More hit-and-run deaths in AA County

Four pedestrians were hit by vehicles in Anne Arundel County, MD over the weekend.  Two are dead.

Source: 4 Pedestrians Hit by Vehicles Over Weekend

Does this sound just too status quo?  Does it make any difference to know that a couple was changing a flat tire on the side of the road when they were struck, and the woman’s soon-to-be husband was killed?  Does it matter that this incident was a hit-and-run?

Source: Driver kills man changing tire on B-W Parkway, hospitalizes fiancee

The road is I-295, aka the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  It’s a scenic highway that handles far more traffic than it was ever designed for, with numerous unsafe design flaws.  There isn’t much of a shoulder, so a vehicle in distress is squeezed for space unless they pull onto the grass.  There are very few street lights.  The speed limit is 55 MPH, which is very often exceeded.  Imagine you’re in trouble after dark in those circumstances, what would you do?

There may be many debatable answers, but their decision to change the tire on the spot was an understandable one.  Go much further and they could’ve ruined the tire and risked damaging the wheel, incurring more expensive repairs.  Man of us were trained to think we should address these things immediately, and we often don’t adequately recognize the risks.

I know some will be tempted to ask whether the car was completely off the roadway and out of the travel lanes; it was.  Others will suggest the couple should have called an auto club; they didn’t.  Even if a roadside service had shown up, another human would have been changing the tire and potentially exposed to the same dangers.  Ask yourself why we’re so desperate to find fault with the person outside the vehicle?

Our roads were built for automobiles, at the expense of every other type of access.  There is literally nothing about the design of I-295 that makes it safe for pedestrians to be anywhere near the roadway, even in the case of a breakdown or emergency.  This couple, focused on the inconvenience at hand, likely had no idea how vulnerable they were as soon as they stepped out of their car.

To make the tragedy exponentially worse, the driver who struck this couple left the scene.  Didn’t stop to see what had happened or offer aid to two injured people, just left in a hurry to avoid responsibility.  And without eyewitnesses or ample evidence, it’s likely there will be no justice in court.  It’s despicable, but despite outrage the driver might well have gotten away with murder.

Wherever our infrastructure only provides access for cars, anyone not in a vehicle is putting themselves in danger, by design.  If we can’t do better, we’re simply not trying.


~ by pasadenagina on February 3, 2015.

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