I don't like buckets, especially two-party ones. If we were to go back
to the beginning and redesign all roadways to accommodate all forms of
traffic, we might end up with a very different world. After all,
different users have different uses and needs. Pedestrians use one
type of 'road' (sidewalks) that are generally reserved for them alone.
In part, this is due to the fact that sidewalks are generally too
narrow to fit bicyclists (and other faster-moving modes, like
rollerbladers or even horses). If sidewalks were ten feet wide, there
might be room for bicyclists and rollerbladers...and maybe horses.
Why should bicyclists not have similar privileges (like not stopping)?
All else equal, what happens when two bicyclists meet at an
intersection at night and neither has lights? Probably a collision.
So, we need rules.
Imagine the same scenario, but instead of two bicyclists, one is a
pedestrian. The outcome is likely the same: a collision. What's
missing? Rules. Should pedestrians not have similar rules about
visibility (i.e., seeing and being seen)? Probably. Do pedestrians
typically wear things that make them visible? (Certainly not around
the Princeton Junction train station) Or maybe that situation deserves
better street lighting.
Imagine another scenario where a really big vehicle doesn't have to
stop at an intersection. Can't imagine that? It's called a train. For
whatever reason? Trains get to go through intersections. I'm betting
the reason has to do with momentum (or loss thereof) and the energy to
get moving once stopped. It makes sense.
The point is: each situation has different players, all of which have
different needs. If the rules and accommodations don't address all
players and needs, then the result is usually that somebody gets hurt.
One last thing, education and enforcement are critical to ensure the
players know how to operate within the rules and actually do so.
Wes Windsor Bicycle and Pedestrian Alliance
On Sunday, October 18, 2009, Ted Ross <tedr...@gmail.com