBERS:
Distance travelled: 171,080 miles Amount spent: £48,708.92 Time spent: 10,998 hours Days late to work: 1906 Newspapers read: 2248 Coffees bought: 1759 Games played on phone: 2077 Social events planned: 1710 Albums listened to: 3617 Bananas eaten: 977
A British man has probably set the world record for quickest time in flunking a driving test after failing it five seconds in, reported the Metro newspaper yesterday.
Craig Barraza, aged 33, originally from Portlethen in Aberdeenshire but now living in Norfolk, crashed out of his driving test after pulling out of the centre of the wrong side of the road, according to Metro. The hapless learner told the paper he had a ‘complete mind blank’ once he got behind the wheel and largely forgot everything the driving instructor had taught him over his lengthy and expensive preparation lessons.
Barraza, who appeared for his exam at the King’s Lynn test centre, immediately pulled out and began driving down the wrong side of the road. Vehicles in the UK drive on the left. His error was so obvious that even the examiner who was in the front passenger seat with him at the time exclaimed “You do realise you’re on the wrong side of the road?”.
Despite immediately failing his test, Barraza still had to continue driving for another forty minutes, where it is alleged he actually drove so well that he would have passed had it not been for the ghastly error he made at first. The examiner, and Barraza’s driving instructor, Steve Fletcher, said that it was the worst blunder they had seen in 50 years of instruction.
Barraza, who is employed as an operative on a wind energy farm, is said to have spent £1,000 in total on forty lessons with Fletcher, as well as the multiple-choice question ‘theory test’ that all new British drivers are required to sit in addition to the practical.
He said: “I was only just leaving the centre to get out. We were literally just five seconds into it. I was approaching the junction to exit it and I had an absolute mind blank, questioning in my head: ‘What side of the road do we drive on?”
‘I had a 50/50 chance, and I chose to exit it in the right lane. Instant fail. Had I not been so stupid I’d have breezed through.’
‘My examiner with 20 years experience, and my instructor with 30 years both said they have never witnessed anything like it in their careers. I hadn’t even left the test centre car park.”
He added: “I’ve avoided driving because when I was 17 I stalled at a roundabout which just completely put me off. But I was more confident now.
‘I think it’s when you get older you get a bit wiser but that’s rich coming from me after failing like that. I’ve lived in the UK my whole life so there’s no excuse for not driving on the left.
‘Honestly, who fails a test quicker than that? I didn’t even get to the junction.”
Despite his huge messup, Barraza has received supportive messages from his friends after posting about the calamity on social media, however it is not mentioned if he will retake his test.
The time change kicked in on yesterday night towards this morning and those who have not yet made the change are being encouraged to reset their watches and clocks to avoid arriving an hour late for work tomorrow, the Gazette advises.
Everyone outside those areas will be observing DST until it finishes on November 6, 2016, in which case they will return their clocks an hour back to winter time.
The Montreal Gazette is also warning drivers to take extra care on roads over fears that the lost hour of sleep will impair their motoring ability on Canada’s highways. The newspaper cited a 1996 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed car accidents shot up by 8 per cent on the first Monday after the clocks change.
You have got your suit dry-cleaned and freshly pressed, your crisp white shirt is the bee’s knees and your Marks & Sparks tie is the right shade of blue. You know you will get that interview. The weather’s not so enthusiastic though. It is raining quite heavily, but not enough to dampen your get-up-and-go spirit. You step out the front door, umbrella in hand. You turn into the main road, trying your best to dodge the assorted puddles rapidly forming on the pavement as you walk down towards the rail station.
As you blissfully daydream of becoming the hottest sales executive at Jerry’s Printers Ltd ever, you fail to notice the massive lake of rainwater lying in wait just beyond the kerb. You also fail to notice the green van being driven at speed, careering towards the giant puddle. VROOOOMMMMSPLLLLAAAASHHHH!!. A wall of dirty water that a surfer would sweat over rises suddenly from the van’s tyres and soaks you from head-to-toe. Your white shirt is now halfway between brown and grey. Your suit weighs a lot more than it used to. Your trousers sag. Panic ensues. There’s no way you can show up for the 9:45 like this. You call up ahead to cancel. Your mobile, having born the brunt of the dripping onslaught, does not switch on….Goodbye company car and gold-plated pension.
As any unfortunate pedestrian caught between tarmac and a wet place will tell you, being soaked in puddle juice by white-van man or the No. 69 bus from Leyton is no joke. It’s cold, miserable, and frankly a little scary, not to mention embarrassing. It has long been a scourge of cold wintery days, where inconsiderate or oblivious drivers almost get a sick psychotic pleasure out of doing a drive-by drenching on some poor sods at the bus stop. This article’s author has had his fair share of near misses. The soaked clothing, the shower of expletives, the raised fist defiantly shaken at the knob who had just turned him into a drowned sewer rat. Those memories will be forever etched in his Half-Eaten Mind until the last breath.
Drivers who soak-and-run don’t always escape scot-free. In 2009, a Plymouth, Devon motorist who deliberately targeted a group of school children for a early morning shower was dragged to court. The 29-year-old, who even filmed the hydro-carnage from a camera on her dashboard, was cited for careless driving.
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police told Sky News Online: “Deliberately splashing people by driving through a big puddle could mean that the motorist was driving without reasonable consideration for other road users.
“There is also the real danger that by driving through standing water this could cause the driver of the vehicle to lose control and could result in a road traffic collision.
“People involved in this practice could find themselves prosecuted and points put on their licence.”
Driving through a puddle to splash bystanders is an offence of “careless, and inconsiderate, driving” under the Road Traffic Act section 3 and carries a fine of up to £2,500. (Sky News Online – 14/10/2009)
A man in nearby Yeovil was fined £150 and awarded three penalty points on his licence after running through a puddle and splashing some nearby road workers, who subsequently reported him.
So how do those puddles get there to cause that kind of nuisance in the first place. In most developed countries, roads are essentially strips of asphalt/tarmac which are designed to be waterproof to prevent the road surface from deteriorating. As most road surfaces are curved concavely to enable moisture runoff, the rain as it lands is sent by gravity to accumulate between the road itself and the kerb. Likelihoods of puddles increase if the drains that take away the excess water are blocked. It would be easy to suggest lining every pedestrianised road, street and lane in the UK or anywhere else with some kind of super-absorbent sponge. Unlikely, though, as it would be a frightful expense for councils to cover.
Interestingly enough, Britain’s oldest puddle still in service is in the Oxfordshire town of Wallingford. Since April of 1976, this hardy specimen sits at the junction of Fir Tree Avenue and Wantage Road. Thanks to county border disputes, political apathy and a poorly-maintained highway, the puddle’s longevity has entered it into local folklore. The residents of Wallingford, who once pleaded with local politicians to have it removed, now consider it a peculiar tourist attraction and it is even now the starting point for a local pub crawl, the Wally Run. There is no tradition however of any Ford Fiestas or Nissan Jukes using the Wally puddle for a slip-and-slide. Or a re-enactment of “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”…
Unfortunately for any foot-based road user, massive puddles are a fact of life. When it rains and pours down buckets , they will come. And there will always be unhinged thrill-seekers on four wheels. Some advice from the Half-Eaten Mind: keep an eye out for the big ‘uns, keep the other eye on oncoming traffic and walk as close to the shopfronts as you can!.