A reader has asked for advice on a roundabout in Lichfield (I think the same roundabout is also the subject of a forum debate at the moment). My How to do Roundabouts article continues to be popular, but I thought I’d cover this question separately because that article is quite big.
The question asked by the reader is simply: which lane should I use on the roundabout if I am travelling from A to B?
The question arises – in part, at least – from the fact that although it is “straight ahead” it is not the 2nd but the 3rd exit. The reader also suggests that people using the roundabout all do it differently.
I notice from the forum discussion I mentioned, and assuming that it is the same roundabout they’re talking about, that the “12 o’clock rule” has reared its ugly head again. Let me just clarify: there is no such thing as the 12 o’clock rule, and any such imagined rule has no bearing on how to negotiate this roundabout.
First of all, entry to the roundabout at A is from a single lane, but it is wide enough for two vehicles at the give way line. Two of the five joining roads are clearly marked as two lanes. The roundabout itself is not marked, but it is easily wide enough to accommodate two vehicles side-by-side. Therefore, it is safe to treat the roundabout as having two lanes. The big question is: should you use the left or the right hand lane when travelling A to B?
The Highway Code says the following:
Signals and position. When taking the first exit to the left, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
- signal left and approach in the left-hand lane
- keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signalling left to leave.
When taking an exit to the right or going full circle, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
- signal right and approach in the right-hand lane
- keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout
- signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.
When taking any intermediate exit, unless signs or markings indicate otherwise
- select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout
- you should not normally need to signal on approach
- stay in this lane until you need to alter course to exit the roundabout
- signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.
- When there are more than three lanes at the entrance to a roundabout, use the most appropriate lane on approach and through it.
That’s not much help with the Lichfield roundabout, is it? I mean, it doesn’t tell you exactly how you should position. However, the picture which is used in the Highway Code, and which I think dates from a time when the rule was more specific, is much more useful.
Note the car with the blue arrow going straight ahead. It is shown in the left hand lane, and this is the default way you should approach a roundabout until you see/know/suspect differently. In fact, if any other positioning is required it will be covered by signs and road markings (if not now, certainly after a few accidents).
So in the case of the Lichfield roundabout, and with A and B being almost directly opposite each other, everything points to using the left hand lane to travel A to B. But what about those who argue you should do it in the right hand lane?
Well, let’s go down to ground level and start considering others using the roundabout. Note that when I refer to exit numbers, these are referenced from road A.
If someone was approaching the roundabout from the 1st exit after A, also intending to take route B, there is absolutely no way that they would use anything other than the left hand lane. Since the roundabout is quite large, the spacing between exits means that it would be perfectly acceptable for traffic to enter it from both A and the 1st exit at the same time under normal circumstances.
Imagine the problems if traffic from A used the right hand lane and both streams arrived at B at the same time. Going one step further, imagine that traffic entering from the 1st exit intended to go straight ahead to the 4th exit (just after B). It would correctly use the left hand lane, but anyone in the right hand lane intending to take route B would then be in avoidable conflict with that stream as they tried to exit across it.
Now obviously, there could be traffic legitimately using the right hand lane (turning right from the 4th exit to take route B, but that would just be normal roundabout behaviour and it shouldn’t cause problems unless someone was driving badly. As for signalling, you would do what you would do at any other normal roundabout when taking an intermediate exit: no signal on approach, and signal left as you pass the exit just before the one you require.
In conclusion, there is no question that drivers taking the path A-B should be using the left hand lane/position on approach, and that they should remain in that position on the roundabout. Since there is no such thing as “the 12 o’clock rule”, that doesn’t come into it at all and it should not alter normal positioning or signalling behaviour.
Finally, a caveat. If absolutely everyone else uses the right hand lane because they know something that strangers don’t, then you seriously have to consider doing it the same way. For example, if traffic backs up on to the roundabout at rush hour, and people use the right hand lane knowing they can cut back across later, there is no reason why you couldn’t do the same – but only when conditions are such that you need to. At other times – and certainly if traffic is as light as it appears on the Google images I’ve used here – you should deal with it properly.
