Sunday 20 November 2011

Neutrinos and post office vans

There is currently uproar in the world of Physics. Particle physicists in Italy have measured Neutrinos that appear to break the fundamental principle of Einstein's theory of special relativity - namely that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Such is the incredulity at this result that one physicist, Professor Jim Al-Kalili, has committed to "eat his boxer shorts on live TV" if the results are proven to be correct. Since a second experiment seems to show the same results as the first one, I am intrigued by the possibility that we may be treated to the sight of a respected physicist eating his undergarments live on the small screen. Still, I guess it beats X-Factor..

Living in the UK, I struggle to understand why anyone would be astonished at anything breaking the speed of light. Those physicists should have had a holiday from their lab under a mountain in Italy and popped across to the UK and tracked our Royal Mail vans - some of whom seem to be able to achieve such amazing speeds with ease. In fact such is the velocity of some of our post vans that I find it difficult to understand why it can sometimes take so long for post to arrive - I would expect that, at the speed of some of their vehicles, the Royal Mail could travel back in time and I would be receiving my post before it was sent.

Take the example below.

Bow Flyover at around 8:30am. Clearly, although a 30mph zone, neither the laws of physics or the road apply to this driver for the Royal Mail. For reference, I estimate the black car at the beginning of the sequence is driving a little over 30mph as I am doing over 20mph. I would estimate the van is travelling at least at 50mph? Note the deft undertake of the black car towards the end of the sequence - the driver actually went on the slalom between several cars (avoiding the joining slip road traffic) before ending up at the queue for the red lights a little further on.

I have seen a number of post vans driven with reckless abandon on our roads. Enough to wonder why Royal Mail doesn't install cameras or tracking equipment in them. This might pay for itself in less fuel consumption and body shop repairs. I have seen a post van drive so quickly up my 20mph road that one of the doors flew open. I saw another one on my road run an elderly cyclist into a parked car. Apparently they have a "how is my driving" sticker on some of them, but, frankly, the ones I have cause to report are travelling so quickly there is no way I could note the number before they have disappeared into the distance.

Still at least this post van was only speeding on the Bow Junction - an area well known for being safe and pleasant for vulnerable road users...

*PS - I am sure there are many safe and courteous drivers employed by RM. Its just the reckless ones are also driving  big red lorries which are instantly recognisable, and therefore stick out like a sore thumb.


  1. I have found (again with your caveat of highly recognisable lorries) that their articulated lorry drivers are very bad indeed. I find they drive aggressively, even compared to the surrounding traffic on Euston Road (a haven of calm in the mess of London). I was also almost rammed into by one. In my car. In a jam on the North Circular. Where he thought he would be going is beyond my understanding.

  2. Problem is, if their drivers slowed down, the RM would have to get more vans and more drivers to get all the work done.

    Employers are as much to blame if not more for the pressure they put on staff. A CWU friend claimed that there have been problems this year with RM managers instructing drivers to ignore vehicle faults like bald tires because of the target-meeting and cost-cutting pressure from the top.

    Here's some more great driving from the Royal Mail...