Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

Blaming the Pedestrian, Again

Despite the growing national attention to the dangers posed by distracted driving, full accountability for drivers who kill or maim pedestrians while fiddling with electronic devices is likely a long way off. As today's post from Streetsblog Network member Sustainable Savannah notes, law enforcement officials too often seem to see things from the perspective of the person behind the windshield:

dont-walk_1.jpgPhoto: hebedesign via Flickr

While researching a recent pedestrian death in Savannah, I ran across this television news report,
which I think deserves to be examined on its own. If I’m hearing him
correctly, this is the message delivered by a Savannah Chatham
Metropolitan Police officer:

"Someone could be looking down at their cellphone. Next
thing they know they look up and there’s a kid in the road or a person
in the road where they are not supposed to be at. And they don’t have
time to stop. And like I said, pedestrians will lose that battle every
time."

Perhaps this short comment from the officer was taken from a longer
segment in which he railed against distracted driving. I hope that’s
the case and if so, I commend him for it. But if not, it suggests a
terribly casual attitude toward an awfully dangerous practice.

Sustainable Savannah links to Tom Vanderbilt's recent excellent essay on Slate, "In Defense of Jaywalking." Read it if you haven't already. It is a concise and well-researched examination of the biases against pedestrians -- biases that are reflected in media coverage and law enforcement, but most importantly, in street design.

More from around the network: Transportation for America will be hosting an online discussion December 7 on conservatives and public transportation. Biker Chicks of West Chester decries the push to register bikes in Philadelphia. And Mobilizing the Region talks about how transit operating aid is the best route to job creation.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Driving Inflation

Driving — specifically, the cost of car ownership — is one of the main factors behind inflation, according to the Eno Center for Transportation.

April 16, 2024

SEE IT: How Much (Or How Little) Driving is Going on in America’s Top Metros

Check it out: The lowest-mileage region isn't the one you'd think.

April 16, 2024

Monday’s Headlines Bring Another Setback

The Biden administration's new rule requiring states to report their greenhouse gas emissions from transportation was dealt another blow when the Senate voted to repeal it.

April 15, 2024

‘The Bike Is the Cure’: Meet New Congressional Bike Caucus Chair Mike Thompson

Meet the incoming co-chair of the congressional bike caucus — and learn more about how he's getting other legislators riding.

April 15, 2024

Calif. High-Speed Rail Takes a Step Towards Acquiring Trains

The contract calls for two prototype trainsets for testing to be delivered by 2028, and four trainsets to be used on the "early operating segment" between Merced and Bakersfield, ready between 2030 and 2033.

April 12, 2024
See all posts