On distracted driving, headphones, helmets and blaming the victim

distracted driving
via Twitter

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.


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.


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.”

cause of head injuriesRebel Metropolis/via

-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.


And finally this.

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Bike Sharing | Biking | New York City

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