Sunday, 27 June 2010
For many blokes, their car is an extension of their penis. You can see them often cruising down Hindley Street looking cool. The particularly clever ones make big loud noises with their exhaust pipes. It's all frightfully impressive.
For most of us though, cars have become a necessity that is imposed on us because of our environment. Even what used to be small neighbourhood groups of shops have free car parking. Wherever you go, pedestrians are an afterthought and it is just easier to go by car - even if it is around the corner.
Imagine if we designed our schools like that. Instead of the walkways you see, imagine if there were special roads for gophers between classrooms and a space larger than each classroom for storing the gophers. Rush hour would be between each lesson with long lines of gophers beeping at each other and their drivers wondering what is causing the hold up. There would be student teacher committees which would spend time dreaming up ways of making it easier for gophers to get around. Eventually, in big schools, someone would come up with the idea of super 4 lane gopher-ways for getting across school more quickly.
Most of the time, driving around in a car is not that much different. Cars don't make us look cool, they don't make your nob bigger and the roads we drive on are nothing like the empty wildernesses you see on adverts for 4WDs. We sit by ourselves in two tonne vehicles going, on average, not much faster than a gopher and not not carrying much more than would fit inside the shopping basket attached to the gopher. We also set aside, at next to no cost, huge tracts of public land for their movement and storage. We also, knowingly, tolerate them causing about 200,000 reported injuries, 20,000 serious injuries requiring long-term care and treatment and 1,400 deaths every single year.
The mind boggles.