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More Cities Following Honolulu's Victim Blaming Model for Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrian blaming won't make pedestrians any safer, but cities are trying it anyways.
September 6, 2017, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Angie Schmitt reports on a strange turn in traffic policy in reaction to climbing pedestrian fatality statistics.

"Last year, nearly 6,000 people were struck and killed while walking, a 25 percent increase since 2010," according to Schmitt. But the reaction of lawmakers has not been to "[reform] transportation and land use policies to make walking safer." Rather, cities are "doubling down on a dysfunctional system by blaming pedestrians for their own deaths."

Schmitt cites Honolulu's recent law that prohibits the use of a mobile phone while otherwise legally crossing the street on foot. That law is misguided, according to Schmitt. "The law won’t make people safer (data doesn’t support the idea that 'distracted walking' is a significant factor in rising pedestrian fatalities), but will lend itself to selective enforcement and racial profiling."

Cities are copying the idea anyway. Politicians in Cleveland and Stamford, Connecticut have proposed laws copying Honolulu's model.

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Published on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 in Streetsblog USA
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