Study: Snazzy Car Drivers Less Likely To Yield For People Walking

CNN: If you drive an expensive car are you probably a jerk?

This article fairly states that not all people who drive expensive cars are terrible,  but …”the best predictor of whether a car would stop was its cost, researchers discovered. “Disengagement and a lower ability to interpret thoughts and feelings of others along with feelings of entitlement and narcissism may lead to a lack of empathy for pedestrians” among costly car owners, they theorized in the study.”
People who walk may not be able to afford a car, or may choose not to own one.  Either way, people walking appear to be “less than”.  People walking are labeled with the slightly less-than-human term, “pedestrian”, and have been literally pushed to the narrowest edges of the roadway since the early decades of the 20th century.  People who walk must wait for light signals to cross the street waiting in precipitation, cold, or heat, allowing drivers priority, and don’t get me started on those”beg buttons” that only sometimes actually do anything.  Road engineering focuses on Level of Service (LOS) for automobiles, and people walking have become marginalized.
It will take a real effort to change “windshield bias”, which refers to a decision-making prejudice in favor of, or deference to, a car driver’s perspective above all others. Drivers have been brainwashed since the early 20th century when automobiles began rolling off assembly lines, and the intention of the industry was to enable almost everyone to own a car – or to aspire to own one.   When cars became available in colors other than black, the auto industry began to sell status. It wasn’t long until cars were designed to have personality. The drivers of certain vehicles began to identify with the cars they drove, and advertising continues to exploit that dynamic to great profit. Cars are even designed with the appearance of a face in front, which can convey power, anger, etc. Drivers themselves are ascribed more status if they drive a more powerful looking, expensive, or bigger vehicle.  Manufacturers are making more bigger, taller SUVs and trucks, imbuing a sense of power in the driver.

“…everything about our car-focused world tells drivers that they’re the rulers of the road. Expensive cars only amplify that sense of entitlement to public space and aggression towards pedestrians who violate it.”

Study: Car Sticker Price is a Predictor of Driver Aggression Towards Walkers

The more expensive the car, the less likely the driver is to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. But why?

“…the more expensive the cars got, the more often the driver failed to hit the brakes. For every extra $1,000 on the sticker, the driver was three percent less likely to let pedestrians pass safely.

That observation held true whether the pedestrian was white or black, female or male. Drivers were even less likely to yield for African-American participants — they only did so a shockingly low 25 percent of the time, compared to the 31 percent of drivers who braked for white participants. And they were least likely to yield for African-American men, confirming the findings of previous studies. 

The media promptly exploded with news of the study, and safe streets proponents across the country echoed the researchers’ speculation that the spendy-cars-drivers failed to yield because they “felt a sense of superiority over other road users.” But why, exactly, did BMW drivers feel superior to those poor schmucks out walking in 100 degree Vegas heat? Twitter users had one idea: because they’re all rich psychopaths who don’t care about poor people, and pedestrians are usually at least perceived to be poor.”

Read more…

Walking. A Gift For The City

Strolling around Rockefeller Plaza is a pleasure for visitors this Christmas season. NYC went through the expected bureaucratic machinations, but finally did it. Streets are walkable, and cars are marginalized (at least temporarily), and even the naysayers have changed their tune, enjoying the friendliness and lack of traffic congestion. Cities all over the world are re-imagining their relationship with cars and re-designing for people. We can begin to see this becoming a reality in Asbury Park. Onward, looking forward to a people-centered city. Happy 2020 and beyond!

Rockefeller Center visitors cheer added pedestrian space during the holidays

Vincent Barone

Visitors and workers in Rockerfeller Center venture out into car-free 49th and 50th streets to get a better glimpse of Rockefeller Center on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. The city has implemented new temporary closures of cross streets and lanes along Fifth Avenue in order to better accommodate a growing number of visitors to the area during the holidays.

“Less is more, regarding traffic,” said Joe Friedman, a Connecticut resident who commutes to Rockefeller Center for his job in television production as he took a break on 49th Street. “There’s usually much more congestion and you’re fighting for space all the time.”

