Hamilton is doing the right thing. But are they doing it the right way? At least one bicyclist, and probably a few pedestrians, aren’t sure.
The right thing Hamilton is doing is a program, taken from Sweden, called Vision Zero. The idea is to approach road safety with human error as a given factor, and work to eliminate the effects of that error everywhere. The point of Vision Zero is to regard any road death or serious injury as unacceptable, and work from the premise that it can and must be eliminated.
So what’s wrong?
Hamilton did a survey to get the opinion of residents about road safety. One of the questions was, “How fast do you drive?”
A website dedicated to bettering city life, Raise the Hammer, noted that the survey assumed that everyone who took it drove, thereby skewing the results by marginalizing pedestrians and bicyclists. In their words, a survey gathering information towards eliminating road deaths that only polls drivers is “about as effective as a ‘mouse protection’ survey that can only be completed by cats.”
Raise the Hammer has a point. Drivers are by far the greatest danger on the roads – with impaired and distracted drivers many times the most dangerous – but they are not the only users of the roads, and they are certainly not the only victims of road collisions. Vision Zero applies to everyone who goes near a public road, and a survey should acknowledge that.
Moreover, bicyclists and pedestrians can sometimes feel like mice in a cat’s world.
We doubt it was an intentional slight. More likely the ones who put together the survey were part of the catriarchy. Perhaps they will learn to check their driving privileges at the door and pursue the very worthwhile goal of Vision Zero with everyone in mind – those on wheels, and on foot.