Editor’s Note: This piece first appeared as NMA Weekly E-Newsletter #576, which was emailed to NMA members on January 26, 2020. If you would like to receive the weekly E-Newsletter, a one-topic dive into an important aspect of motorists’ rights, become an NMA member today!
We recently updated and republished a popular post, Do Vision Zero Programs Equal More Traffic Accidents?, on the NMA Blog. The article points to several examples of cities where pedestrian/bicyclist accidents and fatalities rates have not improved, and in many instances have increased, after expensive Vision Zero programs have been implemented. Such programs have the laudable but unrealistic goal of attaining zero traffic deaths by restricting, and in some cases eliminating, motorized traffic in city centers.
Our little exposé on the NMA Motorists.org website attracted the attention of a pro-motorist letter writer from Great Britain, who shared similar concerns and frustrations with Vision Zero programs across the Atlantic. His spot-on observations follow:
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I am writing this from Great Britain, and we are being fed this VZ anti-car nonsense as well.
Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London and is, of course, very anti-car and wants to impose VZ.
Here is a copy of a letter I wrote to a trade magazine, just slightly altered to suit your American followers.
It would seem that as usual, non-motorized road users can just do what they like and do not have to accept any responsibility for their actions!
Of course, your laws are different from ours, but generally, the theme is the same.
Though this might sound callous, does the price of mobility justify a few deaths and injuries?
Would we really want to sacrifice mobility to live in a totally risk-free society?
Mayor Khan, along with many others, are using this ‘vision’ as part of their ceaseless ‘war on the driver’ by imposing draconian measures on those choosing to drive.
‘Mobility’ means the distribution of goods and services, so how does this equate in the grand scheme of things to Vision Zero?
Do we all stop ‘consuming’ to save lives?
As a driving license holder, I must obey hundreds of rules/regulations, and I am punished if I get them wrong. As a cyclist, there is not much I can get punished for, and certainly, there is very little enforcement of regulations. As a pedestrian, I can just do what I like, as there are no offences I can commit listed in the Highway Code!
(The Highway Codes is our national version of the rule book for all road users. There is no ‘jay -walking’ offence in this country)
Every year millions of mostly safe drivers are punished for meaningless infractions of the law, but how many road-using non-drivers are punished? In fact, how many non-drivers have read the Highway Code, even though seventeen pages of the Code are devoted to pedestrians?
By continually putting all the road safety emphasis on the license holder, is it any wonder that accident reduction has stabilized, when the vast majority of pedestrians and cyclists can do what they like with complete impunity from punishment.