The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants you to know that “On average, a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every seven minutes in traffic crashes.” (Source: Traffic Safety Facts: Pedestrians, April 2014.)
And they’re doing something about it, too.
While other aspects of driving safety continue to improve, pedestrian fatalities due to traffic crashes are up eight percent since 2009.
Perhaps if pedestrians stopped placing themselves in front of objects with mass traveling at speed? I may not be as smart as the federal government but that seems like a big part of the problem to me.
Physics has got to physics, yo know? Physics has no desire to play nice, do what’s fair, be compassionate, take sides, or even attempt to adhere to the rules of good form. Like Dr. Momma used to say, “physics does what physics does.” It’s apolitical. Asexual, too, but if you disrespect physics it will fuck you over.
The NHTSA’s solution is one with real traction. Make $2 million in grant money available to cities with high rates of pedestrian deaths. Because, money can buy you love. The money is to be used to “influence the safety of pedestrians through public education and enforcement initiatives.”
Yeah, that’ll work.
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So I went to a parade the other day. I was curious to re-experience the phenomenon since it had been quite some time. The last time I saw a parade was from within as a member of the high school’s marching band playing my trombone.
Yeah, it’s really been that long. I avoid public events religiously. I recently lived ten years in a small town. During that time I successfully avoided all the parades, county fairs, classic car shows and even the yearly carnivals festively known to the locals as “dirt bowls.” I’m a hardcore avoider and parade dodger.
The parade started with the police and fire departments showing off their rides. Meh. I grudgingly gave them a pass since this is apparently the traditional way to start a parade. I fleetingly wondered how much it was costing me.
Then came some beauty queens riding in the back of convertibles. Meh. Mildy amoosing.
This was followed by the “citizen of the year” aka a person I don’t know in car.
At last, the grand marshal. A person in a car. I was starting to swoon from … too … much … excitement. Suddenly I realized I could have been back at home watching Star Trek: The Animated Series on Netflix.
It has been too long since I blogged about driving. I must have been distracted. Well, no more. Hang on. I’m putting it in “L” for “Lunge.” (Like dad used to say.)
You want to kill me? I want to kill you? Fine. We’re gonna settle this once and for all the way nature intended. We’re gonna settle it on the streets. Let’s race.
Psst. Hey, buddy. Wanna buy a road-based transportation system? This baby is state-of-the-art. It’s the absolute finest this planet has to offer. And it only kills +32,000 people per year and injures over two million more. And that’s in the United States alone.
Wow. That does sound great. I’ll take it!
Excuse me. I have to take this call. Okay, I’m back. What were we talking about again? Look out! We’re about to hit that … uh oh.
90 percent of drivers rate their own driving skill as “above average.” They can’t all be right, can they? It turns out that 99.9% of the 90% are delusional idiots.
I, however, can successfully claim to be among the best of the best on the road. I am automotive elite. No, I’m not bragging. It’s not bragging when it’s a fact. And what makes me so special? Only I have the arcane knowledge of the ancients that serves me
in the field of battle when I’m driving a car.
Because I like you, I’ll tell you what it is. I’m even going to tell you for free even though this simple trick is worth millions. The arcane secret of being the best in a car is … hey, where are you going? I’m unloading guru wisdom here. Eyes on me.
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What does this mean to you? Not much. Hey, just like the local evening news! I think I’m onto something here.
Our top story tonight. Ominous fluffy clouds, pregnant with expectation (and moisture), have birthed innumerable litters of chubby drops that the WeatherTrac9000 computer calls “rain.” These drops are currently on a collision course with the place most of us live. The WeathTrac9000 calls that place the “ground.” We are currently projecting that these drops of mostly water will make the ground “wet.”
We start our exclusive News42 team coverage with Alex on remote location standing by a street. Alex?
…three seconds of awkward silence from Alex as he stares into the camera with a fake grin plastered on his face not realizing yet that he’s already on…
That’s right, Cassandra. Weather is coming to a street near you and it is pissed off. I’ll step aside to see if we can get a shot of this. You can clearly see drops of water hitting this street. And that is creating a dangerous situation that leaves some drivers out in the cold.
Earlier today this was the scene, with street surfaces wet. In one case, we found a car pulled over on the side of the road with its blinkers on. That driver was forced to sit and wait and hope that conditions would improve.
Even worse conditions may already be on the way. For that we go to Marko in the WeatherTrac9000 Weather Center. Marko?
That’s right, Alex. We are currently projecting alternating periods of light and dark at approx. 12 hour intervals until further notice. This means some rain may be less visible at certain times. Viewers are advised to remain on this channel for the latest updates as they become available.
For the intelligence-impaired here’s tonight’s Weather-Pick-Toe-Graph. This patented WeatherTrac9000 system helps those suffering from small brain syndrome to help prepare for the weather. Tonight’s picture: The Gorton’s Fishman in bright yellow slickers including full-frontal hoodie. We’re showing him holding a ship’s steering wheel but you don’t actually have to have one of your own.
For the rest of you I will now show lots of slides and animations and maps and use a lot meteorological words for eight full minutes of our 16-minute broadcast (not counting commercials).
To me, there’s very little “uncertainty” about crosswalks.
You clearly don’t know who you’re driving over, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skywalker. I am the danger. A guy puts the pedal to the metal and someone gets plowed and you think that of me? No. I am the one who stalks!
–Heisenberg Crosswalk, Braking Bad
In the local news of late there has been a lot of discussion about “dangerous crosswalks.” That got me thinking. What is it about the crosswalk itself that makes it dangerous?
The fact that it exists? That it leaps out and surprises pedestrians? That it has a concealed carry permit? That it lulls pedestrians to sleep with a false sense of security? “Come to me,” it whispers in the wind. “Tread upon me. I will protect you. I will keep you safe. You can trust me.”
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Today’s goal: Communicate what it’s like to drive in Portland, Oregon.
There are many transportation options for getting around in America’s “weirdest” city. You can walk. You can ride a bike. You can use various TriMet options like the MAX light rail, the bus, and street cars.
And, if you are some kind of gigantic douchebag, you can hop in your vehicle and drive.
It’s true. “Low car households” account for 60 percent of growth since 2005.
A low car household is considered one where there are more adults than cars. My wife and I are part of this elite group as we sold my car (named The Spaceship) when we hit town. There are two of us and only one car. We be greenies.
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