BJ'S BLOG 10/08/13 "Pedestrian Style Drivers"
I’ve lived in a few different spots across America, but the Pacific Northwest has been my ho
me for a good, long while now. There’s a lot to love here…but the local driving skills leave something to be desired.
Alex is a Listener on the Loose who originally hails from Arizona. This is a guy I can relate to, because I spent some time out in the AZ desert valleys, too. Alex also shares some of my frustrations when it comes to Washington drivers.
The Northwest is very pedestrian-friendly, and we do love our bicycles out here. However, I often wonder if our accommodating attitude toward pedestrians is contributing to a local culture of drivers who forget they’re operating a motor vehicle!
Walkers and bike riders have a long list of rights and privileges here, all designed to keep them safe; the problem I see is that most of that safety is the responsibility of vehicle drivers, and not the pedestrians themselves. You put that pedestrian behind the wheel of their own car, and they can’t break out of the “I’m safe because everyone’s looking out for me” mindset that they learned on foot.
Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s great that we have a progressive mindset in regards to people getting around. The big flaw in the plan is that it presumes that everyone is paying attention at all times.
Spoiler alert: People are not paying attention at all times.
Between that sense of pedestrian safety, the attention-suck of technology, and the everyday hustle and bustle of life, the roads (and sidewalks, and bike lanes) are more dangerous than ever before. We all need to be looking out for each other, or the system will never work properly.
Pay attention when you’re out there today. Try it just this once, and see if it suits you. Once you get the hang of it, you can just do it every day. It’s hard enough to stay safe on a clear day; if you add in the wet Washington weather, the disaster potential increases.
And don’t even get me started on the snow…