Friday, February 12, 2010

This Week on Foot

This week has brought us a hodgepodge of policies, innovations, and decisions, representing all that is good and bad for those of us on foot.

Starting on a positive note, we learn that there are Fewer pedestrian accidents in Reno recently, due at least in part to a hefty enforcement program between October and December of 2009.
The same is true across the world , where in Jamaica Road fatalities decrease by 20% over same period last year.

Things don't look so good in North Dakota, where a Bicycling-pedestrian bill tabled. The bill would have required drivers to give bikes a pedestrians a three-foot clearance while passing.

Of course, things are even worse in South Dakota, where a Proposal gives drivers pedestrian protection. Yes you read that right, drivers would be protected from pedestrians--who would lose some of their crosswalk rights under the proposed bill.

At least South Dakota walkers don't live in Algeria, where Wayward Algerian pedestrians face hefty fines for crossing outside a marked crosswalk.

Fortunately one Oregon city has taken the opposite route, instructing drivers to Stop for pedestrians or face a fine.

Hawaii and North Carolina are also working to improve the pedestrian environment. In Honolulu 'Pedestrian flags' meant to make crossing Pali safer and in North Carolina an 'Enhancer' crosswalk gives pedestrians, cyclists help in crossing busy street. Volvo has also gotten into the game, creating a new system that spots pedestrians in the car's pathway and warns drivers to brake--or brakes for them: Volvo S60 has pedestrian tracking.

Such a system might have helped the woman in the Atlanta area who faces a Gwinnett first: Vehicular homicide charge for texting. Perhaps automatic brakes would have prevented the death of James Eaton, who was struck and killed by distracted driver Lori Reineke.

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