Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

jaywalking

Expand Messages
  • billt44hk
    Trying to prepare myself for re-entry to a British cultural orbit I was given pause for thought by this story in today s Hong Kong newspaper:- Jaywalker
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 10, 2004
      Trying to prepare myself for re-entry to a British cultural orbit I
      was given pause for thought by this story in today's Hong Kong
      newspaper:-
      "Jaywalker Seriously Hurt After Being Hit by Car.
      A jaywalker, 21, was in serious condition in hospital after being
      hit by a car. The man was taken to----hospital after he was hit in -
      ---Road at about 4 AM."
      Can members of this list please reassure me it's unlikely that any
      American or UK newspaper could get away with printing a story in
      these terms?
      By which I mean surely "jaywalker" is a highly pejorative term,
      defined in my concise dictionary as "to walk across a street
      carelessly without obeying traffic rules or signals". Use of the
      term imputes all blame to the walker and none to the motorist, even
      though, in the words of Mayer Hillman :-
      "... There is the question of whether an individual is justified
      in not only imposing on others a requirement for vigilance resulting
      from decisions over which they have no control, but also in arguing
      that there is a degree of `contributory negligence' where the level
      of vigilance proves insufficient. (Analogy of walking in a minefield
      and victim blaming for not taking sufficient care). Is a motorist
      driving at a speed which did not allow him sufficient time to take
      avertive action justified in claiming that he was not exceeding the
      limit and that `the child impulsively ran into the road or the
      elderly person absent-mindedly stepped into the path of my car' — in
      both instances, careless behaviour which is a common behavioural
      characteristic of us all? The outcome of attaching little weight to
      the transfer of risk onto others results in an unfair transfer of
      responsibility onto others to take more care; on the need to educate
      people about the greater road hazards (especially children and, in
      their case, all too often, to parents withdrawing them from exposure
      to the risk)………A far lower value is placed on the lives of those who
      are not the source of danger . Moreover, total responsibility is not
      placed, as it should be, on drivers in the event of the death of a
      pedestrian or cyclist in a road crash — after all, it is almost
      unheard of that these vulnerable road users deliberately risk their
      own lives. One should drive what is in effect a lethal weapon at a
      speed which allows sufficient time to avoid collision with them even
      if they are careless.….Speed policy clearly raises serious moral
      issues .."

      Well, what do you think, would a newspaper in your city get away
      with a headline and report worded as above?

      Bill T
    • Will Waggoner
      I m completely certain they would get away with it. Just as a motorist is expected to obey the rules and regulations of the roadway, so is the pedestrian and
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 11, 2004
        I'm completely certain they would get away with it.
        Just as a motorist is expected to obey the rules and
        regulations of the roadway, so is the pedestrian and
        the cyclist. When a driver ran over my front wheel as
        I was (shame on me) riding on the sidwalk, it was both
        our faults - mine for being in an inappropriate space,
        his for failing to look right even though I was
        traveling at pedestrian speed.


        --- billt44hk <telomsha@...> wrote:
        >
        > <snip>

        __________________________________
        Do you Yahoo!?
        Yahoo! Hotjobs: Enter the "Signing Bonus" Sweepstakes
        http://hotjobs.sweepstakes.yahoo.com/signingbonus
      • Korn, Dan
        ... Are you kidding? What makes you think an American newspaper would even print such a story at all? The Chicago Tribune prints a few deeply-buried
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 11, 2004
          billt44hk [SMTP:telomsha@...]:
          >"Jaywalker Seriously Hurt After Being Hit by Car.
          >...
          >Can members of this list please reassure me it's unlikely that any
          >American or UK newspaper could get away with printing a story in
          >these terms?

          Are you kidding? What makes you think an American newspaper would even
          print such a story at all? The Chicago Tribune prints a few deeply-buried
          paragraphs about the most spectacular automobile crashes (usually those with
          multiple fatalities) almost daily, but printing a story about a routine case
          of a pedestrian injured by a car? I think you'd need a whole new paper to
          print that story every time it happened.

