Thursday, January 28, 2010

This Week on Foot

This week the Toronto community continues to stew over a recent uptick in pedestrian deaths. A myriad of potential solutions, theories, and general ranting abound, with Officers out in force to warn, ticket pedestrians, while CBC offers an idea of How pedestrians, cyclists and drivers can get along a little better. One author looks at How Poisson would explain pedestrian deaths, while another just laments the Shell shock and paralysis the whole situation has caused.

Perhaps Toronto can look to Latvia, where Slesers suggests make pedestrian mall in Latvian capital’s downtown, or even the small Washington town of Cheney, where Railroad crossing improvements OK'd: Cheney council approves better pedestrian access

Just as long as they don't follow New York's example. In that city Besides pedestrians, New York City streets are safer for drivers, passengers and bicyclists

Or, it would seem, Ohio: Lottery winner dies after being struck by car

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Road Rage Rapper Defends Himself

As reported today in the LA Times, Swedish rapper David Jassy continues to insist that his November 2008 killing of a pedestrian in Hollywood was motivated by "fear." The confrontation with John Osnes began when Osnes banged the front of Jassy's SUV after Jassy nearly hit him while he was crossing (in a crosswalk) the Sunset Strip.

It ended when, after a tussle between the two men, Jassy ran over Osnes with his vehicle. Jassy explained, "I was in fear for my life. I didn't know if he had a gun, a knife. I know L.A. is way more dangerous than Sweden is."

Apparently so.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Friday, January 22, 2010

This Week on Foot

This weeks brings some interesting innovations in pedestrian safety.

In New York City Coming Soon: Ped-Friendly “Urban Umbrellas” for NYC Sidewalks will help protect pedestrians from falling debris during the construction without forcing them to walk through dark and unattractive sidewalk "sheds."

And then there's Mercedes Developing 'Auto-Swerve' For Pedestrian Safety. As expected from the catchy name, the new device would identify potential pedestrian conflicts and automatically swerve to avoid them.

We can try to improve vehicle safety, but it's going to be hard to fight mother nature. Can pedestrian deaths be blamed on warm weather? Officials in Toronto seem to think so.

Snow can also be a challenge, as we saw this week in New Hampshire where Snowplow driver in NH cited for hitting pedestrian

Or maybe it's just those dangerous pedestrians--like the one in Sweden, where a Swedish rapper argues self-defense in murder case.

It makes you wonder, Will pedestrians ever be safer on our mean streets?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You know it's a big deal when Oprah gets involved

Yes, Lady O has joined the fight against distracted driving, as we learn here on her webpage--where you can even take the No Phone Zone Pledge along with her other fans.

The nice thing about Oprah's campaign is that there's none of this half-hearted, mixed-signal, we-know-you-can't-spend-20-minutes-out-of-touch-because-heaven-forbid-you-allow-yourself-time-to-think-so-here-have-a-bluetooth-device stuff to muddle things up. As one of her guests put it, "It's not where your hands are, it's where your head is."

Okay, so it's a clear message, and it's in the interest of pedestrian safety, and even the DOT is all over it...and boy is it hard. I spent my entire 55-minute drive home contemplating whether or not I could bring myself to cut the wireless phone cord. (Yes, I realize that it is only because I wasn't on the phone that I had 55 minutes to contemplate this.)

The thought of losing out on all that convenient chatting time seems horrid, and I'm only marginally moved by the example of people like Oprah and Ray LaHood who are probably driven everywhere by someone else and don't even have to deal with this issue.

Nonetheless, as a good pedestrian advocate I'm going to stop ignoring the clear evidence of the dangers of distracted driving and give it a try. I'll let you know how the experiment goes.