Bankstone News is indebted, as that smug old bloke in the leather armchair used to say on telly, to the Daily Telegraph for the following story.

Tory health spokesman Lord McColl has proposed an ingenious solution to the hazard posed to unwary pedestrians – visually impaired ones in particular – by near-silent electric cars (and hybrids at low speeds).

The offending vehicles, he claims, should be required to carry cow bells to give pedestrians fair warning of their approach.

Raising the issue with Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, Lord McColl said that when he purchased a Toyota Prius “my wife, being very practical, said that the answer would be to put on the front of the car a small Swiss cowbell.”

Labour peer Lord Grenfell meanwhile suggested that a “better solution” might be a man with a red flag walking in front of the car. Clearly, Lord G hankers for the good old days before 1896 when the speed limit rose from 4 mph to 20 and the red flag man ceased to be a legal requirement.

Intrigued by the cow bell suggestion, however, the Torygraph contacted Lord McColl for further details. “I have a Prius,” he confirmed, “and people can’t always hear it, and a little cow bell might do the trick.

“It doesn’t even have to be Swiss,” he conceded reasonably. “It should be something which makes a gentle bing bong.”

Quite so!


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