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The Jaywalking Menace

Also in the Globe, is it just me or nowhere in this story is there any actual indication that the crash statistics referred to are the result of jaywalking or other pedestrian action? Given that academic studies attribute the vast bulk of pedestrian-car crashes to driver —not pedestrian — behavior, I’m always amazed by the sheer torrent of anti-jaywalking stories in the country’s newspapers, reflective of an old bias against non-vehicular modes.

After giving these eye-catching scare statistics about pedestrian danger, the story then interviews a number of people who are jaywalking — the only problem being they actually weren’t struck by cars, which doesn’t exactly prove the main point.

In Peter Norton’s book Fighting Traffic, there’s an interesting discussion of an old campaign to come up with a term, a particular pejorative, for “jaywalking” drivers. Maybe it’s time to revisit that idea.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2009 at 10:03 am and is filed under Pedestrians, Traffic safety. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “The Jaywalking Menace”

  1. Velocentric Says:

    “…a particular pejorative, for “jaywalking” drivers…”

    I vote for “cager”.

    It’s already in use by many cyclists and is an apt description of a driver with a dangerous attitude towards vulnerable road users.

  2. Dave Says:

    I like and support “cager”. I will begin using it immediately, and certainly to great effect.

  3. Yokota Fritz Says:

    It must be anti pedestrian day – CW Nevius also lectures pedestrians lectured pedestrians to stop jaywalking around traffic in today’s San Francisco Chronicle.

    “Cager” comes from the motorcycle world and is a pejorative for anybody inside of a ‘cage,’ not just the dangerous or rude ones.

  4. Spiderleggreen Says:

    Yeah, I’m tired of the anti-jaywalkin sanctamonious bulls##t. It’s all based on lie That pedestians should be grateful too be allowed on the streets at all. They’re like fools who have been manipulated into giving away the farm. And the whole town helps out by pretending it never happened. Now you’re the shiftless one who needs to be reformed.

    Having awakened to the truth, we need to educate the motorist(which is me too) about the real history of traffic.

  5. wes kirkman Says:

    It is unfortunate. That guy seems so upset by people waiting, looking for traffic, and then moving on when safe. I get that crap all the time here in Seattle. I’ve even had other pedestrians yell at me for not following traffic rules. Now those are the fools manipulated into giving away the farm.

    It just boggles my mind that using common sense is being outlawed…we can’t possibly do be responsible for ourselves. Traffic rules were made for cars…pedestrians don’t need traffic rules…do we need right-of-way laws in public plazas? No. Those moving at the speeds of human can safely navigate around things. Traffic engineers obviously realize this; that’s why they put all that crap in the sidewalk (street signs, construction signs, parking meters, business A-frames, you name it).

    In any case, their anti-walking mentality is not going to discourage me. I try not to get upset with the drivers and strict law-abiders (sometimes my temper does get away). I keep on walking…living my life…unaffected by petty things like how this person is abiding by a law that has no impact on my life or how crappy my neighbor parks.

  6. spiderleggreen Says:

    wes~ Seattle seems to be especially concerned about jaywalking. It seems to be an obsession. I got stopped by a cop for walking across a street downtown, with nobody around. That would never happen in Mpls, unless someone is being reckless. You are in anti-jaywalking hot zone. Portland may have that inclination, too, but not as bad. With the winters here in Mpls, if you waited for every light you’d expire from hypothermia.

    Right on, about the fact that the game is stacked against non-motorized traffic. I do try to be nice about it, but sometimes you come off as jerk, because you’re not sticking with the script.

  7. wes kirkman Says:

    Sorry to hear you got harassed by my peace officers whom should have much better things to do. Amen on the over-concern here for jaywalking. Thought I was just making it up. Didn’t want to sound like online news commenters that say “(insert name of your City) has the worst (insert whatever topic you feel like, most likely pedestrian behaviour)”…but what the heck.

    While I’m at it, something I’ve also noticed of big concern here, more so than other places, is whether or not someone was wearing a helmet on a bicycle (I figured this topic was safe with you based on your blog, forgive me if not; *duck, cover head*). First couple years here I thought I was making up all the dirty looks and muffled comments. Crazy that people can get so caught up in things that have absolutely no impact on their lives.

  8. fred_dot_u Says:

    And on the other side of the coin:

    http://itmademyday.com/2009/10/22/bex/

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Traffic Tom Vanderbilt

How We Drive is the companion blog to Tom Vanderbilt’s New York Times bestselling book, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), published by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, Penguin in the U.K, and in languages other than English by a number of other fine publishers worldwide.

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