THE SLIPSTREAM Cycling Club did all that was humanly possible to minimise risk on the road. They travelled in a pack, members wore bright colours, they obtained a police escort. Still, it was not enough to prevent the fatal accident that claimed the lives of two of their members and seriously injured a third. We express our deepest sympathies to the families of Joanna Banks and Joe Brown.
While the matter is subject to examination by the relevant law enforcement authorities, we take this opportunity to call once again for all drivers to exercise vigilance particularly during this busy period leading up to Christmas. The truth is no matter how much is done to reduce road fatalities the most important factor is always going to be the degree of care shown by drivers to fellow road users, particularly vulnerable road users such as cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Road fatalities may be down, but they are still at intolerable levels. And the number of road fatalities involving cyclists is disturbing.
According to Traffic Branch ASP Harrinarine Rampath, road fatalities were down by 11 per cent as at August. However, seven cyclists have been killed this year so far, according to Arrive Alive’s Sharon Inglefield.
Undoubtedly, beefing up the Motor Vehicle Road Traffic Act and its regulations could send an important signal. As could having more lanes dedicated to cyclists to foster a deeper culture of consideration for the diverse range of road users. There is something to be said for more roadblocks, more speed guns, and more breathalyser tests. But do any of these measures address the core problem?
We agree with the suggestion by Inglefield that we should look elsewhere. It starts with people being given licences through underhand means without proper appreciation for the rules of the road. We should be encouraging people to regard driving as a sacrosanct privilege, one in which they have a great responsibility, not allowing corruption to run rampant at the Licensing Authority.
We should also be ensuring that inspection of vehicles is properly done so that all cars are truly fit for the road. The irony is cars are safer now than they have ever been in our history. Yet, the carnage on the roads continues. That’s probably because we still have a long way to go when it comes to addressing our attitudes.
As we prepare to observe World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims this weekend, we would do well to mull over this.