My wife likes to say “all drivers are idiots.” She tells my son that all the time when we are out and about. I tell him that too many drivers are completely unaware of pedestrians. They don’t walk anywhere and just assume no one else does.
Just because a pedestrian has the right-of-way doesn’t mean the driver is going to give it to you. Drivers, after all, are in machines that can and do kill. Pedestrians have no protection, except, we hope, the law.
In recent weeks, at least three pedestrians have been hit by cars and killed in Fort Wayne. All were on roads without sidewalks. One was killed crossing a busy road. He got hit, stood up and then got hit again. One death is one too many. All three are senseless. In all three cases, it’s easy to blame the victim. All were out at night. At least one was walking with traffic instead of against traffic. None, as far as know, was wearing reflective clothing to make it easier for drivers too see. But I’m not going to blame the victims. They had a right to be out on the streets. Maybe they had no other choice to be where they were the nights they were killed. Drivers need to be aware that people walk on or near those roads too.
We had a brutal winter with record snowfall. Too many sidewalks weren’t cleared. Some that were cleared were blocked by piles of snow left at the curb by city snowplows. Other sidewalks were blocked by piles of snow that were plowed off parking lots. Many people had no choice but to walk in the street to get around those snow piles. I know, I walked in the street nearly every day from early January to the end of March.
My dog and I nearly got hit by a car a few weeks ago. We were walking down the street and a car came up to the street were on. It was a T intersection. The driver barely slowed down, looked to his left and turned right nearly right into my dog and me. I’m not sure why he was in such a hurry that he couldn’t stop at the stop sign. Why he couldn’t look to his right too. It’s happened on more than one occasion along that street. Drivers turning right only look left and nearly hit pedestrians. I see it at red lights too. I think right turn on red is the worst traffic law around. If I ruled the world (and thank God I don’t), right turn on red would be outlawed immediately. I didn’t like it when I had a car and was driving everywhere, and I sure don’t like it now that I get around by foot or by bicycle.
I commute to work daily by bicycle. I wear an orange safety vest most of the time and always at night. I always wear a helmet and have working lights. I don’t ride particularly fast (I was passed three days in a row over the winter by Jimmy Johns delivery bikes).
I didn’t intend for this blog this afternoon to be a rant. But I saw this blog from Bikeyface, and it got me thinking. I think she might be on to something. Bikeyface lives in the Boston area. Boston traffic is far worse than Fort Wayne’s. Still, I think some of her suggestions could apply here.
On the good news front, I read yesterday that Indianapolis is getting a bike share program, and that the Pacers basketball team is sponsoring it. I live 120 miles from Indy, but as far as I know, that’s the closest city with bike share. Even if I hadn’t been rooting for the Pacers to win the NBA title. I am now. Yes, I know LeBron James sometimes rides his bicycle to the arena in Miami.