Having hit the magic age 60 mark last week, I feel it is timely to send a brief (ish) reflection on some aspects of transport to Tasmanian Times. I’ll follow up with a more detailed, reference supported item as part #2, before the year is out, if our good Ed will indulge me.
During this decade until 2020, we baby boomers are due to make a substantial shift in the percentages of older people over 60 in Tassie, as on the big island above us.
Looking back, as we entered the mid 60s onwards, us BBs (Baby Boomers) began to hit the age when we were legally allowed out on the roads in our cars and on motorcycles. And did we hit it with gusto, as well as hitting each other and roadside objects with monotonous regularity that helped push Australia’s road toll up to record levels in the 1970s.
Sadly, far too many lost their lives and limbs, and I think that most of us, if honest, will admit that on many occasions we too came close, perhaps within fractions of a second, to heading into the next life.
Hopefully, most of us have learnt from our risky experiences and are more aware of risks and hazards. But I also know that my reactions, and abilities “ain’t what they used be”, and I need to double-check at intersections for dark coloured cars for example.
We love our cars, the mobility choices they give us, and I think most of us dream that we will be driving on into older age as long as we choose. And of course we want bigger, better roads like the mooted 4 lane Midland Highway between Launceston and Hobart.
Whoop’s! brakes on, and time for a reality check! I try to picture myself in 2032, at 80 years of age, struggling in amongst the increased traffic of the future, including 36 metre long b-triples, and texting, tableting, ippoding youngsters, on a Midland Highway that will not be anything like 4 lanes over its length.
Oh what joy I will have, fighting with other traffic at each merge as we switch from two lanes back to one lane at regular intervals, and through Perth and Campbell Town, ‘cos there is not and will not be enough money around to build all the bypasses and upgrades that are demanded all over Australia. And that’s only if I live that long, have the capabilities to drive at all, and the cash to pay the fuel bills.
But denial and dreaming are powerful drugs, and I suspect we will continue bumping along this same road to nowhere, with decreasing ability and higher risk.
Unless we maybe use our combined knowledge and wisdom to work out an alternative plan….. maybe!
To be continued, part #2