This motorist feels that road courtesy campaigns shouldn’t “help” road users who are beyond “rescue”
Helpless Versus Hopeless PHOTO: TORQUE

As members of a gracious society, we have been taught to respect the elderly, be patient with senior citizens and to treat certain groups of people, such as women and children, with extra civility. These are the so-called “helpless” – those who are given lifeboat priority on a sinking vessel.

On the roads, motorists are expected to be mindful of bikers, cyclists and pedestrians, simply because they are considered more vulnerable. This year’s Road Courtesy Campaign is yet another reminder to drivers that they should “show greater consideration, exhibit courteous behaviour and exercise more tolerance when on the roads”. The five keywords at the heart of the campaign this time are Space, Respect, Patience, Foresight and Consideration.

It might be better to give than to receive, but why are decent motorists always the ones doing the giving? Why are considerate drivers always the ones being asked to compromise?

I feel that the “right” targets should be motorists who are aggressive or incompetent (sometimes both), lorry drivers who speed with impunity or brazenly hog the fast lane, and bikers who ride dangerously.

Other “right” targets ignored in road courtesy initiatives are the cyclists who feel they are entitled to use the roads but refuse to abide by traffic regulations, pedestrians who saunter their way across a road or jaywalk haphazardly because they think they are “kings”, and children who misbehave inside a moving vehicle, in a busy carpark or on the roadside (and their parents let them be).

In the face of such bad behaviour, are good motorists still expected to accord Space, Respect, Patience, Foresight and Consideration to these monkeys simply because they are “helpless”?! In my opinion, they are closer to “hopeless” instead, and therefore, we shouldn’t go out of our way to “take care” of them.

 

 

This article first appeared in Torque.

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