Comment 37556

By rusty (registered) - website | Posted January 28, 2010 at 16:41:09

Laws should only be enacted when they can serve to modify people's behaviour, or when their existence provides punitive measures which satisfy the needs of the parties adversely affected by the law breakers actions. Many acceptable social behaviours evolve and exist because of societal pressures. I don't bump into the neighbour on the sidewalk because I don't want to upset him or have a confrontation. I don't walk into the road because I don't want to get killed. Laws serve no purpose when it comes to 'regulating' pedestrian behaviour because they won't modify the pedestrian's behaviour and they won't make the injured party feel any better about the pedestrians actions.

One reason car drivers tend to be less civil and aware than pedestrians is because they are artificially contained within a shell. Can you imagine walking up behind someone and shouting at them to get out of the way because you are in a rush? Drivers are disconnected from the street. If all cars were open-topped, apart from being freezing 4 months of the year the driver would at least be more connected with the street. And I'm betting they would not be so rude and agressive as often.

I love these people who suggest you should make eye contact with a driver before crossing the road. How many times are you able to peer through the windshield and find an alert driver to connect with? More often than not drivers are tapping their steering wheel, texting, or hidden behind rain soaked/tinted glass.

This discussion is not about demonizing drivers (I am one and I exhibit all the poor behaviours I've mentioned) or placating pedestrians. It's about recognizing how and why we behave like we do and working out what we need to do to modify our behaviour for the better. Sometimes all people seem to be able to think about is laws laws laws. Come on kids, we have more in our toolkit than that!

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