That headline is not a quote from the Guardian – okay, it is mostly a quote from a headline in the Guardian; but with one modification: the word ‘car’ was substituted for ‘cigarette’.
It seems silly to even try to imagine a completely car-free country (small Channel Island excepted) however it does provide a whack on the side of the head to get us thinking creatively about reducing road danger.
That, or it’s just a chance to be silly for a while.
So, with apologies for this parody to the original author Haroon Siddique (your next beer or beverage on me Haroon!), let’s see what else a tweaked article reveals…
[The names quoted have been changed mainly to be silly.]
British Medical Association hails vote as step towards achieving goal of a car-free society by 2035, but critics call it ‘illiberal’
Oh this is fun. Let’s continue with some other tweaks…
Hubbel Eliot, a specialist registrar in public health medicine, who proposed the motion, said it represented an opportunity to make the UK the first country to eradicate cars. “Driving is not a rational, informed choice of adulthood,” he said. “Eighty per cent of drivers start as teenagers as a result of intense peer pressure.
“Drivers who start driving at age 15 are three times as likely to die of car-related crashes as someone who starts in their mid-20s.”
The proposal was supported by Dr. Leslie Gaskell, chair of the BMA’s board of science, who said it would help “break the cycle of children starting to drive” and be a step towards achieving the association’s goal of a car-free society by 2035.
Clearly, though, with a society so wedded to using a car to drive the mile down to the shops or the kids over to the school, this ain’t going to be easy. Sure enough, there was a voice or two of dissent to this wacky idea…
A number of doctors spoke against the proposal. Dr. Stern from Southampton said the number of 11 to 15-year-olds driving had halved in 16 years. “Seeking a headline ban is a headline-grabbing initiative that may lead to ridicule of the profession,” he said. He also said that cycling should be banned if driving was.
Wait, what!? Ban cycling? No, no no!
But Hubbel Eliot said: “Driving is not the same as cycling and prohibition will not work in the same way. The vast majority of people who use bicycles do safely.”
Well, except for this one I saw the other day… but I digress.
Is there anyone else opposed to this radical idea of a car-free UK?
Other opponents said a ban would demonise the working classes and lead to a black market in the trade of cars that would be potentially more dangerous than their legal equivalent.
Ahead of the vote, the proposal was condemned by the drivers’ group Drivers Onion and the West Mids Drivers, who both said that existing laws stopping children driving should be enforced.
Pete Moss of Drivers Onion called the proposal “arbitrary, unenforceable and completely illiberal”.
Somewhere along the M40 a dog sticks its head out of the backseat window and gulps in the howling wind.
A cat in a basket purrs as she is pedalled along a quiet country lane.