          As for the larger issue of pedestrian responsibility, on the one hand I
          agree that pedestrians have to be responsible for themselves to an extent
          and use common sense. I mean, you can't just go running out into traffic
          without looking, and everyone is supposed to be aware of the laws and obey
          them, even if they don't agree with them. On the other hand, our entire
          traffic code (and indeed our entire society) favors the automobile at the
          expense of all other forms of transit, so pedestrians end up giving up a
          large measure of their right to travel freely through public spaces so that
          cars can speed past. The traffic code generally gives pedestrians the right
          of way at stop signs and in crosswalks when the walk signal is showing, but
          in many areas such places are few and far between, and walking even a short
          distance can become a dangerous chore. (I'm reminded of the old Frogger
          video game, where the frog just wants to cross the street without getting
          squashed.) In some places it seems that to get across the street you are
          either supposed to get in a car and drive there, or walk blocks out of your
          way. So sometimes jaywalking is a necessity, or at least a way to take back
          a little bit of your ability to travel freely, a right that has been largely
          traded away for the convenience of the motorist.

          I recently saw a show (an episode of "Understanding", on the Science Channel
          on American cable) about the city of Brasilia, which was purposely designed
          in the 1950s as a kind of automobile utopia, to maximize the convenience of
          the personal automobile. The ciity is full of multi-lane, restricted-access
          freeways, with very few traffic signals or overpasses. Of course Brasilia
          has the highest rate of pedestrian fatalities in the world.

          Dan
          Chicago
        • Simon Norton
          The writer Sir Alan Herbert, who was I believe a founder member of the (UK) Pedestrians Association, in at least one of his Misleading Cases series put words
          Message 4 of 7 , Jan 13, 2007
            The writer Sir Alan Herbert, who was I believe a founder member of the (UK)
            Pedestrians Association, in at least one of his Misleading Cases series put
            words into one of his characters which were scathing about the use of the term
            jaywalker because he saw it as derogatory to pedestrians. The character said
            that it would be just as logical to refer to some motorists as jackal drivers.

            Members of certain racial minorities have successfully managed to ensure that it
            is no longer socially acceptable, even when it is not strictly illegal, to use
            certain words that cast their ethnic group in a disparaging light. We
            pedestrians should similarly lobby to get the word "jaywalker" out of polite
            society.

            But, some may argue, pedestrians do not have to jaywalk. They do so because they
            rightly resent traffic management systems that make them subordinate to motor
            traffic. After all, doesn't the preamble to the US constitution say that it is
            self evident that all men are equal (which nowadays one would amend to say that
            all people are equal).

            The comment section on the BBC website which started this discussion referred to
            pedestrians who were unwilling to make detours of 500 metres to get to a
            crossing. The "rule of 10" that I usually use makes that equivalent to a detour
            of 5 kilometres or over 3 miles for a motorist. What motorist would not be
            aggrieved at having to make such a detour, not just to avoid a section of road
            that was temporarily out of use, but as a matter of course ? Especially when, as
            in such circumstances, every metre of the walk would be afflicted by noisy,
            smelly cars. And if one doesn't know the area one might not know which way to go
            to get to the crossing, and having got across one might lose one's way on what
            one had thought was a straightforward walk.

            Simon Norton
          • Simon Norton
            Oh yes I forgot to mention an important consideration (which I have previously mentioned on this list). At one of the most common types of intersection in the
            Message 5 of 7 , Jan 14, 2007
              Oh yes I forgot to mention an important consideration (which I have previously
              mentioned on this list). At one of the most common types of intersection in the
              UK (where two roads cross with traffic lights), pedestrians do not have right of
              way over traffic turning into the road one is trying to cross. Where the
              crossings include pedestrian lights, they will therefore remain red. They will
              only go green for a short while during the whole phase, or sometimes not at all
              unless one pushes the button. Because of this one can often have to wait a very
              long time. This is only tolerable because crossing against the lights is
              accepted in the UK (and only when there isn't so much traffic that one can't
              physically make the crossing).

              In most civilised countries, and also in the US, the "default" rule seems to be
              that turning traffic has to give way to pedestrians. That is a much better way
              of doing things.

              Incidentally, it's normally quite safe to cross away from intersections (when
              it's physically possible) because one only has to look in one direction at a
              time. The trouble is that if one is travelling alongside a road the
              intersections with that road are where one needs to cross !

