The image in the top left corner is a
Reflective Safety Vest
Think how much harm impaired (drunk, sleepy, drugged) drivers do.
They kill innocent people. They hideously disable them. They cause far
more grief than serial killers, but we don’t put up much
Technology, if pushed a little, could come up with a way to block
impaired people from driving. To avoid inconveniencing unimpaired
drivers, the technology may not make its final decision on whether a
driver is impaired until after he has driven a block. As a last ditch
way to stop the driver, the technology could summon police aid and give
them the GPS (Global Positioning System)
position of the car and its description.
The people who fight measures to block drunk drivers are wealthy
people who believe they are entitled to drive drunk. We should not
surrender to their selfishness.
Happily, the problem will take care of itself, whether we take
action now or not, when driverless cars take over.
Hit and Run
Hit and run could disappear as a crime with a minor technological
fix. When new cars are made, the computerised paint system should
modify the paint formulation slightly, perhaps by adding some mildly
radioactive markers to make the paint unique to that vehicle,
effectively an encryption of its serial number. When a hit and run
victim is found, there would likely be a tiny fleck of paint on them.
By chemical or radioactive analysis of the marker chemicals, it would
point to a particular vehicle serial number. In most cases that would
finger the culprit.
There would come to be no motive for hit and run, so long as the
penalty for hit and run were substantially higher than for drunk
driving. Today, hit and run is primarily motivated by a desire to
escape drunk driving charges.
I was trapped out in the big Victoria storm of 2014-10 on my bike. I was astounded how so many
pedestrians dressed head to toe in black. In the blinding headlights,
pelting rain and dark they were all but invisible to bikes and cars.
One young cyclist who swerved in front of me was similarly all in black
with no lights or reflectors.
We need to start pressing night pedestrians and cyclists to:
- dress in contrasting colours.
Wear a reflective vest over your coat. You can get them at stores
Mark’s Work Wearhouse that sell clothing for construction
workers. Good ones breathe, are water proof, strong, flexible and
use super-reflective 3M Scotchlite. Cheap ones are made of vinyl,
tear easily and accumulate sweat. The standard pattern of two
vertical stripes on the front and an X on the back let drivers know
if you can see them.
A reflective vest is not that onerous or expensive. Mine was on sale
and cost about $65. It is completely
To my astonishment, a handsome young man told me the vest
turned him on. I think he meant he
supported the idea of bicycle safety, not literally that he was a vest
- Persuade pedestrians, especially children and pets to wear
flashing lights. They will find them cool, not geeky.
- Persuade cyclists to sport flashing lights and reflectors visible
from front, side and back.
If you won’t wear reflective gear for yourself, do it for the
poor driver who hits you or barely misses you and just about has a
Gift of Survival
Why not give reflective gear as gifts to your pedestrian and cyclist
friends to let them know you want them to stay alive? The elderly need
the most prodding. A gift is emotional blackmail on them to use it.