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Bicycles ‘should be fitted with indicators’ say safety experts

Do bicycles need indicators?

A team of health and safety experts is calling for bicycles to be fitted with indicators, to improve cyclist safety by making their manoeuvres more visible.

It would help cyclists avoid what calls ‘the curse of SMIDSY – “sorry mate, I didn’t see you”.

“We say that anything that makes a cyclist more visible and ends the curse of the SMIDSY accident has to be a good thing,” said Protecting spokesperson Mark Hall.

Do bicycles need indicators?

RoSPA figures reveal 102 cyclists were killed on British roads in 2016, while over 18,000 were injured.

According to government figures, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured increased by 17 percent between 2008 and 2018.

A survey of cyclists that also own cars found that 65 percent support indicators on bicycles. Some riders are particularly supportive of the bike indicator idea:

“I’ve had a good three, four accidents where the driver’s given me the whole SMIDSY thing – he claimed he never saw me – what’s better than a great big flashing light?” said Jim, a cyclist respondent from Southampton.

“Great idea at night,” said Helen, a cyclist respondent from Derbyshire. “They might even think I’m a motorbike and give me a lot more space.”

Do bicycles need indicators?

Others don’t believe that bicycles are the issue. “Bike riders have never been more visible these days,” said an unnamed respondent.

“Their bikes are lit up like Christmas trees, and we’re all dressed in hi-visibility gear that’s brighter than the sun. Perhaps it’s terrible drivers who are to blame.”

“The stats bear out the fact that motorists just don’t pay enough attention to cyclists, bikers and pedestrians, day after day,” said another. “We don’t need another gimmick just to make it look like something is being done.”

Drivers think bicycles should have licence plates

In response, Hall claims that indicators are another box ticked in the argument against drivers who claim they can’t see bicycle riders.

“Most cyclists want to be seen on the roads, and they know that they need to defend themselves from poor drivers.

“For the sake of beating those SMIDSY types, indicators have got to be a good thing.”

France abandons ‘controversial’ breathalyser law for drivers

French breathlyser law repealed

France is repealing its law that all drivers must carry a disposable breathalyser kit in their car. First introduced in 2013, being caught previously meant an €11 fine. 

Although apparently a response to the high number of road deaths in France linked with alcohol, the law was controversial from day one. The head of the lobby group demanding it be introduced was an executive at the manufacturer of the breathalysers.

It has been the source of confusion and conjecture, not least because the fine was abandoned relatively soon after the law was introduced. 

Lower drink-drive limit than the UK

French breathlyser law repealed

France’s drink-drive limit is lower than in the UK, at 0.5mg/ml of alcohol per litre of blood, versus 0.8mg/ml in the UK. If you’re a younger driver who passed your test less than three years ago, it’s even lower: 0.2mg/ml per litre of blood.

Being caught with between 0.5 and 0.8mg/ml can incur a fine between €135 (£120) and €750 (£665), plus a six-point penalty. The Police can carry out random breath tests, and will automatically test you if you’re involved in an accident where someone is injured, or if you have committed a serious motoring offence. 

French breathlyser law repealed

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis said: “While the law governing drivers carrying breathalysers in France might be about to change, drivers heading across the Channel should still remember that the country has a much stricter drink-drive limit than in the UK – and anyone caught over the limit faces some very tough penalties.

“The best advice is to never drink and drive, whether driving in France or elsewhere. For any driver that still chooses to, it still makes a lot of sense to carry a portable breathalyser to check they are well below the relevant legal limit.”

Autonomous alert: the 12 obstacles for self-driving cars

Thatcham Research automated driving

Drivers are most at risk of an accident when taking back control of an autonomous vehicle. That’s the warning from a leading automotive safety research group. 

Thatcham Research says full automation, when a driver can ‘safely take a nap at the wheel’, won’t be possible until 2025. Even then, the transition between automation and the driver taking control must be managed carefully, it warns.

The organisation has outlined a dozen principles required for the safe introduction of automated driving systems. These include collision protection, user monitoring, collision data and location specific data.

