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It’s not the pedestrian’s job to keep from getting killed

A black SUV slammed into an empty storefront on 250 Boylston St., once home to a luxury lingerie store, on June 3.BFD

A June 4 letter from Ernest Loewenstein asserted that pedestrians bear a responsibility for their own safety and suggested that they travel wearing high-visibility reflective gear (“We can do our part to lower death toll on the roads”).

The day before, a driver smashed their SUV into an empty storefront on Boylston Street. Would Loewenstein also request that all storefronts be painted bright yellow?

There is no evidence that shaming pedestrians has any material effect on safety. The near 50 percent rise in pedestrian deaths in roughly the last 10 years is not because people started wearing black coats for the first time in history. The road to safer streets begins with measures such as controlling driver speeds; promoting safer street design; better regulation of vehicle size and weight; funding transit, cycle lanes, and walkable places; and truly enforcing hands-free laws against distracted driving.


Ellery Klein


The writer is an organizer with WalkMedford, a nonprofit pedestrian advocacy organization. The views expressed here are her own.