M50 on a winters eve
Cycling Environment Society

Car shaped minds

@CyclingVillage (Keith Byrne) posted a link to an article in the Connacht Trib (“Rogue rickshaws an ‘accident waiting to happen’”). It’s a great example of car shaped thinking, one where almost nobody tries to look at the issues from any other perspective whatsoever. The default is to drive, and everything else must be bent, twisted and re-shaped to fit that world, even if it means making all pedestrians wear ‘hi-viz’.

No, really:

Cllr Terry O’Flaherty complained at the Joint Policing Committee about pedestrians dressed all in black. She said they were endangering their lives but not wearing high-vis jackets or lights.

Garda Chief Superintendent Tom Curley agreed that high-visibility jackets are essential for health and safety of pedestrians and other roads users.

He said Gardaí hand out thousands of luminous jackets free every year, as does the local authority. He said it was up to individuals to wear them – Gardaí cannot make people wear them.

Chief Supt Curley said he’d love to be able to issue “penalty points” to people who don’t wear high-vis jackets but some people might not be happy with that scenario.

Talk about “only having a windscreen view of the world”. It’s depressing. Cars break up social spaces in urban areas, creating barriers to people so that ‘traffic’ can ‘flow’. Shifting people from one carpark to another is not conducive to creating a space you really want to live in. It creates places you go directly to and leave again, like shopping centres, the very antithesis of a village or town centre.

One lone voice gains bonus points from me for speaking out against the default car centric view:

City Councillor Catherine Connolly, later in the meeting defended cyclists. She said that cyclists were getting a bad name, and she didn’t want the message to go out there that cyclists were a problem.

She said that many issues with cyclists stem from motorists who are not willing to share road space with other users. She challenged members of the JPC to cycle the city with her to see how difficult it is.

Chance’d be a fine thing if they took her up on the suggestion, but it would be great if they did. I’m not holding my breath.