Sharing Roads with Human Beings

Mark Blacknell has a good article in the Clarendon Patch about cyclists and drivers and pedestrians sharing limited space on the roads. You should read the whole thing. Key paragraphs:
Sure, outlining the way in which the object of your immediate annoyance is wrong feels good at the time. And it may even be true in the long run (though really, it’s not the cyclists that are slowing you down). But that sort of aggressive back and forth doesn’t really accomplish anything. In the same way that the idiot in front of your car is always the person who doesn’t know how to drive, and the guy behind your car is always a tailgater, it’s often too easy to dehumanize other people who are sharing the street with you. And that's where we go so very wrong.
You know that’s who’s in the car behind you, the bike next to you, or crossing the street in front of you, right? A human being. It could be your neighbor, your lawyer, or the guy that makes your sandwiches at lunch. I don’t know anyone – motorist, cyclist, or pedestrian - who heads out into Arlington’s streets with the purpose of inconveniencing others. But I do know a lot of people – family, friends, and acquaintances – that are just trying to go about their daily lives on them, and experience an incredible amount of frustration and danger in doing so. If we’d all treat the people we encounter on the streets as we would our family, friends, and acquaintances, I think it would be a far less stressful – and far safer – experience for everyone.
I agree completely with the sentiment, but a "human being"? Really? Not person? I just quibbling, of course. I mean, it is possible that aliens are reading the Patch (be careful about their recipes, E.T!) , but I sorta doubt it. "Klaatu, should we drive our spaceship so aggressively?" "No, Nikto, there are human beings there and we should be careful." "Beep Boop Boop Beep," says Gort, the giant robot. End scene.

No comments:

Post a Comment