Is the cyclist guilty?

Predictably, Charlie Alliston was found guilty of ‘wanton or furious driving’. Equally predictably, the rules of the road, and the anonymous perpetrators of an intrinsically dangerous system, escaped without a mention, as they do every day of every year.

In a sense, Alliston was only following the wanton and ferocious system of (main road) priority, which imposes unequal rights, and endangers the vulnerable. If the onus were on the driver, or in this case the cyclist, to beware the pedestrian, instead of the other way round, Kim Briggs would have continued her walk in safety. Her family and friends would not be mourning her loss. Alliston would be innocent. He would not be facing prison.

The event was tragic because under the current system it was inevitable. Given reform along the lines advocate here – a sociable set-up based on equality rather than a regulatory system based on priority – the event would not have happened in the first place.

Alliston and Briggs are unwitting victims of a system which makes roads dangerous in the first place. Blame should be directed at the system itself.

There are calls for more enforcement of “the rules”. Given a system based on equality – “After you” instead of “Get out of my way!” – and a reformed driving test, enforcement will be unnecessary. Equality will stimulate empathy for fellow road-users and, at last, bring peace to our roads.

About Martin Cassini

Campaign founder and video producer, pursuing traffic system reform to make roads safe, civilised and efficient

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