What are the implications of splitting lanes based on gender?
Sheila’s Wheels, a self-described “female-focused car insurer,” has put together a proposal for UK roads that has shocked many and been met with both backlash and praise.
After reviewing reports and statistics on road accidents and the major causes behind them, Sheila’s Wheels found that men are four times more likely to be convicted of a motoring accident than women in the UK, but that women were most likely to be badly injured in a traffic accident compared to men.
That’s why the car insurance company decided to roll out a new idea to protect women called PinkZones, a concept that would result in separate lanes for female drivers. The lanes would increase safety and remove women from potentially dangerous accidents because female drivers are less likely to cause accidents and fewer accidents would mean fewer injuries.
The PinkZones design proposes two new roads: one where a lane is designated for women only on an existing road network and another where there is a flyover created just for women over the busiest highways.
Of course, Sheila’s Wheels doesn’t expect this idea to actually go into effect anytime soon, but their proposal is meant to encourage deeper thinking about the way people drive. Peter Rodger, Chief Examiner at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said,
“While PinkZones may be something of a utopia for female drivers, there’s clearly a need to identify how to provide a safer driving environment on the road. Driver safety is a paramount concern for us and we’re in favor of promoting further discussion about how to tackle the gender differences in driving to make it safer for all road users.”
This idea comes at a time when the barrier between genders is being questioned, with some people identifying as both genders in a fluid fashion and others being transgender, where they were born one sex but identify as the opposite gender. If these lanes were to become a reality, what would be the rules with people that challenge these gender categories? It would likely become as controversial as the debate on which bathrooms transgender people can use.
To make matters more complicated, the newest wave of feminism involves asking for less limitations for women and more equality. Separate lanes, however safe they may be for women, would promote segregation in one of the few areas where equality exists.
An alternative to such a plan might be to require men to go through a more rigorous schooling when obtaining a license or to address major factors that lead to accidents caused by men, such as road rage.
Despite the unlikelihood of this proposal ever becoming a reality, it certainly is promoting further discussion on the issue of safe driving and how to keep everyone safe on the road.