February 8, 2012

Sidewalk Safety

Pedestrians are a natural ally of the bicyclist so I often lookout for my walking brethren. Recently, there have been 3 pedestrian deaths caused by the pedestrian being struck by a vehicle. A homeless man struck and killed on East Broad Street near Hamilton Road, another man was struck and killed on West Broad Street near Wilson Road, and a third man was struck and killed on Morse Road.

Interestingly enough, the Dispatch ran an article on February 4 about the 23 pedestrians killed in Franklin County in 2011, the most in "recent memory," whatever that is. According to the Dispatch articles, the pedestrian appeared to be at-fault in each of the cases, but in the Morse Road incident, at least one person hit the pedestrian but did not stop.

I made the mistake of looking through the comments of the articles and was surprised by the pedestrian blaming going on. The number 1 complaint was of how lazy the pedestrians are by not going the 100 yards to the crosswalk. Do you know how far 100 yards is? It's 91.44 meters! 100 yards is the size of a football field, many people have seen one up close and it is not a short distance. If one's final destination is directly across the street, but one has to go to the crosswalk and back, that's 200 yards! AKA 182.88 meters!

But really, let's look at the definition of lazy:

la·zy  (lz)
adj. la·zi·erla·zi·est
1. Resistant to work or exertion; disposed to idleness.
2. Slow-moving; sluggish: a lazy river.
3. Conducive to idleness or indolence: a lazy summer day.
4. Depicted as reclining or lying on its side. Used of a brand on livestock.

Jaywalkers might be inconsiderate or impatient or trying to get someplace quicker (just like people in cars), but it's lazier to sit in a car than it is to jaywalk across the street. If one has to slow down or brake for someone crossing the street, all that means is that one will have to sit for another 10 seconds. Ugh, how tiring.

My other complaint is that the Dispatch neither investigated how the situation could improve. It's easy to blame pedestrians for wearing dark clothing and jaywalking. But maybe there's something to be said of the distance to crosswalks or if sidewalks are present. Or how pedestrians have the right-of-way at most intersections. It would have been a much better case of investigative journalism rather than the standard "pedestrians suck" treatment.

Cool "While my guitar gently weeps" ukulele cover of the day:

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