Let’s blame Michelle Obama for this too…

Really? I mean, really?

Exercise, iPods and Michelle Obama Blamed For Increase In Pedestrian Deaths

This blows me away. But they are serious.

Check out this quote from a press release of the Governors’ Highway Safety Administration:

“It is definitely a concern. Looking at our data, we are seeing pedestrians crossing mid-block instead of at crosswalks, pedestrians walking in the roadway, and even some walking in the travel lanes of the interstate. We are familiar with aggressive drivers; we now have aggressive pedestrians.”

Aggressive pedestrians. Who are the reason for the increase in pedestrian deaths.

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the musical Man of La Mancha: “Whether the stone hits the pitcher, or the pitcher hits the stone, it’s going to be bad for the pitcher.” Which is to say, wouldn’t one think the burden of safety ought to rest on the people travelling in the two-tons-of-steel-wheeled-enclosure-thingies, not the people walking around unprotected? And how insane is it to imply that the increase in pedestrian deaths is due to the larger number of people trying to decrease their carbon footprint and get more exercise by walking more places (with the tacit implication that they oughtta cut that dangerous behavior out), rather than to mention that the already dangerous behavior of many motorists who talk endlessly on the phone without hands-free, text while driving, eat entire meals in the car, and engage in all kinds of potentially distracting activities, becomes even more dangerous in areas where pedestrian traffic dominates?

But instead, we get, the roads belong to the drivers, and everyone else better just watch their step…




Posted on January 23, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have to put my 2 cents’ in on this one. The burden of safety rests on everyone including the pedestrian. To make it just the driver’s responsibility breeds aggressive and irresponsible pedestrians.
    While much responsibility rests on the driver, pedestrians do need to be accountable for their own safety for *the very reasons* you posted. They are *not* in 2 tons of steel. Why would anyone with healthy self-preservation instincts step out into traffic without even looking or heeding the same traffic laws? Indeed, it’s bad for the pitcher either way, regardless of how much one wins in a lawsuit.
    My biggest concern is at universities (a certain one in particular) in which pedestrians walk this way and that with cell phones, dogs, ipods, etc, without even *looking* for oncoming vehicles before stepping onto asphalt. They challenge with their very lives even the most careful of drivers. Not even the screeching of tires and brakes is enough to get them to look left or right! Why risk it? It takes so much more time and distance to stop a 2-ton vehicle than to stop your heels. Pedestrians need to be just as aware of designated crossing areas, lights, and bike paths as anyone on wheels. Maybe I’m just old school, but that’s what my parents and Girl Scouts taught me. Can’t say the same for our higher level institutions.

  2. Leanne–
    Okay, point taken, and I guess it does from my post look like that’s what I’m saying, so sorry about that and you’re absolutely right. (Again, whether the stone hits the pitcher or the pitcher hits the stone…)

    That said, though, just to clarify–what bugged me about this article was its SPIN–that the reason there are all these deaths is that all these people are out there walking who didn’t used to be, that they are not doing it right, and that by implication M.O.’s whole “get more exercise” thing is a problem.

    I’d much rather see ACROSS THE BOARD work for auto/pedestrian safety, on both sides–because yeah, I’ve been that driver doing my best on a slippery icy road when some idiotic pedestrian wanders out into the road paying no attention, and no matter how careful I try to be I just MAY NOT BE ABLE TO STOP in time. (I’ve so far managed to avoid catastrophe and never hit anyone. In gratitude, I’ve usually gotten an extended middle digit and a “you dumb bitch” or something to that effect from the grateful pedestrian in question.) So I get it. Common sense. Pay attention to where you are and what you’re doing, and ultimately it’s your responsibility to try not to do something that makes it impossible for someone to not kill or injure you.

    It goes both ways, though–on a regular basis I have the joy of trying to navigate my kids on foot through parking lots and in neighborhoods, while drivers (usually, though a generalization, women in SUVs talking on their cell phones without a headset) go careening around pretty much paying attention to everything except what they are doing.

    EVERYONE needs to learn safety. Pedestrians, drivers, everyone. And we need to learn it well and thoroughly–because the answer is NOT to get more pedestrians away from the roads. (Although it may be to create more walkable communities.)

    More people on foot and fewer in cars is a GOOD thing. Let’s all collectively try to avoid, like, killing them.

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