November 6, 2002
A CROTCHETY OLD MAN MOMENT:Crosswalk Markings and Motor Vehicle Collisions Involving Older Pedestrians (Jeffrey W. Runge, MD; Thomas B. Cole, MD, MPH, JAMA)
Older adults are more likely than any other age group to be killed while crossing a street. Although only 12.6% of the US population in 2001 was estimated to be 65 years or older, these older adults accounted for 1049 (21.5%) of 4882 deaths of pedestrians in motor vehicle crashes in that year. Marked crosswalks are often constructed at intersections to enable pedestrians to cross safely. However, an article by Koepsell et al in this issue of THE JOURNAL suggests that marked crosswalks might not always be safe for pedestrians.
We have these crosswalks in Hanover because traffic patterns actually take you through the college campus. The biggest problem is that students seem to assume that the crosswalk makes them invincible and removes the obligation to behave responsibly. No driver is going to stop at every crosswalk and wait to see if anyone is coming, yet in bad weather and dead of night these kids step out in front of oncoming traffic, or worse, ride their bikes, giving drivers little opportunity to see that they are there. And let me just say this, there's no creature on Earth more sullen than an 18 year old Ivy League punk who's just had an old man yell at them: "You trying to become a freakin' hood ornament!" Posted by Orrin Judd at November 6, 2002 7:43 PM