The basic thesis, as I understand it, is that the UK is overly complacent about the rate at which pedestrians who are children are dying as a result of automobile accidents. The author has a real way with words:
"It may well be that the UK does indeed have the best road safety record in Europe if road safety is taken to mean numbers of recorded casualties and if Sweden is excluded from the definition of Europe. This statement however, on an overall road safety record, seems somewhat misplaced in a press release relating to child pedestrian accidents where the analogous record for Great Britain appears to be amongst the worst in Europe."
I can't tell if this is written by a crank or someone who is just cranky but it is definitely entertaining. [ETA: Not a crank. This is a great article.]
ETA: I really cannot leave this alone. I started down this little hole because a friend posted to a listgroup I belong to a link to the Salon article about letting your kids wander around so they can actually grow up (a thesis I basically support). Someone _really annoying_ (I've met them in person -- I can vouch for this) called Godwin's Law on me when I posted an excerpt from _Growing Up Female in Nazi Germany_ by Dagmar Reese in response to another person's post claiming that in Germany, kids don't play in the street, and also complaining about the guy on his street who lets his kid play in the street and who harasses drivers who go 28 in a 25 mph zone. So I've switched to my own venue, rather than dig into some rat's nest about whether it's even reasonable to quote Godwin at me for what I did, since someone _else_ brought up Germany, and I was digging through history, and the quote in question noted that the destruction of street life, while aggravated by the Nazis, started before 1933.
In any event, further down in the article I referenced above:
"It will be argued that road safety is one example of an area of service delivery where target chasing does not adequately address the issues and may in fact be counter-productive. For example, Richter et al (2001) have argued in the U.S. context that lower casualty figures actually represent a failure of policy, and were held to be more attributable to the unacceptable lifestyle changes forced on many sections of the community than to delivery of a road safety policy."
I like the "unacceptable lifestyle changes" bit. That's a nice, scientific, objective, passive, blah, blah, bleeping blah (everything flinx _hates_ about writing for journal publication!) phrase for making-us-drive-our-kids-everywhere. At least, that's how I read it.
ETASM: FWIW, I brought up the whole I-let-my-kid-play-on-the-sidewalk story and the various responses we've gotten.
ETAOMT: I'm thinking that maybe I should get a little more aggressive about my kid-playing-on-sidewalk thing. If the problem with child pedestrians is that the kids are trying to avoid cars, but the cars aren't trying to avoid the kids, then maybe what I need to do is put something out there that cars _will_ avoid. I've already got traffic cones (maybe a few more further down the street?). There's already a "children" sign further down the street. I could conceivably park a car on the street (altho there isn't really a parking lane, and parking on the sidewalk would defeat the purpose). Maybe one of those folding signs? I wonder what the local cops would do about that. . .