Motor Cars and Safety


A short article by Stephen Coates

March 2014


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Practically every week, I can open one of South Yorkshire's newspapers, and I will see a report of an innocent pedestrian or cyclist being injured or killed by someone driving a motor car.

One contributor to this is the large number of people using motor cars unnecessarily, and without any consideration for other people's safety.

When I was a student at Doncaster College, there were three occasions when I nearly got run over by cars, whose drivers failed to stop for the red lights at the pedestrian crossing on Trafford Way. I have also found near misses to be quite common at the Zebra crossing on Northfield Lane in Wickersley.

Crossing some busy roads can be made increasingly difficult due to badly set up crossing, where sensors fail to detect that someone is waiting there, and fail to change the lights accordingly!

Driving cars seems to give many people both a sense of invincibility, and lots of rage. As both a pedestrian and a cyclist, it is not uncommon to experience deliberate dangerous driving, verbal abuse, unnecessary loud horns, and rude finger gestures. For some reason, this behavior doesn't seem to happen much elsewhere.

Cars create pollution both in the form of air pollution and noise pollution. This causes damage to the environment, and stress and ill-health to the people who have to put up with it.

I expect there would be less of these problems if fewer people used cars. However, many people refuse to even consider trying alternatives. Many people refuse to walk because the think they aren't fit enough, they think they don't have the time, or they just plain can't be bothered. Yet. they are happy to waste time sitting in traffic, or looking for a parking space.

Public transport is another option. Many people complain about public transport, but most of those people aren't even willing to try it. A quick survey of cars at 7:30am on Bawtry Road, Bramley, will reveal that the majority of cars are large 5-seater vehicles, and yet most only contain one person. Buses would be a good replacement here.

Cars seem to be pretty much an unnecessary fashion accessory that too many people are addicted to, and are not willing to give up. When I look at a car in the garage, it is a fantastic piece of engineering, but on my way to work/college/shops, it is merely a deadly weapon. I very rarely use cars, and manage perfectly well. I'm sure plenty of people can join me and make our environment safer and more pleasant.