I was really, really happy to read that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have auctioned off a Ferrari Scuderia confiscated from a speeding motorist in Vancouver last September. The driver of the Ferrari was doing 200 kph (124 mph) in a 65 kph (40 mph) zone. He was racing against a motorist in a BMW M6, which will also be auctioned off. The Ferrari went for $306,000.
There have been reports that the Ferrari narrowly missed a woman and her children. Obviously, if the Ferrari had hit them at that speed, the incident would have become a front-page tragedy, with yet another family wiped out by a speeding motorist.
It is heartening to see the authorities taking this so seriously. As we know, BC now has the toughest drinking and driving laws in Canada. (So we should see less children killed by drunk drivers in future.) And confiscating a car is one of the worst punishments possible for our car-obsessed society (just as, conversely, winning a car is one of the greatest possible joys). To me, this means we are beginning to be able to see past the car myth, and privilege human life over cars. Wow! (Especially heartening given that I just read that in the USA, in the list of things that people say they want in order to have a good life, cars have just nudged children out of second place!)
But this is the part that puzzles me: why is it even legal to manufacture and sell cars that can go that fast, given that it is not legal to drive that fast anywhere?
For example, take my BionX electric bike, which I use for commuting. Because the Canadian speed limit for electric bikes is 32 kph (19 mph), the BionX is set up so that when the bike reaches 32 kph, the engine stops working. You’re back to foot power only. So the construction of the BionX actively prevents the cyclist from breaking the law.
The law tries to protect pedestrians from cyclists, by making it physically impossible for BionX bikes like this to go much faster than 32 kph (19 mph) – and that’s a good thing, because occasionally cyclists do kill pedestrians … but why is there no such restriction on vehicles such as the Ferrari Scuderia above, which can go a whole lot faster, and do so much more damage to human beings?
It is a mystery to me that the same kind of built-in restriction is not imposed on cars. I mean, seriously, how likely is it that the person who parted with $306,000 for that auctioned Ferrari will always drive it at a careful 50 kph (31 mph)?
If you liked this post, you might like one of my most popular posts, “As a matter of fact, we do own the road!” which explains why cyclists have every right to claim a safe space on the roads.
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