Your opinion: have we become more rude as motorists since days of the recession?
They say there are two sides to every story. That has certainly been borne out by the arguments around our piece last week in which I claimed we're losing our road manners (what we had) and hardening our attitudes to other users.
The strange thing was that, over the weekend, the tide turned somewhat from support and examples (more anon) to claims that I was highlighting rare occurrences and that people were every bit as rude in the recession.
One way or the other, the piece obviously struck a chord, judging by the volume of responses.
In summary this is what I wrote: "I can't get over how so many drivers feel it's okay to park on a corner, clog up an entire pathway or happily commandeer two parking spaces by planting wheels firmly in each.
"And don't get me started on how disabled parking slots are completely ignored.
"I'm not coming over all sanctimonious, but I am regularly shocked at how slipshod and selfish we've become. We had more manners in the depression."
So, for a change, we thought it would be a good thing to give readers their forum for a change and carry some of the correspondence. Oftentimes I ask for reaction to a piece, deal with responses privately and don't publish - for space reasons, mainly.
Anyway, let's start with a few responses from people who not only agreed with me but have been victims of our alleged lack of courtesy.
1. "An interesting commentary on a long-standing problem in this country. I'm a wheelchair user, following a road traffic accident in 1974, and I've witnessed on many an occasion at least all, if not more, of what you have referred to in your article while working, travelling around this country."
2. "It is heart-breaking to drive into a car park and find the disabled bay occupied by a car that doesn't even have the permit. How cruel can some people be?"
3. "I think you're right. We don't give a damn about straddling two parking spaces. What happens is: one does it and then others are pushed off centre as well when they come to park. Thank you for highlighting it. Not sure it will make any difference."
4. "Parking on corners or blocking vision or progress is an offence and should be reported. Did you report? If you didn't you are only going along with it."
1."Have you nothing better to be doing than stirring up reaction to a non-story? Is there nothing else going on?"
2. "What about all the runners and cyclists and motorbike merchants doing what they like? How come it is always the poor ould motorist (still enjoy your supplement every Wednesday)? I survived the recession (you call it the depression for some reason) and see no difference in behaviour. Go find something to write about that is relevant."
3. "I've never seen a car parked dangerously on a corner and I'm a long time on the road. Get your facts right."
4. "I sense you are trying to stir it up for the sake of it. The thing is, it is easy for you to write and comment knowing that a small minority will come out in support of you and then you feel vindicated. Well, I for one do not agree. We never had much manners on the road and we still don't but we're not worse than during the recession."
Space dictates we end it there, but I stick by what I said.
We have become selfish and uncaring and I saw, at first hand, fewer 'I'm alright Jack' attitudes when we were enduring the hard times.