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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 6, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Crosswalk stings

John Lok / The Seattle Times

Crosswalk caution stations in downtown Kirkland carry a warning about risks to pedestrians.

Help avoid heartbreak of losing loved one

Before Feb. 22, 2008, I may have counted myself among the numerous critics of Seattle’s recent crosswalk sting [“Drivers feel crosswalk sting,” NWMonday, May 4].

On that day, my father was hit in a crosswalk less than two blocks from our house, next door to a school. He was thrown up to 25 feet and suffered, among many other injuries, the massive and diffuse brain damage that led to his death.

The driver admitted he was not looking where he was going and was charged with and found guilty of negligent driving in the second degree. He was fined the statutory maximum of $250 and continues to drive past our house in the same manner as he did that day.

It’s not that I believe a crosswalk sting will change this particular driver’s habits. After all, if killing my dad didn’t change that, I’m not sure what would. But I believe it could make other potentially negligent drivers more aware of the foot traffic that rightfully shares the road with them.

It may not, but after losing my dad’s precious life so needlessly, I feel that any action taken in an attempt to avoid this heartbreak for another family is time and money well spent.

— Nancy A. Norris, Everett

Pedestrians responsible for safety, too

Most of us are both drivers and frequent pedestrians. As such, most of us would agree that pedestrian safety should be everyone’s concern.

However, it seems that those who are often least concerned about it are many of the pedestrians themselves. Some seem determined to demand their right of way and enter crosswalks regardless of the vehicle traffic’s volume or speed. Others dress like ninjas at night and become almost invisible to drivers.

Then there are those whose heads appear to be attached to necks that are totally incapable of turning to look either left or right before stepping off the curb and into traffic. Quite often those same heads have cellphones grafted to them, as their owners suddenly appear from the cover of a parked vehicle.

Drivers aren’t clairvoyant, and can’t read pedestrians’ minds in order to know what they intend to do when they’re standing at an intersection. Waiting until an oncoming car is a hundred feet away and then stepping into the crosswalk is about as safe as playing catch with a live hand grenade.

While I have no problem with Seattle’s finest putting the sting on drivers who blatantly or carelessly pose a threat to pedestrians, it’s past time for many of our local pedestrians to also start assuming some responsibility for themselves.

— Lee Fowble, Edmonds

Comments | More in Pedestrians, Transportation

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