Dangerous stroads

The ideas of Strong Towns and Not Just bikes are becoming ever more mainstream. Take this article in Vox about a Florida stroad:

When fatal crashes happen, the questions — from law enforcement, the media, commenters on Facebook — inevitably turn to human behavior: Was the driver drunk? What was the pedestrian wearing? Was the driver texting? How fast were they going? Was the cyclist wearing a helmet? What was the pedestrian wearing? Could they be easily seen in the dark? In other words, we look for ways to blame individual behavior, rather than consider the larger systemic forces at play.

That instinct, to attribute a fatal crash to some failure of personal responsibility, distracts us from the bigger picture: that many of our road designs are inherently unsafe.

Also in a preverse irony:

Experts are still studying why pedestrian fatalities surged across the country during the pandemic, but some think the disruption to normal traffic patterns as Americans stayed home may have exacerbated the problem, because congestion is actually one of the few things that can force cars to slow down. “The congestion has in a sense been covering up our deadly designs,” Marohn says. “What the pandemic did is reveal how deadly our design approach is.”

What Ralph Nader did to get seatbelts in every car, I hope Charles Marohn can do for traffic infrastructure. When you look at the absolute numbers of people losing their lives to this, it’s hard to understand why the media is still so fixated on other things.