I’m a couple of months behind on this one, but various councils in Essex have embraced a litter campaign which features these two posters.
The feminists have gone ballistic over it. I became aware of it when I updated that Ched Evans story and had a look at the Jean Hatchet blog to see if she’d wet herself over the news yet, and discovered she was wetting herself over this instead.
Apparently – and you need the frontal lobotomy that goes along with feminism get even close to seeing any wrong in it – the posters imply that men are “smart” and women are “pretty”. And as we know, that proves all men are swine to the average feminist.
Actually, if you aren’t unfortunate enough to be afflicted by the mental gymnastics required to be a feminist, what the posters actually say is that the bloke on the left is “smart” in the sartorial sense (which he is), and the woman on the right is “pretty” (which she is). The ads then play on these two words to get the anti-littering campaign across.
The people kicking up a stink only seem interested in these two posters, but there are others in the campaign, and these are shown below.
I think the one on the right is just a prototype, and it appears unfinished. However, when you look at this collection it’s not quite so easy to winkle out a sexist agenda from it. It seems that you have to be able to convince yourself that it is being suggested men are mentally smart compared with women. The use of the word “pretty” can only realistically stand any chance of getting you your 15 minutes of fame if a man says or implies it, and puts it in writing. These posters don’t really do that.
Mind you, the first two don’t, either. I guess that’s why the story is confined to a local rag and not the international media agencies.
I’m surprised this ad campaign from Suffolk didn’t attract the looney feminists.
After all, that person in the ad is a female, and that automatically means that every aspect of it must therefore be sexist. I mean, if you have the required short circuits in your brain, the ad clearly implies that women are ”tossers” (a gender-reversal in the usual meaning of that colloquial term), and that most litterers are women. The woman is also wearing nail varnish, and everyone know that this is just pandering to bestial male traits.
Original story published 7 January 2015. Updated as a result of the case being referred to appeal.
I’ve been trying to steer clear of this, but I can’t. Before I start let me make one thing absolutely clear: RAPE IS WRONG.
For anyone who’s been living in a cave, Ched Evans is a footballer who used to play for Sheffield United. A couple of years ago he was convicted of rape and sent to prison for five years. He’s served about half of that sentence and is now out on probation. He is trying to rebuild his career. Initially, it looked like Sheffield Utd would take him back, but there was an outcry and they backed down. A Maltese club wanted to sign him, but the Ministry of Justice said he couldn’t play abroad. Currently, Oldham Athletic are in talks about whether or not to sign him, but they are under intense pressure not to.
Evans still maintains his innocence, even though he was convicted. He is preparing an appeal.
The reason I have decided to comment on this very sensitive issue is down to this article I saw today on the BBC website. Of course, the first thing I did was locate the Jean Hatchet blog mentioned in that article – it’s here, if anyone wants a look.
What immediately struck me about the blog – and in all honesty, I just wanted to see a selection of Jean Hatchet’s writings to find out what sort of things she wrote about – was that in spite of the BBC’s label describing her as “a blogger” she has, at the time of writing, only actually published five articles. The first was produced in November last year – less than three months ago, which hardly makes Hatchet the fount of all blogging knowledge the BBC story implies. All five posts are essentially foul-mouthed rants, and all but one of them is specifically to do with Ched Evans, with the other one certainly being along related lines. Jean Hatchet’s main claim to fame (other than being a self-proclaimed “radical feminist”), and the main reason the BBC sought her out (though being a self-proclaimed “radical feminist” was undoubtedly part of the equation), is that she is the one who started the online petition that is trying to force Oldham not to sign Evans. I have no doubt that she would start any number of additional petitions if any other football club showed an inclination to sign the player.
On her blog, Hatchet makes the following statement:
It is evident that Mr Evans, and men like him, do not understand the notion of consent.
