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A Pedestrian Is Killed, So Let’s Ticket — Pedestrians?

10:20 AM EDT on May 22, 2009

Earlier this week, Brad posted a piece about a recent pedestrian death pedestrian critically injured by an SUV on 14th Street, asking "Is Death an Appropriate Penalty for Jaywalking?" in which he included some fascinating historical information about how jaywalkers have been demonized over the years.

382366278_226730477c_300x199.jpgPhoto by Poppyseed Bandits via Flickr.

In Savannah, that type of stigmatization, and the ineffective targeting of pedestrians by law enforcement, is apparently going strong. This morning, Sustainable Savannah has a post about a police crackdown on pedestrians in that city -- a crackdown that comes in the wake of a an incident in which a visitor to the city was killed while apparently crossing the street legally. Which raises this question:

Why not go after drivers?

Over the last several days I’ve been hearing chatter via Twitter and other channels about pedestrians being fined for jaywalking. This WTOC story indicates some motorists are being cited, too. But the emphasis seems to be on pedestrians.

Is this an effective way to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths? According to the authors of Kansas City’s Walkability Plan,
who examined best practices in enforcement, jaywalking crackdowns are
not an effective strategy for promoting pedestrian safety:

"Jaywalking is disorderly in appearance and can disrupt traffic, but it is not a big factor in pedestrian death and injury. The Seattle Police Department vigorously enforced the anti-jaywalking laws
in that city for 50 years, issuing more than 500,000 citations. Seattle’s pedestrian crash experience was little different from the rest of the USA where little or no attention was paid to this problem."

Other noteworthy posts from around the Streetsblog Network: Carfree USA quotes veteran California pol Willie Brown blaming the car lobby for the state's budget crisis. Bike Portland has another round of reading recommendations from its BikePortland Bookstore. And from the intrepid MinusCar Project in Sioux Falls, SD, a post on the irritation of riding in a city where your bike doesn't trigger the traffic lights.

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