Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Who is responsible?

On a recent trip to London I went and saw the movie "The 40 Year Old Virgin." During the previews there was a public service announcement quoting a statistic that two teenagers die in London every day from crossing a street when they shouldn't and being hit by a car. I thought that was amazingly high. Then I thought, well when I first arrived in London, by train, I walked out of the train station towards my Hotel and the many other pedestrians were all crossing the street with don’t a walk signal and none were waiting. It didn't matter what color the light was; they would just look both ways then run. I myself, by the time I was nearing my hotel was doing the same. The green walk signals in London are way too seldom for the amount of foot traffic. Not to say there isn’t an equal amount of vehicle traffic. People don't want to wait five minutes or more to wait to cross a street so they run for it, myself included. The amount of vehicle traffic they are trying to control is a complex and difficult undertaking. However it seems to me they sacrificed the safety of pedestrians so the people relaxing in their autos can get to their destination a few minutes earlier.
Now comes a favorite American pastime, the “blame game." I have to admit, it may be my environmental (American) influences in my upbringing that makes me think it is the governments fault, or in reality, whoever has final say in the programming of the lights in London, rather than the people who cross the street in traffic. It seems on average most Americans would rather blame anyone but themselves. Despite my firm belief in personal responsibility, I really think it is the governments fault for these deaths. Yes, people should wait to cross the street until they have a walk signal; and they should blame themselves if they get hit. The government however has created a rule no one follows, which breeds unsafe traffic behavior. It is comparable to if the government set a speed limit of 25 MPH or 35 KPH for an interstate highway. Most would ignore this rule. The thing is that some people don't have good enough judgment to know by how much they should ignore a rule. They would drive to fast and hurt others. This is why you need traffics laws, but traffic laws that are safe for both pedestrians and vehicles.


Anonymous BCWalti said...

I was really impressed with your website. It looks so professional. Also, what of course impressed me, is that you actually found the statistics about the traffic death toll in London - very typical for you :-) But I think you should defenitely write more in your profile. It doesn't say much. Write some more in there!

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