Dr. Samuel Johnson was a great believer in how we need to be reminded as well as informed. Or that once informed, any new idea or concept must be repeated and repeated until it takes hold.
Well, I’ve had a lot of ideas (help!) in my lifetime, but they have yet to take hold. Like Pedestrians First, later renamed Safe Travel First. Yes, you’ve heard this before but until it takes hold ... (And it’s springtime, when the two-wheeled population explodes.) Plus we need many more Safe Travel First activists. Again there were awards, but we are never consulted as bicyclists’ allergy to the laws of the road remains, even as their numbers increase and increase and increase. And there is still no great and ongoing outcry against the far more deadly motorists’ failure to yield when turning into a crosswalk. Something Safe Travel First has always stressed. Again, this crime of traffic causes more pedestrian deaths and injuries (let’s not forget severe, painful, disfiguring, permanent and bankrupting injuries) than any other crime of traffic. And let’s keep repeating that, and how the “crimes of traffic” label needs to really take hold.
As for bicycling, including scooters, well they engender the most frequent stress with the many near-misses and always being on guard against theses silent machines which as often noted and noted and noted can come at you from any direction. Incidentally my 1984 Times Op-Ed piece titled, “New York Bikers – Too Free-Wheeling and a Public Menace,” also said city bikes must make a nice little sound, Make a nice little sound!
But most of my letters to the editor have railed against motorists’ failure to yield, including one found in the March 4th paper of record. And, of course, pedestrians must obey the laws. I’ve said much too little about that, likely because although surely stressed by heedless runners, I don’t feel that threatened in general by reckless foot travelers.
But the greatest problem is that too little is said, in general, about these everyday life and health illegal threats in the nation’s walkingest city with a large elder and otherwise disabled population especially at risk. And something (a lot really) should be said by advocates of these most vulnerable walkers. Just one example, when walking home from the senior exercise group in John Jay Park last week, at two low-traffic crossings, motor vehicles brazenly failed to yield. And I thought again how fighting this and all traffic dangers should somehow be incorporated into such classes – to at least get people talking about it, and yes, also more concerned with civical fitness -concerned with civical fitness – concerned with civical fitness.
Also, I’ve long meant to write about Hillary Clinton’s forgotten long ago reproach to the entertainment industry to curtail its excessive and gratuitous violence (like a Sunday school picnic compared to nowadays. She needs reminding). But when googling the Clinton presidential years, I again read that Bill Clinton’s father was killed in an auto accident (traffic tragedy) four months before Bill was born. Did you remember that? But it shows how taken for granted such terrible and preventable tragedies are. And how rarely remembered is that Joe Biden’s wife and 13-month-old daughter were killed in a 1992 traffic tragedy. And yet if these so powerful men, especially Clinton, had made battling crimes of traffic a real and ongoing crusade…well, it’s never too late, never too late, never too late.
Incidentally, both Democrat presidential wannabees held rallies in New York City, but no concern that I know of about stopping the profit-driven real estate tsunami-like forces from razing neighborhoods that sustain everyday needs. And yet saving the nabes is so basic and democratic a city need - so basic and democratic a city need - so basic and democratic a city need.
It can be done if enough of us try – if enough of us try - if enough of us try.