So I heard this interesting story a couple of days ago that involves my brother-in-law M in London (yes M I’m finally writing a post about you). Now the story itself is quite simple and can be related in a couple of lines, but knowing my over-thinking brain, I will go deeper and analyse this story.
M and his wife L live in London, M goes to work on a daily basis from one side to the other of London on his bicycle, which is quite a long ride. So to enjoy the drive there, he, as most people do, plug their earphones in under their helmets and get on their busy day.
Heading to work a couple of days ago M got pulled over by a cop that asked him to remove his earphones, when asking why, the cop bluntly replied: “it looks like you’re having too much fun”. I didn’t see that one coming to tell you honestly, but hey the cop might have a point, listening to music might disrupt your road driving focus and cause you to have an accident.
Now I’ve been to London, and I’ve seen bikers have their own driving lane, as well as their own green lights, though that doesn’t make it any safer, since car drivers tend to take all the space they are given and end up mirror-butting cyclists. Personally, I found being a pedestrian in London even more dangerous than being a cyclist, but hey that’s just me.
So I thought through the cop’s logic and agreed that to a certain extend his reason for pulling M over should have been: because you’re not focused on the road so much and might be a danger to yourself and others. Now I’m not sure how dangerous that actually is in London; but it definitely is in Lebanon, where there are no cyclist traffic lights or lanes, and where pedestrians still don’t understand the fact that stop lights apply to them as well.
You see on the daily people listening to music and messaging run into objects, and you can even find video compilations of them that will make you laugh you socks off, and I will join you in laughter most definitely http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wl0JojWH1rQ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjLkXzHXvWs; unfortunately we only see the funny, non-dangerous ones being reposted all over the internet, and forget about the poor souls that got run over because of these devices, one in particular is clear in my mind: Talal Amer Qassem, died at age 18 while crossing the road on Raouche, Beirut in front of Al Ajami. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2010/Oct-20/60493-car-runs-over-and-kills-ic-student-walking-to-school.ashx#axzz2kbt2nqq5.
Talal had his iPod plugged in, he looked over before crossing the first road, decided to change song halfway through, and crossed the last bit without checking for cars first. His music was on so loud that he didn’t hear the car coming, nor the tires screeching, and the honks. That ended his life.
So looking back at the cop that pulled over M, I kind of understand where he’s coming from, but I think a simple: “please keep an ear unplugged and focus on the road” would have been better than: “it looks like you’re having too much fun”.
Keep your senses responsive when walking, cycling, biking, and driving. It might save you.T.