Photos: A First Look At The New Rock Center Pedestrian Zones

DEC. 2, 2019

On the ground, the pilot program was, unsurprisingly, a huge hit with the people walking in the middle of the street. “We’re from Oklahoma, and this is great!”, one of the tourists told Gothamist. “I hope they do this with more streets,” said an Upper West Side woman out shopping with her daughter. “It’s so nice to have to have some space, and not have to worry about cars.” Even the one guy I found who may have had a legitimate reason to be irritated by the change, a Baldor’s driver on delivery who had to park his truck two blocks away and hand truck his produce in instead of pulling into the Rock Center garage, was not at all annoyed. “Look at all the happy people,” he told me. “Taking pictures, holding hands… it’s beautiful.”


Dangerous By Design 2019


Our cities are overrun by motor vehicles, and more people being killed outside of cars. Fewer drivers and passengers are being killed due to improved safety standards inside vehicles, but auto makers are building fewer cars in favor of large SUVs and trucks which kill people at a much higher rate.

We will continue to work to make streets safe for people walking and riding bikes, scooters, in pedicabs, and with any other alternative modes of transportation in Asbury Park.

“The last two years on record (2016 and 2017) were the most deadly years for people killed by drivers while walking since 1990.

This is happening because our streets, which we designed for the movement of vehicles, have not changed. In fact, we are continuing to design streets that are dangerous for all people. Furthermore, federal and state policies, standards, and funding mechanisms still produce roads that prioritize high speeds for cars over safety for all people.”

Between 2008 and 2017, drivers struck and killed 49,340 people who were walking on streets all across the United States. That’s more than 13 people per day, or one person every hour and 46 minutes. It’s the equivalent of a jumbo jet full of people crashing—with no survivors—every single month.


Who Owns The Streets?

Do you drive and feel like people who walk and ride bikes are taking over your city – and you’re losing your privilege? How do you feel about walking in your city?  Are you riding a bike for recreation or daily for transportation? Maybe you drive a car when you need to, but also walk and ride a bike whenever you can? Let’s take a look at it…

The Pedestrian Strikes Back

Officials in several countries are getting the message: Cities are about people, not cars. Read about it: 

By Richard Conniff Contributing Opinion Writer Dec. 15, 2018

In many of the major cities of the world, it has begun to dawn even on public officials that walking is a highly efficient means of transit, as well as one of the great underrated pleasures in life. A few major cities have even tentatively begun to take back their streets for pedestrians.

Denver, for instance, is proposing a plan to invest $1.2 billion in sidewalks, and, at far greater cost, bring frequent public transit within a quarter-mile of most of its residents. In Europe, where clean, safe, punctual public transit is already widely available, Oslo plans to ban all cars from its city center beginning next year. Madrid is banning cars owned by nonresidents, and is also redesigning 24 major downtown avenues to take them back for pedestrians. Paris has banned vehicles from a road along the Seine, and plans to rebuild it for bicycle and pedestrian use.  

Yes, car owners are furious. That’s because they have mistaken their century-long domination over pedestrians for a right rather than a privilege. The truth is that cities are not doing nearly enough to restore streets for pedestrian use, and it’s the pedestrians who should be furious.

Read about it:

What Does Vision Zero Mean?

Learn about Vision Zero from Jerry Foster of Greater Mercer TMA in an article discussing the meaning of VZ as it relates to safer streets in Princeton and in NJ. Aren’t streets and roads designed for safety…or are they primarily designed to expedite cars?

Vision Zero: A Comprehensive Re-Thinking of Road Safety

At the local level some safety advocates have recognized the urgency of the situation (National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study showing an increase in pedestrian deaths), and are taking up the cause. Below, Jerry Foster of the West Windsor Bicycle & Pedestrian Alliance outlines Vision Zero, a safety plan that has been effective in other countries that activists are trying to bring to New Jersey.

What Is Vision Zero?

It’s not just another blame-the-victim (and enforcement) safety campaign! Vision Zero is a comprehensive re-thinking of road safety that brings everyone to the table to systematically prevent crashes and reduce crash severity — just like airline and railroad crashes.

Read more…