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Letters to the editor, December 17, 2015 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

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Walkers vs drivers

I am a pedestrian and raising my son to be a pedestrian. I disagree with your Voice of the City writer Amy McLay Paterson, who says Nova Scotia's new transportation bill—with its infamous $697.50 fine for jaywalking—is chasing people off the streets and discouraging walking ("I am a pedestrian, and I am an idiot," posted December 7 at thecoast.ca). The law is reminding people to act responsibly. There is no need to jaywalk. Yes, the city could do a lot to make some of the buttons more accessible, but then, let's fight that fight. And if you get hit while jaywalking, you are not the victim, you are the cause of the accident, so there is no victim-shaming happening, either.

Just follow the laws and everyone will be safe and no one will have to pay the fine. —posted by ColleenW at thecoast.ca

It's fearful walking in crosswalks. More accidents happen in crosswalks, and people don't stop, so when I see a chance I dart too.

It's cheaper to get behind a wheel drunk or to kill someone in a crosswalk, than it is to take your own caution in your own hands. It's sad. —posted by Christina MacDonald

I prefer jaywalkers, because they typically look when they cross, which is too often not the case at crosswalks. —posted by zuke

If we just compare this fine to some other MVA fines, it's: three times the fine for texting while driving; the same as the fine for driving without a license, or without insurance; actually less than the minimum fine for driving drunk. That does not make sense to me at all.

There is also no evidence, either from Halifax Regional Police or otherwise, to support the conclusion that pedestrians are at fault in a majority of pedestrian/car accidents.

This is a petty and ill-thought out law which seems to be designed to appeal to a certain type of driver who believes that pedestrians are always the problem and that everything would be better if we made all the roads wider and drove faster. —posted by Humeyni

While I agree that the amount of the fine far exceeds any reasonable penalty, I don't see how you feel that pedestrians shouldn't have the same level of responsibility as drivers. A driver can drive perfectly and still end up hitting a pedestrian who's not paying attention. Honestly, I don't think you realize how many pedestrians out there just dart out into traffic without looking—it's a very common occurrence! —posted by Derek Kaye

This post is awesome! I could never really put the arrogance of an indignant pedestrian to words, but this about sums it up perfectly. You finally get handed a 50 percent stake in your own safety, and what do you do? You spout off about some convoluted socio-economic piffle and vow not to change, regardless of the new law. The entitlement is strong in this one. —posted by The Taint

I'm a driver. In fact, I love cars. But this article still completely coincides with my opinion. I'm not suggesting there should be no fine at all, but let's keep some perspective on the severity of the crime. Driving is a privilege we're able to still have because of the people who reduce congestion and pollution by walking. The least we could do is give them a break on the jaywalking. —posted by M3

One thing to consider is that people behind the wheel of the car have an extra tonne of responsibility. Them neglecting their responsibilities and subsequently hitting someone will, as you say, likely cause that person considerable harm. Someone on foot will not do that level of damage; the risk to others is considerably lower. A lack of responsibility where there is greater need for it should be fined accordingly. —posted by CB 1

Wow, what surprises me here is the fact that people are classifying themselves as either motorists or pedestrians. We are ALL pedestrians—or am I just foolish to assume that everybody walks places? —posted by Adam Nodwell

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