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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.

Leonard Bonarek

Author

In 2016, Leonard entered his third career: city planning. Previous to joining Bicycle Coalition, he had 7 years’ experience working in social services, and 10 years’ hard labor in the maritime industry, in addition to several years of intern and volunteer experience with our organization and Neighborhood Bike Works.