It comes from the Detroit Free Press, and it really exemplifies how difficult it is going to be to get incisive reporting on autoism. Is a paper in Detroit going to go all-in on a critical approach? And more generally, given how dependent are newspapers on car advertising, would they be willing to upset key advertisers?
So it starts with an "expert" saying it's bad actors. It's people. Cars are safe.
the answer to it is really social patterns, you know, having very little to do with cars. Because cars are so expensive.What? The safety features primarily benefit those inside cars, not those outside. This conflates safety for drivers and passengers with safety for other road users. It also conflates safety with the signalling functions (even conspicuous consumption) of our car purchases and the system of wealth checks we use to weed out non-car owners from jobs and housing.
Focusing on bad actors behind the wheel is just another form of victim-blaming.
The second expert has a more nuanced approach, and rightly mentions "speed," though it is still in a subordinate position to distracted driving.
Finally, buried way at the end is a clear statement:
Drivers have a greater share of the responsibility than pedestrians because drivers are the ones operating a dangerous piece of equipment, Van Houten said.Kids, the elderly, and disabled, in addition to everybody else, are just trying to cross the street or move along the road. Kids are by nature distracted, and we should have a street system that accommodates them. Sentences that use "distracted walking" should be recast as sentences about "children walking" to see if they still seem reasonable. Blaming distracted walking is a way to blame victims and also to avoid having a system that works for kids, the elderly, disabled, and those who by choice or by fortune do not have a car.
Society, he said, already recognizes a difference, because not everyone is able to obtain a driver’s license. Anyone who is physically able, however, can be a pedestrian, and no license is needed to cross a street.
“People just need to be more careful,” Van Houten said.
"Drivers are the ones operating a dangerous piece of equipment."
- "Before Jaywalking: In 1914 Street Crossings Belonged to Pedestrians"
- "Cars Rule, Walkers Drool! Othering the Person on Foot"
- "Why so much Acceptance for Traffic Cone Theory of Walking?"
- "Jay Driving deserves Revival as Term of Opprobrium!"
- "Conflicting Narratives about Walking Jostle in Story on Memorial to Crosslands"
- "Why Pedestrian Rights themselves may not be Sufficient"
- "Before Jaywalking: Pedestrian Rights and a Dangerous Instrumentality in 1921"
- "A Century Ago: Speed Maniacs, Autoists, and the Fight over Road Space"
- "With Call to Revive Jaywalking Laws, City Study Whiffs on Speed"
- "Induced Demand and Pedestrian Control in 1920s Chicago"
- "Robot Cars Should not Tempt us to Try to Criminalize Improper Walking"
- "Scooter Wars Framing Misses on our Autoism" (not about walking, but about a similar issue)
Update, July 12th
See, just a day later there's a small blurb that tells more about the real problem with cars and drivers. We have car problems, not walking problems.