This is the crux of Evans’ conviction. The girl he is said to have raped was allegedly out of her skull on drink. She had already gone with one of Evans’ friends – presumably while she was still capable of thinking and walking – and was having sex with him when Evans turned up and joined in. The friend was acquitted, but Evans wasn’t. The girl says she couldn’t remember any of what happened. The whole situation is far from being black or white, except in terms of the Law and Evans’ subsequent conviction.
The issue with “consent” is far more complex than Hatchet seems capable of realising. You see, it is absolutely possible for a woman to consent to sex with a man, then to have regrets the following day and make allegations concerning non-consensual intercourse (possibly throwing in a few comments about being drunk). Intercourse may not even have taken place for such claims to be made, and the motive may well be financial gain or some sort of retribution, but it will immediately be labelled as “rape”. The man’s name will automatically be published in every newspaper in the land, whereas the woman will automatically be granted full anonymity. Even in cases where the woman is proved to be lying – and it happens quite often – her anonymity often remains in force, yet the man’s life is in ruins. But what makes this even more frightening is that Hatchet (and, increasingly, the Law) actually seem to believe that that rape of some sort has still taken place… if not in actuality, very nearly so.
At this point I will say again: RAPE IS WRONG. If a man forces himself on a woman, he should rot in prison for a long time. But should that still be the case if there is any doubt at all over consent?
The girl involved in the Ched Evans case is no exception as far as official anonymity goes (she’s even been given a new identity). However, it isn’t difficult to find her name (it actually appears in Hatchet’s blog in several of the comments). Assuming that what I have read has even a grain of truth in it, the woman in question appears to have a previous (failed) history for attempting to blackmail sportsmen. At the very least, she went willingly with Evans’ friend and was not quite so comatose when the friend picked her up in the chip shop or wherever it was. Much is being made of the fact that she was possibly – not definitely – around two and a half times over the drink drive limit, but that doesn’t automatically mean you are unconscious. It also appears that the girl in question tweeted that she was “going to win big” on the run up to the trial, and made various promises to friends about how she would spend the money on them. If you Google it you can dig all this up – including the tweets that the girl had apparently attempted to delete (and it is worrying that the new identity she has been given is perhaps partly an attempt to side-step this Twitter history without actually considering any of it). I’m not aware that any of this was brought up in court. Interestingly, Welsh police arrested 23 people for naming the victim, and to date nine have been convicted. The full case is described on Wikipedia, though you can see numerous side stories in the media.
None of this proves that the judgement against Evans was wrong, of course, but it does make you wonder. Well, maybe not those like Jean Hatchet, but certainly normal people. The girl who was apparently raped certainly didn’t seem to have had her life damaged the way rape victims’ lives usually are judging by her tweets, and that doesn’t make any sense. The point is that this wasn’t a case of a man kidnapping a woman in the street, dragging her into an alley, and forcibly raping her. It’s much greyer, and as I say it all hinges on the issue of consent and the court’s interpretation of that in this particular case. Evans’ guilt appears to have been as marginal as his innocence would have been.
Irrespective of this very important background information, the big question to me is: should Ched Evans be allowed to have any sort of career?
There is one sensible argument that says he should wait for the outcome of his appeal before trying to play professional football again. However, no matter what the outcome of that appeal, Evans will be hounded by the feminists until the day he dies. You see, the big grey area of the Law that deals with the matter of consent has a bottomless chasm on one side (i.e. you’re totally guilty). Unfortunately, on the other side there isn’t the expected “totally innocent”. Instead, there’s another chasm almost as deep as the first which merely says “you’re nearly guilty, but not quite”. Feminists like Jean Hatchet make sure it stays like that with their foul-mouthed tirades.
