Ireland debates switch to right-hand driving
At last Head Rambles is taking its righful place in the history books of Ireland.
At last the government is listening to Grandad.
OK, so they are a year late, but what the hell.
Of course Donie Cassidy is claiming all the credit for himself [the bastard], but
Ireland debates switch to right-hand driving
Now the credit is actually mine. I proposed this, over a year ago. As proof, here is the gist of my article…
For centuries, Ireland has been the poor relation of England. We inherited their laws, their architecture, their language and their way of life.
We see ourselves now as an independent state that is more European than British. We have adopted the Euro as our currency. We have established Irish as an official language within the European Union. We have won the Eurovision Song Contest more times than anyone else. It is time for the next step.
We propose that from the 1st of July 2007, we will adopt the European standard of driving on the right hand side of the road.
This is a major initiative that will bring us in line with the rest of Europe, along with metrication. Furthermore, with the rate of immigration expected to increase, by the year 2010, the majority of the population will have originated in countries that drive on the right.
We already have the physical infrastructure in place. It is just a matter of public education.
Starting from the 1st of February, motorists will have a five month period in which to have their vehicles adapted to left hand drive. During this period, road signs and traffic lights will also be adapted. All new vehicles sold after this date will be configured for left hand drive.
Starting on the 1st of July, there will be a period of transition.
Period of transition
Initially, all buses and articulated vehicles will move to the right to allow for a period of adjustment. Car owners may opt to make the switch themselves on an individual basis, depending on their level of confidence.
Starting on the 1st of August, all motorists outside city limits will be required to drive on the right. And finally on the 1st September, all city traffic will make the transition.
It is appreciated that there will be some confusion initially, but death rates within the first year are expected to be below the 50,000 mark. This is a small price to pay for the estimated five lives a year that will be saved after the transition.
Some initial confusion
The Government is committed to reducing the appalling death rate on our roads, and to further harmonisation with our European neighbours.
Ireland should consider giving up driving on the left to reduce accidents by foreigners accustomed to right side motoring, a senior politician said Friday.
Wonderful idea, decrease the number of deaths of foreigners on our roads by increasing the numbers of Irish deaths.
I think the rest of Europe should change to driving on the left like us.
I remember reading something recently about a fella in Sweden who had been driving on the left all the time as he never realised they changed sides in the 1960s.
This would be the most ridiculous idea that Ireland should change to right hand side of the road this would cause more crashes and deaths of Irish people to suit the few tourist and
. Let Europe change to driving on left why should we keep changing our country to suit forigners they wouldn't change to suit irsh people. We not joined to Europe we are a small island off coast of Europe .stupid ignorant government minsters trying to change our country to suit europe ignoring there own people as usual.
Great post Grandad.
Reminded me of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagen_H. Convoluted or what?
Great idea though – drive on the other side for the sake of say 750,000 people who originally came from nations which drive on the left hand side and inconvenience only about 4 million people are used to driving on the left!
TBA – You beat me to it. I was looking for that link 🙂
Imagine trying to do something that organised here? I reckon it would be impossible.
Hmm, I like to see the fun at crossing the border to the North, with kind of switch from one side to another. Because I think Belfast is under UK rules no?
That will be real spaghetti junction LOL
My husband remembers dagen H, even though he was only a child (in Stockholm) at the time. One thing the Swedes do really well is plan and project-manage. Oh, and they love order.
What made it work, I suspect, was that the Swedes don’t have the same level of cynicism towards their government that we see in the UK (and perhaps in Ireland – hard to tell, since I’ve never been). Here, every government initiative is greeted with the expectation of failure and our attention is naturally drawn to the faults, the flaws that will prove us right. There, everything starts with the expectation that it will work, and their minds are inclined to see the preponderance of evidence that justifies that faith. Perhaps we are just bitter. Perhaps they are just naieve. Who knows?
As I understnad it, for months before dagen H traffic signs were erected on the right hand side of the road and kept covered over. Then on dagen H, private traffic was banned from the roads for a period of two or so hours while teams went out and removed the covers from one lot of signs, using them to cover those on the other side of the road. When private traffic was returned to the road, it was to drive on the other side – something which they had been able to practise at special centres for some time.
Job done! Det får inte jobbet!
