Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pieces on Work Zone and Motorcycle Safety Still Evade Centrality of Driving's Danger

There was an interesting secondary theme in the paper today on road safety. It didn't make the front page, but it made an interior page of the front section and the bulk of the editorial section.

But together they represent a primary blind spot in our autoism. They work to insulate "ordinary" driving from criticism, imply there is a level or kind of perfectly safe driving, and insist that bad actors and bad behavior is the primary cause of crashes and death. "Distracted driving" is the culprit. Not speed or road design, or driving at inherently lethal speeds itself.

They also work through the false leveling that "everyone" is responsible for safety, for awareness, and for sharing the road. One of the pieces says
Every road user, whether a car or truck driver, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist or a pedestrian carries the responsibility to help ensure everyone arrives safely.
This is an inadequate frame that leads too often to blaming a victim. Those who operate cars and trucks, and even sometimes motorcycles, are the ones operating at lethal speeds, with lethal weights and loads, and therefore employ lethal force. A person on foot or on bike almost never employs lethal force! This asymmetry needs to recognized.

(Motorcycling is also an ambiguous middle thing: Relative to cars and trucks they are vulnerable and their operators exposed, but they still operate at lethal speeds, and motorcycle operators sometimes speed well above posted limits, drive carelessly or recklessly.)

Hopefully we are not heading towards
requirements for Pedestrian Safety Equipment
The orange imagery on the bridge also expresses the Traffic Cone Theory of Walking, which ODOT sometimes seems to want to import from work zones to impose on ordinary walking activity.

We are certainly seeing robot car interests arguing for pedestrian control. Why fix and control the cars when you can restrict walking, criminalize improper walking, and insist on pedestrian displacement systems or pedestrian safety equipment?

via Twitter
Even here in Salem the report on walking deaths suggested we restore jaywalking laws.

But the focus needs to be on jaydriving, not on jaywalking. And on the dangers and lethality of ordinary, banal, everyday driving.

From 2015: "Driving is the most dangerous activity"

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