Perhaps Helmets Would Help

It seems pedestrians — especially older people and racial minorities — get regularly plowed by motor vehicles. Pedestrian trips make of 10 percent of total U.S. mode share, yet pedestrians suffer 13 percent of traffic deaths.

The reasons for all of this are complex and complicated. But one thing I’ve experienced in my daily crossings of National Ave. at Grand is the shocking disregard by motorists for the well-being of pedestrians.

Again, tip for the Springfield Police Department: Fill your traffic ticket quotas at National and Grand! Easy! Fast! Multiple violations occur every few minutes, including: Speeding! Running red lights! Failure to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk!

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Comments 8

  1. Khal Spencer wrote:

    I think the right on red after stop was one of the dumbest things we ever did in the U.S. It seems to have sealed the idea that anything that makes motoring easier and quicker is OK, even if it adds risk to other groups. That notion has been passed down to police, judges, juries, and motorists.

    Now, whether it is speeding, making a right on red at 20 mph, or running a red light, these are seen as minor infractions and when someone is being scraped up off the road with tire tread on their forehead, we know that “accidents happen”. Right?

    Posted 13 May 2013 at 2:30 pm
  2. Ian Brett Cooper wrote:

    We’ve had a spate of pedestrian deaths here in Montgomery County over the past few months. The general attitude on the local forums has been “Pedestrians shouldn’t be crossing busy roads when motorists are trying to get somewhere and if they do, they need to yield to cars” even though all but one of the pedestrians killed were crossing the street at a crosswalk (in Maryland, pedestrians have priority at crosswalks and motorists must yield).

    So it’s the same old story – blame the victims because motorists can do no wrong, after all they are the only legitimate road users.

    Supposedly, the police are setting up sting operations to catch motorists who fail to yield at marked crosswalks, though I suspect it’s more of a PR move than a real effort to correct such behavior. If the police really wanted to make motorists obey traffic laws, they would have long since stopped the routine speeding, cellphone use and failures to yield that can be seen every few minutes on pretty much any road in the county.

    Posted 13 May 2013 at 3:24 pm
  3. Steve A wrote:

    IMO, the notion of “jaywalking” is part of the problem. Just as cyclists (at least those paying attention) are safer on roads away from intersections; so is it with pedestrians – even if they are at risk of being ticketed by motorists in police cars.

    Posted 13 May 2013 at 4:32 pm
  4. Keri wrote:

    What Steve said.
    The first time I watched a Journeys from Home teacher training I noticed they were focused on teaching kids skills for crossing the street midblock. I asked why. As I suspected, it’s because it’s safer to cross without the turning movements, kids are unlikely to go out of their way for a crosswalk anyway so those skills are important, and it’s better not to imbue kids with the sense that a crosswalk will protect them. What protects them is the skill of scanning carefully for traffic and learning to judge its speed.

    Posted 13 May 2013 at 6:15 pm
  5. Khal Spencer wrote:

    What Keri said.

    Posted 13 May 2013 at 6:50 pm
  6. Andy Cline wrote:

    What Steve, Keri, and Khal said 🙂

    Posted 14 May 2013 at 8:21 am
  7. Khal Spencer wrote:

    We had midblock crosswalks in Honolulu on some of the major roads like King, Beretania, and coming down from Pali Highway. They were deathtraps. Multiple lanes of traffic to watch for, speeding, inattention and a lot of elderly people crossing the street. Perhaps it would have been better to either leave off the crosswalks and let people cross by their own devices, or put more controls like the Hawk system. What was there was deadly.

    I would have personally preferred a CIWS that would take out cars failing to yield, but suspect that would not be acceptable. Its acceptable to kill peds, but not motorists.

    Posted 14 May 2013 at 8:51 am
  8. Keri wrote:

    Midblock crosswalks on multilane roads function best with an RRFB and a median refuge.

    Posted 14 May 2013 at 1:02 pm