Friday, March 31, 2017
When you stumble out of that bar, at least cross at the corner
In 2015 I looked at the red crossing flags of Evanston, a charming 19th century practice that somehow popped up in the 21st century. But only here on the blog. It seems something worth sharing with the Sun-Times readership, and this study of pedestrian fatalities seem the perfect opportunity.
Seldom in modern society do you engage in an activity where anyone makes the suggestion: You know, this might go more smoothly if you wave a flag over your head.
Celebrating patriotic holidays, perhaps.
But if you attempt to cross the street at one of 11 busy locations in Evanston, you will find a white cylindrical container holding wooden dowels bearing red flags — unless delinquents have swiped them — and a stark sign warning: LOOK LEFT & RIGHT WHEN CROSSING — FOR ADDED VISIBILITY CARRY RED FLAG ACROSS WITH YOU." The concept is, you pluck a flag out of one container, cross in safety, then deposit it in the cylinder attached to the sign across the street.
A little unsettling, isn't it? If the crossing is dangerous enough to demand flags, why not install a stop sign? Then again, perhaps being unsettled as you walk around town is a good thing.
Pedestrian traffic fatalities are soaring in this country, up 25 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to a report issued Thursday by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Which means pedestrian fatalities are rising four times faster than auto deaths.
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