Food for Thought
Yesterday on the Bike Florida touring event a cyclist was murdered by a driver who just meandered into the bikelane. This was March 30, 2011 and it was no accident but a crash of a deadly kind.
How did we get here, to a point of unaccountability as to what our autos and automatic behaviors do to others. Are we not accountable? Are we not the drivers?
This thought has perplexed me for decades, the exactly how we became so juvenile with our motored power. How car-nivorus we are, how car-casses of pedestrians and cyclists just are part of the risk of the mix of traffic as accepted deaths and destruction. The drivers seldom are charged, sun in their eyes, reached for a purse, swerved to miss a dog, just did not see him or her, and in this case "reached for his cellphone".
These are real statements of crashes I have observed over the years, all the driver walked, all the cyclist and pedestrians pushed daisies.
A new theory has just now entered my mind one that goes back to the days of the first powered street vehicles, the wagons powered by horses and their kind. A cantankerous powerplant for sure with minds of their own and just as dangerous as any car today.
People were killed in the streets then many of them were trampled, run over, compresses beyond the limits of skin and bones by heavy objects in movement.
The gas pedal and the reign are very different but the placement of blame stays the same. The car did it, I am sorry they say like the car had a brain of it own that was outside their control.. Horses did cause much car-nage before the car age but they were beasts of wild nature that could spook, freak, and easily ignore the commands of their drivers. Beware of the streets in the 1800s was real, it was a risky place to be and the citizens knew the risks, horses were unpredictable.
Today the street still exists as does the vehicles, only the engine and its controls are different. The engine is us, our mind and our soul, we are the horse producing the horsepower, controlling the horsepower directly with our mind and foot. Why can’t we be accountable since we are logical, human too just like the cyclists and pedestrians we murder. How do we begin to make the roads a safe public utility that is for all users and all ages?
Humanways not highways, change this word first then enact legislation of responsibility that many other cultures have like woonerfs:
A woonerf (Dutch plural: woonerven) in the Netherlands and Flanders is a street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists. The techniques of shared spaces, traffic calming, and low speed limits are intended to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety.
Recondition the drivers and condition youth to the truths of driving by new standards of training and accountability. This would open healthy option for travel that are safe, sustainable and proven.
This all may be true! We still use the term HORSEPOWER to define the engine that powered us in the roadway yesterday and today.
Only then will we leave the tailing behaviors of the past come to an end.