Truck Versus Man

I was walking out to go to The Bug JarMySpace link (219 Monroe Ave.) When I got to the end of my street, I saw a man walking in East Henrietta Rd. I thought nothing of it — after all, the sidewalks are covered in snow and ice, so depending on his physical condition and footwear, it's understandable that he would walk in the perfectly clear road. (I'm fortunate enough to have boots, balance, and strength, so I just get a tremendous workout in my gluteus maximus.) As I arrived at the intersection, I noticed the light was in my favor (even if the inconveniently-placed crosswalk doesn't reflect that) so I was making my way across, parallel to the light traffic. As the light started changing and the last vehicle passed, I heard a thud, as if the pick-up truck had run over a log in the road.

I knew it was trouble before I turned around, and as I had expected, the man was lying in the road.

I was calling 911 (although I almost called 9111 in my panic) before the driver even got out of the truck. I think my initial assumption was incorrect — the man wasn't run over, but run into. Thankfully the driver was going relatively slowly, but he didn't see the man and didn't react, so the truck hit with full force. A firetruck, ambulance, and two police cars arrived within a couple minutes. They got the man on a backboard and into the ambulance — he didn't appear to have a broken back or other severe injury, so I hope the worst he could suffer would be a broken bone or two.

I always wonder how most people think this is okay — as if it's just a fact of life that these kinds of car accidents happen. It was certainly preventable. Why aren't cars equipped with brakes that engage automatically when they detect something? For that matter, why aren't the sidewalks cleared to the same standard as the street? I could blame the driver, but humans are wholly unequipped to drive the same route without incident and be expected to handle a random, unusual circumstance, proven again and again by psychology and anthropology.

It's really too bad we can't use science to guide our collective decision-making.

Forget About Party in the Park

I'd love to support the bands and music of Party in the Park but once again, the City of Rochester has made it for cars-only. Yeah, I know, that's "not what they mean," but when the the press release reads, "for the comfort and safety of everyone, patrons are also asked to leave their bicycles, skateboards, in-line skates and pets at home," just what is that supposed to mean exactly? Bring your nice safe car? They even go on to describe ample parking, but never mention pedestrian access — can we walk along the river path, or is it accessible from the sidewalk only?

And once again, they say, "Patrons may not bring food or beverages (with the exception of one sealed bottle of water) into the concerts." This is because they know they want to encourage people to buy beverages from the vendors, and by making artificial scarcity, they can make more money which is what this is all about. But more sinister is that it encourages people to rely on bottled water. That way, when hydrofracking companies pollute our water supplies, people will already be accustomed to drinking bottled water and not care. Folks already believe marketing hype from bottled water and water-filter companies and no longer believe that tap water is the safest drinking water in the world (it's held to far higher standards than bottled water or other soft drinks).

Ok, I'm done ranting for now … enjoy yer day.