RECENTLY I wrote a column calling for a ban on high-powered cars.
It was the journalistic equivalent of throwing a bottle at a beehive, something my less-evolved self used to love doing before football training.
To say the article wasn’t well received would be a bit of an understatement.
Inquisitors questioned my credentials as a writer, as a driver, as a man.
“Let me just start by saying that you are a colossal, one-eyed, class A, sensationalist Muppet,” began a note. And that was a polite one.
Perth car enthusiasts, as I hinted at in the article, are indeed as unbalanced and feral as the gun nuts in the US.
Some people, however, made some very good points.
So much so that I’ve softened my stance.
I still hate big cars and motorbikes, those ones that sound like the end of the world, driven and ridden by men (always men) who are obviously a bit unsure about the world and their place in it.
The noise pollution is designed to drown out the voices in their head whispering they’re not good/big/tough enough.
But clearly a ban on high-powered cars is not the best or only solution.
The approach to lowering the road toll needs to be multi-faceted.
A progressive method of driver training needs to be adopted – you don’t let a pilot train in a Cessna then let him fly an Airbus A380.
Training should be incremental – P-platers should be limited to four-cylinder vehicles, then need to pass advanced driving courses before they can drive anything more powerful.
Road safety courses in schools should stress the carnage and trauma that can be caused on the roads by that dangerous mix of testosterone and a moving vehicle.
One of the choice bits of feedback I received concerned my chosen method of travel.
“Probably a cyclist,” chided one Facebook fan.
As it turns out, I did get a bike for Christmas and use it to cycle to work a few days a week (I like to read my book on the bus on the others).
It’s quiet and cheap and great for the legs and lungs, not to mention the planet.
And nothing, nothing clears the mind better after a day at the office than a nice, long ride.
I’d much prefer that than swearing at the traffic in front of me.
With the State Government’s investment in cycle paths, it also feels a lot safer than it used to when you were forced to share the road with … the less enlightened.
Perth’s a long way from Amsterdam in terms of a cycling utopia, but it’s getting there.
So keep your high-powered cars – and enjoy flushing half your wage away in fuel costs and servicing, all while watching the value of that thing plummet faster than Skylab.
I’ll be riding off into the sunset.
More by Greig Johnston