Almost Killed – Twice

What direction do you suppose the drivers in the green Kia and dark plum taxi above are looking (and encouraged to look based on road design)?

  • As almost everywhere in the US, they are legally allowed to turn right on red.
  • They are likely in at least somewhat of a hurry and would prefer to turn and get on their way rather than wait for a green light. This especially given the very long light cycles here.
  • They may be feeling pressure from cars behind them that if they don’t turn as soon as possible that they’ll be honked at.

I’m fairly confident that their attention was focused solely to their left, not straight ahead or to the right. They are looking, not for people in the crossing, but for a gap in traffic so that they can gun it and get on their way. This based on them lurching forward and then slamming on their brakes when they, very fortunately, apparently finally saw the bicycle rider (who did have a white crossing signal).

What if one of them hadn’t noticed her? Or had noticed her one second later?

Right On Red appears to be about the 5th highest cause of deaths and injuries of pedestrians in Minnesota behind overtaking hits, hit from behind (for instance, someone being hit while walking on a shoulder), car turning left, and car turning right (e.g., no traffic light). The table below is taken from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts from 2015.

From MN Crash Facts 2015

In 2015, of 47 pedestrian deaths and 899 injuries, 1 death and 22 injuries were reported as related to the offending driver turning right on red. At least 3 of the 22 right-on-red injuries resulted in permanent disabilities.

No data on prior action of the driver is provided for bicycle fatalities and injuries though failure to yield right-of-way by the vehicle driver accounts for 31% of the 10 bicycle deaths and 873 injuries followed by driver inattention accounting for 16%.

Does right-on-red contribute to more deaths and injuries than those attributed in police reports? Likely. Some of the ‘unknown’, ‘all others’ and various other categories likely involved someone turning right on red without paying proper attention. Police have told me that accuracy in crash reports leaves a lot to be desired.

Follow-on Deaths and Injuries

There’s one more important bit though where right-on-red may contribute more than indicated.

Everything about US roads and driving says to go quickly and get where you’re going in a hurry and as fast as possible. US road designs scream to drivers that they are the most important and have priority over all others. US traffic engineers focus on making sure that vehicle speeds are high and delays minimal. There are even wide sweeping turns at junctions so that drivers need not even slow very much when not stopping before turning right on red. When we plan a trip in the US we often plan for the most optimistic time and then drive quickly and without our full attention to get where we’re going in the tight time that we allocated.

Driving in Europe is rather different. Safety plays a massively greater role in road design. There is no right-on-red so you stop at traffic lights more often (signal cycles are also considerably shorter). Speeds are much lower on any roads where people walking or riding bicycles may be present. This not just because of the posted speed limit but also narrower lanes, much tighter turn radiuses at junctions, and cement curbs and bollards directly adjacent to the road that encourage people to drive slower and pay much better attention. As I’ve said many times, cement enforces better than paint or paper. Except on motorways, driving is often a much slower and patient and attention requiring exercise. It’s a different mentality.

What Are We Thinking?

The US has the most dangerous road system designs of all developed countries. You are more likely to be killed on a US road than any other road in any other developed country.

Not surprisingly we also have the highest pedestrian and cyclist fatality rates of all developed countries. Someone walking in the US is over twice as likely to be killed by someone driving a car as someone in Europe. Someone riding a bicycle is five times as likely to be killed. That’s an engineering failure of a rather huge magnitude.

Germany, for instance, has 1.3 deaths per 100 million km walked while we have 4.7. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5227927/table/tbl1/).

Per capita, the United States has 15 pedestrian deaths per one million people and Minnesota 11. Sweden, Norway, and The Netherlands are all below 3. The average for the European Union is 5 and for all OECD countries is 7. If you remove the US though, then the OECD average drops to below 6.

These are all the result of poor road designs. What are US traffic engineering thinking when they design junctions like the one above that encourage drivers to look in the opposite direction of where they are going and encourage them to look away from people whom they endanger.

Perhaps there’s a good reason why no other developed country except Canada allows right-on-red.

Note: I took the lead photo because she made me happy. I liked her bicycle and fashion sense. It was a second after when she was almost killed. 

 

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53 Responses to Almost Killed – Twice

  1. Eric Ecklund November 13, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    If I had a nickel for every time this happened to me.

    This and the pork chops at junctions are the worst for me as a pedestrian or biker. Motorists, especially in suburbs, never seem to expect a person actually using the sidewalk.

    • Rosa November 13, 2017 at 10:13 am #

      they don’t notice ANYTHING. That’s why there have to be big lit train signs for the right-turners along the light rail line – everyone knows they don’t look, much less pause and yield like the useless existing signage that’s supposed to protect non-drivers.

  2. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke November 13, 2017 at 8:56 am #

    This has happened to me in Mendota Heights, Monticello, Fridley, Saint Paul, and Minneapolis. Never been actually run over yet, though.

  3. Monte Castleman
    Monte Castleman November 13, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Presumably cars turning right includes right turn on green, which is more or less the same maneuver as a right turn on an unsignalized intersection. The chart notes that maneuver is more dangerous than a right on red- which isn’t surprising since a right on green or no signal is at much higher speeds. And if you ban a right on red, all the vehicles that would have turned right on red are now going to make the more dangerous maneuver of a right on green.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller November 13, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

      Probably need to separate “right on green after having stopped” from “right on green without stopping,” though, don’t you think?

      • Monte Castleman
        Monte Castleman November 13, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

        As far as I know the studies haven’t separated them out. Whether you were stopped at a red light or not you’re probably traveling at roughly the same speed by the time it comes to turn across the parallel crosswalk, which is much faster than crossing the perpendicular crosswalk from a stop in order to make a right on red.

        • Rosa November 15, 2017 at 8:14 am #

          You’re assuming drivers stop before the crosswalk at a red light, which doesn’t hold up to reality if you actually watch Minnesota drivers (maybe it does in other places?)

  4. Rich Passmore November 13, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

    I don’t cross until I make eye contact with the driver who is almost always looking left.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell November 14, 2017 at 9:36 am #

      There are junctions I’ve been at where that would result in never getting across. Anytime you have a white crossing signal there are also cars wanting to turn right-on-red.

      • Rich Passmore November 14, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

        I’m still alive. I destroyed an umbrella once whacking the hood of a car, trying to get attention while crossing with my 6 year old.

        • Rosa November 15, 2017 at 8:15 am #

          Yeah, there’s always the option of knocking on the car window or kicking the car as it goes by dangerously close. THEN they see you.

          • Will November 15, 2017 at 9:30 am #

            Then they get angry.

            • Rosa November 16, 2017 at 7:10 am #

              I assume it’s misplaced guilt. Not all drivers are monsters who think touching their car is “violence” but nearly running someone down is just fine.

              Though to be fair a lot of times they’re just horrified and apologetic. I mean, the ones who actually slow down and interact – mostly downtown. It is pretty horrifying to realize you almost killed someone with your habitual lack of attention.

  5. Scott November 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    There’s not much I enjoy more than sitting at a red light with a no turn on red sign and just sitting there. It drives the people behind me INSANE.

    Marshall at Hamline is the best, now that they installed the bike lanes and eliminated the right turn lanes. Even when going straight, if you slide just a bit to the right in the one traffic lane, right turning autos can’t squeeze by on the bike lane. Again, driving the right-turners INSANE (despite the no turn on red sign).

    I know I shouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do. But I can’t help myself. Plus, I figure, I might be saving a college student who now gets a few feet out into the intersection where they are more visible before the following traffic makes their turn to the right while looking left.

  6. sheldon mains November 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    The plum taxi is not allowed to turn right on red in MN. You can only turn right from the far right lane (or left in case of a one-way going that direction)

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell November 14, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      I’m not sure I ever knew that. And I don’t think I’ve seen many people not do so. I’d guess about 99% of drivers will turn right-on-red from that position.

    • Will November 15, 2017 at 9:31 am #

      Just because it isn’t legal doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Plenty of people turn left onto Jackson from 6th in St. Paul from the far right lane. Just so happens that last night, someone did that and hit a vehicle proceeding straight through the middle lane.

  7. Al Ebbert November 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

    This really hits close to home – literally! I live two blocks from the nightmare at 694 and White Bear Avenue, the case study photo featured in this story. I cannot for the life of me understand why the cities of WBL and Maplewood zone so many businesses in such a concentrated area, yet expect one block of roadway to handle so much traffic in such an overly complex manner. In recent years a Cub Foods, a strip mall, random fitness center, Northern Tool, Culver’s, and just recently a Chick-fil-A were added to an already overburdened traffic area. You get the idea how exponentially dangerous this are becomes from walking or bicycling.

    I also have something to share. Over the summer a man stopped by my home passing out flyers. He was hit by a motorist while riding his bicycle on the sidewalk along White Bear Ave and Belland Ave, just 2 blocks north from where the photo was taken. Here’s his story…

    http://bit.ly/2ACBxY8

    I’m a year-round bicycle commuter, so again, Brian’s plea literally hit me in the heart. Here’s a man who help save seriously injured people as his profession, and along comes a negligent motorist blowing a stop sign leaving him for dead! Had I known of this I would have ridden every inch of this neighborhood looking for signs of vehicle damage from what had happened, but this was two years after his recovery. I had no idea. You could tell by his gait and the general way he carried himself he can never return to his profession.

    And I know exactly how this played out. At the end of Belland Avenue is a bend on WB Ave with a speed limit of 40mph (add 5-10 mph for most drivers). Based on experience, the motorists come around the bend so fast it encourages Belland motorists to blow the stop sign and gun it when there’s a gap. Personally, I go to the Orchard and WB Ave lights where there are clear sight lines.

    This whole area near Maplewood Mall is a tragic case study in how not to zone and design roadways – yet they do it anyway.

    //Al

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell November 14, 2017 at 9:16 am #

      Some years ago there was an incident at that same Belland junction with a couple of kids riding bikes along White Bear, crossing Belland, and being hit by someone making a left turn on to Belland from northbound White Bear. I tried to search for the story in the White Bear Press but wasn’t able to find it.

      I’d guess that was a case of the driver looking only to traffic coming southbound on WB Ave and similarly gunning it when they thought they had a gap.

      To Sheldon’s point above, is a left turning driver legally required to stop before making that left turn? IMO, they should be.

      Cement enforces better than paint or paper. If the islands were extended and so forcing a much sharper left turn and forcing drivers to slow very considerably before turning, would that make it safer?

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell November 14, 2017 at 9:31 am #

        Here is how that Belland crossing would be treated in The Netherlands:

        The bikeway and walkway shunt over a bit. The bikeway color (paver red) continues across the roadway and is marked with sharks teeth to indicate to drivers that it exists and that those on the bikeway have right-of-way.

        Drivers approaching are looking straight ahead and can more easily see someone crossing. The driver then pulls forward across the bikeway and walkway and only then looks to their left for approaching automobiles. This separates the two actions for the driver.

        BTW, it is not always the case that those on the bikeway will have right-of-way. In some cases the bikeway and walkway will be given sharks teeth to indicate that drivers have right-of-way.

      • Monte Castleman
        Monte Castleman November 16, 2017 at 7:54 am #

        There is no “stop before left turn” law. Such a law would cause an extreme amount of congestion and rear-end crashes if you had people routinely stopping in places where a left turn lane is not provided.

        Until the advent of the flashing yellow arrow, which reinforces that left-turners must yield but not routinely stop, Michigan used a flashing red ball over the left turn lane. In theory this required a motorist to make a stop before a permissive left turn at a signal, but in practice this was treated the same as a yield on green or flashing yellow arrow. You’d get honked at if you stopped, and felt free to not stop even if there was a police cruiser behind you.

        • Walker Angell
          Walker Angell November 16, 2017 at 10:54 am #

          Thanks Monte.

          In the case of Belland there is a left turn lane but no signals. Same applies?

          • Monte Castleman
            Monte Castleman November 16, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

            That’s my take on it. Minnesota Statute 169.20 Subd 2 seems to be the applicable law:

            “Left turn. The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.”

            Nothing about coming to a stop as opposed to yielding and nothing about there being difference whether left turn lanes are provided or not.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell November 14, 2017 at 9:21 am #

      If the Sidewalk or Bikeway across Belland were set back from the junction at least one car length as this one would be in The Netherlands, marked as a crossing with paint, and have sharks teeth to indicate right-of-way, would it be safer?

      If that standard treatment in The Netherlands was not working then they would then also table the crossing (raise it up a bit to create a minor speed bump).

  8. Sam Newberg
    Sam Newberg November 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

    Way back in high school my friend got clipped by a right-turning driver, similar to this situation, only it was at a stop sign, not even a light. Pretty hard to outlaw turning right on a red light when there’s no light.

    Luckily he was fine, just grazed, never even really lost control. But it left an impression.

    • Rosa November 15, 2017 at 8:17 am #

      we could just have a “look towards where you are driving” rule and actually enforce it – the default assumption should be, if the driver hit something, they were not driving correctly. Not “oh well you were sober it was probably the pedestrian’s fault”

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell November 15, 2017 at 8:25 am #

        Cement enforces better than paint or paper. Paper referring to rules and tickets for violating them.

        Drivers today are required to stop and look before turning-right-on-red. Most do neither. Rules are good and they are important but they have very limited effectiveness.

        A blanket no-turn-on-red rule will likely have a much higher obedience rate than stop-before-turning-right-on-red. Similarly, tighter radius turns at junctions, enforced by cement curbs, will have a greater effect in slowing drivers down than simple words to do so.

        It’d be nice if people would obey rules like you suggest, but that’s not reality in the US. More: https://streets.mn/2013/09/10/a-wink-and-a-nod-teaching-our-kids-to-be-criminals-part-i/

        • Rosa November 16, 2017 at 7:13 am #

          is that ever, ever, ever enforced? We don’t know if enforcement works if we never try it. Personally I think the school crossing guards should use those flagpoles like spears – if cars were getting the paint scratched on the regular, people would not try to cross through crowds of school kids as much. Just glaring at drivers changes their behavior at least temporarily.

          The cement changes are nice but It’s culture that has to change. Our driving culture has changed – look at the lower incidences of drunk driving.

          There is no other area where we think “people are just so inclined to this criminal behavior it’s not even worth having or enforcing laws” except driving.

          • Monte Castleman
            Monte Castleman November 16, 2017 at 7:29 am #

            So the correct response to someone breaking a law is to have the crossing guards break yet another law by vandalizing someone’s personal property?

            • Rosa November 20, 2017 at 8:14 am #

              “breaking the law” is not the problem – endangering other people is. What do you think is the right response if someone is about to hit you with a large, hurtful object?

              If you drive too close to a human something they’re holding might scratch your car. Just like if you drive too fast over a speed bump you might scrape your undercarriage (amazing how that actually works to slow drivers when rules don’t.) Why expect the person you’re endangering to go out of their way not to hurt your car?

          • Walker Angell
            Walker Angell November 16, 2017 at 11:01 am #

            We’ve tried enforcement. Just look at how frequently people obey speed limits, stop before turning right on red, stop before turning right at stop signs, stop at stop signs, …

            Driving behavior is extremely difficult to impossible to change. Numerous countries, including The Netherlands, have tried. That is why today in The Netherlands (and elsewhere) they have cement protected bikeways and walkways and cement curbs that create sharp turns for drivers at junctions and roads narrowed by cement curbs, steel bollards, and hardwood trees.

            Drivers will generally avoid damaging their tires, wheels, and car on cement curbs but will routinely drive over painted lines.

        • Rosa November 16, 2017 at 7:14 am #

          I mean, I’m talking about applying the law where it’s already involved – an accident leading to a fatality or injury. Instead of police shrugging these off and the public and media complying, we could foster some outrage.

  9. Ron Weasley November 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Due respect to the author, the cause of America’s higher traffic death rates compared to europe have been researched exhaustively by the NHTSA and other. They have consistently found that the difference is because of the mix of vehicles we have the road. When an SUV hits a sedan there is a higher likelihood of serious injury than a sedan/sedan crash.

    We have the same injury and death rates as Europe when it comes to like-for-like crashes – for example, sedan/sedan or truck/truck. But we have many, many more SUV’s and trucks on the road.

    https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/2.5-nolan_2013.pdf

    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ef57/91a45cb7c4a3d09ab0fc51a4a6f9302cbefe.pdf

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell November 14, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

      As I drive, bicycle, and walk in both frequently and talk to traffic engineers in both frequently I’m going to disagree.

      I don’t disagree about the disparate sizes of vehicles contributing to our higher death and injury rates. Your first link includes some good information on that but it makes no comparisons to Europe that I found. Your second link compares the US to Canada but is, from my very quick reading, quite inconclusive. I’ll also note that Canada suffers from much of the same poor traffic engineering as the US. So yes, this contributes, but apparently only a very minor bit.

      Regarding the US vs EU, and northern Europe in particular. Some practices that make our roads much more dangerous include; wider travel lanes that encourage higher speeds and most importantly less attentive driving, wider radius turns and slip lanes at junctions that encourage higher speeds, less attentiveness and encourage drivers to not stop when they are supposed to, lack of rules/regulations for lane discipline (keep right except to pass, never pass on right), generally much higher posted speeds on non-motorways, and others.

      Then there is US traffic engineers continued focus on Level Of Service (low delay) for drivers over human safety. For example:

      1) Non-signalized crossings of multi-lane roads. These not only result in overtaking hits of pedestrians but also discourage people from walking because these crossings make walking feel dangerous. I cannot think of anywhere in Europe with such crossings and my conversations with traffic engineers there has indicated that they would not allow it.

      2) Lack of protected walkways and bikeways along high speed roads. For example, Hodgson Rd in Shoreview (https://streets.mn/2015/02/11/every-road-for-every-person/).

      3) Placement of crossings in the apex of junctions rather than set back from the junctions which has been long proven to create safer crossings.

      4) Extremely wide and fast residential streets with nothing to reduce speeds, increase driver attention, nor reduce rat-run through traffic. Besides the direct danger itself this discourages people from walking or riding bicycles on these streets but perhaps worse, parents will not let their children walk or ride on them.

      I’m sure others can add numerous examples to both lists.

      Our overall system design also encourages and normalizes law-breaking. https://streets.mn/2013/09/10/a-wink-and-a-nod-teaching-our-kids-to-be-criminals-part-i/

      US traffic engineers have failed us and our country. They have failed to produce an environment that is relatively (to other developed countries) safe.

    • Walker Angell
      Walker Angell November 14, 2017 at 5:20 pm #

      For a very recent example, the proposed new plan for Rice Street over 694 (http://www.sehinc.com/online/rice694) which I’ve an upcoming post on.

      There is a two-way SUP along the eastern side (lower side in photo above) and a two-way sidewalk along the western side. A MUT/MUP/SUP along only one side will cause bicycle riders and others to ride contra-flow against the normal direction of traffic. How many drivers exiting WB 694 will be looking to their left to plan their entry in to the roundabout and not see a SB contra-flow bicycle rider entering the crossing to their right? How fast will the fastest of these drivers realistically be going?

      Dr Lindeke is walking south along Rice, perhaps from the new apartments being built in the NW corner. He has arrived at the second roundabout and wants to cross the WB 694 entrance ramp. What should the conditions be for him to cross safely? Where can cars be or should not be? How long will he have to wait for these safe conditions?

      A driver heading south on Rice to WB 694 — where will they be looking as they approach the crossing where Dr Lindeke is just beginning to cross?

      What must a pedestrian do to gain right-of-way at these crossings? What are the probabilities of cars seeing them and being able to stop in time?

      What happens if an elderly Dr Lindeke, using a walker (or anyone else who is somewhat slow), is crossing during a higher motor traffic period?

      What happens if a driver, during a relatively heavy period of fairly fast traffic, slams on their brakes to avoid killing Dr. Lindeke?

      Roundabouts provide numerous benefits over intersections and are a very good design element. But they must also be used correctly and this is not a correct use unless a safer, comfortable, and efficient alternate route can be provided for those walking or riding a bicycle.

      Clearly, safety for people walking or riding bicycles was not any kind of priority in this design. Some elements were included only for the engineers to say that they’re included but they don’t actually provide a safe route.

      • Monte Castleman
        Monte Castleman November 15, 2017 at 10:03 am #

        I hate trying to go through roundabouts on a bicycle because there’s no signal to stop people in cars, but I don’t have any problem with suburban style MUPs in general. Even though the 66th/ Washington cycletracks have a curb separating them from motorized traffic, I’m not as comfortable on them compared to a suburban MUP with a boulevard.

        what’s your suggestion to improve things for bicyclists without ruining things for probably the 99% of the people that are going to choose to go through this area in cars? Signalized intersections (that would require adequate turn lanes) and one-way cycletracks?