‘Guardian angel’ role

automated driving mode

Although the UK government is predicting the arrival of autonomous cars in 2021, Thatcham Research believes this is premature.

“To avoid introducing a new hazard, the vehicle needs to have an effective driver monitoring system to ensure safe handover of control between driver and vehicle, and that the driver is available to take back control when needed,” Matthew Avery, director of research, has warned.

“The vehicle needs to play a guardian angel role. This is important because if the system can’t handle a scenario, it can bring the driver back into the loop.

“If the driver does not respond, the system should be able to assess the road conditions, just as a human would, and decide on the safest action to keep the car’s occupants and those around them safe.”

automated driving on track

While automated driving systems could allow drivers to text, surf the internet or watch a movie while on the move, such activities must be linked to the car’s infotainment system.

“It’s paramount that initial automated driving systems can identify if the driver has become too far removed from the task of driving. This is especially important if the vehicle cannot deal with unplanned situations or when the vehicle is about to transition from the motorway to roads where automated driving will no longer be supported.

“Full automation, where the driver is essentially redundant and can safely take a nap at the wheel, won’t be possible until near 2025 and beyond, even on the motorway,” Avery said.

The 12 principles

12 steps to automated driving

The 12 principles, as outlined by Thatcham Research, can be summarised as follows:

  • User support: manufacturers must eliminate consumer confusion. Systems must be simple to use with clear and concise interfaces
  • Location specific: autonomous driving should be available only when the dynamic conditions allow
  • Safe driving: autonomous must interact safely with other road users
  • User monitoring: active user monitoring is essential and must not rely on ‘hands on wheel’ detection alone
  • Secondary tasks: must be limited to those available via the infotainment screen
  • Starting automation: will be possible when certain conditions are met and the driver is in a fit state
  • Using automation: must manage the user attentiveness to ensure an effective handover
  • Ending automation: must be prepared for planned, unplanned and user-initiated handovers, as well as system failures
  • Collision protection: vehicles must be equipped with emergency collision avoidance technology
  • Cyber resilience: systems must be designed and maintained to minimise the risks of hacking.
  • Collision data: must be available to insurers to confirm whether the system or user was in charge at the time of an accident.
  • Sustainability: the emergency collision avoidance technology must maintain functionality for at least a decade.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said: “To fully realise the benefits of automation, it is absolutely vital that there is a clear definition of what constitutes an automated vehicle. These latest guidelines will enable the safe introduction of automation on motorways from 2021 onwards.

“There must be robust rules regulating automated vehicles, to ensure that users are aware of their responsibilities. While we expect automated cars to improve road safety, some accidents will still occur. All collisions must trigger data to help authorities and insurers to understand what went wrong and so that passengers can get the help and support they need.”

BaT Record Sale Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

$33,000 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI breaks auction website records

BaT Record Sale Volkswagen Rabbit GTIBilled as being responsible for creating the hot hatch market, the Mk1 GTI has developed a cult following across the globe. 

However, this one-owner example of the iconic fast Volkswagen has set a new record for a sale price on auction website Bring a Trailer. 

At $33,000, some $5,500 more than a brand-new Mk7.5 Golf GTI would cost to buy, this is big money for a small car. 

Well-traveled Rabbit

BaT Record Sale Volkswagen Rabbit GTIWhat makes this particular 1983 Rabbit GTI special is that it has remained with one owner for all of its life. 

Built at the Westmoreland factory in Pennsylvania, the GTI was delivered to a US Army pilot in Germany. At the end of his deployment, the Rabbit came back to the United States in late 1984.

In those 26 years the seller covered 100,000 miles, proving that it had been used as intended. Lowered suspension, an upgraded exhaust for the 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, and a new stereo system were all added over the years.

One careful owner

BaT Record Sale Volkswagen Rabbit GTIHaving belong to just one person, it meant the records and documentation from the early 1980s were still present. A Carfax report verified the mileage covered, and the ownership story of the car.

The original order sheet confirmed that the Rabbit GTI had been fitted with optional extras, including air conditioning and a sunroof from the factory. A total of $9,840 was paid back when the car was new.