              Simon Norton
            • sylvia carlson
              That is a good point about turning traffic. I often find that it is much safer to jaywalk across the middle of a street where there is almost never a
              Message 6 of 7 , Jan 16, 2007
                That is a good point about turning traffic. I often find that it is much safer to "jaywalk" across the middle of a street where there is almost never a crosswalk than at intersections where one has to face the turning car menace. Yes, in the US pedestrians have the right of way over turning traffic, but at least where I live you would be taking your life into your own hands to assume that any car will wait for a pedestrian to cross a street, even with a walk sign, before turning right or left on green (or even red).

                Simon Norton <S.Norton@...> wrote: Oh yes I forgot to mention an important consideration (which I have previously
                mentioned on this list). At one of the most common types of intersection in the
                UK (where two roads cross with traffic lights), pedestrians do not have right of
                way over traffic turning into the road one is trying to cross. Where the
                crossings include pedestrian lights, they will therefore remain red. They will
                only go green for a short while during the whole phase, or sometimes not at all
                unless one pushes the button. Because of this one can often have to wait a very
                long time. This is only tolerable because crossing against the lights is
                accepted in the UK (and only when there isn't so much traffic that one can't
                physically make the crossing).

                In most civilised countries, and also in the US, the "default" rule seems to be
                that turning traffic has to give way to pedestrians. That is a much better way
                of doing things.

                Incidentally, it's normally quite safe to cross away from intersections (when
                it's physically possible) because one only has to look in one direction at a
                time. The trouble is that if one is travelling alongside a road the
                intersections with that road are where one needs to cross !

                Simon Norton






                ---------------------------------
                Have a burning question? Go to Yahoo! Answers and get answers from real people who know.

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Simon Norton
                The New York incident referred to in the article also appeared in the UK media. Maybe it will put some tourists off visiting the city -- though will this get
                Message 7 of 7 , Jan 26, 2014
                  The New York incident referred to in the article also appeared in the UK media.
                  Maybe it will put some tourists off visiting the city -- though will this get
                  through to the city's decision makers ?

                  I don't understand why it is supposed to be so dangerous to cross in mid block.
                  Surely it's safer to cross where one doesn't have to look out for turning
                  traffic ? I always say that a street has too much traffic if one can't expect to
                  be able to cross it while walking along it.

                  It seems to me that the whole traffic environment is an excellent illustration
                  of the "broken windows" principle. Motorists have virtually taken over our
                  communities for themselves because they wantonly disregard regulations except
                  when they expect to be caught out. Any psychologist will tell you that
                  regulations work best when they are "internalised" so that people feel guilty
                  when they break them. So why can't motorists accept these principles ?

                  1. Pedestrians and cyclists want an environment where they don't have to keep
                  worrying about the risk of getting hit by a car, and where speeds are such that
                  if they do get hit they are unlikely to suffer serious harm.
                  2. Street parking makes it hard for wide vehicles (including buses) to get
                  through, it puts cyclists into conflict with motor traffic, and it makes it
                  harder for drivers to see pedestrians and vice versa. So it should only be
                  permitted when kept under strict control. And if this means that motorists can't
                  park close enough to their destination, they should leave their cars at home.

                  Driving licences should say clearly something like: "I agree to accept the rules
                  and regulations controlling the use of motor vehicles, and recognise that this
                  licence might be withdrawn if I flout them."

                  Even if local authorities make regulations with the prime motive of raising
                  money -- which in the UK they are perpetually accused of by motorists but always
                  deny -- is this such a bad thing ? It means that local authorities raise money
                  by voluntary contributions (i.e. from those who choose to break the regulations)
                  rather than by force -- and those who devised the system have been careful to
                  ensure that the less well off have to pay more in proportion to the value of
                  their property, so will be the first to suffer as local authorities desperately
                  seek means of financing the services people need.

                  The word "jaywalking" conjures up in my mind the image not of people who
                  disregard traffic lights arranged for the convenience of vehicle users rather
                  than pedestrians, but those who don't look where they are going. In an age where
                  people are increasingly concentrating on electronic devices as they move there
                  are all too many people who do this -- though less frequently when they are
                  actually crossing a road. But didn't the "shared space" guru Hans Monderman
                  always say that people should be able to cross the road walking backwards --
                  i.e. that our streets should be safe for jaywalkers in this sense too ?

                  Simon Norton
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.