09 December 2006

World targets in megadeaths

Two snippets from a newsletter sent out by Carbusters:

  • The city of Guangzhou has banned battery-powered bicycles to make more room for the 870,000 cars on the streets. This will negatively affect the almost 100,000 residents who drive these bicycles, but will make space for automobiles, which are appearing on Guangzhou's streets at a rate of 150,000 per year [Reuters].
  • On average, 3450 people die on the world's roads every day [RoadPeace].
I write about cars and the depredations they inflict on us all not because I think cars are evil, but because they show very clearly what happens when government and its policies become remote from ordinary people. As with so many government activities, the promotion at public expense of transport was a good idea – at first. Roads used to be as essential as decent sewerage. Now, largely because of the enormous growth in road traffic, any other way of getting about has become expensive or dangerous. We are so hooked on our cars, and the road lobby is so hooked on corporate welfare, that government can do little to stop the juggernaut, even when it kills people at the rate of one 9-11 a day – as well as maiming and mutilating tens of thousands. Oh, and poisons our atmosphere, devastates our cities and countryside, and goes a long way toward shredding our social fabric.

Some years ago when the Chinese Government was bundling Falun Gong meditators into trucks for torture and worse, the British people mounted a remarkably successful demonstration…against a small rise in petrol prices.

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