TOPS NEWS December 2007

It is sad to report the demolition of the garage of Louis Rosier in Clermont-Ferrand. It had been regarded as a national monument locally. Rosier bought it in 1935. By 1957 it was the most modern garage in the area, selling 2,000 Renaults per year and employing 65 mechanics.

Mario Kamber’s Volkswagen Passat was written off when an aeroplane landed on top of it on a dual carriageway in Sinj in southern Croatia. "There was a huge roar and then the plane landed on top of us, skidded off the roof and onto the road in front of us. We then slid into the side of it. We were all very lucky."

Swiss police were called out to wake up pensioner Urs Maurer who fell asleep behind the wheel of his car while he waited at a red light in Bottmingen and could not be woken by other drivers. His licence has been confiscated while police investigate.

German police had to rescue Hans-Peter Wagner after he moved out of the way to allow a police car with flashing lights to pass, and got stuck in setting concrete.

Tony Blair is facing complaints from his neighbours in Connaught Square over security, a planned roof terrace, solar panels and his own double yellow lines. Two residents' parking bays outside Mr Blair's house would be set aside for his exclusive use 24 hours a day and parking bays on the opposite side of the road would also be converted to "Blair only" spaces.

Transport for London employs 232 people on more than £100,000 p.a. each.

Following complaints the DfT is to re-evaluate the way it works out the number of serious injuries on the roads as these are used to justify the use of 6000 cameras collecting £100 million in fines per year.

Dr Phillip Tann, a scientist, was accused of driving at 42mph in a 30mph zone - but told magistrates he was only doing 29.177196mph and was able to prove it with data from a revolutionary device he was testing showing the exact time, location and speed of his car.

A shopping mall in Beijing invited people to kiss 6 Chevrolet cars with the one lasting the longest being given the chance to buy the car for just one yuan. The cars had plastic nipples attached to them and participants had to kiss the nipples without touching the car. They were allowed a 10 minute break every 7 hours. After 24 hours, there were still 28 participants left so new rules required them to stand on one foot with their hand behind their back. The final winner was Zhang Cunying who was so tired by the end of the ordeal that she could not stand up unaided.

Student Sam Wakeling is claiming a world record after riding 282 miles on a unicycle in 24 hours.

Cars are being made to look ‘broken-down’ and then used by police to operate speed traps in Essex.

Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because it is a Special Branch vehicle and they don't want the public to know what it looks like.

Buses into Blackburn town have had to be re-routed as the traffic humps are damaging the suspension systems.

Kensington and Chelsea has bought its Mayor a new Bentley Continental Flying Spur as his official car.

After a successful trial on the M42 in the Midlands, the Transport Secretary has suggested that motorists will be able to use all hard shoulders during peak times. Overhead lights will indicate when access is permissible but there will be cameras to enforce a 40mph speed limit.

The government spent c £6m last year on cars and drivers.

New powers are expected to be confirmed by government for vehicles to be confiscated from outside homes if the insurance lapses.

New cars are likely to be built without ashtrays and with the cigarette lighter changed into a power unit for charging mobiles etc. 

In 2004 Mendoza Stewart’s Bristol 411 was towed away and crushed by Lambeth council officials despite having a tax exempt disc. He has still not received any compensation.

Honda’s new Puyo concept car has no sharp edges and is covered in soft silicone which gives the car a texture which is harder than Jelly but softer than a rubber and can absorb the force of light collisions. It glows in different colours depending whether it is running or still.

Loughborough-based Intelligent Energy and Suzuki have built ‘the Crosscage’ – a hydrogen-powered motorcycle which runs in almost complete silence and emits pure water.

The Belgian traffic police collected £68m in traffic fines in 8 months this year and are looking for ways to spend the money. One station bought 10 motorcycles although none of its officers could ride them.

If you fail to name the person driving your car if caught by a speed camera you could now get six points on your licence.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has confirmed development plans for its Goodwood headquarters and factory.

The Metropolitan Police force has been fined £325,563 this year for parking illegally, speeding, ignoring bus lanes, driving the wrong way on a one-way
street and red route offences.

A town in Glamorgan is to scrap over 1,000 road signs because they are confusing and could cause accidents.

The latest SatNav blunder is pointing hundreds of drivers to a bridge that has never existed at Hampton Loade, Shropshire. And in Forder, Cornwall a lorry had to be craned out after it became wedged on a narrow steep hill due to the SatNav.

A Czech lorry driver spent 3 nights in his cab after his satellite navigation system directed him down a narrow country lane where the 50ft lorry became wedged on a sharp bend near Ivybridge. After several days the lorry was towed out by a tractor.

The trains in South Korea's capital will introduce women-only cars next year to avoid groping male hands.

Police in New Jersey say a black bear is suspected of stealing a car. Policeman Sean Talt said: "I determined it was a bear because of all the bear hair inside. The passenger window had been broken and the door panels were damaged. The bear had released the emergency brake and allowed the vehicle to roll 50 feet away from the owner's house."

The Maybach has been adopted as the ultimate status symbol by Russia's super-rich. There are only a few dozen in Russia and one has been stolen despite the chauffeur being in it.

Manjit Singh, one of Britain's strongest men, pulled a 7.5 tonne Routemaster bus 5 metres with his ears – the record is 10 metres.

Edited by Trisha Pilkington