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

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.

  • marcos

    I understand that the opposite is Really Big in Japan even tho they politely use “accident” instead of collision…

    http://www8.cao.go.jp/koutu/taisaku/h18kou_haku/english/wp2006-1.pdf

    In the Eighth Fundamental Traffic Safety Program, a common philosophy is spelled out
    for all transportation sectors (land, maritime and air); it can be summarized as follows:
    (1) The aim is an accident-free society

    • To build a society that is truly affluent and energetic, the safety and peace of mind
    of the nation’s people are essential. Endeavoring to provide safety in transportation
    is an important element in this equation.

    • Based on a respect for human life, the nation should ultimately aim for the
    complete elimination of traffic accidents from society. This is especially true when
    one considers the enormous social and economic losses that are caused by traffic
    accidents.

    (2) Giving people precedence

    • In a civilized society, consideration and sympathy must exist for those who are
    weaker than others.

    • On roads, for example, pedestrians are in a weak position compared to those in
    automobiles; with respect to all modes of transportation, there is a need to assure
    greater safety for people who are the most prone to traffic accidents, such as the
    elderly, the disabled, and children.

    • All policies should be carried out in accordance with this “people first” philosophy
    of traffic safety.

    The Prime Minister and other Cabinet members at the March 14, 2006 meeting of the Central Committee on Traffic Safety Measures

    (3) Basic thinking governing the execution of traffic safety measures

    • Traffic safety agencies will vigorously pursue their policies while taking into
    account the interactions among three important elements of transportation society,
    namely:
    {1} the people;
    {2} the means of transportation; i.e., vehicles, vessels,
    aircraft, or other; and
    {3} the transportation environment which is to say the spaces where people and means of transportation function.

    • Particularly with respect to road traffic, it will be important to promote further
    “people first” policies, including improving sidewalks along school routes, residential roads, and major thoroughfares in urban districts.

    • The program will encourage participatory and cooperative-type traffic safety
    activities, by creating mechanisms that enable citizens to participate in the planning
    stages of traffic-safety measures run by national and local authorities, by inviting
    them to take part in volunteer comprehensive safety evaluation programs, and by
    designing activities that adapt to the characteristics of each community.

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