Friday, 7 December 2007

Sometimes hitting people is the safest thing to do

What this says about human behaviour is quite frightening:

More crashes, fewer deaths: new Swedish road safety approach cuts road toll (ABC News)

The gist of the story is that by adding wire rope barriers you can cut down on the damage done during crashes, and by adding lots of roundabouts (otherwise known as "fuckabouts") you can make people have more minor crashes and therefore fewer deaths.

Now, leaving aside the fact that as a motorcyclist the thought of more wire road barriers (otherwise known as "cheesegraters") scares the fuck out of me (and if you can't work out why stringing a couple of lengths of wire rope between two rigid poles is bad for a motorcyclist, check out the MRAA's briefing notes), let's think about that for a moment.

What they're saying is that they can reduce the number of deaths (serious life-long debilitating injuries as well?) by shifting accidents from high speed to low speed. They're not talking about reducing the number of accidents, they're talking about increasing the number of accidents, but making them minor.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that these people are not sponsored by panel-beaters. Let's assume instead that if there are fewer serious accidents as a result (and the causal link is still an assumption) of more minor accidents, that it is the same group of people having the minor accidents who would otherwise be having the major accidents, and that means that there are clearly groups of people who shouldn't be allowed on the road.

I've always said so myself.

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