|A crash I encountered on Friday: since it involved two|
motor vehicles, Councilman Lancman is spared
the task of working out how to exonerate one party.
|Two pedestrians in this Meatpacking District crosswalk|
are on their phones. That makes them fair game, right?
The true obscenity of the councilman’s proposed amendment, meanwhile, is that it’s seeking to stamp out a “problem” that barely exists. According to Streetsblog, between the introduction of the Right of Way Law last August and the end of April, only 22 drivers had been charged under it, out of 8,000 collisions between motorists and pedestrians or cyclists. His proposed amendment would usher in a system where even that minuscule number of prosecutions would inevitably fall to nearly zero. It is no comfort at all that the councilman's proposed amendment and some other recent legislation aimed at gutting the Right of Way Law seem to be aimed at ensuring that more members of Transport Workers' Union Local 100, which represents New York bus drivers, escape arrest when they hit pedestrians.
|A van driver swings through a crosswalk|
on Sixth Avenue. If he hits a pedestrian,
in many circumstances, Rory Lancman
will have his back
The persistence of such thinking is all the more extraordinary given the mental leaps that should be required to accept this narrative. Research regularly places the main blame for between two-thirds and 80 per cent of crashes involving vulnerable road users on the driver involved. Yet the victim-blaming narrative suggests cyclists and pedestrians either don’t know themselves to be vulnerable or consistently throw themselves in front of deadly, speeding vehicles heedless of the dangers.