Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Failure to yield right of way

It's good when things happen to celebrities, because we get to talk about them. Valerie [Plame] Wilson outer Bob Novak ran into a guy crossing with the light on a crosswalk today, and drove off. A cyclist stopped him, and he was cited for 'Failure to yield right of way.'

As you know, my friend* transportation activist Susie Stevens was ironically struck down by a bus when in a St. Louis crosswalk on March 21, 2002 at around 8:35 in the morning. The driver, Michael W. Wamble, was charged, like Mr. Novak, with failure to yield, and paid the minimum $500 fine.

The point is, you can kill pedestrians (and bicyclists!) with no fear of comeuppance. I'm not going to encourage you to try it, but thanks to Mr. Novak, I don't have to. There's no special treatment because he's a celebrity. Motorists in general get off, with excuses like "I didn't know striking and killing pedestrians crossing on a crosswalk with the light was against the law."

As of this writing, Mr. Novak's strikee hasn't died, but the reportage on his wounds has begun to get more dismal. His final disposition won't matter to Mr. Novak's fine, however.

* -- Well, we saw each other a lot, but mostly only ever talked about bicycle and pedestrian activism and various events and activities pertaining thereto. We very nearly hung out at least thrice, but could never quite make it work. Anyway, when acquaintances you like, respect and value the enormous civic contributions of die, they become your friends. Mostly because they can't deny it. I do miss Susie.

No comments: