By on September 16, 2010

As The Wall Street Journal‘s Dan Neil explains, pedestrians aren’t just annoying, they’re also responsible (in part) for some of the most astonishingly dull designs in all of autodom… like the 2011 VW Jetta. Trends towards rising beltlines, strangely high hoods, reduced visibility, and general carved-from-cheese-ishness in automotive design can all be tied to European pedestrian crash test standards. With a little help from unimaginative designers, global product strategies and consumer apathy, of course.

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55 Comments on “How Pedestrians Create Boring Cars...”


  • avatar
    srogers

    I’d question whether crash standards are responsible for high belt lines. I’m guessing that fashion alone is responsible for these. There are still cars being made without high belt lines and I doubt that they have some kind of exemption.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I’ve heard  (and I could be wrong) that the standard requires a certain clearance between the hood and the engine. Mid and rear engine cars don’t have that problem.

    • 0 avatar
      The Walking Eye

      I hate hate hate, high belt-lines from a comfort and often times visibility perspective.  I can never get my left arm comfortable with cars that have high belt-lines.  Currently have a Camry as a rental, and I hate it for that and the rear window (has the same problem my GP GTP had with a 15 or so degree angle between the glass and the ground that allows for lots of condensation and thus a nearly constantly dirty window) and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone shorter than 6′ (just a guess on who it’d be comfortable for) despite it being a pretty good car otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      Boxer engines don’t require a high beltline, and yet, look at them…

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “I’d question whether crash standards are responsible for high belt lines.”
       
      Why? The European regulations are a matter of record. The Wall Street Journal didn’t make that up. Hood lines on cars designed for sale in the EU have gotten higher specifically in response to the new regulations. Even car designers have said that.

  • avatar
    thebeelzebubtrigger

    I really hate all this passive safety crap being mandated by law. Regulating them (to prevent carmakers profiting on fake safety gizmos), yes. Mandated, hell no. If people want to be safe in their cars they should just learn how to drive them. And if pedestrians are so afraid of cars then maybe they should just stay home and stick to teleconferencing, along with all the twits who are “allergic to” wifi, smoke, perfume, etc.
     
     
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      As one of the “twits” who IS allergic to perfume, please tell me what that has to do with stupid safety laws? Just going down the laundry soap aisle at the grocery store is something I try to avoid. By the time I get to the other end of the aisle, I’m wheezing away, and it takes a half hour or more to recover. Being sensitive to the stuff is a huge hassle because it’s hard to keep away from, since perfume is added to so many things. A closed up bathroom with one of those scented oil “fresheners” is like being in a gas chamber! I work in a place where all the bathrooms and the entrance have one in them, and at the lowest setting, I can tolerate it, but someone always cranks up the little slider, and it’s choke time. A lot of women have “poupori” ( I have no idea how it’s spelled) sitting around their homes and apartments, and it’s horrible. The same goes for a lot of stuff like Lysol, which people spray around all the time. I have left work because of it, and warn people to not spray it anywhere near me. They think I’m joking until they see how angry I am.
       
      Unless you’re sensitive to the damn stuff, you don’t realize how much perfume is added to everything. Why laundry soap, fabric softener, shampoo (The unscented stuff costs more!), all need to be loaded up with the stuff is beyond me. I’ve even gone out on dates where the woman has so much on her I start wheezing away almost instantly. One girl I really liked I, but I couldn’t get her to lay off the stuff. I finally told her I couldn’t stand her being near me! We went to the movies and by the time we arrived, I was clearing my throat and I knew it would be a really miserable night. I finally told her after the movie that her perfume was making me sick, and she agreed to “just put a little on” next time. As soon as I walked into her house the next time, I knew her idea of “just a little”, and mine were totally different. I asked her to show me how much she put on and she put it on her neck, wrists, and the back of her knees! I asked her how much did she normally put on, and she said, “A lot more than that!” Her clothes all reeked of it, and I gave up on the third date, and I told her why. Funny thing is, I knew her sister, and her sister calls me and she told me that the girl thought I was using the perfume thing just as an excuse not to see her again. I told her sister I would buy her some new clothes, and take her out again gladly, if she promised to leave the perfume off. Needless to say, she didn’t go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      @nrd515:
      Please accept my apology. I shouldn’t have included perfume in that list, thanks for pointing out that some people actually *are* allergic to perfumes. As for what my little rant has to do with safety laws, it’s all part of the same cultural phenomenon. Nowadays it seems a lot of people claim to be “allergic” to things they simply don’t like. Certainly as a child growing up in the 60s (when *everyone* smoked) the phrase “allergic to smoke” was simply never heard. It started in the 80s and now almost everyone is “allergic to smoke”. The result, of course, is more stupid laws criminalizing ordinary human behavior.
       
      So stupid laws are the link. A lot of people seem to believe they can use legislation to coerce people into behaving the way they wish, just as they seem to think they can use legislation to make cars death proof. And just look at the ridiculous number of traffic laws on the books! In real life, there are really only two natural laws of traffic — keep it moving and don’t hit anything. So my rant was really about safety nazis demanding the passing of pointless laws. It’s unamerican!
       

