Pedestrians are supposed to have the right-of-way in traffic areas, but it's an unwise individual who tests that notion too hard or too often.
Another person trying to cross a busy highway in the Kansas City area the other day was hit and killed by a semi-trailer truck whose driver might well have had no chance to avoid the tragedy.
It can be a breath-taking sight to watch someone try to walk across wide and bustling thoroughfares such as West Sixth Street and West 23rd Street. Cautious as they may appear, one can't help wondering if they have any idea how quickly a car or truck can close the gap between it and the walker.
It is hazardous enough at controlled intersections where there are stop signs and traffic lights. Drivers intent on getting somewhere in a hurry - and perhaps distracted by cell phones or fiddling with their radio or CD player - are not nearly as alert as they should be about people who might venture from curbs, with or without the traffic lights in their favor.
Then we get to places like West Sixth and West 23rd where there are no medians to offer even modest protection. Controlled intersections are few and far between and it is understandable why somebody on foot does not want to walk a number of blocks to get to them. Particularly dangerous are the areas just east of 23rd and Iowa and east of Sixth and Iowa. Yet we regularly see people, some of them not particularly young or agile, trying to negotiate a crossing.
There is an old statistic that everyone needs to keep in mind, whether walking or driving. The rate of 60 miles per hour amounts to 88 feet per second. That means 30 mph is 44 feet per second. Both pedestrians and drivers need to be mindful of how quickly a vehicle can close in on a pedestrian.
There are reasons, often good ones, why pedestrians venture out into fast-paced regions. Sometimes they have no choice, as in the case of a flat tire on a busy highway that necessitates crossing a road on foot. Whatever the situation, pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way.
There will be cases of carelessness and bad judgment by walkers of all ages and physical capabilities. That means that the people behind the wheels of vehicles large and small need to control their speeds and be constantly alert to prevent tragic accidents.