30 August 2005

Air bags for pedestrians

In Europe, new design standards for cars are being proposed so that when pedestrians are driven into, the car does not immediately kill them or cause head injuries. Bonnets are to be raised above engines so they can bend on impact. Bumper bars are to be broader so that pedestrians are not immediately thrown head-first onto the engine compartment. At present, car design promotes head injuries as low bumper bars hit pedestrians' legs first knocking them off their feet so the head impacts the front of the car.

Another proposal is external air bags which open on impact on the outside of the car to protect pedestrians. This would be an extra cost for motorists, who would prefer to spend the money on car sound systems, but could save many lives and prevent injuries.

In Manly there are still a large number of vehicles which are designed for war on the roads. Car-armouring such as bull bars and heavy weight ensure the survival of the toughest. The guaranteed losers of these street battles are pedestrians and cyclists, especially children. For each one of the thousands of deaths on the roads and adjacent footpaths, about 100 people are injured, often seriously and permanently.

Although in Australia, the discussion about carcinogenic diesel dust particles has finally just begun, the topic of dangerous streets has been long kept quiet. The aim of design changes is to protect living beings without air bags who dare to go out into car-dominated public places.

Where are the car-free spaces around here?

No comments: