To knock some sense into them

Here’s a nice little meme from the past couple of weeks: Motorists, who feel their progress is being hindered by non-motorists, taking matters into their own hands and plowing into crowds of people.

That’s the corner of Tulip and Iris in Summerville, South Carolina, where a couple of weeks ago a mother driving her kids to school encountered a group of students walking in the road who wouldn’t get out of the way and decided to hit the gas. She struck four kids, aged 12 to 14, one of whom was sent to hospital. She was later quoted as saying she wanted to “knock some sense into them”.

Around the same time, in Brazil, a man driving with his 15-year-old son found his car surrounded by a group of slow-moving bicyclists at an event to promote bicycling as a sustainable form of transportation. He was caught on video deliberately accelerating into the group of cyclists, at least three of whom were taken to hospital for their injuries. Mr. Richard Neis said he felt he and his son were threatened as people pounded on the roof and even broke windows.

I agree with Mr. Neis that people should be able to get from one place to another without feeling threatened by their surroundings. Likewise, anyone who’s tried to walk in a car-oriented area without sidewalks, or ridden a bicycle on a six-lane thoroughfare because sidewalks are off-limits, knows how harrowing (and sometimes fatal) it can be, so he has my sympathy. In a lot of ways it would be a relief to live without a car, but if the cost is second-class citizenship, for the moment that’s still too high for me.

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