On distracted driving, headphones, helmets and blaming the victim
On Twitter, Angie Schmitt of Streetsblog points to a bizarre story in Philadelphia where a pedestrian was killed by a hit and run driver while crossing the street, the question being debated is whether he was at fault for wearing headphones.
That's all it would take I guess to blame a pedestrian for his own death, to excuse it: wearing headphones :/ http://t.co/AnSxIC0YUn— Angie Schmitt (@schmangee) August 14, 2015
It's not the first time either; the Bicycle coalition notes in their post, Latest Hit-and-Run Death is a Study in Victim-Blaming, that when a cyclist was killed in another accident, the discussion was about her helmet.
This is the sort of thing that, unfortunately, happens often in hit-and-run crash cases. For instance, when a Temple University student was hit by an unlicensed driver earlier this year, the question on many peoples’ minds was whether or not she was wearing a helmet (which is not a legal requirement of cyclists), and not why someone was driving without a license (which is totally illegal) and left the scene of a crime (also very illegal).
Coincidentally, Taras Grescoe retweeted this the image shown above that discusses technology and distraction.
Driving a new car these days feels like being in a video game arcade. It's *all* distraction. https://t.co/8ps4tuZcSi— Taras Grescoe (@grescoe) August 14, 2015
And in an article about Citibikes still not being accepted by some New Yorkers, a lawyer who " in addition to fighting the bikes in court also battles them on the road, alleging riders are reckless and often don’t wear helmets. "
“I can’t stand these bicycles,” Mr. Sladkus said. “While I applaud this mode of public transportation, I still can’t believe that helmets aren’t required and I still cannot believe the rationale the city uses in placement of some of these racks.”
-As if helmets have anything to do with the situation. They, like headphones on pedestrians, are proxies. James Bond didn't have as effective a licence to kill. Drivers can be distracted by any number of things in their cars, but that's not a problem. But a pedestrian- forget it. 48 percent of head injuries happen in cars, but cyclists are the ones that should be wearing helmets.
Meanwhile, in my favourite anti-bike tweet of the week, I have to agree with Ken here that this is the stupidest reason yet to oppose bike lanes and narrower traffic lanes.
No helmet and on a mobile phone. No wonder the Netherlands is so dangerous for cyclists. Oh wait... pic.twitter.com/LMr62XEDf7— bigbluemeanie (@bigbluemeanie) August 12, 2015
And finally this.