Why didn't the pedestrian cross the road?

Anne Karpf wrote an eloquent article about the pedestrian's plight in Great Britain. By her description, the situation there mirrors almost exactly the situation here in Missouri.

According to the Highway Code, if a pedestrian has started to cross, they have right of way, yet I've never met a driver that knows it. . . .

It isn't just a case of miscreant drivers. "Drivers react to the environmental cues they're given: at the moment in this country, the cues are that it's OK to drive as fast as you can when you like," says Philip Connolly of Living Streets. . . .

The pavements [sidewalks] are rubbish because most of the money goes on road rather than pavement maintenance. This discriminates against older people, who make twice as many shopping trips on foot as everyone else. Going for a walk is twice as significant for them as for people under retirement age. An Age Concern study found that two-thirds of under-75s said they were too disabled to go out and walk more, even though less than one in five had a severe disability. What they were really saying is that the streets are disabling.

The new buzzword is walkability, but the government's preoccupation with congestion shows that it has adopted the agenda of the motorist. Accident-reduction and street-improvement aren't arcane wizardry - they follow automatically from traffic-calming and "Home Zones". Home Zones have lower speed limits (nine to 17 and a half mph, comparable to walking speed, though for some drivers this would defeat the purpose) and streets redesigned to give priority to children, pedestrians, and cyclists. Few complain, because the motorists here are also residents and parents. Traffic- calmed 20mph zones reduce accidents by about 60%. But what we also need is a cussed battalion of pedestrians who refuse to accept their colonised role on the streets.
By the way, Karpf's answer to the question, "Why didn't the pedestrian cross the road?" is "Because the government didn't want him to get to the other side."

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