Dave Reid

It’s Pedestrian Safety Week

By - Oct 6th, 2008 10:10 pm
Crosswalk Sign

Crosswalk Sign

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee Brewer’s Polish Racing Sausage kicked off “Pedestrian Safety Week” today.  They carried signs reminding drivers that they need to yield for pedestrians in the crosswalk.  In fact Mayor Barrett’s sign read “Why did Mayor Barrett cross the road?  To remind drivers of state law.  Yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.”  All joking aside, often crossing the street in a crosswalk is a gamble because drivers either ignore the law or are unaware they are legally required to stop.

The bad news is that Milwaukee still has approximately 600 pedestrian accidents each year.  The good news is that pedestrian fatalities have dropped from 18 last year to only seven so far this year.  The improvement is definitely a step in the right direction but improvement still needs to be made to reduce fatalities and overall pedestrian accidents.  Hopefully next year Milwaukee can reach the stated goal of having zero pedestrian fatalities slash pedestrian accidents.  Unfortunately I’m not sure this event will do a lot to reduce the loss of life but possibly it will raise awareness.

Really though the solution is simple.  Slow down and stop.


6 thoughts on “It’s Pedestrian Safety Week”

  1. Matt says:

    I’m glad it’s only for one week that us drivers have to keep pedestrians safe…

  2. Dave Reid says:

    @Matt funny.. remember all drivers become pedestrians eventually!

  3. Jeremy H says:

    And the drivers are the operators of the lethal device, first and foremost responsible … or in other words, the finger behind the trigger. Pedestrian safety is too commonly scoffed at … until it is experienced first hand.

    The truth is, a lot of drivers utter choice words under their breath or roll their eyes when waiting for a pedestrian to cross the street as if it is the pedestrian’s obligation to assist the driver to get from point A to point B two seconds quicker. Yet, when that same person gets out of their vehicle and actually has to be a pedestrian themselves, all of a sudden it’s “why does everyone drive so fast, can’t they see there are pedestrians present?”

    While I am happy to see “something” being done, this will do nothing to improve my pedestrian experience in the city of Milwaukee. The amount of people who will actually see this event, let alone understand what is being portrayed or why it is being portrayed is a tiny fraction of the amount of people that ignore the law and the reason being it every day.

  4. Dave Reid says:

    @Jeremy I agree 100% Yea the week is a nice thing to do but really to get people to slow down will take both better enforcement and changes to our road configuration. Things like street trees, cycle tracks, curb bump outs and so on can have a the ability to slow traffic down. And I’d say we should remind ourselves when we are driving to do the right thing as well!

  5. Matt says:

    I am a pedestrian more often than not, but I do try to get out of the way of motorists quickly even if I’m not jaywalking. I know how annoying it is to be a motorist and have to wait for someone to walk past you when you want to get going and there is no oncoming traffic. As a motorists it’s not that I want to get to my destination 2 seconds faster it’s that I want to get through an intersection before more cars come and I have to wait for them as well.

    I think motorists should be courteous of pedestrians (of course) but pedestrians should be courteous of motorists as well. Stepping into a cross walk in the face of oncoming traffic because you have the right of way doesn’t mean you’re not being rude and inconveniencing other people. I have the right to free speech but I don’t use it to constantly insult everyone I meet. Similarly I wait for traffic to thin out a bit before crossing and it doesn’t take much effort to cross the street a bit faster than my normal walking speed so cars don’t have to slow down for me. As Jeremey said, most pedestrians know what it’s like to be a driver and dislike waiting for pedestrians, if we all could remember that when we are pedestrians ourselves and act accordingly then perhaps there can be peace between us. 😉

  6. Jeremy H says:

    The point is 99 motorists out of 100 don’t even consider the law. They do believe is it their right to blow past a pedestrian waiting to cross the road. The attitude is “I am a motorist, therefore I am more important and powerful than you measly pedestrian,” – and that is what has to change, because that is precisely what is causing traffic related pedestrian deaths and injuries. Always the remember, the city is for people first and foremost, not cars.

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