My Feb 14th, 2013 post to the PPS Placemaking Blog exploring America’s epidemic of pedestrian fatalities and the injustice that follows, specifically as a result of the media’s portrayal.
In 2010, the last year the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) published such figures, a startling 4,280 pedestrians were hit and killed in traffic and 70,000 were injured.
I introduce what I call the Accident Axiom and it’s two corollaries.
This axiom has two corollaries: the Inherent Risk Corollary and the Reckless Driver Corollary. The former states that in this world of unavoidable accidents, pedestrians and cyclists are senselessly putting themselves in harm’s way by traversing concrete and asphalt. If they get hit, it is a deserved consequence of their poor decision making. And the latter states that those rare instances when a driver is at fault, it is the result of that driver being a reckless and careless individual, a deviant member of society. All blame is attributed to the individuals involved. The road network and driving culture are given immunity.
And I finish the article with a list of approaches and resources to combat this injustice.
There are many things that can be done to keep pushing the message back to a place that values human life first, and speed and efficient movement of automobiles second. On the policy side, get a Vulnerable Users Law introduced into your state legislature. Vulnerable Users Laws shift the burden of evidence onto the more dangerous individual. Drivers are responsible for cyclists, cyclists for pedestrians. I’m a huge fan of these laws, because pedestrians are put on a pedestal. They’ve been popular in Europe and are catching on in the United States.
Read the full article at: