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MontCo Teen Struck By Driver in Crosswalk Blamed For Crash

Screenshot from 6abc.com

At approximately 2:45pm Wednesday, a teen was struck and critically injured while crossing the intersection of Highland and Canterbury in Abington Township, near the Abington High School.

Despite the crash occurring in a school zone, during daylight, and in a very explicitly marked crosswalk, media reports focused on whether or not the youth was “distracted,” using the headline “Girl Chatting on FaceTime struck and critically injured by car in Abington.”

Screenshot from 6abc.com

We have some issues with coverage like this. To say the least.

For starters, ABC refers to the crash as an “accident,” which is a word that should be more commonly associated with something that is unavoidable, and we do not believe that traffic violence is an unavoidable cost that we must pay for modern mobility.

Secondly, the youth in question was crossing in a very clearly marked crosswalk.

Screenshot from GoogleMaps StreetView

Screenshot from GoogleMaps StreetView

Thirdly, ABC reports that the school speed limit is 15, but that this is only in place during the school year. Local signage differs from that conclusion. It notes that the 15mph speed limit is in place, without mentioning the time of year. This would make sense, as many schools have summer programming.

Screenshot from GoogleMaps StreetView: “7:15am – 8:30am; 2:30pm – 3:30pm, Monday – Friday”

This is another unfortunate — and all too common — case of victim blaming. This youth, regardless of the level of attention she was giving to her surroundings, should have the expectation that she will be safe crossing the street at a crosswalk, provided she was not crossing against a traffic signal, which aren’t present at the intersection in question.

Thanks to the website treehugger.com for some national attention on this issue.

Topics: Biking the Suburbs, Crash, Featured, Safe Routes Philly

4 comments on “MontCo Teen Struck By Driver in Crosswalk Blamed For Crash

  1. Jade

    I hope this young woman is okay! This is another example of how driver-centric the Northeast is. Even if the signage was for in-school only, cars are ALWAYS supposed to yield to pedestrians when there’s a clearly marked crosswalk, even if they pedestrian is “distracted.” Today, I almost got clipped by a driver who drove into the crosswalk trying to turn right onto Broad St despite a red light and sign indicating no right on red. But the driver wasn’t looking to her right, only to the left to see if cars were coming. I clapped my hands and yelled “I have the light!” so she stopped, but it was scary – both to almost get hit and to have to verbally defend myself in that way.
    As a driver, cyclist, and pedestrian, I find the way drivers behave in Philly to be appalling and downright frightening.

  2. James C. Walker

    People who cross streets while distracted with electronic devices, reading something, listening to something intently, etc. are extremely foolish and at least partly to blame for any resulting accidents. You can be “right” as a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk – but maybe “DEAD right” if the driver also makes a mistake. Pedestrians should know the rules, just as drivers should, but they should also know they lose in accidents with cars.

    I was taught to safely cross a busy 4 lane major collector street en route to my elementary school, and clearly understood that I must NOT try to occupy the same space as a car.

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

  3. Daron Phillips

    I agree with James C. Walker. A bike coalition should be strongly teaching situational awareness, attentiveness and responsibilty to all cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers not complaining about how the media reports it.

  4. J Mac

    Critically injured means the car was likely going 35+, most accidents under 25 mph don’t result in a major damage to a pedestrian. Drivers are so bad and so unaware of what they are doing.

    The media totally slants the story. If a cyclist is hit while stopped at a red light the head line would read, “Cyclist not wearing a helmet was seriously injured when his bike collided with a car at the intersection of …” Yes it needs to be complained about.

    Unless you are running out into a cross walk there is no reason a car should hit you, especially in an active school zone.

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