This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 7, 2010 8:08 PM. The previous post in this blog was Twice a year. The next post in this blog is Silence of the 'dogs. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

The dark time

Once we turn the clocks back, Portlanders head into a special time. Of course, the hours of daylight get shorter each day, and nights get longer, just as they do everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. But when you add in our characteristic cloudy skies and foggy mornings, the darkness really gets thick for the next three months. Telling which hour of the day it is, becomes an interesting challenge without a clock.

As we prepare ourselves for the dark time, this story is disconcerting. Pedestrian fatalities are up substantially this year in Oregon, and the victims are most often mowed down at night. They may have the right of way, but that's cold comfort to a walker or jogger who's dead. If you're out there on foot and unwilling to go all the way to a reflector vest, for your own sake, at least wear white. Don't let the city's ten-toes happy talk lull you into thinking that every driver is watching out for you. Quite the contrary.

Comments (14)

North of the 45th:

Don't walk along the streets at night.

Take a daily dose of vitamin D, checking frequently on the approved RDA: it is trending upward.

Consider working the dinner shift in a restaurant: work until early morning, then sleep through the brief daylight hours. Soon you may neither recall nor miss the day, with its many distractions.

Enforcement of the laws banning use of communications devices whilst driving would help immensely.

The studies show that using cellphones, hands-free or not, interferes with the brain's processing abilities and creates a 'tunnel-vision' like view, crimping peripheral vision. This promotes 'peripheral accidents'...hitting pedestrians stepping into the street, hitting bicyclists, being 't-boned', and sideswiping. I can only imagine the extent of distraction which takes place when the driver is texting or watching videos on the in-dash entertainment center. And it's dark.

Due to a change in work schedule, I have resumed travelling cross-town by Tri-Met bus. This has given me a fairly safe vantage point from which to watch the drivers in the next lane...I look down on them. This has shown me that although there was an initial reduction in cellphone use after their being legislated as unsafe, that initial reduction has been, and is being, rapidly eroded and now we have text users and more folks watching video on their hand-held toys....I call them 'crotch-watchers', because that is what it looks like they are doing from street level...intently playing with something in their lap.

I think that the local official police thugs should post spotters on the buses and start citing these dumbships. Hard.

If I had a cellphone, I'd be calling them in as "reckless drivers, weaving all over the lanes, as though they were inebriated while driving" and supply license number, auto description, location and direction of travel.

Just south of the state line a distracted jogger with head phones was hit and killed last week.

Hmm ... I recall Mayor McCreepy saying that all the new bioswales we see cropping up would reduce traffic fatalities.

Over the years I've definatly seen an increase of pedestrians just stepping out into traffic without using their brains. I chalk this bit of stupidity up to the empowerment of laws saying pedestrians have right away. Toss in drivers being distracted by electronic toys and you have lots of pedestrian deaths.

I guess the schools need to do a better job of teaching basic physics and parents need to instruct their kids of what dead right means.

It's true that pedestrians should consider their clothing choices and be more cautious when it's dark, Jack, but couldn't you also remind your readers to keep a better eye out when they are driving? Seems you are rather blaming the victim here, and using it as a tool to attack the city's leadership, which is usually your intention, anyway.

Sadly I've noticed a generational entitlement thing going on on with this issue(like with bicycling) that contributes to pedestrian deaths. The young and the hip, even when pushing strollers, seem to feel like they have a inalienable right to walk, hop or run down streets even when wearing black in the dark and even when there are available sideswalks, parallel paths or shoulders.

Another issue is hybrids fail to emit audible warning cues when approaching. Cellphone/pda zombied drivers contribute as well.

It's happening everywhere, an enroaching epidemic.

Put a righteous pedestrian on a cellphone and a righteous BMW driver on a pda and have them meet at a busy intersection where a bicyclist is texting while riding without hands on the handlebars and a heavily-chromed pickup truck driver with a CB are headed.....whoa, recipe for dangerous stupidity.

I've seen pedestrians with droids step into the street, illegally, and almost get run down.

Just had this conversation with my son this very a.m.

An 80 yr. old man was killed last Thursday here in Welches trying to cross Hwy 26 at about 6:30 pm. He was wearing dark clothes, and another local hit him. How sad. And scary.

The timing of this is quite eerie - I was heading to the Blazer's game on Saturday, but didn't get there until half time due to a prior commitment. Parked in one of my nearby free spots (it was just after 8:00), and headed on NE Weidler to the Rose Garden. It was raining, I did have dark clothes on, and was watching my footing to avoid the major water bodies in the street. I was about 7 or 8 steps into crossing NE 1st (where the empty lot is, that has recently become a Rose Garden private enterprise parking lot), and admittedly not paying as much attention as I should have been, when I was struck by a car. Bruised my left side, especially the hip and leg, plus hit my head on either the car or the pavement. The woman who hit me stopped, offered assistance and profuse apologies, I declined aid and continued on to the game. My head and neck are still sore, and believe me, it's made be more alert as both a driver and a pedestrian. Plus, I'm going to get reflective tape for my coat. CB's note is right - drivers do need to pay attention, but so do pedestrians.

Great point! So many people just walk out into traffic in this town, day or night, and visablity really declines. It would be nice if the police enforce jaywalking laws but knowing this town there is not much chance.

The mistaken belief that pedestrians always have the right-of-way has gotten out of hand. About once a week, somebody will cross in front of me at a stop light against the walk signal. But this one takes the cake:

2 weeks ago, on a dark and rainy night, I was driving down NE Broadway. Just before I got to the light at 11th (which was green), a person started crossing Broadway in a wheelchair...AGAINST THE SIGNAL! No reflectors on the wheelchair, either. Lucky for them I'm a hyperattentive driver, and I saw them in time to put on brakes without hydroplaning. I hate to think what would have happened if a driver with a fogged-up windshield talking on a cellphone had been in one of the other lanes.

It's obvious that most people don't understand ORS 811.028 ( http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/811.html ) or 814.040 ( http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/814.html ) . Does the state need to do a better job of educating the public? Do the statutes need to be rewritten? Or should we just let Darwin thin the gene pool?

Seems you are rather blaming the victim here, and using it as a tool to attack the city's leadership

I'm not blaming anyone, except perhaps you, now, for being an argumentative clod.

"Leadership"? Too funny.

Hope you are doing fine.
These injuries can be lingering.
Take care.

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