City Journal Winter 2016

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Winter 2016
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Nicole Gelinas
Safe Streets Now « Back to Story

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Speed and redlight cameras are NOT a good solution. Watchful law enforcement ARE good means of reducing craziness at the wheel. Why is it NYC cops can stop and harrass drivers for minor technical violations, in certain neighbourhoods "driving whilst white", nothing found wrong at all, insane parking enforcement, yet there are not enough to deploy for actual traffic safety. I know, there are a few "flavours" of LEO in the city, but why? Seems with so many coppers on the loose, some of them are either asleep, don't care, or are distracted by pompous meddling in business none of theirs.
Instead of pulling driving licenses for those with multiple convictions of certain "offenses", how about monitoring actual crashes? Seems if someone has a habit of striking things he oughtn't, he might need to take a hiatus from trying again. Plenty of good laws exist already.... though a number of them are useless...... and if drivers persist in egregious violation of necessary safety issues, perhaps THEY ought to be compelled to be the ones cycling or walking.
Will the "zero-tolerance" cure become worse than the disease?

I do track days, at speeds to 130 MPH on various racetracks, with a full harness, helmet and nomex (depending on the track), in my daily driver.

One of the things I have learned is how much concentration is required, and I believe it makes me a better street driver as I do concentrate and look harder for "threats" than most people.

Therein lies, as another commenter said, the rub. Most people don't pay anywhere near enough attention to what they are doing or understand (especially younger drivers) why they need to. It is a minor miracle that as few die as they do.

The (or the major) fatal conceit of progressives is that man is perfectible. A zero-tolerance policy reflects this fatal conceit, that if everyone just followed directions, nothing bad would ever happen, and punishment will secure that goal.

The answer is that nobody is that good every minute of every day. Some cases proggies will attribute to negligence and avoidable are not.

Because proggies act with the approval of their consciences and know the goal is just a bigger fine away, good ideas become persecution on the basis of a false notion.
Unfortunate though it is, pedestrians are frequently hit and killed. I live in a small town in Montana and one would think it could never happen, but it does. Courtesy from drivers is especially important because they're wielding the deadly, heavier (by many times) vehicle when compared with the cyclist's bike and the pedestrian's body.

As an avid cyclist and walker who frequently drives, I've come to realize just how narrow are the margins between safety and hazzard. I doubt much can be done about it.
I couldn't agree more that this needs to be a priority. But another candidate for "zero tolerance" should be cyclists who ignore traffic rules -- including riding the wrong way in their bike lanes, thus threatening even pedestrians who have learned to look for bikes, in addition to cars, before stepping off the curb.
16 year NYC driver with no points or violations here. I'm just curious about something. Do pedestrians have any responsibility in the prevention of crashes or is it all driver's fault? All the hate on drivers seems a bit one sided considering the many, many things pedestrians do to aggravate the situation.
Dear Agwisreal,

The reason you remember a cyclist killing a pedestrian -- a tragedy you note was "decades ago" -- is because it is so rare, almost nonexistent.

It almost never happens.

No pedestrian has been killed by a bicyclist in New York City in almost five years.

We have had more people killed by falling cranes and malfunctioning elevators in that time.

By contrast, you don't remember (enough to cite, at any rate) any of the incidents in which a motor vehicle kills a pedestrian because such incidents are so common.

Three people died in this manner on the streets of New York this Saturday.

And yes, a person convicted of three moving violations (speed, reckless turning, etc.) is a danger to others.

Bad drivers kill. That's why so many drivers involved in a fatal crash have had their licenses suspended already.

Moreover, an oblivious person who does not perceive that he is a danger -- , e.g., yeah, I speed, so I got speeding tickets but I'm a good driver and I speed carefully -- is an even bigger danger.
The quick fix for Metro-North is to install GPS-driven speed monitors. These devices have been around for a decade. They work. Setting up the system takes a week.

The simplest type sound an alarm when the train exceeds speed limit. This one also records speeds, getting to habitual speeder ASAP. More complicated devices can link to the engines, shutting things down even overriding the trainmen.

I couldn't say. I do recall an incident in Minneapolis decades ago in which a path was designated for cyclists and pedestrians. This was an accident waiting to happen, and inevitably, it did. The cyclist and the pedestrian both dodged in the same direction. Twice. Time to adjust ran out and the cyclist hit the pedestrian, killing her.

The answer to cyclist-pedestrian deaths is the same as the answer to motorist-pedestrian deaths: enforce laws that bear directly on safety rather strictly, and design the public spaces so that there are ever fewer accidents waiting to happen.
Amazingly fatalistic attitudes being displayed here. Many countries, the Netherlands and Sweden among them, do not accept that accidents happen or that we're all going to die sometime. They design forgiving spaces so that mistakes -- accidents, if you will -- don't cost people their lives.
Enforcing traffic laws like all laws except embezzlement and mass murder, impacts persons of color more than others

Good luck mayor DB, thread that needle

in DC, Traffic installed red light cams and most tickets were for DWB Driving While Black, racist cameras

More tickets? add to the thousands unenforced now

"Man's arrogance in believing he can prevent stupidity is amusing at best." Clearly they can't prevent it in a CJ combox.
The stupidity of believing every death is preventable just opens the door to more regulations and risk avoidance ideology.

The continuing prevention of population loss adds to even more over population.

Man's arrogance in believing he can prevent stupidity is amusing at best.
How come death makes everyone so uneasy? We can't escape it, can we? At some point, and we know not when, where, why, by whom, or how, it's GONNA happen!

If you want to face death fearlessly, get to confession because your sins are nagging you.

Oh, but who believes in sin or God in these last day?
agwisreal - speaking of a sense of proportion, when is the last time a cyclist killed a pedestrian in New York City?
I would hate to see this taken too far. People convicted of three moving violations in three years are not, in general, deadly menaces. Right turns on red can be rolling right turns and thus illegal without really putting lives in danger. People going 16 in a 15 mph school zone, people failing to signal their turns far enough in advance, even, sometimes, people cutting across nearly empty lanes to make their exit---these are misdemeanors of the road, not felonies.

Cyclists break a lot of rules. Sometimes, this is unsafe. Other times, it's merely illegal. Again, some sense of proportion and forbearance will be needed.
Dear Kevin --

Thank you for your comment.

The two people killed last Friday night were in crosswalks with the right of way. That is not unusual.

Look at police reasons for crashes here:
You need to look and listen more closely, Kevin Davitt. There is plenty of information on who causes pedestrian fatalities in NYC. Hint: 75 percent of the time, it's drivers.

Do a Google search for "jaywalking" (a term invented by the auto industry) and narrow the parameters to the past month. Assuming, of course, your comment wasn't intended sarcastically.

I've yet to see a break down of who was at fault in the pedestrian fatalities. There is an expectation (a good one) that vehicles give preference to pedestrians when they see what used to be known as a "walk" sign. (I'm sure its referred to as something different now). However, vehicles are not given preference by pedestrians when they have the right-of-way. One doesn't even hear the expression "jay-walking" anymore. Enforcement must be metered to both parties.