Inability to safely drive, walk, bicycle in Seattle a ‘huge problem’
Jan 21, 2016, 11:29 AM
Seattle drivers get a lot of grief for their skills on the road, but it turns out pedestrians aren’t much better.
Seattle Times columnist Nicole Brodeur wrote about Seattle Department of Transportations’ recently released statistics that show a 200 percent increase in the number of collisions related to distracted driving between 2013 and 2014. SDOT Traffic Safety Coordinator Jim Curtin told the Times that in 2013, 75 percent of the 388 accidents involved pedestrians being hit in the crosswalk. And while it’s officially always a driver’s fault for not yielding at a legal crosswalk, Curtin said the issue is also distracted pedestrians who are crossing into the middle of the street.
“Pay attention,” Curtin told The Times. “It’s clearly the biggest issue on our streets. Distracted biking. Distracted walking. Use your five senses.”
The Times reports the city is launching a campaign focused on distraction that will focus on drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists in April. KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney believes it’s an important problem to address.
“That is a huge problem, because none of us want to give up our devices, whether we’re pedestrians or drivers,” Tangney said.
KIRO Radio’s John Curley primarily blames Seattle’s mix of East Coast, Midwest and West Coast driving styles that don’t mesh well together, especially because Curley says West Coasters aren’t used to congested highways.
“So they didn’t learn how to merge, certainly don’t know how to parallel parks or use turn signals,” said Curley, a Philadelphia native.
Curley also noted that distracted pedestrians aren’t a problem in New York City.
“New York sidewalks are so crowded, you can’t be looking at your phone,” Curley said.
“Although I think you could probably just close your eyes because there’s so many people packed on those sidewalks they just move you along,” Tangney pitched in.
- Tune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 3pm for John Curley and Shari Elliker.