The casualness of driving.

Bathed in light

Bathed in light.

It was a day like any other. I was heading home after another day at the chalk face. Slowly. The sun was still high enough in the sky to make its presence felt. The benefits of slow cycling far outweigh the few extra minutes added to my journey time. I could hear a single car coming up from behind. I glanced over my shoulder to confirm. The car came up beside me. It was close enough to touch. The driver had his eyes fixed on the screen of his mobile phone. I saw red.

The driver probably thought I had been in the sun too long. He told me that he wasn’t ‘that’ close. I don’t know how he could determine that; his eyes and attention were on the screen of his phone. And besides, he wasn’t texting, as I had suggested. He was ‘just’ reading a map.

He seemed genuinely puzzled by my reaction to his overtaking manoeuvre. I wasn’t puzzled. I witness this casualness towards driving everyday; whether I’m riding a bicycle, walking or driving. It’s a cultural thing. Sadly, there seems to be very little awareness of the issue or interest in addressing it.

There’s a ‘slow food’ and a ‘slow cycling’ community. It must be about time to set up a ‘slow driving’ community?

‘Cycling’ is sport and recreation. ‘Riding a bicycle’ is everyday activity. No sweat.

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  1. I think many people have forgotten what a dangerous thing it is to drive a heavy vehicle that is capable of killing and ruining lives in the space of a second. Instead, driving is seen as a basic human right. A necessity along the lines of oxygen or water. A rite of passage. Because driving is such a normal thing, no-one treats it with the attention it deserves.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Katie. I agree. But we shouldn’t be surprised, really. There are many things in this life that are undesirable but society has chosen to be tolerant of them…climate change, child poverty, come to mind. I want to belong to an advocacy group that addresses the dangers of driving in the way that tobacco was confronted some decades ago. The motor car has a degree of utility that tobacco never could but nonetheless, we are at a point where the costs of making driving so easy, cheap and accessible are becoming too great a burden on society.

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  3. I don’t think it’s necessarily about driving (or cycling) slowly. It’s about being mindful while you’re doing these things. I tell people that bicycle riding is my form of meditation. I have to be completely present all the time I am riding. No music, no cell phone, just 100% focus on what I am doing at that moment, including paying attention to all of the potential hazards on the road in front of me, next to me and even behind me. The faster I ride, the more attentive I am.

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  4. Yes, I agree Linda. It is more than about being mindful rather than just being slow. Although I’m also conscious of the potential to make cycling sound more difficult than it actually is. Like, I often hear, “you must be so fit” when in fact all I am doing is riding my bicycle slowly over a short distance. I don’t require special equipment of need any particular skill. ‘It’s as easy as walking. No sweat’. That’s what I want to convey.


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