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Cheers - AE

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

No iPods and MP3 players allowed - it's for your own good.

Jesus Christ, what will the bansturbators and Nannies think of next? The latest things in their sights (not gunsights, obviously - they're not safe) as being in need of a bloody good ban are iPods and phones. No, I'm not making this up.
NSW Police said it would support laws banning the use of iPods, mobile phones and other electronic devices while crossing the road and while riding bicycles.
Welcome to New South Wales, where music is for standing perfectly still to. Look, I admit I get annoyed when inattentive dicks step out into the road in front of me without looking, and if I hit one of the idiots I'd be initially very upset and worried about them. And then later, once I pulled myself together and realised whose fault it was as well as considered whose insurance gets the bill, I'd be very, very angry and maybe even feel that the cock-socket deserved it for being so hugely irresponsible. But a ban is a massive overreaction to what is a very small problem. I can't recall the last time it happened to me or even the last time I saw it happen to another driver.

It's only with very slight relief that I see this idiot idea didn't originate here. You'll never guess where it comes from.

Right first time!
In New York, a bill is pending in the transport committee that would ban pedestrians, including joggers, from using gadgets while crossing the street.

Other states including Oregon, Virginia and California are moving to ban devices such as iPods from being used while riding a bicycle. Culprits would be fined between $US20 and $US100.
This is what happens when legislators don't have real jobs. They see their purpose as to legislate so they bloody well going to do just that. Making any fucking sense is a bonus when it happens but it shouldn't be in any way mistaken for the object of the exercise. And as for the New South Wales police...
Similar legislation has yet to be introduced in Australia but NSW Police said "should legislation such as that described be introduced, it would receive our support and ongoing attention".

The position is a marked turnaround from the views of NSW Police State Traffic Commander John Hartley, who said in 2007, when the US laws were first talked about, that "you can't legislate stupidity".
And why the change of heart? Nobody knows.
The reason for the change in position is unclear - national pedestrian road deaths have been falling consistently, from 351 in 1996 to 173 last year. In NSW, there has been a slight rise in pedestrian road deaths from 59 to 64 between 2009 and 2010, the RTA says.
Because why the fuck not, it would seem. After all, New South Wales is a crime free paradise leaving the police nothing better to do with their time than ticket people crossing the road while using music players and phones.

Oh, wait. It isn't, is it?
The Pedestrian Council of Australia...
The fucking what? Is this a very boring and uninspired council somewhere?
... has been running advertisements showing people with lamb heads using their gadgets while crossing the road at a red light under the banner "Lambs to the slaughter, wait for the green"
Ah. That sort of pedestrian. And to be fair to them the ad campaign is pretty good idea. But...
The council's spokesman, Harold Scruby, said there should be a much stricter legislation and enforcement campaign to complement his awareness campaign. He also said device manufacturers had a "moral and corporate responsibility" to put warnings on their mobiles and music players.
No, Harold. No to both parts. No legislation is needed both because the offence often carries its own natural consequence (occasionally nature treats it as a capital offence) and because there are almost certainly things you can already prosecute pedestrians and cyclists for who cause accidents as a result of inattention, no matter what the specific cause for their inattentiveness may be. And the manufacturers certainly don't have any kind of responsibility to do a single fucking thing. Try to understand, Harold, that the user is the person responsible for their actions. The user. Not the police, not the government, not you, and certainly not the manufacturer or the seller. Look, do you blame Stanley when someone hits their thumb with a hammer they made? Do you demand hammer legislation and claim that tool makers have a moral and corporate responsibility to put warnings on their products? No, of course you bloody don't. It's fucking obvious to anyone who takes a nanosecond to think on it that hammering your own thumb will hurt and is to be avoided, and that in any case using a hammer safely is entirely the responsibility of the mutt holding the fucking thing.

So why are iPods etc different, Harold? Is it because we've had thousands of years to get used to hammers but consumer electronics are new and, for people like Harold, just a little bit scary? I can't think of any other reason because the distraction he's worried about can and did happen long before they came along. People would talk to each other, read the paper, look at their watch at the wrong second, read advertising hoardings, eat, adjust their clothing, stare at the man with the board saying "Repent ye, for the End is Ni!" and any number of other things. And they still can and they still do, it's just that a few things have been added to the list. So are you going you going to ban all of those too? Because you're going to need to if you want your dream of a fluffy risk free road system to ever come about. Newspapers might go on their own anyway but there will have to be no advertising of any sort and everyone will need to be naked and gagged, leaving them at last able to devote their full attention to oh wow, that girl's tits are just beautif SCRREEEEEECH SMASH!

Ah, shit. It's still not working. Now we need to blindfold them too.
n September last year a 46-year-old Sydney woman from Glebe was knocked down and killed by an ambulance - reportedly while wearing headphones - as she crossed Parramatta Road.

"They put you in la-la land, aside from the fact that, if you're using two buds you've lost the stop, look and listen awareness of things around you," Mr Scruby said.
You've lost the fucking plot, buddy. One example of a maybe? That's all you've got? I agree with you that some users do kind of tweep out and get lost in the music but if you want new laws banning the things on the strength of one possible case then those people ain't the only ones in fucking la-la land.
...with drivers now gadget-free, attention is turning to pedestrians and their risk of walking into oncoming traffic while zoning out with their music players or sending texts.
And that's not a good thing, especially when the police can't fucking enforce the current laws and therefore drivers most certainly are not gadget free. There isn't a hope of enforcing this fully without forcing police attention away from something more serious.
The ability of mobiles to distract people from the outside world was brought home to a global audience this month when a US woman tumbled head first into a shopping centre fountain while texting.
Which was hilarious, thus being an example of a natural consequence that needs no further law or sanction.
She later threatened to sue the mall.
Which was also hilarious.
The New York senator who has been pushing the new rules for pedestrians, Carl Kruger, said people could not be fully aware of their surroundings while "fiddling with a BlackBerry, dialling a phone number, playing Super Mario Brothers on a Game Boy or listening to music on an iPod".
Some can, some can't. Not a reason to restrict liberty because some can't multi-task safely (including me, so I leave my iPod at home and tend to stop to text) and are either too dumb to realise the risk or too arrogant to think they need to play it safe. They're adults, for fuck's sake. You can't manage risk for them their whole lives and they become increasingly poor judges of risk when you do, which is probably part of the fucking reason some people do it in the first place.

As for trying it here, I'm pleased (and Harold is probably saddened) to see that the comments on the article were overwhelmingly against the idea. I can offer no better example than the sarcasm of someone calling themselves WillH, who said this:
Pedestrians are being killed in alarming numbers due to this highly dangerous practice and finally some common sense being shown on this vital issue. Hardly a day goes by when someone I know hasn't been maimed from this. It is important that governments think for us so we can lessen the amount of responsibility that we have to take for ourselves. We should also lower the speed limit at pedestrian crossings to 10-20 km/h and install cameras at each crossing that will photograph anyone using a phone/ipod when walking. The fine would be sent to the owner of the phone/ipod. It is high time we introduced compulsory licensing for these potentially life threatening devices. These measures would improve society immensely.
The only worry, Will, is that some soppy twat with a genetic sarcasm immunity probably would think these measures would improve society.
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