Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 10th, 2010 at 9:01 am
The Oregonian Editorial Board published a timely piece in today's paper about the need for all of us who drive to take stock of our actions and do a better job looking out for people walking and biking on our roads. Here's the opening:
You need to have a "full and frank" conversation with yourself this evening. Looking in the mirror, you the driver ought to give you the walker a piece of your mind, and then switch roles.
Quite simply, both of you -- and all of us -- need to do a better job of paying attention. This year is shaping up as a terrible one for Oregon pedestrians.
Why was The Oregonian compelled to address this issue today? Here's another excerpt (emphasis mine):
... As of Monday, 52 pedestrians had been killed, up 80 percent over the same time period in 2009. Just 48 hours later, as of Tuesday, the death toll had reached 55.
That's an 86 percent increase over the same time period in 2009, according to the Oregon State Police's spokesman, Lt. Gregg Hastings. And, although no one knows why, pedestrian deaths have also increased in Portland. Fifteen people have died this year, up from 10 in 2009 (5 in 2008 and 11 in 2007).
Meanwhile, a terrible crash on Monday in North Portland injured three pedestrians and sent one of them -- a 23-month-old baby -- to the hospital. The baby died Tuesday.
The Oregonian Editorial Board writes that Oregon is in need of "some kind of massive therapeutic intervention to boost pedestrian safety."
The direction these statistics are heading, the engagement with the issue by an outlet like The Oregonian (and others), and the fact that a 23 month old was run over and killed in broad daylight while being pushed in a stroller in a crosswalk, lead me to wonder whether or not all of this will impact the legislative discussions down in Salem. Will all of this add fuel to efforts to strengthen vulnerable road user laws and/or stiffen legal consequences for distracted driving-related laws?
Read the full editorial here.