Yes, it’s easy to see, looking at how roads are regarded*, why car drivers think it’s their right to drive fast and far whenever and however they want. And this myth does not come with a “terms and conditions apply” sticker on it, so car drivers grow up believing that the joys of the open road are somehow their right, that they are entitled to them. And when it looks as though someone may be about to deny them their rights, they get very unpleasant.
I’ve already spoken about some of the really nasty ways in which vehicle drivers treat cyclists and also pedestrians. Although it involves a motorbike rather than a car, one of the most striking incidents of karma in action I’ve ever seen took place one summer evening at Tooting Broadway when the bike driver clearly felt entitled to more than he was actually due.
He was driving down an empty road towards the lights, which were green, and ahead of him two women started to push a buggy with a baby in it across the road in front of him. He was clearly narked at them infringing his right of way and by the possibility of having to slow down to allow them to cross safely, which he made clear by accelerating towards them, beeping loudly. The two women had to run, pushing the buggy in front of them, to avoid being hit by him as he swept down upon and through the crossing at high speed, straight into the side of a car which was turning right across his path from the other side of the road. He hit it full on, bounced off, came off the bike, and he and the bike went in opposite directions, spinning wildly across the junction until they came to rest in a shower of glass and metal, as the two women jumped up and down, shrieking and jeering in triumph.
He wasn’t badly hurt (he was sitting up as I left, and doubtless trying to take in the varied and rich advice on his future behaviour being proffered him by the women), although his pride as well as his bike may well have been more than a little dented. I wonder whether, as he lay in the road, he reflected on the fact that, had he kindly slowed down to allow the women to cross, he would have seen the car turning in front of him in plenty of time to avoid it and even then been heading happily on his way to his destination. I digress. But not by much. This does have to do with feminism, I promise. More tomorrow!
*Have a look at the comments on yesterday’s post for another reason why car drivers regard roads as “theirs”, raised by my lovely friend Charlotte.