NJ Editor Blames Anyone But Drivers for Ped Deaths

Today on the Streetsblog Network, more windshield perspective from journalists, via WalkBike Jersey. Andy B, the blog’s author (and a frequent commenter on this site), writes about an Atlantic City newspaper editor who has come up with a bizarre theory about who is responsible for the rising tide of pedestrian deaths in the Garden State.

As of November 28, the state had recorded 24 more such fatalities than it had by the same date in 2009. What did The Press of Atlantic City have to say about it? Here’s what:

16546807_6c6e0578b1.jpgPhoto: splorp via Flickr.

[A]ccording to The Press’s editor, Jim Perskie, fault lies with the pedestrian victims and State Department of Highway Traffic Safety for initiating the wildly successful Pedestrian Safety Enforcement Program
in South Jersey this year. See, according to Perskie’s twisted logic,
now that the police are reestablishing a pedestrian’s right-of-way
while in a crosswalk, this is somehow emboldening pedestrians to walk
directly out into traffic so they get hit by cars who can not stop in
time. Ridiculous!

First of all, being a devout reader of the NJ Bicycle and Pedestrian News Digest,
I have not anecdotally noticed an outstanding increased trend in
pedestrian fatal crashes by people walking out into traffic at
crosswalks. Yes, there have been stories of pedestrians being killed
while crossing legally in crosswalks but no noticeable spike.

Second,
(sorry to break it to you Jimmy) but yielding (or stopping) for
pedestrians is the law in every state in the U.S. and in most other
civilized nations and is not some wacky idea that bureaucrats thought up
in Trenton. It’s been the law here in New Jersey for 50 years.

More from around the network: Better New Jersey news comes from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, which posts on the NJ DOT’s new complete streets policy. Active Transportation Alliance reports on the horrific case of a cyclist who was killed when, apparently, one road-raging driver tried to ram another. And the LA Bicycle Coalition has the scoop on a new bicycle master plan in the city of Burbank.

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