You’ll be a lot safer if ...


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That rather bland headline is to get you to read how we need pay more attention to traffic tragedies in order to prevent them. It’s really all about safe travel. Walkers are the most vulnerable travelers and bring only themselves into this high density city. I took on the challenge decades ago, founding the group Pedestrians First to draw attention to bicyclists’ disdain for the laws of the road, a matter not taken seriously enough by the folks in City Hall and other authorities.

I’ve written countless columns about city walkers who’ve been killed and most often — hear this — by drivers’ failure to yield to pedestrians while making turns. Yes, it’s a law, but one too rarely enforced. Speeding, of course, is a deadly factor, especially in some boroughs, and incidentally, why I am so against traffic lights changing so city buses can make better time.

Again, even though government’s primary duty is to protect public welfare and safety, the city’s Department of Transportation appears more concerned with allowing people to get wherever they’re going fast, rather than safely.

But back to victims’ traffic tragedy-caused pain. I so believe it must be stressed — perhaps with photos of victim’s bodies lying prone on the street. The public must be more exposed to the awful reality of this wrongful and preventable taking of innocent lives, which is so commonplace that it barely makes the news.

One news brief on the traffic death of 80-year-old Barbara Horn, struck by a cab as she crossed with the light on the Upper East Side last month, showed a photo of the cab driver yet.

The severe trauma suffered by the victim when mowed down must also be stressed. The overall sheer abject horror needs to get out there, and yes, to make traffic violence as abhorrent as gun violence.

Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church deacon’s, Anne Connor, tells us that Horn lived at the James Lenox House residence for those age 65-plus, next door to the church. Connor said the James Lenox House’s director, Joe Given, is working with local officials to start a groundswell effort for traffic safety.

The cab driver was arrested on charges of failure to yield. Elected officials, despite the Vision Zero initiative, have yet to declare war against this pedestrian killer and maimer. It’s any corner where vehicles can turn into you, and yet there are few if any related warning signs or stencils.

How many times must this be said? Just so much more that cries out to be said and done — and also that elderly walkers are the primary victims despite being the safest. So here’s to all senior groups joining James Lenox House to help make this a real war against failure-to-yield.

And may all the concerned call local officials phone numbers located in this paper’s Useful Contacts column. Remind them, especially, to declare all-out war on traffic crime. It can be done if enough of us try!

dewingbetter@aol.com





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