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The streets of Bismarck are not safe anymore. Pedestrians better watch out. Main street will be an even rowdier place now.

All regular, "clever" responses to the statement that I have my driver's license. The truth is, most new drivers really do strive to be safe drivers. If you're new and haven't been exposed to most of the horrible drivers out there (such as myself) , you may have the impression that most drivers out there aren't in too much of a hurry.

In the short time I've been driving, though, I think I've already found out that this is nothing more than another pile. If you need examples, I've got 'em

Every day I'm out driving, I almost always find myself driving on either 3rd St. or one of the one ways. I go the speed limit, since I really can't find a reason to break the law just so I can get to my destination a minute earlier. The problem is, almost everyone else driving around me has apparently found some pressing reason to go a bit over the speed limit. It's especially hard to have one of these incredibly important people driving right behind you, inches from your bumper, about ready to throw something out the window at you for actually obeying the speed limit.

I must admit, the speed limit can be quite an annoying thing sometimes. You have to deliver a pizza, you get to go home after this delivery, so is it justifiable to drive 85 MPH down South Washington street? In the same respect, how about someone going 70 MPH because their spouse said to come home at 6:00 pm, not 6:03 pm? People do this and get away with it, too. Although reckless drivers do get caught quite a bit, police can't be on every street in Bismarck, so that humvee tooling down Ward road at 110 MPH may get away with it.

So why does a speed-limit-obeying driver have to feel like he's being screwed when he sees all kinds of bad drivers not getting pulled over? I have a suggestion, though it involves radical thinking. People who are already too set in their ways to have an unbiased, fresh mind talk can move onto another page. However, be forewarned that it involves getting rid of speed limits.

Yup, getting rid of them altogether. We'd be replacing them with "suggested speeds." We could simply let the suggested speeds for all the streets in Bismarck be the same as the current speed limits. Here's the catch: if someone gets into an accident, if they're going over the suggested speed, they get in trouble.

Here's where you're supposed to say, "Uh, even Montana has a speed limit now." That's true, but is the speed limit lowering accidents over there? People who want to go 90 MPH in their Ferrarri will do that no matter what some little metal sign says. And hey, if those drivers are safe and can do it without hurting anyone, I say more power to them.

I liken speed in driving to a kid with candy. A family I knew always had an ample supply of candy in a dish in almost every room of their house, and their kids could have as much as they wanted to any time, ever since they were born. A child from another family, who didn't have this luxury, was astounded by all the candy the first time he was there. He asked the child who lived in this palace-o'-candy why he wasn't pigging out on all kinds of stuff right now, but the kid just replied by saying the candy was no big deal, that it was always there. The parents in this house also said that they barely ever had to replenish the bowls, since the kids would never be interested in having candy.

With this proposal, I think I will thoroughly confuse people. Even though I made fun of reckless drivers, those same road hogs probably like my idea of a suggested speed. Likewise, people who hate reckless drivers probably will go out and buy an extra-heavy-duty bumper just hearing the idea of the speed limit being abolished. Wouldn't it be interesting to give it some kind of trial run, though? For the time being, I'll continue to drive the speed limit and toss bio-degradable apple cores out the window at people going fifty through the BHS parking lot.

How about we give these piggish drivers all the speed-limit-candy they can handle, and eventually, they'll start to mellow out and realize that that candy will be there if they ever need to get home for The Simpsons really quick.

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Karl Becker, the author of all these articles, uses New Tricks for his writings.

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... The streets of Bismarck are not safe anymore. ...

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