        • Walker Angell
          Walker Angell November 16, 2017 at 11:11 am #

          Agree. I don’t mind residential roundabouts where the design forces drivers to slow to about 10 mph and where volume is very low. Increase speed, volume or number of lanes and they become increasingly dangerous for bicycle riders.

          Improvement? First is that the reason only 1% of people walk or ride bicycles and the other 99% driver cars is because we have made our roads extremely unsafe and uncomfortable for people walking or riding bicycles. We have the lowest walking and bicycling modal shares in the world and the highest driving. We also have the most dangerous roads of all developed countries, the highest rates of obesity, the highest rates of most preventible chronic disease, and on and on.

          The Netherlands is one of the healthiest countries in the world because they are physically active on a daily basis – riding bicycles to work, dinner, school, etc.

          There are perhaps 3 options to improve it:

          1 – A completely separate bikeway/walkway.

          2 – Use signalized junctions w/ one-way bikeways and walkways on either side.

          3 – Grade separate motor traffic from bicycle and pedestrian traffic. This is a common solution in Europe but could be tougher here.

          4 – Some combination of these.

          More later.

          • Dana DeMaster
            Dana DeMaster November 16, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

            Oops, meant to reply elsewhere. Disregard.

    • Trevor November 14, 2017 at 9:28 pm #

      Thank You for your comment Mr. Weasley,

      The essay Mr. Angell wrote relates to humans being killed or maimed by vehicle traffic colliding with human bodies. Community members within the US face far more death/maiming by automobiles. Your sedan/sedan & truck/truck example works. The issue is sedan vs human, or truck vs human. How does Europe compare to the US in that regard? US humans walking and/or biking are in much more danger than European humans walking and/or biking.

    • Rosa November 15, 2017 at 8:19 am #

      you’re talking about driver/passenger deaths. We’re trying to talk about everyone else, the people outside of cars who are killed by cars. You’re just one more symptom of the car-centric cultural problem we’re trying to address.

  10. Justin November 15, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    I’m really sorry, this is only my opinion and I’m not trying to be mean here, but look at it this way… (try to keep an open mind)

    If 99% of the public drives, and 1% walk or bike, should we all give up more of our paychecks to taxes just to spend tens of billions of dollars to Nerf all intersections and reduce efficiency for the 99% just because some of us don’t know how to watch for cars? Does the government really need to solve this problem for us?

    Just because pedestrians have the right of way, doesn’t mean they don’t have to take any responsibility for their own livelihoods. I used to walk to school by myself when I was in first grade. Never once got hit. I thought everyone knew how to do this at a young age. Paying attention at intersections is everyone’s job.

    If this 1% of people are so frightened crossing streets, why walk or bike in the first place? Why not just take a cab, Uber, bus, or at the very least wear bright or reflective clothing or buy a $10 light for their bike? Take some personal responsibility.

    I realize I’m in the minority here. But help me understand then. I struggle to wrap my head around your point of view.

    • Justin November 15, 2017 at 10:31 am #

      I also mean no disrespect to anyone who’s almost been hit, or had a loved one die as a result. I don’t mean to marginalize your pain.

    • Adam Miller
      Adam Miller November 15, 2017 at 10:52 am #

      It’s not 99% and 1%. It’s not even that with respect to regular commuting, much less how many people drive sometimes and bike sometimes. Literally everyone walks sometimes.

      Moreover, it’s rarely more expensive to reduce the amount of space given to cars and trucks, which destroy the space they’re allotted via wear and tear in ways that people on foot and on bikes do not.

      Does the government need to solve the problem of disproportionately high deaths from cars? Yes. Who else can?

      I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not just trolling (you’re probably just trolling), but basically the difference of opinion is that you appear to be saying that those who are most vulnerable should be responsible for their own safety. I think that’s backwards. As the people on foot and bikes are not causing harm to others, the onus should be on people in cars who are causing harm to others, especially if the only cost to them of making things safer is a little bit of their time. As the ones who endanger others, the people in cars need to take personal responsibility first and foremost.

      As for why not take a cab, Uber or bus, those things all cost money. I don’t think you mean that only those who can afford it deserve to be safe as they try move around town.

    • Rosa November 16, 2017 at 7:18 am #

      so in the city of Baltimore 50% of households have no cars. And yet the street design is for cars. Why?

