Tomorrow marks the one week anniversary of another senseless pedestrian death on a cross-street not more than 3/4 of a mile from my home. What makes this a senseless loss of life are a few facts that are atypical of most Auto-Pedestrian deaths in this country:
- The accident took place at 3:30 pm — in broad daylight
- The pedestrian was walking on the shoulder of the road — several feet beyond the fog line
- The pedestrian was wearing bright colors.
Of course, there are several facts about the accident that are also VERY typical of accidents that result in pedestrian deaths:
- The pedestrian was walking in an area with no sidewalks
- The pedestrian was walking with their back to traffic and listening to their iPod.
- The car was travelling fast enough to carry the pedestrian 500 feet after impact
- The driver of the car left the scene to get a soda – to try and neutralize his over-the-limit blood alcohol level.
Clearly the driver here is responsible for the accident and tragic outcome. But I can’t look at this situation and wonder had the pedestrian been following the guidance my mother gave my siblings and me, might they still be alive today? And while this accident took place on a little two-lane well-traveled country road, I daily see pedestrians in the city commit infraction after infraction, each putting their lives into the hands of drivers who may not be paying attention. Time to channel my mother:
- Always walk facing traffic, and pay attention to cars as they approach
- Use the crosswalk and where a painted crosswalk doesn’t exist, cross only at the intersection
- Make eye contact with the driver of a car making a right turn (and not looking your way) before your foot leaves the sidewalk
- Wait for the walk signal…it’s at most a minute of two of your life to be patient
And…since personal music players weren’t part of my childhood, my wife and I added this one for our son:
- Keep your music low enough to hear what’s going on around you.
It’s a sobering statistic to read that “one pedestrian is killed every 107 minutes in America. Thirty-seven percent of pedestrians are “alcohol impaired” versus just seventeen percent of drivers in fatal auto-pedestrian accidents.” (Courtesy of the National Highway Traffic Safety Association).
We learned to crawl before we walked. We walked before we rode bikes. We rode bikes before we drove cars. How can we not be expert “walkers” after all this time?