Maintenance work over the years included a respray for the Diamond Silver bodywork. The driver’s seat was also re-upholstered with genuine Volkswagen fabric trim. A recent oil change had also been completed.

Bucking the trend

BaT Record Sale Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

The selling price of $33,000 pushes this car to become the most expensive Rabbit GTI sold on Bring a Trailer

Previously, the highest price paid for a Mk1 GTI on the website had been $16,000, paid for a late 1984 car in February this year. An original-owner 1983 Rabbit, with similar mileage but an upgraded 2.0-liter engine, achieved just over $11,000 in April 2017.

Market trends for compact performance cars from the 1980s and ‘90s have shown a surge in recent months. Affordable machines in particular have proven popular, drawing in younger collectors and enthusiasts. 

Yet the sale price for this 1983 Rabbit GTI shows that buyers are still willing to pay a substantial premium for cared for original examples.

The traditional car handbrake will soon be extinct

manual handbrake is dieing

New research has revealed the decline of the traditional manual handbrake. The prognosis isn’t good, as most new cars have electronic handbrakes.

Just three in every 10 new cars sold comes with a handle-operated cable handbrake, says the study by CarGurus. Marques that have abandoned handle-cable systems altogether include Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche. Instead, they use electronic button and toggle-operated systems.

What this new breed of technology doesn’t allow for is the classic handbrake turn – a sad loss for young drivers everywhere looking to impress their friends.

Happily, most new cars that still have manual handbrakes are smaller, cheaper models. Suzuki and Dacia use them across their ranges, while in the world of the hot hatch, the Renault Megane RS also has a lever between the front seats.

manual handbrake is dieing

Electronic handbrakes first appeared in 2001 on the BMW 7 Series. By contrast, this year 70 percent of new cars had them. That’s a significant jump from 2018’s 63 percent figure. Expect the traditional manual handbrake to be almost extinct within five years.

“It’s official, the death of the handbrake is coming as manufacturers switch to electronic parking brakes in huge numbers,” said Chris Knapman, UK editor of CarGurus.

“Within the next few years we expect the number of cars on sale with traditional handbrakes to decline further, likely only to be found on a select number of niche models.”

manual handbrake is dieing

It’s not all doom and gloom however. There are a number of benefits to electronic handbrakes, including extra cabin space, hill hold control and automatic application when you turn the engine off.

“These systems might lack the tactile feel that some drivers value from a traditional manual parking brake but they bring several benefits in terms of convenience, safety and packaging,” said Knapman.

manual handbrake is dieing

“An electronic parking brake can engage automatically when a car’s engine is switched off and many also include an auto-hold function that will apply the parking brake when a car is stopped in traffic or on a hill.”

Of course, if you must have a manual handbrake, there are plenty to choose from in the world of second-hand cars. 

Retro German sports car maker back from the dead

Wiesmann MF5 2020

Boutique German sports and supercar manufacturer Wiesmann is coming back from the dead for 2020, with a reborn model. The MF5 is coming – and it’s packing a 600hp BMW M5 engine.

Currently going under the codename project Gecko, Wiesmann’s return is unexpected but certainly welcome. Wiesmann was beloved in the mid to late 2000s for combining classic sports car styling, lightweight and sorted dynamics with serious BMW horsepower, It made for a supercar-slaying range of machinery.

Wiesmann MF5 2020

The new model is said to be a ‘pure driver’s car’ and will ride on an all-new platform. It will also be modernised and more luxurious. As above, power will come courtesy of the M5’s engine, as it did during Wiesmann’s last outing.

Instead of the screaming V10, the monstrous 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 from the current M5 will be spinning up the rear wheels. 600hp should do nicely in a car that promises to be lightweight and focused. The car will be hand-built at Wiesmann’s factory in Dulmen, Germany in 2020.

“This last true independent manufacturer of German sports cars is back and has an exciting future to look forward to,” said Roheen Berry.

Wiesmann MF5 2020

“When we set out on this journey we said we wanted to re-engineer an icon and we are on track to do exactly that.”

