Any measures that the city/state takes to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities is great, but I believe that our lawmakers are focusing entirely too much on the drivers and not enough on the people riding bicycles and walking. (“Mayor Visits Woodside, Inks Vision Zero Laws,” June 26 issue, available online at www.timesnewsweekly.com.)
Intro 238A establishes penalties for vehicles that fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists. It fails to give any responsibility to unsafe and illegal actions that they engage in.
A couple of weeks ago I narrowly missed running over a middle-aged man on Fresh Pond Road. He strolled across the street in the middle of the block with his head completely turned in the opposite direction. As I jammed on my brakes, bystanders yelled at him, but he seemed oblivious to how close he came to dying.
We have all witnessed people so engaged in their smartphones or media players that they are oblivious to everything around them as they wander the streets bumping into other people and not noticing traffic as they stroll across the street.
When driving a vehicle, we expect certain things. Other vehicles will stay in their lane, respect traffic signals, bicycles will obey the rules of the road, and nobody will suddenly dart from in-between cars attempting to cross the street in the middle of the block.
Another problem that has to be addressed is failure to observe walk/don’t walk signs. When pedestrians cross intersections against the light, they run the risk of being hit. In addition, they force traffic to stop and wait for them. If the cars are coming across the intersection, this creates gridlock and forces traffic going across the other direction to stop. Driving in Manhattan is a nerve racking experience, largely due to these problems.
Drivers would be much calmer behind the wheel if they did not have to deal with these nuisances. A lot of people speed and drive erratic/aggressive because they are frustrated and trying to make up for lost time.
If our mayor is serious about reducing pedestrian and bicycle injuries, he has to acknowledge the fact that in many instances it is their own fault. The city has to both educate them and begin issuing tickets to them.