The Blanket

Road Kill

Liam O Ruairc • 24.9.02

The Guardian recently (24 September) quoted a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research that showed that children from the UK's most deprived neighbourhoods are three times more likely to be knocked down by cars. The report found that in 1999 and 2000, 8000 children were killed or injured on the roads in Britain's poorest 10% of council wards compared to just 1000 casualties in the richest wards. The number of children in poor wards have 2.2 casualties per 100 000 children compared to 0.6 in rich areas.

Although figures for the North of Ireland were unavailable, statistics would certainly show that children living in working class areas in Belfast or elsewhere are three times more likely to be knocked down than those living in Cherryvalley or Holywood for example. Those of us leaving in West Belfast will have probably heard of efforts by local people to stop joyriding. It is not surprising that campaigns like that are started in working class areas, better off districts are not plagued by joyriding and would not feel the need to organise against the problem. As strange as it may sound, road safety, car accidents and car crime are class issues.

It is not due to fate or chance that some children are three times more likely to be injured or killed in road crime/accidents. It is due to a particular form of social and economic organisation that condemns large sections of the population to marginalisation. At least three effects from socio-economic marginalisation put people at risk on the roads. Kids in poor areas are more at risk, because having nowhere to go, they are constantly standing in the streets. Anybody driving down the Malone Road will not find huge number of children hanging on street corners. Secondly, joyriding is a typical working class phenomenon. Thirdly, the richer the area, the better road facilities tend to be (traffic lights, crossing, etc).

It is time that socialists and republicans take the road issue seriously. Eight thousand working class children's lives are at stake. The problem is preventable.















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When you struggle, that's when you realize what you're made of, and that's when you realize what the people around you can do. You learn who you'd want to take with you to a war, and who you'd only want to take to lunch .
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Index: Current Articles

26 September 2002


Other Articles From This Issue:


IRA Volunteer Charlie Hughes and the Courage of the Brave
Brendan Hughes


A Question of Identity

Billy Mitchell


Road Kill
Liam O Ruairc


Pakistan and Military Dictators

Anthony McIntyre


Baghdad's Think-Tank Bomb
John Chuckman


Solidarity: 2 Notices
Sam Bahour and Fred Schlomka


22 September 2002


Pipedream Peace
Joe Graham


Can The Course of Labour Afford to Wait?
Billy Mitchell


Easily Annoyed
Peter Urban


Academics on Independence, Part 1

Paul Fitzsimmons


Sabra & Shatila

Anthony McIntyre


Palestine & Iraq
Brendan Hughes


Not In Our Name
Davy Carlin


Death Fasts and Oppression Continue in Turkey




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