Four by four madness

Went on an early morning demonstration organisation by the 4×4 alliance, an excellent group of people campaigning against the growing trend of the use of these ridiculous vehicles in towns. The demonstration focussed on people taking their kids to school in Highgate, an area with seven private schools, which puts at risk all those schoolchildren who are using more environmentally sustainable ways of getting there.
Five people dressed in dummy suits, and crossed the road in front of 4×4 drivers holding placards saying that even dummies know that 4x4s are not suitable for taking kids to school. Meanwhile ‘vehicle safety inspectors’ gave leaflets to the 4×4 drivers pointing out that their cars were dangerous to other road users. Indeed, when three people passed by in a Smart car, one feared for their safety should they be unfortunate enough to encounter a 4×4 in an accident.
These 4x4s seem to be getting bigger and bigger, and I do genuinely feel threatened by them when I am riding my bike. Statistics show they present a greater danger to pedestrians and cyclists than ordinary cars, and this raises a host of moral questions. While their supporters argue that their freedom to choose whatever vehicle should not be constrained, there are plenty of good counter arguments. Would one, for example, be allowed to drive tanks down main streets, which after all would provide the maximum possible safety for its occupants, the reason given for many 4×4 drivers for their choice? There is a Hummer in a street near me and it is a truly terrifying prospect that there could be hundreds of these horrendous vehicles driving round London since the manufacturer has started exporting them to the UK.
The response to the demo was generally positive. A few 4×4 drivers were impatient and started hooting, but most were prepared, at least, to listen. One suspects that most have never considered the wider implications of their vehicle choice. Hopefully, 4x4s will go the way of bullbars and become unfashionable.

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