Karyn – We are realists here. We don’t expect our government to fuck up – we know they’ll fuck up. Who else would build a road tunnel to carry lorries away from Dublin Port, and then discover half way through that it wasn’t high enough to carry the big lorries? Who else would build a ring motorway around Dublin and then have to spend God knows how much rebuilding miles of it because they fucked up in the first place? I won’t even start on electronic voting and HSE computer systems.
Knowing our government, they would approach the problem precisely as I have laid out.
TBA – You miss the point. It’s not for the sake of foreigners. It’s because it takes Donie Cassidy five or six days to get used to driving in the States. And we can’t have that.
Incidentally, I have driven many times in France, and find I have no problem whatsoever from the moment I drive off the ferry. What kind of dimwit is Donie Cassidy anyway?
I know that catering to Americans isn’t your thing, but we would certainly appreciate what we consider the only “sensible” way to go: driving on the right.
Of course I’m a terrible driver on either side of the road, so I promise never to drive in Ireland, no matter what!
Marlys – But we’re not catering to Americans. We’re catering to the rest of Europe [except the U.K.]. It would actually make a hell of a lot of sense to switch road sides, as then all our vehicles would be standard left-hand-drive. However the British will never do it [they’re still refusing to adopt the Euro, for Heaven’s sake!], and the logistics would be difficult to put it mildly.
And as Paschal says, if we didn’t co-ordinate with the U.K., we would have to have some kind of corkscrew arrangement at each of the dozens [hundreds?] of border crossings between here and the North.
So how about asking our fellow Europeans to drive on the left 😉
Thta make sense if you think about it. OK yes of course it will screw up some Americans but they don’t drive too much here, they keep their arses in tourist buses.
Paschal – Right! I’ll put it to Brussels and see what they think. They will be reluctant at first, but when I tell them just how much it pisses off the Americans, I’m sure they’ll agree.
After all, one of the reasons the Romans introduced the driving on the left business was to make it easier to swing a weapon at your opponent traveling in the opposite direction. That makes a lot of sense.
The only reason Europe drives on the right is because some pope told ’em to.
You are much better at esoteric knowledge than I am, but I understood that the American tradition of driving on the right arose from the big prairie waggons where the driver’s seat is on the left.
Right-hand drive is logical because the overwhelming majority of the population is right-handed, meaning that the steering wheel remains in the stronger right hand while gear changes, etc are made with the weaker left hand. It’s also more economic because our leading car makes are Japanese – all of which are manufactured as right-hand drive vehicles in Japan (or Sunderland).
I hadn’t even realized that Cassidy was Seanad leader – it’s depressing
I was reading another study recently where it the conclusion was that driving on the left like we do is much safer in the event of an accident or swerving to avoid obstacles.
Apparently the natural tendancy is to swerve left which means that if you were driving on the right then you would be swerving onto oncoming traffic.
Swerving to the left will only mow down a few pedestrians as Dublin Bus can well testify to.
Grandad I think that right driving (or riding a horse) has been invented by Napoleon under the same reason than the Romans but in the opposite direction 😉
Now maybe Cassidy think is the new Napoleon!
Cassidy is from Castlepollard in Westmeath.
The fact he talks pure shite alone proves that he is not a Cork man 😉
Robert yes you’re right I should have check! My wife is from Cork so I should be careful by now
I remember your original post. Holy crap, I been reading this drivel for a year?
Loved almost every minute. 🙂
Want to rekindle our flames of passion?
Doesn’t matter at all to me. I drive on whatever side and in whatever direction I wish. I’ve gotten real good at avoiding rapidly oncoming obstacles that way. I’ve driven on the right, the left and when I still could ride Harley Davidson’s–the middle when the need arose.
Ya’ know, the more I read these excellent Irish type blogs written by you excellent Irish type folks, the more I realize that our beloved State of Vermont which is effectively it’s own nation in every way except by federal law (and the federal government is even scared to mess with us), is more closely related to Ireland and it’s people than one might think…except for the fact that Vermont’s not surrounded by water of course. I mean the native accent around here is just as thick as yours in some cases I’d imagine.
