Does “Speed” Really “Kill”?

By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist

Yesterday I took one of my motorcycles out and rode it three times faster than the posted speed limit. According to the Clovers of this earth (read more about them here) I shouldn’t be sitting here at my keyboard typing this. I should be dead — since “speed kills.”

Yet, I did not die — or even scratch the paint. I have done this — “speed” — numerous times over several decades, without once dying. Or causing anyone else to die, either.

Logically — and despite what we’re constantly told — “speed” apparently does not “kill.” At least, it did not kill me.

Well, why not?

The Clovers of this earth will inevitably retort with their usual control freak authoritarian jibber-jabber about the increased risk that attends “speeding.” But, take note. They have conceded the point, much as they will recoil once they realize it.

I “speed” — and live. Therefore, “speed” doesn’t kill.

It might — but that’s an altogether different argument.

Clover is now in the position of the woman in Winston Churchill’s story who has agreed to have sex with a guy who has offered her $1 million dollars to do the deed . . . but takes umbrage at his reduced offer of $10.

They’re haggling over price — not the principle of the thing.

In Clover’s case, it’s “speed” we’re arguing about. It’s clear that it does not always or necessarily “kill.” If it did kill, literally millions of people would get killed today.

Because millions of people will “speed.” As they do every day. As cops do, routinely.

Of course, millions will not die.

The vast majority will get to their destination without incident. I speed every time I drive — or ride. You probably do, too. Almost everyone does — even Clovers. We’re still alive, most of us.

Therefore, “speed” does not “kill.”

At least, not always — or even often.

Much less necessarily.

Which means we can throw Clover’s axiom — “speed kills!” — in the woods.

Clover will fall back on “increased risk.” You might lose control and wreck — and cause harm.

But this is an intangible, something that cannot be definitively quantified. I ride my motorcycle at three times the posted speed limit — and nothing happens. Later that day, a driver doing 5 MPH below the posted speed limit loses control of his vehicle — for any of several possible reasons — crashes and is killed.

Did “speed” kill him?

Or was it because he wasn’t paying attention, then overcorrected after his right wheel dipped off the road?

If it is “speed” that’s the universal, all-explanatory problem, then — logically — the “safest” speed is no speed at all. All movement should cease. Or at least — for safety’s sake — a national maximum speed limit of 25 MPH ought to be imposed. Especially on highways. That would “save lives” — cue the familiar Onager refrain from the Clover chorus.

But, a 25 MPH maximum would be inconvenient.

So, we’re allowed to travel at a “speed” deemed to be “safe” . . . by the Clovers — the bureaucrats who impose these arbitrary velocity maximums, the people who support these arbitrary maximums and, of course, the cops and courts that enforce them.

They are comfortable with 65 or 70 on the highway — and 35 or 40 in town. So those “speeds” are decreed “safe” — and anointed as lawful. On the other hand, they feel 25 MPH on the highway is too slow — even though (using their logic against them) 25 is surely “safer” than 65 or 70.

Remember: “Speed kills.” The slower, the safer. So let’s all go really slow.


But because they’d like to get where they’re going, too — just like us “speeders” — they scoff at the prospect of a 25 MPH national maximum speed limit. They don’t want their commute to work to take an hour rather than half an hour — no matter “the children” or “safety.”

If a 25 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit were imposed, they’d ignore it — and “speed” — just like us. And they’d resent it — just like us — when they got waylaid for this “offense” by an armed costumed, lectured about “safety” by a judge, fleeced of a couple hundred bucks in fines, then hit with a “surcharge” by their insurance company on the basis of their “unsafe” driving record.

But they’re not comfortable with 75 or 80.

That’s “too fast” . . . slow down! What’s your hurry?

Because they’re not comfortable driving 75 or 80 — because they feel it’s “too fast” — you aren’t permitted to drive that fast.

It does not matter that you’re comfortable driving at higher-than-Clover speeds. Nor that you haven’t lost control of your vehicle — or in any tangible, objective way given reason to worry that you might. You may be able to point to decades of “safe” driving; you’ve never lost control of your vehicle, never harmed anyone . . . even though you were “speeding” pretty much the entire time.

It does not matter. It carries no weight.

Clover feels that driving 75 or 80 — or whatever the arbitrary number happens to be — is “too fast.” Therefore, it is too fast — under the law.

It becomes “speeding.”

Which, technically, it is.

Anytime one drives in excess of a posted maximum, one is by definition “speeding.”

Whether it’s unsafe to “speed” — that’s another question.

And the answer to that question is one that the Clovers of this earth are not interested in hearing.


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