So I just slowly crossed a marked crosswalk with my right arm outstretched, caution lights blinking, making eye contact with all of the drivers in the broad 1pm daylight and you guessed it, I was nearly hit by a car blowing through the intersection and coming close to killing me again. Believe it or not this happens to me on average twice a week in the fine city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I’m getting sick and tired of this constantly occurring to me and hearing about it happening to fellow pedestrians I know too.
In not so recent memory I think that out of all of the major cities that I have visited and walked around in, Edmonton and area has some of the worst drivers in Canada. In recent memory I have visited and been a pedestrian in and around the Los Angeles area as well as in and around the Phoenix area too. And as far as I can tell Edmonton still takes the cake for car driver/pedestrian interactions.
I hear fairly often from Edmonton drivers complaining that the drivers in Montreal and Regina are way worse than Edmonton drivers. Speaking from personal experience, these Edmonton drivers are DEAD WRONG. So wrong in fact that pedestrian fatalities spiked in 2007 (13 deaths) went down for a few years and spiked again in 2015 (12 deaths) and at the time of me composing this essay Edmonton will be headed for another spike.
This has been going on for a number of years. I remember at one infamous crosswalk I had been interviewed by the CBC Television on this very topic. They interviewed me because they asked me and I informed them that I had been hit once there as well as nearly hit numerous times there too. I explained that drivers should learn to slow down, because if they kill me then not only do they ruin my life but they ruin all of my family and friends lives too. Not only this but the driver will have the fact that they were responsible for my death and ruin their own life too.
Little did I know that many of my friends watch CBC Television and little did I know that a “gentleman” after watching CBC television would contact me through this very website. Apparently he took time out of his busy schedule to ask me for my phone number. Naturally I declined and told him in no uncertain terms that I stood behind my quotes on the CBC. So then he took even more time out of his busy schedule to send me a veiled threat on my life. Telling me that I should watch myself because the next time I’m out walking I may very well get killed by a driver. I guess he missed the point of my whole interview, in that nearly getting killed by a driver already happens on a regular basis.
I think that part of the problem is that drivers see pedestrians as a huge pain in the rump. No matter what the driver thinks of pedestrians the fact remains that whether a pedestrian is in the right of way or not, a driver in their vehicle still has a far better chance of killing the pedestrian than the other way around.
Another part of the problem is that after a pedestrian is hurt or even killed the driver essentially gets a slap on the wrist, if that. A 19-year-old driver killed case in point, local musician David Finkleman while he crossed the street in a marked crosswalk where he even had the right of way. The Crown Prosecutor and defence jointly submitted a sentence of a two-month driving prohibition and a $2000 fine. Apparently the teenage driver responsible for Finkleman’s death, at the time was a
university student, had left school, and was admitted to Alberta Hospital following the collision. This will sound extremely callous towards the young driver but, honestly, I would take a mental institution, a two-month prohibition on driving and a $2000 fine over a morgue any day of the week. Not only is this a slap on the wrist but the driver just ruined Finkleman’s life, his family and friend’s lives as well as their own life too. So forgive me if I don’t shed a tear for the driver responsible for Finkleman’s death.
By the way, not only do pedestrians not paying attention while walking and or crossing on the streets drive drivers bonkers but they drive me bonkers too. They give a responsible pedestrian such as myself a bad name, but that’s for another essay. To the pedestrians out there who jaywalk or generally don’t pay attention, stop it and actually pay attention to your surroundings. To all of the impatient drivers out there who speed and/or generally don’t pay attention, stop it and actually pay attention to your surroundings and be patient. With all of this in mind the fact remains that a driver in a car will kill a pedestrian and not the other way around.