“(Driver) added that he pulled over onto the shoulder immediately and exited his vehicle. He observed the pedestrian with grievous bodily injury and attempted to stop traffic. He then spoke in a shaky, unsettled voice with a long stare that ‘They wouldn’t stop.’ He believed that 10-15 cars struck the pedestrian after his initial impact.” – Excerpt from recent police report narrative on person killed walking in Albuquerque/Bernalillo County
Better Burque has been looking into what would make our city better for almost three years now. Over time, the focus has centered more and more on transportation issues, in particular roadway travel by those not in cars, trucks or SUVs.
Much of this has centered on cycling, mainly because its primary contributor (Scot/me) rides a bike as primary form of transportation. Issues concerning those walk to get around town, primarily or otherwise, has been a secondary focus. Moving forward, Better Burque is going to change that.
In learning more about local transportation over the past three years, it’s become ever-increasingly evident that cycling, while still dangerous to the point that a low percentage of Burqueans ride on a daily basis, has many passionate and involved advocates. Meanwhile, advocates for those who walk our roadways are relatively nonexistent.
Evidence? There is no pedestrian advocacy organization ala BikeABQ. There is no mayoral/council/commission board or committee for pedestrians, ala GABAC. There is nothing like the “ghost bike” program for those killed walking our roadways. When a cyclist is killed, typically news media finds a cycling advocate for a reaction. That NEVER happens when a pedestrian is killed. Yes, sometimes family members of the deceased are contacted, and it’s understandable that no walking advocates are part of these news stories.
Because there aren’t any walking advocates.
Better Burque isn’t claiming to now be the advocate that fills that vacuum. That will require more community involvement and coordination. This site will, however, refine its focus to solely bringing attention to dangers and policies concerning walking our roadways. In short: No more cycling stuff. Just walking stuff.
The police report excerpt quoted atop this blogpost provides perhaps the best evidence we can find for why walking needs to be the focus here. As long as we only hear/read stories of “Pedestrian dies after being hit by vehicle,” we will continue to think of such incidents as relatively sterile events involving “pedestrians” and “vehicles” with zero understanding of the very, very human impact these crashes have on everyone involved.
So, from this post forward, BB will do its best to present the human side of what continues to be a public health crisis, both for deceased victims and traumatized drivers/onlookers. In addition to this human focus, we will also continue to examine ways to reduce and prevent walking deaths that go beyond “just use the crosswalk” and “don’t wear dark-colored clothing.” Because it’s much more complicated, and expensive, than that.
If you’ve been coming to Better Burque for the cycling and other transportation issues, great thanks for having dropped by over the past three years. You are cordially invited, of course, to stick around. If you’re keenly interested in walking issues, considered joining in as a contributor. The pay sucks, but you won’t have to worry about being edited, or any of that. Pretty much anything goes.
Until next time, maybe you’ll be unable to shake the same image I have stuck in my mind: That driver stopping the car on the shoulder, getting out and trying to stop traffic. Traffic that “wouldn’t stop.”