At the present time, Evans is being prevented from working by people like Hatchet and the British Legal system. Even Ed Miliband has stuck his nose in – all I can say there is that Miliband is bloody lucky that my support of Labour goes deeper than him. Effectively, people would rather Evans die on the street than rebuild his life. Oh, I’m sure that people like Jean Hatchet would argue in favour of the rebuilding that his victim has got to do – and I’d agree… if only the unused evidence didn’t suggest something more.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t know Evans personally, though everything points to the usual problems of a young man acquiring fame and money, and having it go to his head. Even without the issue of rape coming into it, footballers getting involved in sexual activities that are bordering on the realms of pornography are not uncommon. But it takes two to tango, as the saying goes, and young females are increasingly drawn willingly into the same world.
Yesterday, Oldham had all but signed Evans in the full knowledge that some sponsors would pull out. Today, they have withdrawn the offer due to threats to staff and their families. They cite the sponsors, but the threats are the main reason. The people who made those threats are scum. The worst kind of scum. And the type of scum that is far lower down the evolutionary chain than Evans could ever be.
I see that Ched Evans’ case is going to be reviewed by the Court of Appeal. (as of 5 October 2015).
This story was published in June 2013. I’ve updated it because of some recent activity involving the registration number MAF1E.
I only reported this a few days ago, but The Sun is in on the act now. Surprisingly, The Sun story is actually more accurate than all the others. The Sun article carries this graphic, which is quite useful.
Although it focuses on middle-lane hogs in the text (like everyone else does), the graphic makes it clear that the following examples of careless driving would also be included in the new legislation:
- bad lane discipline (which includes middle-lane hogging)
- not giving way at junctions
- wheel-spins and handbrake turns
- wrong lane on roundabout
- inappropriate speed
- overtaking and queue-jumping
- ignoring “lane closed” signs
Also, and in spite of what some of the other stories reported or implied, the changes do not specifically apply to motorways. They will apply to all roads.
The term “careless driving” encompasses “driving without due care and attention”. The definition is quite wide, but in a nutshell you’d be guilty of driving without due care and attention if the care and skills you demonstrated in an incident were less than that which could have been expected of a reasonable, prudent, and competent driver.
The media stories give the impression that someone somewhere has specifically decided to crack down on tailgating and lane-hogging (these feature in just about every media survey of peoples’ pet hates). In fact, what they have actually decided is that getting too close to the vehicle in front and poor lane discipline – both of which you could still be prosecuted for even now – will become manageable by FPNs. That’s where the police can slap you with a fine and 3 points by the roadside. Poor lane discipline in particular covers more than just middle-lane hogging.
And it isn’t just those two things that will be included, either. People who drive dangerously through inattention, or just because they’re bad drivers, are also potentially walking a tightrope. Personally, I’ve lost count of the number of people who habitually get into the wrong lane at roundabouts and then – deliberately or otherwise – try to move across while they’re on it. Or those who cannot stay in position and cut across you (that’s an almost guaranteed test fail, and Mafie (reg. no. MAF1E, or MAF 1E) in her big-ass 4×4 on the Ring Road on Sunday should bear this in mind in future – not to mention what constitutes an illegal number plate).
Pulling out of junctions without looking properly is also on the hit list, as is showing off and driving too slowly.
Edit: Worth pointing out that I saw Mafie up to her old tricks again a few days ago (July 2013). She was on Bobbers Mill Road trying to do a U-turn across four lanes of traffic using a junction on the opposite side of the road to where she was. Absolutely no consideration for anyone except herself. She could easily have driven a few hundred metres and turned around safely – and much more quickly. This woman is incapable of driving safely – let alone of safely driving a huge 4×4.
Edit: Someone has recently (October 2015) been searching for “number plates” and “maf1e”. I did a quick check on Google to see what “maf1e” brings up and that registration number appears to be quite mobile. Someone posted a photo of a BMW X6 on a website which is similar to my Hall of Shame, with a badly parked BMW X6 in Southampton. Here it is.
To be honest, I can’t remember what model the 4×4 was in Nottingham, but it could have been an X6.
Then it gets even more curious. Apparently, there is a Rolls Royce Wraith with the registration number MAF 1E. Here’s that, dated 2012.
