Monday, 10 June 2013

Dear Fellow South African Road Users,

Whenever there is discussion about car drivers and cyclists - invariably battle lines are drawn. Drivers appeal to their need for an obstacle free road network and cyclists appeal for patience and consideration.

Perhaps what our society is not saying is that human beings are getting killed on our roads, because drivers are too impatient to slow down. Human beings are getting killed because drivers are too selfish and angry that a slower vehicle dare use the road while they are on it.

Human beings are getting killed.

Whenever you climb behind the wheel of a motor car it is no different from walking out of your front door with a loaded gun. If you are walking on a busy street, would you pull out that loaded gun and kill another pedestrian because they were walking too slowly? Would you slide the barrel of the gun under the jaw of another person and squeeze the trigger, because they were walking two abreast and slowing down your progress to your next meeting? Would you flash the barrel of the weapon at somebody who was annoying you?

A human being in the form of a pedestrian or somebody on a bicycle can most certainly do stupid things, but the consequences of stupidity for you as a driver are irritation and a slight waste of your time - for the pedestrian or person on the's death.

No matter how you skin it, a motor vehicle is a lethal weapon on a public road that will encounter unarmed human beings. The responsibility is in the hands of the weapon's owner as to whether those unarmed human beings live or die. In the same way a responsible gun owner is obliged, by law, to show a great deal of restraint, common sense and humanity to other people - so too the driver of motor vehicle must take absolute responsibility for their fellow human beings on the road.

Being in control of a vehicle is not a game. Lives are at risk whenever you turn that key in the ignition. Behave accordingly - it's not a debate.