Sydney Morning Herald - Saturday 19 February 2005

Mike Carlton

HO HO, haw haw, I see it is open season yet again on us 4WD owners. Oh, the thigh-slapping wit, the molten sarcasm, led by the inevitable Harold Scruby, chief pooh-bah of the grandly titled Pedestrian Council of Australia, whatever that is. Lazy journalists love a quick quote from Harold.

Envy is the spur. I'm betting that the 4WD critics are genitally challenged, hunched up in their little tin go-karts, fretting that size does matter.

The average 4WD is safe, useful and comfortable family transport. Safe because you can see around you, and because power reaches the road through four big tyres, not two little ones, which gives you more grip. Useful because you can chuck tonnes of stuff in the back. And as for gas-guzzling, the engine is generally no bigger than the Holden or Falcon sedans familiar on our roads for generations.

If you haven't got one, get over it.


Now read the results of a survey commissioned by AAMI):

(QUOTE) "Four-wheel-drive owners are so arrogant and aggressive behind the wheel that 70 per cent of Australian motorists do not feel safe sharing the roads with them.

Almost half of the 1880 drivers who took part in a new national survey wanted four-wheel-drives banished from city streets, while 39 per cent of four-wheel-drive owners acknowledged their vehicles were probably dangerous to other motorists."





Sydney Morning Herald Tuesday 22 February 2005




4WD owners: high, but maybe not so mighty


No, Mike Carlton, we are not envious of 4WD owners (Herald, February 19-20). We are angry and amazed at the selfishness of them, especially when they mention safety "because you can see all around you". While you are getting this elevated view, your vehicles endanger the rest of us by blocking our view.


Sheila Fielding, Bondi



Confessed 4WD owner Mike Carlton bets 4WD critics are genitally challenged. One of my friends, who is never entirely wrong, disagrees. He bets the size of the bullbar on the front of the wagon is in inverse proportion to the ornament on the front of the owner. Is there any published research on the topic?


Mick Rabbitt, Merewether


Sydney Morning Herald Saturday 26 February 2005


Mike Carlton




Exactly as I had expected, my defence of 4WDs last week produced a deluge of emails.


Many supported my liking for these safe and convenient family vehicles. They were from sane and sensible folk justifiably offended at being branded the automotive anti-Christ.


To be fair, the argument ran about 50/50. There was also an onslaught of 4WD-haters returning fire, some verging on hysterics, others more in sorrow than in anger. A few produced blizzards of statistics claiming to prove that 4WDs kill and maim. And there was a recurring theme that these behemoths - a favourite word - arrogantly block the view of drivers in smaller cars.


Well, yes. But my other car is a vintage E-Type Jaguar roadster (OK, tuned for unleaded petrol). My view from its low-slung cockpit is obscured by the hulking Camrys and Volvos of the righteous. It happens, I get over it.


The oddest letter was from a teacher who protested, in a dizzy non sequitur, that it was hypocrisy for me to own a 4WD and not vote for the Howard Government. I am still struggling with that one, partly because he actually wrote hypocracy (sic), which left me hoping that he is not teaching English to the young.


On second thoughts, he might have coined a useful word. It is all in your Greek and Latin roots. If democracy is government by the people, and an autocracy is the despotic government of one person, then a hypocracy might be the rule of hypocrites. Or perhaps a government addicted to hype. Step forward, guess who.


Link to: SMH - Spike - 4WDs

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