Stories like the one in Thursday’s Gazette, about a woman getting hit by a car while walking down the middle of a busy Schenectady street on a dark, rainy night, have been appearing with alarming frequency of late. There is no question that the trend of pedestrians brazenly thumbing their noses at vehicular traffic — as if they, not the cars, belong in the road — has been on the rise in inner cities, and it’s only surprising that there haven’t been more reports of serious injuries and fatalities.
Pedestrians may have the right of way when they’re crossing at an intersection, but according to state Vehicle and Traffic Law, they’re required to walk on the sidewalk (there wasn’t any in this instance) or on the shoulder of the road. Police said yesterday that damage to the car that struck the woman as she walked down Albany Street Wednesday was consistent with reports that she was in the middle of the road.
Until they have a chance to interview the woman, who as of yesterday afternoon was in an induced coma at Albany Medical Center, police will be unable to categorize what happened as a case of pedestrian defiance, attempted suicide, intoxication, momentary inattention or ignorance. But the incident calls attention to yet another serious public safety problem, in Schenectady and elsewhere, that police somehow need to address.
While they can’t be ticketing every pedestrian who breaks this law, cops probably could make more of an effort to discourage the practice.
Parents and teachers, too, should be doing more to remind kids who engage in it, for whatever reason, that it’s as good a way to get killed as playing Russian roulette.