In response to the death of a cyclist in her city, Toronto-based blogger Kristin Mueller-Heaslip, wrote a post on the "Driver Privilege Checklist." In spite of the sadness I feel because this was written in response to a cyclist that was killed by a car driver I really value this checklist. She does a good job of introducing the concept of privilege in the original blog post and I encourage you to visit and read what she has to say, even if you do not agree with her use of the "Privilege" concept.
The Driver Privilege Checklist
1. If I am hurt or killed while driving, unless I am intoxicated or grossly negligent, I will not be blamed for my decision to drive.
2. If I live in North America, my driving is subsidized by my local, regional, and federal government, who provide roads and infrastructure. This subsidy is far beyond that given to any other form of daily transportation.
3. Learning to drive is a rite of passage, seen as a normal and necessary step towards adulthood, whereas other forms of transport are seen as childish or impractical.
4. If I choose to transport my children in a car, I will not be called a bad parent or berated for doing so.
5. If my child is injured or killed while in my car, I will not be blamed for their death unless I was intoxicated or otherwise grossly negligent.
6. If while driving I injure or kill another person, whether they are another driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, or a cyclist, unless I am intoxicated or otherwise grossly negligent this will be seen nothing more than a regrettable accident.
7. Large areas of the city, suburb, or rural area I live in are built and laid out with driving in mind to the exclusion of other forms of transportation, and may be totally inaccessible to non-drivers.
8. While travelling I do not have to experience cold, heat, rain, or snow for more than a few moments unless I choose to.
9. I can complain to friends, family, and aquaintances about minor accidents and other annoyances without being told that I should stop driving.
10. It is easier for me than it is for non-drivers to buy many staple goods, such as groceries, as they are often sold in car-centric locations which are difficult to access by other means of transport. I also have the advantage of more easily buying in bulk.
11. Unless I am very extravagant, the money I spend on purchasing and running my car is not seen as wasted, as a car is seen as a necessity.
And the most obvious:
12. While in transit, I am protected by a 2-tonne metal machine which is faster, stronger, and more durable than anything else I encounter on the road besides larger cars and trucks. If I am in a collision with a pedestrian or a cyclist, even if I am not at fault, I am much more likely to escape without serious injury or death.
Edited to add:
13. If I make a mistake while driving, am in an accident, or cause injury to myself or others, this will not be held against all drivers or considered proof that driving is inherently dangerous or irresponsible.
I posted this because I find many of these statements ring true whether or not there is a misuse of the "privilege" concept. Cyclists are not inherently oppressed (because it is more or less a choice to bike) in the same way minority gender or race groups are, but I still think this is a valuable post on how society views our right to the road in a car-centric context. What do you think?