Wiesmann – M engines in lightweight super sports cars

The new car will continue a rich recent history of M-powered lightweight sports cars. The marque launched the MF3, MF4 and MF5 models in the early, mid and late 2000s. Each ran a BMW M engine: from the E46 M3’s straight six, through the E92 M3’s V8 and the E60 M5’s V10.

Engines that otherwise powered pumped-up executive cars came to life when fitted to a lightweight sports car. This modernised new model with turbo M5 power should prove quite a handful, in the best way. That new TVR will have more of a fight on its hands for the affections of hardcore sports car buyers.

2019 Skoda Kamiq from £17,700 – prices and specs

2019 Skoda Kamiq prices revealed

Skoda has revealed the prices and specifications of the new Kamiq compact SUV. End to end, it’ll cost you between £17,700 and £25,130. The Skoda Kamiq will arrive in dealers in November this year.

The Kamiq comes in four trim levels, while four different engines are available. The S opens up the range with that £17,700 starting price, while SE and SE L flesh out the range through to £25,130 – all before options. Monte Carlo specification will join the lineup later in the year.

Touchscreens, from 6.5 to 9.2 inches

2019 Skoda Kamiq prices revealed

All Kamiq models will come fairly generously equipped as standard, regardless of what spec you plump for. Standard S spec comes with front and rear LED lights, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, DAB radio and a 6.5-inch touch screen. SE buyers get an upgraded 8-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay. Added too are rear parking sensors, dynamic indicators, cruise control, auto lights and auto wipers. They’ll also get body-coloured bumpers and 17-inch wheels.

Top-end SEL spec adds 18-inch wheels, sat-nav, a 9.2-inch touch screen, keyless go and blind spot detection.

A sporty touch with the Monte Carlo

2019 Skoda prices revealed

The Monte Carlo will add a sportier touch with gloss black detailing and badging, as well as 18-inch anthracite alloy wheels. Prices haven’t been released.

Engines – petrol only

1.0, 1.5 and 1.6-litre petrol engines are available, with either a manual or dual-clutch transmission. The 1.0-litre comes with either 95hp or 115hp. There are no diesel engines available at the moment. 

CO2 output for the Kamiq ranges from between 112g/km for the 1.6-litre TSI and 116g/km for the 1.0-litre TSI – not a great deal of variation. The 150hp 1.5-litre is yet to be rated in terms of CO2, tax band and pricing. At every level, the Kamiq costs just over £1,000 more than the equivalent Scala hatch.

Our personal perfect specification would be an SE with the 115hp 1.0-litre engine and a DSG transmission for £21,185. 

Full Skoda Kamiq prices

2019 Skoda Kamiq prices revealed

Kamiq SCO2 (g/km)VED BandRecommended OTRBiK 2019/20P11D Value
1.0 TSI 95 PS116G£17,700.0027%£17,475.00
Kamiq SE     
1.0 TSI 95 PS116G£19,135.0027%£18,910.00
1.0 TSI 115 PS116G£19,935.0027%£19,710.00
1.0 TSI 115 PS DSG113G£21,185.0026%£20,960.00
1.5 TSI 150 PSTBCTBCTBCTBC£21,110.00
1.5 TSI 150 PS DSGTBCTBCTBCTBC£22,360.00
1.6 TDI 115 PS112G£21,835.0030%£21,570.00
1.6 TSI 115 PS DSG112G£23,085.0030%£22,820.00
Kamiq SE L     
1.0 TSI 95 PS116G£21,180.0027%£20,955.00
1.0 TSI 115 PS116G£21,980.0027%£21,755.00
1.0 TSI 115 PS DSG113G£23,230.0026%£23,005.00
1.5 TSI 150 PSTBCTBCTBCTBC£23,155.00
1.5 TSI 150 PS DSGTBCTBCTBCTBC£24,405.00
1.6 TDI 115 PS112G£23,880.0030%£23,615.00
1.6 TSI 115 PS DSG112G£25,130.0030%£24,865.00

Why student drivers need to lighten the load to stay safe

student drivers packing for university

Highways England is highlighting the issue of students overloading their cars on their move to university. This, as freshers’ season gets into full swing. 

