The Ford GTHO was the ultimate car of it’s time… big, fast and powerful. However, if it appeared on the showroom floor today, it would be a flop. Sure, there’d still be a hard core of enthusiasts who would find it attractive, but lack of comfort, lack of standard equipment and an astronomical fuel bill would limit it’s appeal.
This is the RACV as a lobby group – stuck in the 70’s, advocating policies that it hopes will restore, or at least prolong, the golden age of motoring that saw it rise as a power. Irrelevant to an increasing proportion of it’s members and the community at large.
Why am I getting worked up about this right now? Well, over the past few weeks I’ve been annoyed by my local paper (Moreland Leader) pushing an RACV initiative to identify ‘Red Spots’… locations where traffic causes driver delay and frustration. This week my annoyance spilled over into anger as the front page of the Leader once again featured the RACV banner ad, but this time with a front page story about a bicycle commuter who had been killed by a motorist. Does anyone else spot the irony here?
Lets get back to the survey. It is nothing short of a sham… designed to elicit one-sided, knee jerk responses to problems that cannot be easily solved. The basic problem is a no-brainer: roads designed 10, 20, 30 years ago struggle to cope with today’s traffic. Gee, why would that be? The roads haven’t changed, could it be the traffic? Hang on a minute – there are more cars than there used to be! Eureka!! Lets face it, if you are sitting in a traffic jam, steaming up about the time you’re wasting, you are part of the problem!
Where is the section in their survey that deals with alternatives? Questions like: “Would you support strategies to reduce traffic on roads?”, “How often do you travel alone in your car?”, “Would you consider using public transport or riding a bicycle if you recieved a subsidy?”. All pretty relevant questions, but maybe the answers wouldn’t be the sort of thing the RACV would like to publicise. When are they going to realise that an awful lot of their members who are car drivers are also bicycle riders, motorcycle riders and public transport users? Wouldn’t that have been a relevant question? They call themselve a motoring lobby group, but their members are not just motorists.
Why is the RACV stuck in the past? That’s actually pretty easy to answer too: take a look at the board of directors totally dominated by old men in suits. Probably haven’t had a progressive idea between them in over 30 years.
How about pushing for real change – policies that reduce the number of cars on the road, because that’s the only way to fix this problem. Lets see them come out and support a congestion tax, or a halt to new roads and diversion of the funds to bike paths, motorcycle subsidies and free public transport. Then the RACV will start to look like a hydrogen powered car, something I would want to be seen driving in for the next 20 years.