We Don’t Have to Accept the World We Inherited

We Don’t Have to Accept the World We Inherited

Someone commented yesterday on a post I wrote back in January with the riveting title  “New Study Shows 20 mph Speed Limit Drastically Reduce Injury and Death“. Said commenter seemed to think that the idea of embracing slower speed limits, even if it has been shown to dramatically reduce death, was crazy.

The post cited a study published in the British Medical Journal revealing that the introduction of 20 mph zones was associated with a 41.9% reduction in road casualties, and that the greatest reduction in fatalities was in younger children.

Just because we’re used to driving 25mph or 30 or 40mph in cities or towns where people live, just because that’s what we see around us, just because our parents did it — doesn’t mean that we’re stuck with it forever.

We can learn and grow. When we find out new information that can help save people’s lives, we can progress, we can evolve, and we can adapt to incorporate those life-saving behaviors into our lives and routines.

This world belongs to all of us, and we need start living consciously as though we share it with 6 billion other people.

We can, and should change it.

If you’re interested, here is a rather gruesome video montage that someone sent me yesterday. It’s disturbing and illustrates some of the dangers of speeding and distracted driving. (Warning: real footage mixed in with PSAs and some bits with actors)


11 thoughts on “We Don’t Have to Accept the World We Inherited

  1. “Just because we’re used to driving 25mph or 30 or 40mph in cities or towns doesn’t mean that we’re stuck with it forever.”
    Great point, Laura! It strikes me that the speed at which people are driving often has DIRECTLY to do with how far away they live from what they do (and of course how much they overbook their schedule). For me, living green means living within my means, within my walking zone, and within sane choices of how to spend the time I have.

  2. PS, when I stand at a bus stop in the morning (which I sometimes to to avoid the dangerous walk along Bigelow), I’m really upset by how many drivers I see driving over the speed limit, going around a blind curve, texting or talking on a cell phone. I wish people would get it that public transit is a GREAT place to text and commute, and driving is a terrible place to text and commute. Did you catch the latest headline on death by texting? http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/hottopics/detail?entry_id=70389

    1. I know! As a pedestrian and bicyclist, most of the drivers that pass me are speeding and over half seem to be texting or talking (or tweeting) while driving. It’s easy to speed through neighborhoods that you have no connection to.

      I would enjoy the bus more if it were more frequent and more affordable, but it’s definitely the preferable place to read and do errands. Being chauffeured around by a professional driver is much more lovely.

      Thanks for sending that link. Someone in the comments to the plastic surgeon’s death called it “tweeticide”. Ugh.

    1. Enforcement of current speed limits is essential. And for cities that are broke, enforcement is a very easy quality of life enhancing fundraiser. If people are charged for flagrantly speeding, we’ll have more money in the city coffers and safer streets for everyone.

  3. I’ve lived in (and around) the city for 21 years now and have never once gotten a speeding ticket and I’m sure that I’ve deserved one at times. As far as I can tell, the police don’t ticket here for running red lights, running stop signs, turning right on red when there’s a “No Turn on Red Sign”, blasting through crosswalks when there’s a “Yield to Peds sign”, etc. I’m not really sure how bad a driver you have to be do get a ticket around here.

    1. It sounds like if the city of Pittsburgh began focusing on enforcement of traffic laws then they could start putting the rest of the city back together with the amazing revenue that could be generated.

      What does it take to get police to enforce traffic?

      1. “What does it take to get police to enforce traffic?” you ask. The answer, unfortunately is usually “A pedestrian fatality.” Case in point, the crosswalk to Frick Park on South Braddock Ave.

        1. That’s what it took to make some changes to dangerous intersections in DC as well and is a pretty backward approach.

  4. Excellent points Laura. I don’t see what the big deal would be. Frankly, I wish we were more like Italy in that you would not be allowed to drive at all in the city center unless you had a permit proving you lived within the center. There were far fewer cars and the ones that were there had to drive slowly because there were tons of pedestrians and bikers. Further, I really wish people were forced to take their driving exams (written as well) every 5 years or so because so many people seemed to have forgotten the rules of the road. Everyone appears incompetent and their putting all of our lives in danger.

    1. That would be amazing if you couldn’t drive in the center city (however that is defined) unless you lived here. Pittsburgh is one of the most affordable major cities in the country, and there are so many vacancies that we could re-densify if it wasn’t so comfortable and easy for people to drive in from the suburbs to use the city resources.

      I absolutely agree that people need to retake drivers exams every five years. I took my driver’s exam when I was 16 and who really pays attention to anything when they’re sixteen? Not me!

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