Pedestrian safety was a topic of last Wednesday’s mayoral candidate forum. Two (two!) candidates took the opportunity to say that pedestrians need to pay more attention to cars.
I guess shooting victims should have learned to pay more attention to bullets, too.
The topic is pedestrian safety. Jaywalking is different. If a jaywalker pops out between two parked cars and into the path of a moving vehicle, the legal sympathies rightly go to the driver. That’s not what this is about.
I invite all of the candidates to go to City Hall. But stay by the back door. For fifteen minutes, watch pedestrians try to cross 1st and Bloomfield. Count the number of drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. Count the brush backs. Count the horns honked not for safety, but in aggression. Count the number of cars blocking the crosswalks. Can anyone still declare that pedestrians are the problem?
Running for mayor of Hoboken as an aggrieved aggressive driver is like running for mayor of Greenwich, CT as a Bolshevik. Densely packed cities, by definition, present obstacles. Dogs get loose. Kids chase balls. Mentally ill people wander aimlessly. Drunks stumble. Taxis drop off passengers. Driving is slow, challenging, and frustrating. But remember, you chose to drive in a densely packed city. Face the consequences.
Bikes can hurt pedestrians, and cars can kill both pedestrians and cyclists. So the rules are pretty simple. The burden of safety grows along with the potential hazards of your vehicle. Cyclists must yield to pedestrians, and cars must yield to both pedestrians and cyclists. Always. End of story.