13 February 2010

Men of England Rise Up Against Reckless Motorists

This text was seen on posters circulated in London back in 1908. Quite visionary. Time for history to repeat itself? Time to reclaim our streets, not just for cyclists, but for all citizens?

As read in the book Death on the Streets - Cars and the mythology of road safety, as mentioned in the previous post.


Kim said...

Sad to say the first road death in Britain was Mrs Bridget Driscoll of Croydon in 1896. In 2008 (the most recent figures available) 2,538 people killed on the roads in Britain, and this is seen as progress as it is the lowest since records began in 1926, there is something seriously wrong. Why do we accept this?? We need to put health warnings on all motor vehicle!

wee folding bike said...

We have cars in Scotland too... and we invented the bike here.

ModelCarGuy said...

Sounds like progress to me. Lowest number of fatalities since 1926.

The number of cars and the number of miles driven must be astoundingly higher today than in '26, yet the actual number of fatalities is lower.

Taliesin said...

Now the "Men of England" are the motorists.

Green Idea Factory said...

@Model car guy: Progress, schmogress. People have scared out of the streets.

When children don't cycle or even walk to school anymore... well, then, it's pretty unlikely that they will get hit by someone driving, isn't it?

@Kim: Regarding health warnings, the problem is that an automobile is not a cigarette. It is part of a bad system. An automobile can be improved, but it might not improve the system at all. If a health warning could describe the risks of different ways of using an automobile, it would be good. Any ideas?

Notice how I don't use the term "car"? See the first of my two comments in this earlier post: http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/02/children-more-dangerous-than-mobile.html

anna said...

Very interesting. However, unfortunately it didn't have much effect.

townmouse said...

Perhaps we need a 'women of England' one instead?

Anonymous said...

I like how everybody imagines the past as being such a great place. Too bad we're all too young to remember just how bad it actually was.

Adrienne Johnson said...

I decided to rework it.

Mikael said...

ade: link don't work, girl.

kfg said...


But I'm old enough to have grown up in the presence of people who did and discuss these matters with them. Things that made a real difference in making the old days better:

Electricity; because it was safer than fire and allowed instantaneous communication.
Bicycles: because they were cheaper and more convenient than horses - and later the same was true compared to automobiles

Pretty much everything else gets into issues of desire, not improvement; and people don't always want what's good for them.