Planes, trains and automobiles. And why some elderly people should not be behind the wheels of them

Ok, maybe not planes. And a little more boats and bikes.

But come on, that title rolled off the tongue so much better!

Today was the transport museum! And it actually turns out, trainspotters aren’t actually so wrong after all. Transport is not only for the dull and friendless,unless . . . .

Well, that aside, it is a new museum and though it is very hard to navigate (with their being no clear path to follow) it has got so much stuff crammed in, it is hard not to find something interesting. It was even sunny for the journey over there.

Genuine sun in Scotland!!

The museum is mainly of cars, a lot of bikes and a smattering of trains. The massive steam train on the second story really makes you wonder how on earth they got it in.

Unfortunately I was too much of a namby pamby to try sneakily taking photos in the museum, so you shall have to view it all through my imagination.

Safe for the elderly!

The most interesting part of the museum that I found, was seeing the ‘evolution’ as it were, of the different modes of transport. For example, the conquer of the ‘safety bike’ over the penny-farthing (though the penny farthing in one advert was described as ‘safe for the elderly’ and ‘a comfortable ride’) much like video over betamax. There was also a small exhibit about the birth of the demand for an eco-friendly vehicle, giving an example of a curious water droplet shaped concept car which is very airodynamic, increasing the mpg greatly. At the other end was an old Cherokee Jeep, born from a time when fuel was cheap, and it’s impact on the environment was not really highlighted which only does 9 mpg. In todays standards, that is pertty bad! Some of todays cars can get up to 95 mpg, even 100.

It seems that through the museum we see a change in the transport. First we only notice the superficial, natural and black colours of the 50’s, to bold and more obscure designs of the 70’s.  The evolution is always practical, first with the obvious flaws in car design with there being no windscreen or enclosed cabin; leading to looking for better working, better pricing and eventually, less harmful to the environment. Sometimes in the line, as with normal evolution, it develops badly, and we end up with a three-wheeled car the topples over in the wind. But through this, we are getting much better ways of travel.

The only downside to this trip, was the drive up there. I love spending time with my Grandma. Unless it is in a car. To her credit, she is no worse than fresh faced 17/18year old new drivers. But it ain’t half scary in the passenger seat! We were wiggling this way and that, often straddling the lines between the motorway lanes. At one point we were going through a 30 zone, and I had to tactfully point out that Grandma was going 65! Couple this a general disregard for rules for different types of road lines (don’t cross block double lines), following arrows and exit posts in car parks and check your mirrors and blind spots; I wasn’t feeling too safe.

But heck, I forget to turn on my lights when I drive at night.

Maybe a bit of an exaggeration. . . .

On a similar note I was watched a debate on ‘This morning’ recently about whether older people should retake driving tests, sparked by the latest news story of an elderly woman driving 10mph down a motorway and going around a roundabout the wrong way! The argument against it was that young people, especially young men can be dangerous drivers as well, even though they have just passed their tests and so having more tests would not alleviate the problem. However, I think that this is wrong because elderly people do not go out meaning to drive dangerously, they just may have failing eyesight, longer reaction times and a reduced knowledge of ever changing traffic laws. Maybe it would be unfair to increase insurance to all drivers over a certain ages like they do with drivers under a certain ages, but I certainly think another driving test would be a good idea. Maybe with less of the unimportant theory drivel that never comes up in everyday life, and a lot of older people would never be able to remember.

That is just my opinion.


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