I’d love to know how this works. You see, as far as I know you can only use a given number plate – like MAF1E – on one specific vehicle. You can transfer it, of course, but not immediately (it takes between 4 days and six weeks, and involves changes to paperwork).
At the moment, assuming that the MAF1E I’ve seen screwing up (twice in 2013) is not the same MAF1E seen in Southampton (in 2011), the Rolls Royce (2012) and the Nottingham MAF1E appear to be driving around with the same plate – at the same time.
It’s possible that the 2011 4×4 sold its plates to the Rolls Royce in 2012, then he subsequently sold them again in 2013. In fact, as I write this, MAF1E is available to buy for about £5,400. Maybe the rich and stupid really do move these things around every few months.
One of the most popular series of posts on the blog has been the kneeling chair project I did about 5 years ago. That chair is still going strong.
My blog stats often give me a laugh when I look at what people have typed to get here. In some cases their arrival is clearly as accidental as their typing. But I am trying to work out if the term “diy kneeling santa” is a spelling issue, or if it’s something I ought to know about.
It turns out that “kneeling santa” IS a very real thing, though a very confusing one. Christianity has enough credibility problems without trying to bring Santa into the equation. But you can actually buy plastic ornaments which depict Santa Claus kneeling before the infant Jesus, and a Google search throws up the most consistent set of images I have ever seen.
Now, why anyone would want to build one I wouldn’t like to guess…
I’m still making the most of the clear weather, which is forecast to come to an end this weekend. The moon is almost at its third quarter and the angle of the sun is showing just how uneven the earth-facing side really is.
I bought a new tripod, and this one is much more solid and easy to adjust than the super-cheap one I was using.
I should point out that I’m only doing this because I was surprised at how much detail I could get when I when I did that test photo last week (before the eclipse). So I thought I’d experiment.
The picture below shows the same area of the moon (two craters, in particular) as they appeared at full moon last Sunday and subsequently up until tonight.
At full moon, the two craters I have outlined are barely discernible as the sun’s light falls directly on to them. As the sun’s position changes, the craters become progressively more visible as shadows are cast by their walls. The edge of what I think is the Mare Imbrium is also more sharply defined, and craters which weren’t even visible to begin with suddenly appear.
I mentioned a little while ago that Nottingham has become a horrible place to live in. It’s filthy, full of road works and trams, and has 20mph speed limits liberally and randomly distributed throughout. No one cleans up litter or fly-tipping properly. Buildings are ugly (they consistently demolish any that have character in favour of hideous “modern” constructions.
No one maintains the facades of city centre buildings, in spite of most having been been stupidly painted white or built with more glass than brick. Maid Marian Way – which has won awards for being hideous since the 60s – gets uglier with each new glass-fronted monstrosity they put there. They cut down trees and shrubs on roadsides simply so they don’t have to prune them. They ignore the public, preferring instead to build wind turbines, solar farms, housing estates, and recycling plants on green belt land, even after “public consultations” has shown mass opposition to their schemes. There is no warmth to any of their actions.
Well, this is now semi-official. Nottingham comes 8th in the top ten list of council areas having the most deprived neighbourhoods within their boundaries (where “deprivation” is indexed in terms of crime, health, and employment). Yes, I realise it isn’t a direct statement of what I’ve listed above, but I think we can all agree that “deprived areas” are not usually going to be given any design awards. Mind you, one thing that is becoming clear is that such areas are guaranteed to get the tram at some point – the idiots on the council seem to think they’ll turn into model communities by sending in the tram.
Another story which hammers in another nail has just appeared concerning last week’s marathon. Now, I thought I’d made adequate arrangements this year as far as my pupils were concerned. I normally steer well clear of the marathon route, anyway, even if it means taking a long detour, and that’s what I did for my first lesson on Marathon Sunday this year. I arrived about 5 minutes late in Carlton, even though I’d given myself an hour to get there (it would usually take 15 minutes by the normal route). During that lesson it became clear that the marathon route had changed. Furthermore, instead of roads being restricted (i.e. runners and traffic in a contraflow system), they had simply closed them to traffic this time around. By the end of that lesson, traffic trying to get out of the city had increased to the point where it was gridlock. I had to cancel my next lesson in Clifton, and then I got a call from my lesson after that in Top Valley informing me that traffic was at a standstill around her house. That lesson had to be cancelled, too.
