A stunning personal story about how a tragic car crash changed a life, starting with the realization that there are no accidents. “…over 35,000 people die every year in the United States from traffic violence. Every two years, more people die in our streets than the number of Americans killed during the Vietnam War.”
Misfortune changed this young man’s life. But he knows (as do we at APCSC) that the problem is solvable. He observes in his city: “We continually see elected leaders prioritize publicly-subsidized parking ahead of safe streets. Some publicly shame folks who get around using a bicycle. They wait to improve safety until after people are hit and killed. And most importantly, they often do nothing. They aren’t just killing bike lanes. But we know they can do better because sometimes electeds show leadership. APCSC knows that our Mayor and City Council are showing real leadership. Stay tuned for the Walking and Bicycling Master Plan, and design and implementation all over the city to make it safe for everyone to get around with slower, and fewer cars on our streets.
“This misfortune irreversibly changed my life, the lives of everyone in that car, their families and their friends. I reacted by imagining life as capricious. Death and suffering seemed to be arbitrary “accidents” caused by human error. Life forced this on me every time I got in a car. With no effort at all I could be killed or kill someone else.
But seventeen years later, I feel much different. My friend’s death was not an accident. All of the 35,000 deaths each year in our streets include painful personal stories like the one I’ve recounted. These deaths are not accidents. Traffic violence is caused by public policy. It’s the result of our collective decisions about street design, speed limits, and land use. We know how to minimize crashes but we fail to care. ”