Three types of transportation – all mighty tough

The bus riders are a breed of their own. They are the ones who have no respect for elderly, even with a cane, and refuse to move when a partially crippled man asks for a seat.

Arlozorov Bus Station in Tel Aviv  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Arlozorov Bus Station in Tel Aviv
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
When Shabbat was over, I turned on the news and learned that another person had been killed in an accident, making a total of six for Friday and Saturday. I cried with deep emotion; even though I knew none of these people, I realized that what they possessed within them – love, wisdom, creativity, athletic strength – were now lost. How very devastating!
I drove for 50 years, and we had six different cars – none lost in an accident. For some reason, I never had an accident in the US or Israel, although I did receive three speeding tickets in the US. Even though my father, Louis Geffen, knew all the policemen at the traffic bureau in Atlanta, he made sure my license was suspended, and I had to pay the fine out of my own funds. The lesson did teach me a lot, but I was still speeding until that stopped, too.
I’ve become an active rider of public transportation, clocking in more than 2,000 light rail rides since its inception and at least 1,000 bus rides since 1977. Through experience, I have learned what people do on transportation systems, which is my prelude to automobile accidents.
The buses move much faster these days, and the drivers speed on city streets in particular. I do not know how they accomplish what they do – power steering and in-depth training make a difference. I do not know how many accidents, if any, they have with their own personal cars. In their buses, they are forbidding to everyone on the road.
The bus riders are a breed of their own. They are the ones who have no respect for elderly, even with a cane, and refuse to move when a partially crippled man asks for a seat. They point across the aisle – and say, “Let him or her do it.” Young people are much kinder.
If these individuals were driving, I think that they would be very dangerous, because they have no respect for anyone. On the road, they would not hesitate to cut off other drivers, to jump from lane to lane, speeding forward with no concern for anyone else. They would turn out to be individuals responsible for accidents and deaths.
ON JERUSALEM’S light rail, you can see how people – young and old, women and men, the religious and the secular – hold doors open forcefully so more people can squeeze into the car. I look at it, regularly, and wonder why this is happening. All over the world – on light rails, trams, subways and other forms of train transportation – imagine that this was the case.
In some of these other countries, the accident rates are low. In Israel the “door holders,” I feel, would be energized to drive with regard for no one. Doors do not have to be held open, but filling space on the road by forcing their car into a dangerous position can cause an accident.
What a lot of our drivers fail to realize is that a car is a metallic projectile filled with fuel and people. Our projectile can be controlled, but it also can become a deadly weapon. It can kill with no abandon – destroying everything in its way as it speeds across the highway, causing large losses of human life and destroying fashioned metal. But no one seems to care, except the families who lose loved ones.
The police have a new answer from above, more potent than we might expect. If drones can easily deliver all types of explosives and examine what is transpiring on earth with sophisticated cameras, then they can be used to easily pick out cars that are speeding, cars that are jumping lanes and cars that are moving much too slowly on highways built to provide vehicles the opportunity to move quickly within the speed limits. I saw one example of a drone focusing on a speeding car and notifying the police on the ground so the car could be pulled over. We can only hope there will be enough drones to cover the highways of Israel.
Having described what causes accidents and what might stop a percentage of them, I turn to you, my fellow Israelis.
Do you believe that life is already brief and shouldn’t be cut short? If you want to find in the years which are yours real happiness, why attempt on the highway to make that impossible? If you want your children to grow up so you can enjoy them, why do you speed with them in the car?
Why in the army are you taught rules of safety so you can survive on the ground and in vehicles, but when you complete your tour of duty and return to civilian life, you fail in your daily pursuits to observe the rules of automobile safety?
You and I are blessed to be here in Israel after our ancestors longed to return to this land for centuries, but we use our highways over and over again as launching pads for our metallic projectiles, at times destroying ourselves, and at times destroying others.
Automobile accidents are caused by individuals of flesh and blood. We hold the steering wheel; no force from above. Why treat so irresponsibly the great gift of life that we were given when we were born?
Since I no longer drive – at the sensible advice of my children – I can be a little more objective. I want to challenge each driver out there: Be wise, be careful, don’t be daring, and slow your car – your projectile – down.