What had happened is that there was no north-south route through Nottingham on the west side (i.e. via the ring road), and not access to that side through the city. As a result, everyone was having to head northwards to find a route around the blockade (I later discovered that it was the same on the west side, with people trying to go north having to detour elsewhere).
I often refer to the council as idiots. That word is simply too tame. They are complete wankers.
Quite a while ago in one of my tram articles I said that anyone who was in an ambulance (or who was waiting for one to arrive), and it was delayed because of the tram works, should consider suing the council for criminal incompetence. Well, the same goes for the fiasco during last week’s marathon. That BBC article illustrates why very clearly.
For anyone who doesn’t know, the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) is Nottingham’s main hospital. You can think of it as being a large square building, with each side bordering on to one of Derby Road, Abbey Street, Gregory Street, and the A52. Well, it turns out that the first three of those roads were closed completely to motor vehicles, and since two of them cross the A52 (the ring road at that point) – where everyone was trying to figure out how to bypass the closures that they knew nothing about when they set out that morning – traffic was at a standstill. The only ways into the QMC for emergency vehicles are off the ring road or one of the closed roads. The closures were, according to the signs, in place from 7am until “approximately” 4pm.
The BBC story relates how ambulance staff had to push a patient almost a mile in a wheelchair to get her to the hospital. A three-mile journey took ”more than an hour”. Race organisers claimed:
…there was a “permanent passage” to the hospital.
Listen, you twats, you cannot say there is a passage when traffic on that passage is gridlocked.
Since the ambulance was non-emergency, the same twats repeatedly exercised the power invested in them by the higher twats on the council and told it it couldn’t pass. The female patient was still in hospital on 1 October – four days after the marathon.
East Midlands Ambulance Service said on a few occasions, during the marathon, it had to use police escorts “to help navigate through the road closures safely”.
Yes, and I bet that in the gridlock that still didn’t improve travel times significantly. But in response, the twats running the marathon stated:
At no point was it radioed in that there were concerns surrounding this patient.
If there had been, they would have made sure she was blue-lighted immediately to the QMC.
We will use the learnings from this year’s race for planning for the future.
So there you have it. The last line simply states what everyone else can see: the marathon organisers screwed up big time, even though they’re trying to blame the ambulance staff!
As a footnote, I drove along a road in the opposite direction to runners (there were some contraflows), and they consisted of a lot of fat people walking and carrying those stupid round drinking bottles that hold about half a litre of fluid (approximately 3 litres less than a real runner should drink). Although I’m sure that they will, you can’t really claim to have “completed a marathon” if it took you over 8 hours and you walked most of it.
Having seen the effect of the sun casting shadows across the face of the moon I took the opportunity to catch the latest phase tonight. The moon rises later each night, and it is quite low on the horizon – which led to this lucky shot.
Anyway, after moving away from the Silver Birch tree, this is the detail visible tonight.
I was brought up to believe that although there were craters on the moon, much of it – and certainly the front – was like a big dusty desert. Apollo mission photos did a lot to create this impression.
When I was a child I used to have a telescope, but it wasn’t very powerful – as I’ve discovered the last week or so, much less powerful than the telephoto lens on my camera. With my telescope, you could just make out mountain ranges at the edge of the sun’s coverage, but little else. How times change.
The areas on the moon you think of as being quite featureless show up as being pocked by craters.
Even the edges of the “seas” (or maria) are seen to cast shadows, suggestive of steep sides.
It’s a clear night and I couldn’t resist getting a few more snaps of the moon now that it is waning. It’s amazing how much extra detail you get when the sun starts casting shadows instead of just hitting square on, as it does when the moon is full.
This one shows the top corner.
