2 young lives lost. Yes, but WHO IS GUILTY?
Today, I read an article. Two bikers tried to overtake a LandRover, got cornered, were thrown across the divider and were crushed to death by a tanker going in the opposite direction.
The newspaper promptly pronounced the LandRover driver guilty of ‘rash and negligent driving’.
My sympathies for the 2 dead young men. But sympathy cannot be the basis of a verdict. Sympathy cannot cloud judgment.
Cars vs bikers vs pedestrians – the eternal war
Admit it – A] How many of you (as Car owners) have experienced a biker veering dangerously close to your car, cutting into your lane, almost nudging you into a corner by the implied threat of ‘Give way – or suffer a dent on your car’?
B] How many of you (as Pedestrians) trying to cross a road have been jeered by bikers who snub the red signal at their whim and will?
I have experienced both A & B.
My questions –
1} What if YOU were the LandRover driver – would you have time to make that split second decision? Is it fair to be charged as a murderer for not having quicksilver reflexes? What if you were crowded by a tanker/ truck on the other side and had zero room to manouver?
2} As a Car owner, am I expected to be the responsible caretaker of testosterone-fuelled bikers riding with a deathwish? Is the whole debate more about ‘Car’ vs ‘two-wheeler’, ala Goliath vs David?
3} What if the same 2 bikers, in a bid to overtake, had crushed a pedestrian instead? Would they not be held guilty of ‘rash and negligent driving’ – in fact, the exact same clichéd terminology now used to describe the Rover driver?
So, then, how does the very same action get ‘condoned VS condemned’ depending on circumstance? Does their ‘Dhoom’ style get pardoned by their death or get censured if they cause death?
4} The Rover driver will undergo an alcohol test. What about an alcohol blood test on the two dead bikers? Is that ever conducted?
Of course not – Nobody willingly gets themselves killed! Well, equally true is that no car driver willingly wants to undergo a trial either.
Devdutt Pattnaik wrote a beautiful article titled ‘Divinity in the Foodchain’ http://www.mid-day.com/articles/divinity-in-the-food-chain/15769194 . He felt the concept of predators vs prey is conditioned by human thinking. Are newspapers too, conditioning and manipulating our thoughts to suit their ends?
My condolences to the dead youths’ families. But I equally identify with the Rover driver. It happened to him today. It could happen to you in the driver’s seat tomorrow.
Does Death automatically absolve careless bravado of all responsibility?
Does Survival automatically shift the onus of crime to the survivor?
If you are not part of a solution, then you are part of the problem.
1} An adequate ‘shoulder’ on the roads for drivers to have maneuvering space, in case of emergency or during car breakdown.
2} One bike = one car. As I saw in on U.S roads, a bike is allowed to occupy an entire independent space as much as a car. This will automatically disallow any biker to cut into a car’s space, as also make a car driver stay away from biker’s space.
3} (Functional) CCTVs (at least) at traffic junctions – to ascertain the actual sequence of events and to decide who is the guilty party.
4} Train, teach and educate the pedestrians to respect the green signal for cars, as much as they wish that cars respect the red signal.
5} Shoulders on road, exclusively for use of ambulances. This will eliminate the shameful deaths caused by traffic-stuck ambulances and reduce the ‘crucial one hour’ time zone which can tilt the balance from dead to alive.
Please pitch in with more suggestions. Also feel free to say if my judgment seems apt or abrupt.