David—Attitudes to safety

Published: Wednesday, 16 January 2019

I RECENTLY spent a day in Amsterdam, which I haven't visited for about 50 years.

AmsterdamONAs everyone knows, Amsterdam has a huge network of waterways, far more extensive and deeper and wider than anything to be found in this country.

Walking and boating round the city centre I was struck by the almost complete lack of fencing at the edges of the waterways, many of which were flanked by busy roads and pavements. If there was any fence, it was often only a foot high, presumably to prevent vehicles going over the edge, but forming a perfect trip hazard for pedestrians or the ubiquitous cyclists.

AmsterdamTwoI would love to know how many people fall in the Amsterdam canals and drown, compared (pro rata) to say, Manchester. I cannot believe that the Dutch are any less prone to drunken or drug-fuelled excess than Mancunians, especially given the frequent presence of cannabis shops in Amsterdam. If so, are the Dutch authorities deluged with demands for fencing off every time it happens?

Presumably not, since there are very few fences to be seen. Perhaps the Dutch have a more robust attitude to personal responsibility for safety than we do.

Stoppage notices

I am a bit puzzled by Victor's suggestion that CaRT had stopped publishing stoppage notices. I have been receiving them almost every day. There was a hiatus over the Christmas period, but that is probably because they were mostly on holiday.

PeakForestNoticePerhaps the confusion is caused by the fact that CaRT usually don't send e-mail notices for stoppages that are in the Winter Programme, unless they have been changed—as quite a lot have been this year, either cancelled or with the dates changed. You can always rely on a self-congratulatory message when a stoppage is finished early.

It's not very long ago that the present system came in. I can remember, in the days before email, when the first you knew about a stoppage was meeting it, unless you had had the good fortune to see a paper notice on a board or pinned to a lock beam. The present system is much better, though as I have advocated in the past, there is still a place for the paper notices; not everyone is glued to the internet, especially while cruising.

In fact, I got the impression last year that CaRT have been listening on this, as we did see paper warnings for problems like the Middlewich breach, Marple Locks and the water restrictions on the Oxford.

David Hymers