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Pedestrian vs. Motor Vehicle: And the Winner Is...

Categories: Opinion

By January 11, 2012, there had been six pedestrians killed in Las Vegas.  One needless death every two days.  All six could have been prevented if the pedestrians, the public, and our legislators reversed their thinking.

Most people believe the pedestrian has, and should have, the right-of-way.  This thinking is the reason so many pedestrians are killed and injured when they're crossing the street.

Occasionally, when I'm crossing the street with friends, we'll come to a crosswalk.  Motorists stop as a courtesy so we can cross in front of them.  My friends cross, and can't understand why I don't.

"Once bitten, twice shy."

As a motorcyclist, one of the things you learn is that right-of-way means nothing in traffic; it's only important in court.  I'm not concerned with whether I have the right-of-way, especially as a pedestrian.  My goal is to avoid being hit.  Whether I'm walking, on my motorcycle, or driving a car, I'll do whatever I have to do to avoid being hit by anything or anyone.  So, as a pedestrian, I always wait until there is no traffic around to hit me before I cross, and I'll rarely cross in front of a car that has stopped for me.  Thanks, but no thanks.

Our legislators apparently believe right-of-way is more important than saving lives.

Rather than giving pedestrians the right-of-way, I believe motorists should have the right-of-way, with a few exceptions (e.g., the motorist is stopped at a red traffic light).  Generally, pedestrians should not have the right-of-way, even in a crosswalk.  Before any pedestrian crosses any street, they should do what we've all been taught as children:

Look in both all directions.
When it's safe, cross.

"Choose your battles wisely."

In any conflict between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian, the motor vehicle will always win.  If pedestrians want to win in a conflict with a motor vehicle, they must learn to wait, and walk only when they determine it's safe, not when a motorist waives them out into the street, or when the government tells them they are supposed to be safe by law.

If you're walking, and you want to be safe, be patient.  But if you just want to be right, knock yourself out.  You just may be dead right.

User Comments:
Jonas - May 4, 2012 12:20:13 — Today's "Live and Local with Kevin Wall" talk show on KXNT radio featured Sergeant Todd Raybuck and North Las Vegas Public Information Officer Chrissie Coon talking about the different ways the community is attempting to improve pedestrian safety in the valley. Although a "culture cha ...more

"If you can't say something nice, let's hear it!"   — Joan Rivers

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