The Blame Game

Today on the Network, Ohio member blog Xing Columbus questions a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch that attributes Franklin County pedestrian fatalities to carelessness on the part of the victim. According to a Columbus police officer interviewed in the story, local people killed by cars are usually jaywalking or "just walking in the road" — where "you might not see a person until you’re right on top of them."

ohioped.jpgPhoto: Columbus Dispatch

Even if all the statements are true, I didn’t like the tone of the
article. It seemed like pedestrians were being blamed for their own
deaths. One might think that the driver of a vehicle capable of
killing someone might be held responsible for hitting people in the
roadway at least some of the time.

Xing Columbus wonders if local police have data to back up their claims, as none was cited in the article. An August 13 editorial in the Sacramento Bee, however, points to a study from the UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center showing that "more than 80 percent of crosswalk collisions are related to driver behavior."

So some skepticism is in order when drivers say, "the pedestrian ran
(darted, dashed) in front of me" or "came out of nowhere" — especially
when the pedestrian is unconscious (or dead), and there are no
witnesses at the scene.

Regardless of statistics, the prevailing sentiment seems to be that, by inserting themselves into the domain of cars and drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are asking for it.

Not that further proof is needed, but if you really want to get worked up, have a look at the comments on a weekend pedestrian fatality in Athens, Georgia. As friends of the victim expressed their condolences to his family, one Athens Banner-Herald reader wrote:

Why is it that everyone can show sympathy to the person who caused the
accident but no one seems concerned with the real victim in all of this — the driver who had to watch someone basically commit suicide on the
front bumper of his vehicle? My heart goes out to that driver. That
must have been a horrible situation to be forced into.

Also today: Streetsblog San Francisco reports that the looming BART strike was averted over the weekend; The Wash Cycle has an update on what was once called "The Stupidest Bike Lane in America"; and Bike Portland marks another successful Sunday Parkways event.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

Can Columbus Get Its Sprawl Under Control?

|
There’s a new study out examining the future of Columbus, Ohio, and the results are a little scary. This growing city in central Ohio has an Atlanta-like geography — no physical barriers on any side. And if current development patterns continue, Chris Bentley at the Architect’s Newspaper reports, the region’s physical footprint is expected to more than […]
Columbus Circle is a big traffic free-for-all -- and a critical point in the Manhattan bike network. Photo: Google Maps

CB 7 Committee to DOT: Make Columbus Circle Safe for Biking

|
The Manhattan Community Board 7 transportation committee has passed a resolution calling on DOT to make Columbus Circle safe for biking and walking. The traffic circle at the southwest corner of Central Park is a critical point for people biking between the Upper West Side and Midtown, but it's a major void in the bike network.
When it snows on Columbus Circle, street space that could be repurposed for walking and biking is revealed. Photo: Alex Knight/Twitter

This Week: Making Columbus Circle Safer for Biking and Walking

|
Earlier this month Manhattan Community Board 7, on the Upper West Side, passed a resolution calling on DOT to install a protected bike lane in Columbus Circle, filling a critical void in the bike network. Tonight the CB 5 transportation committee, whose district borders Columbus Circle to the southeast, will consider its own resolution.

Eyes on the Street: The Columbus Avenue Bike Lane, Part Two

|
The Columbus Avenue protected bike lane won’t be a disconnected stub much longer. DOT is striping extensions of the bike lane south from 77th Street and north from 96th Street this summer, following a supportive vote from Manhattan Community Board 7 in February. Streetsblog publisher Mark Gorton sent in this shot looking south from 76th […]