In our ever escalating war on cars, the ranks of foot soldiers grow thin. Reduced to throwing themselves at the enemy like desperate kamikaze, they are not only losing their lives but — even worse — they are losing in the battle of public opinion. No motorists have been killed so far, yet they are being portrayed as the put upon victims. Innocent bystanders subjected to the onslaught of jaywalking pedestrians, darting in and out of traffic like rabid squirrels. All that stands between the valiant road warriors and certain death is a mere 1500-2000 kilograms of motor vehicle.
Has there ever been a worse time to be sitting behind the wheel of a car?
I would expect this type of demagoguery from 3 out of our 4 daily rags but to wake up yesterday morning to hear Metro Morning’s Andy Barrie interviewing a CBC producer about the trauma she’s endured after having accidentally, and through no fault of her own, killed a man with a truck she was driving, well, it was too much. Too, too much. While I’m sure the guilt and second guessing must be painful and long lasting, hey, I’d take that over being dead, I think.
The insufferable index rose alarmingly higher when Ms. Borel talked of how, when the police investigation of the accident was over and she was cleared of any wrong doing, she got right back up on that proverbial horse and drove the truck away, fearing that if she didn’t, she might never drive again. Wouldn’t that have been tragedy! One less driver on the road.
Later on in the same show, Andy talked with the Superintendent of Toronto Police Traffic Services, Earl Witty who advised pedestrians to be more vigilant and obey the rules of the road. Even when pedestrians think they have the right of way in a situation with a car, Witty stressed, they should never assume the driver thinks likewise. You may be in the right but you would be dead right. At which time both he and Andy chuckled mirthlessly along with their listeners. Witty then talked about how the police would be on a safety blitz, ticketing jaywalkers and other pedestrian traffic offenders to get their point across.
With only two drivers apparently charged in the 14 pedestrian deaths in the GTA so far this year, I guess the take away lesson is that in 86% of the fatalities, the victim has been solely to blame; the authors of their own demise. It’s a jungle out there, people. You have to be on your toes at all times. Never let your guard down. Even if you’re absolutely in the clear, keep your eyes peeled (but certainly not your ear to the ground especially if you’re in dark clothes) because drivers can’t always see you or come to a complete stop at a red light before making a right turn or treat that stoplight that’s such a stale yellow that in fact it’s red and not speed up and barrel through it or make an illegal u-turn in the middle of the street or just throw out the anchors and stop up short in a fucking bike lane…
But how come if pedestrians are being advised to operate under the assumption that danger lurks around every street corner, a similar onus not placed on drivers? They’re the ones riding around in the killing machines. As Spiderman’s uncle said: With great power comes great responsibility. Drivers should drive as if there’s a child crouching behind every parked car they pass, waiting to bolt out in front of them. Drivers should drive not like they’re kings of the road or cocks of the walk but with the knowledge of the pain and suffering they can inflict due to inattention on anyone’s part. Drivers should drive as if it’s a privilege and not a God given right.
– indignantly submitted by Urban Sophisticat