NHTSA Exclusive: Review of Studies on Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety, 1991-2007 Part II

“In standard law (as codified in the UVC),
a pedestrian has the right-of-way when in a crosswalk but the driver is not required to yield to a
pedestrian waiting to enter a crosswalk.”

I feel that this is a bad law and a recipe for disaster.

Let me also state, that personally, I walk Ninja Style TM, which means that I assume that motorists can not see me. So I am always the one yielding unless I am sure that the motorist has stopped and saw me. This is still risky, but must take some risks or I’d be standing at the first cross walk, ever.

Incidentally, I _resent_ having to put my life into other people’s hands when I try to walk around. I blame such toothless organizations such as the NHTSA, with their lame pap for keeping the pedestrian and cycling deaths consistently high.

Next, I’d like to talk about the section on children. I thought that this section was particularly cruel. Long time readers know that I think that the we should give children far more freedom by making things safer, over all, for them. Slowing or removing cars from local streets is one of the ways which can save thousands of families, a year, the misery of death or hospitalization of a loved one. Instead agencies like the NHTSA, wish to promote silly, insulting, do nothing moves such as their attack on children.

“Crash-Typing Children (sic)

Studies argue that children lack the experience and cognitive ability to make accurate
judgments on various aspects of traffic safety, such as judging the speed of oncoming vehicles
and assessing whether it is safe to cross (Muttart, 1995). Foot et al., (1999) revealed that as
children age, they become more proficient in recognizing safety-relevant features in traffic
scenarios. Child pedestrians are at heightened risk in traffic because they are not able too
distinguish the sound and visual stimuli that are important to their safety (Foot, Tolmie, Thomson,
McLaren, & Whelan, 1999).”

Since they lump all children into a single group this is useless.

Also, in many ways, I feel that older children may or may not follow the laws as much as adults do. Children go through a stage where they become obsessed with rules, and I doubt that traffic rules are any different. Thus, it’s supposition and leaping to conclusions.

This is the heart of my problem with the NHTSA’s statements. They seem to be creating a massive snow screen, all of it geared to distract us from the basic fact that all this misery is caused by cars. Take them out of the equation and we won’t need all this. Because this is true, it makes little sense to waste time blaming children for their own deaths.

On the other hand, as a study in the extremes that humans go to rationalize behavior that they know is wrong, the NHTSA is first rate.


Guess which mode has little responsibility in this section. Sigh.

“Bicycling in the United States is both a popular recreational activity and a means of
transportation; however, bicycling can be risky.”

Hmmm, with over 30,000 deaths a year, would state that motoring is risky?

“Results also pointed
out that housing characteristics, such as low median rent, a high proportion of poor residents and,
to a lesser degree, lower income, were correlated with higher crash rates. ”

In the entire bicycle section they failed to consider that the vehicle speed had anything to do with the fatality and injury rate, though they talked about the types of bicycle ridden, helmets, and lots of other things that are correlated with only a small fraction of fatalities and injuries.

The entire section was obsessed with cyclists following traffic laws, but it did not ask the question as to why so many law abiding cyclists are dying nor did it question why, in many, many cases, it’s perfectly legal to kill someone with their car.

They seem to think that compliance with law is equivalent to safety which is delusional.

If I were to grade this article, I’d give it an F. They didn’t address any of the true causes of why pedestrians and cyclists die. If their recommendations are put into effect, it would lead to more harassment for cyclists and pedestrians, more tax money squandered and no new safety benefits.


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