By Gordon Davis
Harriet Chandler is the Majority Leader in the Massachusetts Senate. She has a lot of power, but seemingly she does not now have common sense. This is a condition that happens to many long-time politicians.
Senator Chandler has proposed an increase in the fines for “jaywalking.” These fines are obviously directed at poor working people and people with handicaps. Many of us can not afford a car. Some of us cannot drive a car due to a handicap.
The proposal is downright stupid given the fact that in the winter time pedestrians walk in the streets because the sidewalks are not cleared by property owners.
The City of Worcester has never cleared the sidewalk at the corner of Lake Ave. and Sunderland Road, a property which is owned by the City. There is no break down lane there and pedestrians have to enter the travel lane to get to the corner. Perhaps Senator Chandler can increases the fines for not shoveling sidewalks.
In Worcester there is about one death or hit and run of a pedestrian per week.
Let me be clear about this: Not one driver was injured. When hit the pedestrian did not run away.
There is a rule that the driver is fully responsible for the control of his vehicle and that the driver is obliged to YIELD to pedestrians.
Senator Chandler’s efforts are misguided. It is not pedestrians who are the major safety issue that needs fixing. It is drivers who do not yield to pedestrians, especially arrogant drivers.
An arrogant driver drives 80 miles an hour down Lake Ave., Mill Street and Chandler Street.
An arrogant driver will turn on red through a pedestrian cross walk signal.
An arrogant driver will exceed the speed limit of 30 miles an hour on congested streets.
An arrogant driver will pass on the right, endangering pedestrians.
An arrogant driver will text while driving.
Let us look at the death of one of the young soccer players I coached. He was riding his skate board when he was struck and killed by a car.
The driver said that the youngster “came out of nowhere.” She was found not responsible. Yet she should have had full control of the car. There should have been some fine for striking the youngster.
A child chasing a ball into the street is dependent on the driver to control his car. This concept should be driven into the minds of all drivers; the driver should be fully in control of his car at all times.
The driver must yield to pedestrians and non-drivers.
The problem is arrogant drivers. A possible solution is an automatic charge of $200 for every car accident involving a pedestrian regardless of fault.
This will make drivers more aware and cautious of pedestrians. It hopefully would reduce aggressive and unsafe driving practices of arrogant drivers.
From my experience the police always look for a way to blame the most vulnerable, the pedestrians. Senator Chandler has fallen into the same blame-the-victim mentality.
Perhaps her next proposal will be more balanced.