A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) seeks to make pedestrians responsible for their own deaths. This kind of autocentric blame the victim spin just pisses me the fuck off. I’m sure the fact that our government owns a major car company had nothing to do with this report.
Yes, I’ve seen people darting between oncoming cars on Howard Street trying to get between the Cultural Center light rail station and the adjacent Metro subway at State Center . However, I’ve also been nearly run-over more times than I can count – in the middle of a crosswalk with the pedestrian signal still lit.
The report states that while pedestrian fatalities have gone down over the past few years there has been a slight up tick in death due to rising focus on personal fitness and urban walkability. Apparently, they want us in our cars where we won’t be distracted by ear buds, conversation and text messages – you know, things Americans would never dream of doing while driving. Remember with all those things divert attention away from the pedestrians main job – watching out for safe, courteous drivers who may or may not care about the faded crosswalk or the hapless pedestrian who is simply trying to get from the garage to their office.
To be fair, the report does place some responsibility on the drivers, but claims that the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur from people who are crossing mid-street, walking in the middle of the street and most often while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (thank god there are no drunk drivers out there).
“We are familiar with aggressive drivers,” said Troy E. Costales, GHSA’s Vice Chairman and head of Oregon ’s highway safety program. “We now have aggressive pedestrians.”
But not to worry, fair citizens of Autopia, your government has proposed new “counter measures” to help protect you from running
over into those roguish street crossers. Chief amongst them is engineering safer roads\crosswalks (retiming signals, widening berms or fixing crosswalks at problem intersections), examining pedestrian fatalities and enforcing of vehicular yield laws as well as maintaining proper pedestrian education programs (which worked sooo well that they wrote a report citing how clueless and “aggressive” we are).
My dad has a saying “we’re all just trying to make a living” or in this case simply cross the street from the light rail to the office, so we can make a living and, hopefully, not die in the process. But at least if we do, the driver (and its car making government) can rest assured in that it probably wasn’t their fault anyway.