This morning I put the phone down from making an emergency call to the police. I felt slightly trepidatious doing it, trying to decide whether it counts as an emergency or not.
Here’s what happened…I was on my scooter on the A40 Westway (which is a three lane dual carriageway, see NB about speed limit) at the turn off to Shepherd’s Bush. At the same point in the two lanes for those carrying on was one large double mattress and one large, what I think was a bed base, one in each lane and cars were swerving to avoid them.
I almost pulled onto the hard-shoulder to dial 999 there and then but I didn’t think it was safe to stop and take my helmet off. However, in the few minutes it took to pull off the dual carriage way and get to MSE Towers I started questioning whether it really counts as an emergency – or would I’ve been better to try and find the local police number or a traffic incident hotline?
In the end, I thought that as it could cause serious injury if someone missed it and delay wasn’t good, 999 was probably the best route. Though I’m still not sure if that was officially the correct thing to do.
Does anyone know the postcode for the A40?
One slight frustration was having described the location, the police operative on the phone asked me for the postcode. When I said I didn’t know it, as it was a dual carriage way I’d been driving down, she seemed a little put out as if I should’ve known.
I did explain that any police officer (and most of the population of London) in central or west central London would know the road by the name A40 or Westway, as it is a major arterial route of the city centre.
In the end she, slightly grumpily, put me on hold for a couple of minutes – it was at this point I did again wonder whether I’d made the right call.
Thankfully when she came back she was much friendlier saying it’d been filed (I suspect someone told her quite how big and famous a road it is), though I did offer to allow the police to call if they wanted exact directions.
NB. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the new A40 30mph speed limit, back then my main complaint was little signage and no explanation – which on a fast road meant sticking to the new speed limit was dangerous as everyone else whizzed past.
And after that it turned out I wasn’t the only one who caused ruptions. Even Mr. Clarkson on Top Gear mentioned it and I note both our comments have been picked up by the local papers. It seems to have done the trick, the road is now peppered with signage of all types; analogue, digital, painted on the road, on the side of the dual carriageway, most giving the new limit and a couple explaining that it’s only temporary (though no end date has been announced).
That has brought most people’s speed down to around 40-50mph which means it is now safer to stick to the limit itself on a scooter – so thanks to TFL for some improvement.