The government agency surveyed 1,400 students to discover their plans for the journey to uni. The results were revealing. Sixty percent of students would carry on driving even if they knew their car was overloaded. Likewise, 70 percent said that they’ve driven while tired.

The company is urging students to make sure their car is ready for the journey and to ensure they’re in a good state to drive. 

student drivers packing for university

“We want everyone to get to their destination safely and we can all play a part in that,” said Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England.

“We know that this is an incredibly exciting time for students with many leaving home for the first time. 

“Our traffic officers are there to help get things moving if there’s a problem. But we’d urge all students to make sure they load their car correctly before setting off as they could be endangering themselves and other road users.”

Student drivers: a guide to packing your car for uni

student drivers packing for university

Here’s a brief guide on how to load your car for the journey to uni. We’d say the advice applies to everyone, not just students.

Pack according to weight

Pack the heavy stuff down low and the lighter stuff higher up. It helps the weight balance of the car, and means the heavy stuff will be more secure. It’ll also prevent your heavy things from damaging your more delicate posessions.

Secure the load

As best you can, using straps or even seatbelts, secure things you think may fly around, especially if they’ve some weight to them. You don’t want projectiles hurtling round your cabin.

‘Car Tetris’

Think of packing your car as a big game of Tetris, and you’ll pack efficiently and safely. Smaller stuff can go behind the front seats on the floor, secured by the folded rear seats. Flat heavy stuff should go low down. Boxes can be packed in together nice and tight if you do it right. Vacuum pack your soft stuff – it could save you a lot of space.

Pack and drive legally

Most important is to drive legally. Make sure your car isn’t overweight, that your mirrors aren’t obstructed, that it’s packed safely and that you’re properly insured.

student drivers packing for university

“It’s really important that students check their car over before setting off,” said Birmingham City University student Shelby Thomas, in support of Highways England.

“If they’re unsure of something then get a parent or experienced person to check the car. It’s important that it’s fit to drive.  

“I do worry about overloading the car but after speaking with Highways England traffic officer Kelly Rudge, I’m much more aware of how to do it safely and the dangers of not getting it right. Now, if I need to transport lots of items, I’ll check the handbook to make sure the weight is okay, or I’ll get someone experienced to tell me if I have put too much in the car. If I need to do more than one journey, I’d rather do that than cram it all into the car and risk causing a problem.”

Beating Brexit: supercar maker secures £20 million export deal

BAC Mono beats Brexit with export deal

Briggs Automotive Company (BAC), which builds the single-seat Mono supercar, is proving there might just be life beyond the EU. The company has secured £20 million of export business to Hong Kong and the United States.

The deal was done with help from the Department of International Trade. In America, the company signed agreements with two dealers: Manhattan Motorcars in New York and Tactical Fleet in Dallas.

In Hong Kong, an existing contract was renegotiated with the region’s distributor. The news comes after the launch of the new, more powerful Mono R in July.

BAC to the USA

Mono beats Brexit with export deal

“These new export wins are a sign of how far we’ve come as a business in recent years and the immense work we’re doing with exports,” said Neill Briggs, director of product development at BAC.

“Our solid export strategy, fantastic team ethic, exemplary product and – of course – invaluable support from the DIT means we have the ultimate recipe for success overseas. We will continue to strive to put British manufacturing on the map for the foreseeable future.”

BAC Mono beats Brexit with export deal

“I’m absolutely delighted that DIT has helped BAC to hit the accelerator on its exports,” said Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss MP.

“This is a wonderful example of a UK company that is putting manufacturing and innovation from the Northern Powerhouse on the map.

BAC Mono beats Brexit with export deal

“The UK’s heritage in automotive and motorsports is a huge asset, and my department is working to shift our exports up a gear in this exciting and fast moving industry.”

Revealed: the most popular supercars on Instagram

Most popular supercars on Instagram In the market for a fast car and keen to make a name for yourself? Join us as we count down the 15 most hashtagged exotics on Instagram, as collated by MoneySuperMarket. These are the supercars for the social media savvy.

15. Ferrari F430 – 425,628 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The F430 is getting on a bit in supercar terms, but the allure of the Ferrari badge hasn’t faded. We like the manual gearbox option, too. Even though it ceased production more than 10 years ago, the F430 is ranked 15th among supercars on Instagram.

14. Pagani Huayra – 456,781 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The relatively unloved sequel to the Zonda, we’re surprised the Huayra beats the original Pagani onto this list. At its reveal in 2011, this multi-million-pound boutique beast was the must-have hypercar, with the likes of Kanye West getting behind the wheel. Once the Ferrari, McLaren and Porsche hybrids came out a couple of years later, though, they rather stole the Huayra’s thunder.

13. Ford GT – 458,001 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The Ford GT still seems like the supercar of the moment, four years on from its reveal. Such is its rarity, and the folklore around how you qualify to buy one. It’s also arguably the only true ‘race car for the road’ on sale today – and looks incredible, too. It packs more presence than cars twice its price.

12. Lamborghini Murcielago – 483,561 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Like the F430, this is a bit of an ageing warrior. But like the Diablo and Countach before it, the Murcielago was the poster car for a generation. That happens to be the Instagram generation, so it stands to reason that the Murcielago holds some Insta-weight.

11. Ferrari 488 GTB – 635,589 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

This mid-engined V8 prancing horse has only just been put out to pasture. As such, in the minds of many casual observers scrolling through Instagram posts, this is the latest and greatest. A strong presence on social media for the GTB seems guaranteed for years to come.

10. Bugatti Chiron – 663,093 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

This is unequivocally the hypercar of the moment. Owning a Bugatti Chiron tells anyone and everyone that you’ve made it. The most recent variant also tells people that, should you wish and given a straight enough stretch of road you could top 300mph.

9. Bugatti Veyron – 821,706 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Capable of 300mph it may be, but the Chiron can’t escape the shadow of its predecessor: the epochal Bugatti Veyron. The original speed king for the new millennium, it outscores its successor on Instagram.

8. Honda NSX – 1,033,656 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

The hybrid Honda from Japan does better still, online at least. With more than one million hashtags, there is a palpable buzz surrounding this electrified exotic.

7. Ferrari LaFerrari – 1,040,383 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Ferrari makes a triumphant return as we near the top of the list. The LaFerrari is still the jewel in the Italian marque’s crown. However, we wonder if that screaming V12 does as much for its Instagram presence as the fact Justin Bieber is a fan.

6. McLaren P1 – 1,088,026 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Perhaps more legendary than the car itself was the rivalry the LaFerrari had with close contemporaries. It found a worthy foe in McLaren’s shrink-wrapped, aero-obsessed and electrified P1. Like its F1 ancestor, it cemented itself as one of the hypercar greats.

5. Lamborghini Gallardo – 1,246,387 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

One of the most public automotive rivalries couldn’t topple the people’s Lamborghini. The Gallardo showed us what a mass-produced raging bull could look like. When production ended in 2013, more than 14,000 had been built. At the time, that was as many Gallardos as all the other Lamborghinis ever made.

4. Ferrari 458 Italia – 1,577,067 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Ferrari’s 458 is another supercar for the social media age. It performed like few others, dropped jaws with its looks and buckled knees with its noise. It’s surely part of the reason for the strict rules on how people drive their supercars in London.

3. Lamborghini Huracan – 2,454,737 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

We’ve come a long way from the Murcielago, and the F430 that started this list. With its monstrous V10 engine, the Huracan took the Gallardo’s mass appeal and modernised it. It opens the top three most Instagrammed supercars, breaking the two million mark.

2. Audi R8 – 3,101,951 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Its comparatively reserved German sibling meanwhile, ups the ante to more than three million. It just goes to show that style trumps flamboyance and that a familiar badge goes a long way. The R8 is perhaps the least exotic supercar on this list, but it finishes in second place, above Bugattis and a Pagani.

1. Lamborghini Aventador – 3,309,068 hashtags

Most popular supercars on Instagram

Nonetheless, it can’t quite topple the Aventador: the king of supercars on Instagram. Not a single summer’s night goes by without central London streets echoing to the sound of an Aventador on the rev limiter, with all phone cameras aimed squarely in its direction.