Thursday, 6 July 2017

The death of a cyclist

always reminds me of how vulnerable cyclists are or, in my case, tri-cyclists.
Yesterday I had an email to say that a close friend of another friend has lost her son to one of those senseless accidents that leave you wondering "why?" The woman who has lost her son is, from all accounts, a good woman who cares about her family, friends and neighbours. Her son sounds as if he was a good man too. He leaves behind a wife and two sons. They must all be devastated.
Even though my contact with the mother of this man has been minimal I feel for her.
It is a subject which has come up in this household of late. There has been much made in the local media of the very short sentence given to the young fool who stole a vehicle, drove it at high speed - and still higher speeds when chased by the police, crashed it and killed a woman. It was not the first time he had stolen a car and driven unlicensed - too young even to have a licence. 
For his actions he will spend 18 months in juvenile detention. Whether he has managed to learn anything positive while there is doubtful. And yes, keeping him there any longer will probably just teach him new ways to steal cars.
I was asked what I would do with such a boy and replied, "Torture is not allowed but I would strap him into a simulator and force him to drive at very high speeds. He would have accidents and, each time he had an accident, I would give him an electric shock. I would make him go on "driving". I would keep him awake and make him drive and have the shocks until he was screaming and begging to be allowed to stop. If he re-offended I would do it again."
No, I am not a nice cat at all. I have far too much imagination. And no, in real life I could not do it. 
I have no idea how to handle such people. I do know that I strongly believe the age at which you can obtain a permit to learn to drive should be raised to 18. It is 16 here - far too young. I would also like to see a probationary period of at least three years, preferably five. If you get caught breaking the law in that time then  - start your probationary period again. 
Tough? Not as tough as a family, friends and neighbours having to live with the death of someone because of the stupidity of someone else. 


kayT said...

Sixteen didn't used to be too young. When I and my friends were 16 we were responsible drivers, and it was necessary for us to drive: I grew up in a farming community and had to start driving to help haul crops to market etc. How did it come to pass that 16 year olds are too young and not yet responsible enough to drive?

Anonymous said...

And driving was limited pretty much to rural areas - you didn't get a load of high school students with their own cars. There was no belief that "everyone has a car" (which is obviously not true). You didn't use the vehicle as a recreational object either. It was there for a purpose - not for simply "driving around". Cat's right. Sixteen is much too young to drive, especially in the city. Chris

Adelaide Dupont said...

kayT and Chris:

25-26 would be a good age to drive or even as late as 28.

And probably more up the other end as well.

Yes - there are lots of ways to steal cars these days and you'd learn them all within a few weeks of being in youth detention.

I was wondering if your farm kept records?