Letter: The car as weapon

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Some time ago you published a letter by a Swiss cyclist protesting about the bad behaviour of English motorists. The situation has since gone from bad to worse and levels of slovenly and abusive driving are becoming intolerable.

The line that separates the use of vehicles as accessories in aggressive fantasies from their use as lethal weapon is now often blurred or overstepped, as is that distinguishing the driver from the thug. Bad driving is cool.

May I suggest some reforms: air bags by law to be fitted only on the outside of cars; plain clothes police cycle patrols (to allow the police a better appreciation of a cyclist's view of traffic behaviour); automatic penalties for easily identifiable violations; prominent permanent markers installed at the site of every traffic fatality; discontinuation of policies designed to price people out of cars (since the only people likely to be persuaded by them are those with a grain of sense left); a total ban on car ads; meaningful punishment for casualties caused by motor vehicles.

Drivers urgently need persuading that the world beyond their driving seat is neither alien, virtual nor a target.


London E14

Sir: A leaflet that accompanied my Independent appeals for funds to complete the National Cycle Network. Around where I live this network appears finished; it's called the pavement.