As long as pedestrians and bicyclists are not allowed on the Interstates, that’s probably the safest place to drive these days, at least the safest place to drive with the least chance of being sued because you’ve injured or killed a pedestrian or bicyclist who thinks he owns the road. There have always been pedestrians and there have always been bicyclists, so why are our streets and roads dominated by them now more than ever before?
There are several reasons. One is that people are more aware of physical fitness, and it’s far more edifying to engage in an activity one enjoys for cardiovascular exercise rather than to hole up in a crowded, germy gym on a treadmill going nowhere, like a hamster on a wheel mindlessly compelled to motion. Lots of people take advantage of bike and walking paths exclusively designed for them, but they can be boring after a few trips on the same ones. This brings more pedestrians and cyclists than ever onto the main thoroughfares and country roads that were once dominated by motor vehicles.
In part, it’s that idea of safety in numbers that has emboldened today’s walkers and cyclists into thinking they are the ones who own the road, but it’s a liberally cultural thought pattern that has insidiously emerged, empowering non-motorists to believe that they are worthier than the drivers of the polluting vehicles who share their space. Unconsciously, they have absorbed this mindset that the individual right to dominate and ultimately control the roads that were constructed for motor vehicles is a sign of these so called enlightened times.
This article was prompted by another Gather member’s post in which he described an experience where a group of kids were walking abreast in the road and after obviously noticing him, didn’t bother to move into a single file as his car approached to allow him to pass safely. He was forced to drive around them in the oncoming car lane to proceed. Sure, they just could have been a group of insolent kids, and twenty years ago that might have been an accurate assessment, but it’s probably more than that if you really think about it because it's not an uncommon occurrence these days.