      And if you’re going to get behind the wheel why not take personal responsibility for not killing people? This is like the “I’m just going to walk around the house windmilling my arms my little brother is at fault for getting in the way and crying because I hit him” argument.

      Why should I give up more of my paycheck to pay for Uber, or the bus, to deal with your inability to drive without hitting people?

      p.s. it’s actually my property taxes paying for this street, not your paycheck (unless you are also a homeowner in my municipality). Why are you allowed to use it at all?

      • Adam Miller
        Adam Miller November 16, 2017 at 10:08 am #

        I have not fact checked this nor do a remember the source, so big grain of salt as it might be wrong: I think I saw someone recently say that 30% of Minneapolis (or TC) residents don’t have cars.

        Don’t trust the actual number, but I would trust that it’s more than many people think.

      • Rosa November 16, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

        that 50% number for Baltimore is from a news article I’d read, about motorcycle racing in the streets. Wikipedia says 30%. So if that’s more correct, I’d expect the Twin Cities to be lower, we’re a lot richer overall.

        It’s still way more than 1%. And, having watched my grandparents and now my parents age…we have a lot of people driving who shouldn’t be, because it’s so hard to be a nondriver we’re really reluctant to take away someone’s keys, even temporarily.

        • Walker Angell
          Walker Angell November 16, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

          …we have a lot of people driving who shouldn’t be, because it’s so hard to be a nondriver we’re really reluctant to take away someone’s keys, even temporarily.

          Excellent point.

          • Adam Miller
            Adam Miller November 16, 2017 at 5:02 pm #

            And those people are routinely invoked as a reason why we can’t possible take space away from cars!

    • Monte Castleman
      Monte Castleman November 16, 2017 at 8:04 am #

      My 99/1 figure was meant to be this specific intersection where the offset SPUI is proposed. I’m not sure why they couldn’t use two giant roundabouts on both sides; perhaps it would require acquiring too much property on the north side (although the initial concept I saw was an A4 Parclo that would have required even more acquisitions. I’m wondering if someone decided an offset SPUI would work well due to intersection spacing and then dropped roundabouts.

      Point is, there’s places where people in cars and on foot make up a large portion of the road users and making things difficult for people in cars is appropriate. But in places like this, where probably 99% of the people choose to use cars, do we want to make motoring as slow, tedious, and laborious as Europe? We’re not Europe, thank goodness.

      • Adam Miller
        Adam Miller November 16, 2017 at 10:13 am #

        For a tourist, I’ve found motoring in Europe to be a whole lot better than here.

      • Walker Angell
        Walker Angell November 16, 2017 at 11:17 am #

        I drive around Europe on a very regular basis. Driving there is much simpler, safer and less stressful than here in the US.

        Perhaps the only exception is driving around Amsterdam or Brussels when you are unfamiliar with how things work. Once you get accustomed to things it is a quite wonderful experience.

        From a time standpoint it is a bit slower on surface streets and generally faster on motorways. The lower stress more than makes up for any additional time.

      • Rosa November 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

        that’s a circular argument, though – make the intersection almost impossible for nonmotorists and then claim there’s no reason to make it safer for them because they don’t use it. How much choice is there in the first place?

    • Dana DeMaster
      Dana DeMaster November 16, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

      According to http://www.mncompass.org/profiles/city/minneapolis,

      13% of Minneapolis households have no vehicle and 70% drive to work

      14% of St Paul households have no vehicle and 80% drive to work

      For the entire Metro Region, 8% of households have no vehicle and 86% drive to work.

      But, I don’t think that’s the point. First, we are all pedestrians at some point in every trip. Whether it is walking from the parking lot to our destination, from home to a bus stop, or from the bike rack into a building, we all walk. Although smaller numbers bike to work, many people bike for leisure or to leisure destinations. So, safety matters to us all.

      Second, most people drive because we’ve built a world where that is perceived as the safest, easiest, and quickest option. I would argue it is none of those things, but that’s the environment we’ve built. How many people who like to bike or walk more, but don’t because they don’t feel safe?

      BTW – my first article on this site was when my then 6-year old and I were hit by a driver who didn’t look left when he turned right. https://streets.mn/2015/07/28/i-got-hit-by-a-car-again-in-downtown-st-paul-or-why-we-need-the-bike-plan/

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