Martha Gonzalez was killed by a hit-and-run driver five minutes before I arrived at the scene. I’m not a firefighter, police officer, or EMT; I commute by bike on the same road Martha walks on. Sometimes I also walk on Halsted.
We’re all pedestrians.
Flyer in neighborhood with photo of Martha offering $5,000 reward to information that leads to conviction of driver. The driver has not been found and video footage, if available, has not been released (a traffic camera was in view of the collision location).
What has happened to “pedestrianism” in the past four months? A lot. While some of the news items below may not describe situations in which a walking person was directly affected, they describe issues that affect vulnerable street users.
- 8/1 – Driving while texting (DWT) is found to be twice as dangerous as conversing on a mobile phone while driving.
- 9/30 –Distracted Driving Summit in Washington, D.C., convened by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to discuss the dangers of driving distractions including text-messaging.
- 10/1 – President Barack Obama issues an executive order that bans Federal employees from texting while driving a government vehicle, or a private vehicle on government business, or using a government-issued device.
- 10/28 – SAFETEA-LU, legislation that controls pedestrian and bicycling project funding, extended once again, this time until December 18. Congressperson James Oberstar has been trying all summer to get the House to discuss his proposed reauthorization of the six-year surface transportation bill.
- 11/1 – A British judge sends a young driver to 21 months in jail for texting while driving and killing the occupant of a vehicle she collided into from behind. Sentence based on law passed in February 2008 that considers “prolonged texting” a factor in “death by dangerous driving.”
- 11/9 – Transportation for America calls Orlando, Florida the most dangerous city for pedestrians. Via Streetsblog.
- 11/10 – Active Transportation Alliance talks to police and 25th Ward representatives at 18th/Halsted (where Martha was hit)Â about street design and lax laws. Alderman Danny Solis’ new website reports on the upcoming intersection updates.
And finally, between October 13 and November 1, six Chicagoans died while doing what we all do: being pedestrians.