When we think of transportation issues in Biblical times, we might picture Jesus bumping into someone with his donkey; or perhaps a Roman soldier squashing a peasants foot with his chariot, as he rides off to war.
Today the Vatican has waded into the car-culture debate with the publication of its "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road".
The guidelines include an intriguing set of 'Ten Commandments for Motorists'. Specifically targeting "itinerant" people - refugees, prostitutes, truck drivers and the homeless - the Commandments come at a time when traffic infractions in Rome and around the world have reached alarming rates.
"(In Rome) Danger derives from city cars, which are driven by youngsters and adults who do not have (full) driving licences, and the reckless use of motorbikes and motorcycles," says Cardinal Renato Martino of the Vatican.
Nothing new there. In the GTA yesterday, the two youngsters who were allegedly responsible for truck driver David Virgoe's death on the weekend, were arraigned in court on 11 charges, ranging from dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death to street racing and committing a common nuisance.
David Virgoe apparently made evasive maneuvers which may have saved other motorists' lives, but cost him his own. He didn't have any life insurance. He is, like most of the victims of our out-of-control car-culture, another innocent man.
It makes you wonder: where will this all end?
A lively discussion at the foot of Grant Rannelli's RTH article "A Lucky Break?" pits the usual "bikes are a nuisance" complainants against the growing chorus of folks who recognize that our car-culture is now spiralling out of control.
A follow up article in the Star highlights the frustrations of road safety campaigners everywhere: "Carmakers should fund campaigns to curb street racing and other forms of reckless driving," suggests Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario Safety League.
The Vatican's foray into this issue is a welcome development. Their Commandments are very astute too. What is perhaps more re-assuring though, to those of us who understand the menace that the automobile has now become, is that we may, finally, have God on our side.
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