So I thought to myself that you you might easily and efficiently solve your influx of foreigners (we call ’em outta-statuhs and/or flatlanduhs) by doing what we do–“accidentally” shoot ’em during hunting season (“damn fool shouldn’t have been wearing ‘forest orange’ by jeezus!”). Then you wouldn’t have to worry about ’em driving on the wrong side of the road and all.
But then I realized that Ireland might not have as much forested land like we do, which is almost all of it. We also have lots of hills and mountains, valleys and saddles, full of gulches, dead falls, deep crevices, fast moving streams and rivers and rather long drops to aid us in our endeavor to keep the herd of “outta-statuhs” culled down to a reasonable level so’s they won’t run out of forage and starve to death during the winter months. The one’s that are left usually weed themselves down pretty thin by Mud Season by wiping themselves out on our roads during the winter, thinking they actually know how to drive.
Sorry I couldn’t be of more help to ya’. 😉
Kirk – We wouldn’t ‘accidentally shoot’ tourists. That is hypocritical in the extreme. We shoot them deliberately. It’s a major sport here.
The strange thing I have found is that I prefer driving on the right. I haven’t a clue why. The first time I went to France, I was terrified, but took to it like a duck to water. I have been over a couple of times since and have only caused one major pileup involving multiple fatalities [didn’t even scratch my own car]. In fact, I found it damned awkward driving on the left when I got back. So I didn’t bother. I’ve been driving on the right ever since.
I did put quotes around the word accidentally now didn’t I? Otherwise the “officials” around these parts might feel they’d actually have to do something about these incidents if we just walked right up to their offices (they’re all outfitted for weighing in your kill just like the general stores ya’ know) with a stiffening corpse on our shoulders and said “Yo Hiram! I got me another one!” I mean he could possibly in a bad mood or have a bad hangover and might take exception at such blatant-ness. Always pays to be smart about things of this nature.
Glad you solved your right handed driving problems. Must set your mind at ease some. Probably can’t say the same for the other drivers you encounter I’d imagine.
We’re OK here, Kirk. The local sheriff is one of our main club members.
As for other drivers? What other drivers? I just shut my eyes and drive.
I was once reading common comments asked by tourists coming to Australia of the Aussie Tourist Board, one hapless American asked “If they drive on the left and the steering wheel is on the right hand side, do they move the pedals too?” Absolutely true, I kidd you not!
Baino – You must admit, it conjures up a lovely picture – sitting in one seat with the pedals and leaning across the other seat to steer! Unless the passenger steers of course?
When I lived in Dublin I don’t think the problem was the right side/left side, but the fellas in the middle of the road surrounded by sawhorses and caution signs, leaning on shovels, talking.
Whatever they decide, I’ll continue to walk and take the train and generally stay out of the way when I visit!
Welcome Shieldmaiden 🙂 But you have to think of Cassidy and the trouble he has having adapting to driving in the States. We’re doing it just for him.
Hong Kong still drives on the left even though it returned to China in 1997, with which it shares a land border. So does Macau, despite being a former Portuguese colony.
Some facts about Sweden’s changeover – most cars in the country were already left hand drive. Ireland would have to replace most of its cars before or after the changeover.
As for the British “refusing” to adopt the euro, so are the Swedes, who voted “no” five years ago. Then again, they voted against changing the rule of the road in 1955.
Anyway, if you really want to throw off the last vestige of British imperialism, cen fath nach buil tu ag scriobhadh i nGaeilge?
I’ve read about it before but I don’t understand why they debate switching to driving on the right, because they are closer to Great Britain than mainland Europe. The fact is all those tourists who self-drive will not be driving all the way from mainland Europe and are unlikely to be bringing their left hand drive cars with them. And also, what about the fact that most people are right eye dominant so driving on the right is usually harder.
Another point to consider, currently, you drive on the same side as my country (Australia) so it’s right turns that cross oncoming traffic. By switching it around, it will be left turns that cross oncoming traffic, this combined with travel patterns and geography may effect the portions of turns that must cross the rush hour stream. Inevitably, some right turns will become easier and left turns harder.
Welcome, Myrtone! I hate to disappoint, but there is no debate. That article above [which is over two years old] was just Donie Cassidy [one of our Gobshite Government] was doing a bit of grandstanding trying to hit the headlines. He failed, and the subject was never even brought up. I had written about it before, but that was just a piece if idle whimsy on my part!