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Re: Pedestrians aren't the only ones who matter.

Posted by BusMgr on Mon Dec 26 15:06:26 2016, in response to Pedestrians aren't the only ones who matter., posted by BrooklynBus on Mon Dec 26 10:23:59 2016.

Pedestrians are, and should, be accorded a higher priority because they are most vulnerable to the inherent dangers of automobile usage. "The movement of motor vehicles over the highways is attended by constant and serious dangers to the public . . . ." Hendrick v. Maryland, 235 U.S. 610, 622 (1915). "Motor vehicles are dangerous machines; and, even when skillfully and carefully operated, their use is attended by serious dangers to persons and property." Hess v. Pawloski, 274 U.S. 352, 356 (1927). "The use of the public highways by motor vehicles, with its consequent dangers, renders the reasonableness and necessity of regulation apparent." Reitz v. Mealey, 314 U.S. 33, 36 (1941). Yes, at common law the right to travel upon highways has been available to all persons, regardless of the type of vehicle (if any) chosen to facilitate such travel. See, e.g., The Orphaned Right: The Right to Travel by Automobile, 1890-1950, 50 Okla. City Univ. L. Rev. 245 (2005). But that cannot mean free reign for automobilists: the equal rights of pedestrians to travel upon the highways must be protected. And given the inherent dangers of automobile travel, necessary precautions must be taken as part of those protections. And where the rights conflict, the rights of pedestrians must be accorded priority given the relative dangers imposed by the various classes of highway users. Although automobilists do have the same common law right to use the highways, their inherent danger requires them to fully absorb the costs and liability for such choice of vehicle; requiring pedestrians to diminish their rights for the dangerous choice of automobilitis is just wrong.


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