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Cars and Towns

Traffic in towns and cities is complicated. It is made even more difficult because of the countless variations that can arise. It is where EVERY element of society interacts; the young, the frail and the slow (not in the physical sense). Humans interact with fast, slow, large and small machines. Machines that kill. Only in this environment can 5 year olds be regularly within a foot or two of fast moving juggernauts. Most metropolis have sophisticated traffic management systems to try to manage this conundrum; and, in the main, do so successfully. It seems to me that almost every element of this mix does accept the limitations imposed. Juggernauts just cannot do 50 mph; buses (and their drivers) are programmed to fit with the prevailing conditions and pedestrians, generally, are alert to the hazards. The one glaring exception, in my opinion, is the car driver. He (or she) doesn’t seem to accept that they are in an urban situation where the pedestrian should be the controlling benchmark. Would they drive the way they do through a school playground? No I don’t think so. That’s the way they should be thinking, in my opinion. I’d argue further that if they were in that more controlled mind set we would not have this stupid and dangerous us and them scenario between car drivers and cyclists. Consider this scenario: a pedestrian at a controlled crossing sees the road clear and crosses against the “red man” without pressing the button. Does the car driver get angry and try and run down the pedestrian? What’s the difference when a cyclist does something similar? Car drivers should just accept that they are not, and never should be, the kingpins in the the urban traffic hierarchy.

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