Friday, August 10, 2012

Pedestrian death spike in DC - Post blames pedestrians

Today's Post editorial entitled Death by distraction discusses the rise in pedestrian deaths in DC, which account for 54.2% of all traffic-related deaths. The Post's solution is to advocate for laws against distracted walking despite the dramatic increase in motorists who blatantly run red lights and who often refuse to yield to pedestrians.

Why not enforce the laws we have? Motorist actions such as aggressive driving, turning right on red without stopping, running red lights and stop signs, and speeding rarely result in citations. In countries where there has been a significant reduction in pedestrian and bicycle deaths, traffic enforcement is much more strict than in the U.S. There are also many other measures that can be taken to make our streets more safe. From Transportation Alternatives, a New York based alternative transportation group:
In the last few decades, Germany and Holland have made extraordinary progress to improve the safety of people walking and bicycling. From 1975 to 2001, cycling trips in Germany doubled, but bicycling deaths declined by 64% and pedestrian fatalities by 82%. In Holland, pedestrian fatalities declined by 73% and cycling fatalities by 57%.

Germany and Holland have improved conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians by employing concerted, long-term public policies to reengineer streets, change urban design, strengthen traffic enforcement and traffic laws and institute more vigorous driver education. Almost all of what these countries have done could be replicated in some form in New York City, and would help to reduce significantly the number of New Yorkers struck, injured and killed by drivers.

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What are they thinking. I had to run an errand that required me to use my car for the first time in two weeks and next to me is someone driving with an iPad in front of her face. Good thing there weren't any scofflaw pedestrians in her way.

Mike Olson

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