To the Editor,
The criminal justice branch is seeking a “substantially increased” sentence for an impaired driver who killed a motorcyclist and was sentenced to one day in jail.
The defense lawyer for the driver says the criminal justice branch is “bowing to the mob” and is right.
But it is the mob that underestimates the danger of car use to innocent children, the elderly, and others when they are pedestrian and cyclist street users. Sentences are a deterrent to those who might endanger others with irresponsible driving.
Motorists, too, are pedestrians the minute they park their cars. In my neighbourhood, a woman was permanently disabled in front of her own house by a driver speeding through our residential streets. He was not speeding at 120 km/h on the highway, but at 60 or 70 where 30 or 40 would be prudent.
Recent pedestrian and cyclist deaths highlight how little regard we have for the danger to people not in cars of careless or inattentive driving.
Elsewhere, this danger is taken much more seriously.
There are walking and cycling safety courses for grade school children. And driver’s education pays special attention to avoiding harm to people who are not in other cars.
Where death and injury rates are much lower, drivers are required to anticipate unsafe moves by pedestrians and cyclists.
After all, for drivers we have a minimum age, rigorous licensing and law enforcement. But children are allowed to be, and through necessity must be, pedestrians and cyclists.