This is the top middle corner.
Here’s the lower middle.
And finally, the bottom.
At this rate, I’ll need to grow a beard and buy some horn-rimmed glasses.
I saw a new driving school advertising recently. They argue that – in their opinion – the franchise model is “out of date and useless”. Their model isn’t, they say, “a franchise per se”, and what say they are offering comes across as a non-PAYE, but nevertheless salaried job. They say that you state the number of hours you want to work and they pay you a “guaranteed weekly income” which doesn’t change “even if your pupils cancel their lessons”. They also provide 4 weeks paid holiday per annum.
What they don’t say is how much that weekly wage is.
Looking at their website, things become very confusing. On it, they say that they offer a salary with up to 28 days of paid holiday, PAYE with up to 28 days paid holiday, and both full and part-time header box franchises. I can’t quite work out the difference between the first two, but the last one suggests that perhaps the franchise model isn’t quite as dead as they had previously suggested. A company car is an additional option, and they still don’t say what the weekly wage is (you have to contact them for that).
Let’s just clarify what the bottom line in this job is.
- You need a car
- You need to put fuel in the car
- You need paying pupils
- Your hourly rate has to enable you to pay/provide all of the above
Getting a car and buying fuel is easy and these two together (assuming you work 30 hours) will cost you between £120 and £200 per week – and that is true, no matter what the forum gods might claim. Getting pupils and setting an hourly rate that they are prepared to pay are more problematic, though. If the forum gods have convinced you to go solo, you’ll have to advertise, and since you’re going to be desperate for work as a new ADI (and quite possibly as an experienced one from what I’ve read) you can’t risk putting people off with the top-end lesson prices that the likes of The AA and RED can get away with (they’ll be charging £25 and up). You’ll most likely have to pitch in at around £20, and this means that you will have to work for around 8 hours or so each week just to cover your overheads. In all honesty, a new ADI who has been persuaded to start out solo could struggle along for several months before they generate that much work, and quite a few never get there – all because they set off on a difficult trek that they weren’t prepared for.
Like most skills and products that are well established, driving instruction does not have a particularly high profit margin, and to get a decent income you have to do the hours and/or charge sensible hourly rates. It’s the difficulty achieving this which is one of the main reasons people attempt to move into “premium” territory – teaching children to drive, or using high-spec cars as tuition vehicles, for example, where ridiculously high fees can be demanded from wealthy parents and Hooray Henrys who are simply too stupid to realise that a) driving lessons are driving lessons, however you dress them up, b) driving instructors are driving instructors, no matter what car they drive, and c) teaching children to drive is an abstract concept that is likely to carry at least as many negatives as it does positives when you try to extrapolate it into the real world. For the newly-qualified ADI, a better option is to get outside help in the form of a franchise. The franchiser does all the advertising and – in theory – supplies all the pupils (and in spite of what they forum gods will claim, many of them do). Buying into a franchise raises the bottom line slightly, since they will have overheads to cover as well, and although hourly lesson rates will usually be higher, you’ll find that perhaps you now have to work around 10 hours to cover your costs. The big difference is that if the franchiser is doing their job right, you’ll have enough work to cover it.
This brings us back to that guaranteed salary claim. The school offering it has overheads to cover, and it can only do so if it can provide the work – and if the franchisee does that work – exactly the same situation whether you were solo or franchised to a bigger school. There is no way that they could go on paying their drivers not to do deliver lessons for any length of time, and I would imagine that the “salary” is sufficient to cover the pseudo-franchise cost and little else. I simply cannot see it providing £400-£500 a week when there is no net income to cover that expense. Keeping it low means that ADIs would be discouraged from being deliberately inactive. Similarly, I would also imagine that there is a fairly strong termination clause targeted at those ADIs who might inevitably see this “salary” as a some sort of meal ticket.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, and quite possibly offered with the best of intentions. But there are quite a few inconsistencies apparent which haven’t been addressed, and overall it seems that it’s just a franchise with some bells and whistles.