Maybe you heard about the pedestrians knocked down by cars at MUN recently, but if not, here is a link to a brief CBC story for some background. What really got me going is the comment section, so I offer two choice samples along with responses to set the stage for this tirade:
Rusty S says, “Look Both Ways”! This was taught to me when I was 3 but nowadays in University. Next semester they’ll teach you how to tie your shoes.
Hardy-friggin-har, Rusty. The last person to get knocked down wasn’t a student, it was a prof. But don’t let any of those insignificant details get in the way of your levity, as you seem to think there’s something funny about people getting struck by cars.
tarftarf100 says, “People who cross at other than cross-walks, and there are many, need to be ticketed.”
Sure, tarftarf, let’s talk about ticketing pedestrians who don’t use the crosswalks. I’m all for that. But you know what else I’m all for? Suspending driver’s licenses for anyone not coming to a complete stop when a pedestrian is waiting at a crosswalk. Second offense, you go to jail. Knock down a pedestrian at a crosswalk, you go to jail and lose your license permanently. My proposal is that we put cameras up at all the crosswalks at MUN and punish drivers who break the rules of the road. I mean, if you want to talk about ticketing pedestrians, then fair is fair, right?
If you’re a driver and that sounds harsh to you, try to put yourself in the pedestrian’s shoes. I walk to MUN every day, whether it’s to fulfill my role as a teacher or a student, and I cannot begin to express the many terrifying experiences of crossing at the crosswalk on Elizabeth Ave in front of the Arts Building. I push the button so the lights flash, and cars just whiz on by. Sometimes the drivers will look at me and sort of shrug, as if to say “yeah I saw you there, but what are you going to do?”
So now I’m in the habit of pushing the button and waiting until traffic in both directions has come to a complete stop. I will not walk into the crosswalk if a car in either lane has just slowed down and is still moving forward. I wait. And you know what people do? While the lights are flashing and I’m standing there looking at them and waiting for them to come to a stop? They give me the finger and speed on through. It’s as if to say, “you f-ing stupid pedestrian, don’t even know when I’m giving you a break.”
But then let’s say I’ve pushed the button, the crosswalk lights are flashing, and the cars in both lanes of Elizabeth Ave have stopped. I step out into the road only to get cut off by someone turning right from Newtown Road. They are so busy looking to their left that they don’t even realize the cars have stopped for a pedestrian — they think someone is giving them a break. I have narrowly avoided being struck by cars dozens of times just like this.
It is terrifying to walk the streets of this city because of how little drivers care about the safety of pedestrians. Actually, it’s a wonder more people aren’t hit by cars. And where are all these cars speeding to anyways? Another stoplight. And then another stoplight after that. The solution to pedestrians at MUN getting knocked down by cars has nothing to do with looking both ways or any such trite remarks from fools on the CBC comment section. The solution is to severely punish drivers for breaking the rules of the road, because there is obviously nothing that will change the sociopathic behavior of many. Drivers don’t give a rat’s ass about pedestrians, whether they are at a crosswalk or not, and all the evidence you need of this is the startling comments left on the many sad stories, comments that are really saying a human life is worth less than six seconds of your time, worth less than the cost to repair a dent in the fender of a car.