Thursday, 8 May 2008

Multi-storey parking

A cheque for £100 arrived yesterday. No covering letter. But I worked out eventually that it was refunding of my car insurance excess, for an 'incident' that happened nearly two and a half years ago, in December 2005.

What happened was this. A 17 year old was driving a tractor/loader towing a 28 foot steel flat bed trailer. The hydraulic brakes on the trailer had been disabled, and the loader's brakes were defective. Loading spikes were deployed in front. As this lethal combination started to descend the very steep scarp slope of the North Downs, the driver had trouble getting it into gear. As a result the unit began to free wheel. In front of it was a white van. As the tractor and trailer gathered speed, the van driver spotted what was happening and accelerated to keep ahead of it. The pair went faster and faster, until they were doing probably 60 - 70 mph.

At this point they met the Social Secretary coming up. In a sunken lane, there was nowhere to go. She stopped. The van stopped. The tractor and trailer didn't stop. It catapulted the van over the bonnet and onto the roof of the car, then pushed them both another 100 feet or so down the lane. When it came to a standstill the Social Secretary squeezed between the roof and the seats and exited via a rear door. The van driver slid down from his first floor parking space. The cyclist who had been pedalling up behind the SS (and who would have been pulped if she had not been there) was glad he was wearing Lycra. The tractor driver was charmlessly monosyllabic and unapologetic, in a way that only arrogant little 17 year old shits driving the equivalent of a tank can be.

It has taken all this time, and a threat of a court case, for our dogged legal team to persuade the other parties that the Social Secretary was not in some way responsible for the accident. No proceedings were taken by Kent Police, presumably under the misapprehension that the journey being undertaken was 'for agricultural purposes' - thereby excluding it in law from all the usual provisions of driver qualification, MOT, fitness of braking systems, etc. - and to save paperwork.

Quite why under British law agricultural vehicles, which are now as big as trucks and can travel at 40 or 50 mph, are exempted from all normal safety checks and standards beats me. In the event this tractor's particular journey did not satisfy the legal definition of an agricultural one in terms of either distance travelled or purpose of trip, although it did not seem neighbourly to point this out to the Feds, nor in our own best interest to effectively render it uninsured.

She always was a neat parker, the SS.


  1. Blimey - the SS had a lucky escape there.

    Even after reading the full story though, part of me still wants to blame the White Van Man... just because.

  2. After two years the photos still shock me.

  3. Fantastic parking! I like the bewildered bloke with the bike. Did he help at all?

  4. That could have really ended in tears... bloody hell!

  5. Rol- I know where you're coming from. Although, if he hadn't stopped... I could marry that bloke.

    Megs - Me too!

    Lucy - Not really. He's a mystery. I believe he gave up cycling and began breeding coy carp.

    G - It could've. Made me sort of appreciate the SS all the more...despite her one (or even two) faults...

  6. Ooh flip! (or something rather more expressive). Glad the SS came out unscathed :-)

  7. still enjoying your blog Rod

  8. Jennie - I'm glad - thank you for visiting! It's nice to be enjoyed. Hope all is well up on the high hills there.