Safety campaign ignores tragedies

by Katherine Manbeck - University student

This fall, some students will be dismayed at the increased police presence and crackdown on jaywalking and biking on the sidewalks. The most disturbing thing I will notice, however, will be the bike still tied to the bus stop sign at 15th Avenue Southeast and Fourth Street âÄî where I saw the body of a fellow student lying dead last spring.  
The image of this awful accident is troubling enough without the new and insulting traffic safety campaign that seems to disregard this tragedy, inappropriately titled âÄúSafety is Easy. The Pavement is Hard.âÄù ItâÄôs a cute adage that is entirely out of place considering the circumstances of its inception.  
In addition, the new enforcement of traffic rules that penalize walkers and bikers seems completely inappropriate considering the circumstances surrounding the two motor-vehicle deaths during the spring of 2011. A cyclist struck near the Dinkytown McDonaldâÄôs last year was doing nothing wrong beyond wearing headphones âÄî the fault was with the driver of a turning truck who did not see her crossing the street.  
Similarly, a student walking on the sidewalk was deliberately run down by a motorist âÄî again, a more cautious attitude when crossing the street would not have saved his life.  
Penalizing pedestrians and bikers wrongly ignores the culpability of the motorists in these collisions, blaming the victims for their fates, while the cutesy title for the new safety campaign blatantly disregards the lives and families of the students who were killed and ignores the circumstances of their deaths. We should remember and celebrate the lives lost, not use them as inspiration for a âÄúcleverâÄù safety campaign slogan.