Monday 18 November, meet at the intersection of JFK and Mt Auburn Streets at 3:30pm.
We thank people for obeying traffic laws and offer our educational material.
For more information and to join us, go to the contact page.
9, 20, 75,5.
He was 9 years old. The 20th of October was a day the kids stayed home while the teachers had a Professional Day at school. It was clear, warm; a beautiful day to make chocolate chip pancakes. Big sister was mixing the batter, while he went to the corner for the chips. That corner now bears his name.
It was named in his honor (not memory), recognizing the seriousness of the accident and to draw attention to the changes brought about by that incident. This sweet 4th grader was in the crosswalk, drivers in both directions had already stopped for him. It was the car that chose to pass on the right, grazing the curb on the not overly wide road, which hit him.
The driver of that car stopped and was given a $75 citation for ‘failure to yield to a pedestrian.’ A slap on the wrist for nearly severing a boy’s foot from his leg.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of that event. And a few things have changed since then. By law, the distance vehicles must stop on either side of a crosswalk has doubled, and the broad discretionary citing of an Officer has been amended. In that period of time, bicycle use tripled and cell phones were invented.
It’s a Perfect Storm.
As more people opt out of cars for health, environmental or financial reasons, we are all succumbing to an insidious addiction to ‘Distractibles.’
With each upgrade to the ismartsiridevice, fewer folks look up. Ever. Bicyclist and pedestrians are plugged into their music, unable to hear if someone is approaching or passing on a shared path. It seems like they can’t find the right song; they’re always LOOKING DOWN to search their playlist. Often barely avoiding a close encounter with someone busy texting who is also LOOKING DOWN. Same for bikers, who manage to stay alive (usually), even with the same use of Distractibles. And this happens at night, too. Ditto for drivers, who eagerly obey the ‘no texting while driving’ caveat whenever they notice a Cruiser approaching. Which they can’t notice because they’re LOOKING DOWN at their distractible.
Safe Travel 101 clearly emphasizes using your eyes and ears, paying attention to your surroundings, being diligent, visible and predictable. LOOKING DOWN is exactly the opposite. It’s also bad for your posture and detrimental to your well-being.
One thing that’s not changed much since 1998 is the sense of entitlement that accompanies too many travelers. The Kamikaze bicyclist who weaves through traffic and around pedestrian, the carist who refuses to share the road or use turn signal, the walker who ignore traffic signals and bike lanes are all part of the problem; like a race horse with blinders. The focus is to get to the end as quickly as possible, avoiding obstacles and leaving dirt in the face of whoever is passed.
The recovery of the little boy was deemed a miracle. After a few surgeries and PT he has almost normal use of his foot and leg. He can walk, run, ride a bike and drive a car. Grateful not only that he did well, his accident helped change some important safety laws in the Commonwealth. He hopes others grow up knowing the law and learning to travel responsibly. Trucks, cars, bikes, scooters, legs, buses and taxis share the roads and walkways respectfully and graciously. That might take a miracle, too.
To the Editor of the Cambridge Chronicle:
Please Obey Traffic Laws
David Dahlbacka’s letter bemoaning the disdain some cyclists show to traffic laws could be from the TROMP playbook. Except TROMP is concerned with how pedestrians and carists also freely interpret the rules of the road. Travel Responsibility Outreach and Mentoring Project wants everyone who walks, bikes or rides in our City to know the laws and travel with respect toward others. The sense of privilege that permeates our sidewalks and streets is rendered even more dangerous with the addition of distractibles. No one looks up anymore.
As long as people travel as if they are entitled to get to their destination as quickly as possible - every stop sign, crosswalk or other human is a nuisance. Pedestrians ignore traffic lights; bikes weave between cars; cars don’t use signals and turn in front of cyclists. The only way to change this is through a unified, across the board effort to educate ALL travelers about the importance of being responsible and collaborative.
We all need to get somewhere. Let’s invest in doing so safely and sanely; near misses don’t go in the plus column. For information and to be part of the solution: www.TROMPcambridge.org.
This is a change in state law to let towns set their own ticket fees. Right now, a person jaywalking against a red light, into the path of a biker gets a $1 ticket. A bicylist running a light and weaving into a pedestrian gets a $10 hand slap. A car not yielding gets a $75 bill.
The Police say they’ll start enforcing the laws when the fee fits the crime and the courts back it.
This ammendment will accomplish both those goals and is a key part of TROMP’s Enforcement Phase.