This point has already been hinted at, but if high-vis clothing should be compulsory for cyclists, why not for pedestrians?
NZ road toll over the last 12 months incl. 30 pedestrians and 8 "pedal cyclists". In the 12 months before that it was 37 pedestrians and 7 cyclists.
If basically the point is that people who are vulnerable to being maimed and killed by vehicles need to be compelled to be more visible, then what's good for the cyclist is probably also good for the pedestrian.
On per capita and per KM travelled bases, I suspect cyclists are more vulnerable (since almost everyone is a pedestrian at some point, yet relatively few people clock up much time on their bikes). But overall, 3-5x more pedestrians die than cyclists on NZ roads.
Just a question on the US situation: are they still fingerprinting everyone (non-US passport holders) like criminals?
Yes, everyone except US and Canadian passport holders. With as much good humour as ever.
My weirdest airport security experience was in Canberra, heading to a domestic flight to Melbourne the day after the delivery of the federal budget. I was pulled aside for a not-really-voluntary (i.e. you can decline, but you’ll be escorted from the airport by security if you do) “bomb residue test”
I get that one probably every 3rd-4th flight in North America (swab of the hands, carry on bag and laptop followed by not-so- suspenseful wait as swab is entered into a little machine).
On one occasion at Vancouver everyone was required to put their hands in their pockets, rub them around a bit (not in an amusing way), and then present their hands for swabbing. Parents had to force their infants to do the same.
My weirdest experience though was in Christchurch of all places, returning on an overnight flight from Brisbane in July or August. The plane was filled mostly with sunburned Kiwi tourists returning from their mid-winter week on the Gold Coast.
Customs/Border Security proceeded to go berserk at absolutely everyone. I had a fair idea what was coming as I overheard the poor guy in front of me in the queue getting a going-over.
As I recall my experience ended with the Customs officer yelling (more as statement than question): "Well do you have a WEAPON in your bag!" To which I replied (rather wisely) "No", and got a surly "Well then you can go through".
I much prefer interacting with the passport scanning machines.
I’d also respectfully suggest Prosser flashes a pen knife and has a racist temper tantrum at Hong Kong International. I’m sure the discretely but visibly armed employees of the Chinese government will be happy to discuss his inalienable human right to ignore international civil aviation regulations New Zealand is a signatory to.
Absolutely: my abiding memory of security at Hong Kong International is that they were both very numerous and very serious. Obviously even low-level tomfoolery will get you in trouble at any airport nowadays, but Hong Kong seems to take that to a whole new level. Best behaviour!
What struck me was that calls to "ban Muslims from (our) planes" - alongside calls to "ban the burqa" and "arm the vulnerable (whether they like it or not)" are all entirely routine talking points for the populist right.
I've probably read hundreds of comments to this effect on blogs (indeed, on Kiwiblog alone) and on news sites that allow comments. I never listen to talkback radio but suspect it might not be much different.
Of course, the difference here is that they're spoken by an MP (albeit a rather inconsequential one), and not by "Anonymous Online Hatemonger #437", but there's probably a decent constituency for it. More than the crucial 5% anyway...
It's got NZ First back in the news, highlighting precisely the "issues" it's always sought to champion, as Russell notes. Mission accomplished?
While there was no doubting his energy, he often rivalled Jim Bolger for inarticulateness. A single coherent sentence was often a long time coming. Two in a row were a triumph.