The Times- Standard reports on a campaign to reduce the number of vehicle vs. pedestrian collisions in Eureka. KIEM TV also reported on it last night. The way I saw it, KIEM seemed to suggest the effort would be directed at drivers, but maybe that was just me?
That did kinda irk me. Sure, drivers are involved in their share of these collisions but nearly all of them could have been avoided had the pedestrian been paying attention to their surroundings as they crossed the street.
They showed a clip on TV last night of the words "Heads Up" painted on the street at a pedestrian crossing. That's the right approach, although it's hard to believe many walkers would take heed even if they did notice it.
I've gotten the impression the city is taking the opposite approach and trying to make pedestrians feel safer. City council gal, Kim Bergel is quoted; "She said the safer people can feel while walking, riding their bike or
running through the city, the better it will be for everyone.".
That's not quite right. I'd suggest people feeling safe is a big reason for so many of these collisions. If they didn't feel safe when crossing the street people might pay more attention. Looking both ways before crossing the street doesn't seem as necessary when you feel safe, does it?
Drivers can cause collisions- and even get people killed- by trying to be courteous and making pedestrians feel safe. I've wrote here before about that guy that got killed crossing 4th Street down next to the Co-Op.
The guy is standing by the crosswalk. The car approaching in the right lane stops. So does the one in the middle lane. The guy is probably thinking how nice and courteous people are as he starts crossing the street. He feels safe now and doesn't bother looking further.
Except there's another car in the left lane coming and it doesn't stop. He walks right in front of it and is killed. In large part because the courteous drivers made him feel safe.
Then there's the distraction of cell phones. I'll never understand why so many people can't just walk down the street and enjoy their surroundings anymore. Even the school kids.
Was out in my garage yesterday and saw an asian schoolgirl walking down the sidewalk across the street. As best I could tell she not only wasn't gawking at a smartphone, she didn't even seem to have one.
I started to go out to the driveway to start clapping as a way of signalling my approval. Sure, she might not understand, at least until I explained it to her. Then I saw the cell phone in her left hand. Oh well, at least she wasn't staring at it.