Philobiblon: A loss of air in return for lots of hot air

Friday, September 16, 2005

A loss of air in return for lots of hot air

Was chuffed to hear about the group of Paris campaigners against four-wheel-drive vehicles, who call themselves the Deflators (Les Dégonflés). They are going around letting down the tyres of four-wheel-drive vehicles (SUVs), a campaign that has been stepped up since the local authorities wimped out of banning the monsters from the city.

SBS reports: "The group has promised to make a video of its tyre strikes available on the Internet within the next month with the aim of inspiring the same action in other French cities."

Now I can hear all the complaints now:

1. That must be illegal.
No, according to a report on BBC Radio Five yesterday (not on the web), it isn't, since no damage is caused. (Legal note: This is the case under French law; it may not be the case elsewhere.)

2 You're inconveniencing "innocent" people.
Oh no they're not - these are people behaving in a thoroughly anti-social manner. Society is entitled to extract a penalty from them for that. Teenagers who behave in an anti-social manner are forced to spend their weekends picking up litter; having to pump up your tyres and not being able to get where you wanted to go instantly might provide a good time for a little reflection on your behaviour.

As one blogger puts it: "La guerre du macadam est ouverte."

In case you still don't realise how bad they are, from yesterday's Guardian:

"4x4s are responsible for 43% more greenhouse emissions and 47% more pollution than the average car. You are 27% more likely to die if you are hit by a 4x4 than by an ordinary car. But, bizarrely, you are also 6% more likely to die if you are an occupant of a 4x4, because 4x4 drivers, feeling invulnerable, drive faster."

More about Paris anti-4x4 campaigns (in French) here. The British campaign, as yet rather more restrained, is here.


Blogger Susoz said...

I believe 4WD occupants are more likely to die not just because they drive faster but because the vehicles are more likely to roll as there is some sort of instability due to their height.

9/16/2005 04:22:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

I think you're right that this is an important factor. But I suspect there must also be a "Volvo-driver" effect!

9/16/2005 12:28:00 pm  
Anonymous la peregrina said...

Hurray for the French! I visit my sister in Denver, Co frequently and the number of SUV's there is appalling. If you ask someone why they have one they will say because of the snow in the winter season. The average annual snowfall in Denver is 55.4 inches/4.5 feet. When there is a big snowstorm that SUV is going to sit in the garage because there is going to be so much snow you won't be able to get your garage door open. I grew-up in Denver, I know.

I may adopt this technique and use it on any Hummer I find parked at the Cherry Creek Mall next time I am in Denver. Talk about the ultimate poseur car.

9/16/2005 07:14:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Go get 'em, and please post photos!

9/17/2005 01:45:00 am  

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