Saturday, February 23, 2008

Direct Action against Urban 4WDs

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that half the 36 children killed in driveway deaths between 1996 and 1998 were struck by large 4WDs. They have also found: "The proportion of alcohol intoxication amongst 4WD drivers involved in fatal crashes (29 per cent) was higher than for all other types of vehicle.

4WDs spew out 43 percent more global-warming pollutants - 28 pounds of carbon dioxide per gallon of gas consumed - and 47 percent more air pollution than the average car, using 1 million barrels of oil a day.

  • An average 4WD is more than twice as likely as a car to kill the driver of the other vehicle in a collision.
  • 4WDs are four times more likely than cars to roll over in an accident.
  • 4WDs are three times more likely to kill the occupants in a rollover.
  • 4WDs crashing into cars accounts for the majority of fatalities in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions.
There have been any number of articles about how selfish and ignorant it is to be driving a 4WD in the city. There are hundreds of anti 4WD websites. Sadly it seems that the kind of people who drive these bloated, fuel guzzling behemoths are too arrogant to listen. Most of these vehicles are owned by people who live in the richest suburbs in Sydney.

The only way to get the message home is to target the individuals who are driving them. I'm not saying you should physically attack them, (even though their choice of transport can, and is having a direct physical effect on all of us) You don't even have to damage their property (even though their overweight cars are damaging our roads forcing us to subsidise their selfish behaviour) No, all you need to do is follow the lead of people like the Indians of the concrete jungle

After all the "theft of air" is not illegal. You should probably leave a letter explaining why you've let the tires down. Maybe you can write something like this:

Letter to SUV owners:

Your SUV kills!

We have deflated one or several tyres of your SUV. Don’t take it personal. It’s your car we don’t like. You are certainly aware of the large amount of fuel it consumes, so we don’t have to enlighten you about that. But either you are ignorant of, or you don’t care about the fact that all the gas you consume by driving around in your SUV in the streets of the city has devastating consequences for others. Scientists are entirely sure that we are very close to pushing climate change across a threshold, into a phase where it will be totally out of control.

When the glaciers melt, people’s source of water disappear. When the deserts spread, agricultural fields become uncultivable. When the sea level rises, homes are inundated. Result: billions of refugees, countless deaths. It’s already estimated that 160 000 humans die every year due to the effects of climate change, according to the WHO.
As an affluent Swede you will survive longer then most. Those most vulnerable, and already worst afflicted by the global warming caused by Northern affluence, are the people of poor countries. In the end, however, climate chaos will affect us all, poor people as well as rich.

This does not have to happen if we impose a radical cut on carbon emissions. Now. Not tomorrow. That’s why we have disarmed your SUV by deflating the tyres.
Since you live in a city with a functioning and accessible public transportation system you will have no problem getting where you want without your SUV.


Dan Pangburn said...

The 22 year long temperature rise that got a lot of people convinced that human activity was causing global warming stopped in 1998. Now we see that the average global temperature from Jan 2007 through Jan 2008 dropped more than the rise from 1901 to 2001. What next?

Robby said...

I am also an avid cyclist and while I don't like SUVs I think this tactic is stupid at best, here's my line of thought:

It's not like someones going to leave it there with flat tires forever. They'll probably call another friend or tow truck to drive them out an air compressor to pump their tires up. Then the new vehicle will drive off, and they'll get in their SUV and drive off. Now you have roughly twice the emissions in the air. I think you're best to leave SUVs alone and let their owners and drivers take the hits in the wallet till they can't afford the damn things anymore.

just my two cents

hellhound said...

This is like anything else which targets individual members of a large group and makes them pay for the group's mistakes as a whole; no matter what, it is the wrong approach. Some SUV owners feel their cars to be utilitarian devices and have given this topic a lot of thought. I can see doing this to a specific dumb person's hummer or something, but to random people? How do you know that they're not driving their disabled mother to the doctor's office, or picking their children up from school? Better to educate than harm! This approach can do nothing but create resentment.

holmesie said...

So I would need to own TWO vehicles - a 4WD/SUV for driving around the farm and country, and a car to drive to the city several times a year just so my 4WD/SUV doesn't get targeted by people in support of this misguided approach to what they perceive as a problem.

Like hellhound says, better to educate than harm - this approach can only turn ugly when some SUV owner catches a cyclist tampering with their property.