Speak Out Against “Distracted Walking”
America Walks has been discouraged by the increase in media attention and legislation addressing so-called distracted walking as a source of pedestrian fatalities. This narrative is victim-blaming and a distraction from what we know causes people to lose friends, family, and neighbors on a daily basis. Poor street design, improper speeds, and a culture that prioritizes cars over people have created a landscape that continues to unnecessarily endanger the most vulnerable users of the public rights of way.
We encourage our network to stay vigilant for this kind of messaging in media and elsewhere. To help in this, we have created a sample letter that can be used to as a template to contact publications, editorial boards, and other outlets. We have also collected links to sources that can help you make the case to put a stop to victim-blaming and start addressing what needs to be done to improve safety.
- Fatality Analysis Reporting System
- America Walks Responds to 2017 Pedestrian Fatalities Statement by GHSA
- America Walks Responds to 2016 Pedestrian Fatalities Statement by GHSA
- “When covering car crashes, be careful not to blame the victim” (Columbia Journalism Review)
- “It’s No Accident: Advocates Want to Speak Car ‘Crashes’ Instead (New York Times)
- “Why the ‘distracted pedestrian’ is a myth” (Curbed)
- “Death on foot: America’s love of SUVs is killing pedestrians” (Detroit Free Press)
- “Walking While Black” (ProPublica) and be sure to check out author Topher Sanders in our Walking Towards Justice Discussion
- “What Happened When a Newspaper Became an Advocate for Bicyclists” (Streetsblog)