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Dear Dan – I’m 27 and I’d be embarrassed to rock the “popped collar”.  Now, extrapolate that to your age.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    same reason why Jaguars no longer have that kick ass hood ornament, stupid badge. sigh

  • avatar
    sitting@home

    I think I just saw a ped crossing trap …
     
    Was driving about 100 yards behind a Prius down a local road at about 30mph (the limit) and as we approach a ped crossing, flashing orange lights at both ends go off and a guy starts to cross from the left (the crossing is old, but the lights have only been installed this week). The Prius goes through the crossing while the ped is still on the left side of the road and out of nowhere a motorbike cop zooms out and pulls him over.
     
    By the time I reach the crossing the ped is on the right side of the road so I stop and let him continue. When he reaches the curb he turns around and gets ready to cross back again.

  • avatar
    valkraider

    How are pedestrians creating boring cars?
     
    Isn’t it the car drivers who keep running over pedestrians that cause the new crash test standards?  And therefore it is car drivers who are creating boring cars?
     
    If car drivers would stop running over people then we wouldn’t need to make cars that don’t kill people on contact.
     
    And where I live we have lots of pedestrian crosswalk stings.  I watched one near a university where 8 motorcycle cops sat in a courtyard and a plain clothed police-woman walked back and forth across a crosswalk.  They must have ticketed 30 people while I ate my lunch…
     
    Seriously though – pedestrians have been around a lot longer than cars, and everyone is a pedestrian at some point.  Even drivers are usually pedestrians at each end of their auto trip.
     
    I have been hit twice in marked crosswalks while I had the walk signal – both times by inattentive drivers.  Luckily they were at slow speeds and I was not injured – but it did suck beans!
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      stationwagon

      it isn’t fun being a pedestrian in a heavily motorized city, When I was younger and car-less I used to walk all the time. I always knew crossing the street was dangerous business and would always sprint across just to lessen the likelihood of getting hit. About two weeks ago I saw a women with a stroller almost get hit by a car, luckily the car stopped in time, the woman was walking pretty slow. which is pretty damn irresponsible. When the near collision happened the woman just froze in front of the stopped car then went on her way. The best option for pedestrians is to ride the bus. I feel bad for the people in wheel chairs electric or manual or the elderly. the electric ones don’t go that fast I wouldn’t feel safe crossing the street using it.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      “I have been hit twice in marked crosswalks while I had the walk signal – both times by inattentive drivers.”

      You must be one of those pedestrians with a heavy sense of entitlement. I’ve seen a shocking number of people like that who just walk right out in front of moving vehicles, apparently because they believe “I have the right-of-way”. There is no law of physics that protects the party who “has” the right-of-way! Maybe they’re just desperate and trying to hit the insurance lottery? Or they’re suicidal? Who knows. To me they’re like human pigeons — brainless, semi-animated obstacles to be avoided.

      Personally, I consider the question of who has the right-of-way to be utterly moot, especially when I’m on foot. To do otherwise strikes me as suicidal. Have you not noticed most people are idiots who have absolutely no clue how to drive?

    • 0 avatar
      Alexdi

      A second to the comment above mine. I can’t believe how many Atlanta pedestrians seem to think that drivers are omniscient. Right of way won’t do you much good if I’ve rolled on top of you.

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      “I have been hit twice in marked crosswalks while I had the walk signal – both times by inattentive drivers.”
       
      I’m glad you clarified. For a minute there I thought you meant they ran you over on purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      thebeelzebubtrigger is totally right! We need to start ticketing pedestrians who have the nerve to get run over, even if its clearly the drivers fault. Instead of focusing on the clearly blameless driver who was talking on their cell phone while eating a donut, using their thighs to control the steering wheel, we need to punish the victims so they will be more careful next time.
      thebeelzebubtrigger is on to something here. Rape? Victim’s fault; she looked too pretty and brought it on herself. Murder? Convenience store worker’s fault for moving too slowly while being robbed. Burglary? Homeowner’s fault for owning nice things. I mean, all these victims should have tried harder to see these things coming and done more to avoid them. It’s really their own fault for not living in fear and being totally on guard all day, every day, 365 day a year.

    • 0 avatar
      thebeelzebubtrigger

      @Silvy_nonsense:
      Unfortunately your hysteria appears to come at the expense of sound reason, but I guess we all have our preferences… :D
       
      Yes, if you’re an able-bodied person who gets hit by a car going very slowly in a crosswalk, it means neither you nor the driver is competent to navigate traffic. Both parties are literally a hazard to themselves and to others. No masterful feat of reason required to understand that, and there is no “victim” in such a case — just two idiots running up against the limits of their abilities.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      This conversation reminds me of the song?, “Beginning French,” by the performance artist, Laurie Anderson.  I put a question mark after song because it’s sort a weird poetry song thing where she sort of talks and halfway sings. Anyway, in the song? she says:
       
      “After doing these concerts in French, I usually had the temporary illusion that I could actually speak French, but as soon as I walked out on the street, and someone asked me simple directions, I realized I couldn’t speak a single word.
       
      As a result of this inadequacy, I found that the people I had the most rapport with were the babies. And one of the things I noticed about these babies was that they were apparently being used as some kind of traffic testers.
       
      Their mothers would be pushing them along in their strollers–and they would come to a busy street with lots of parked cars–and the mother can’t see what the traffic is like because of all the parked cars–so she just sort of edges the stroller out into the street and cranes her head out afterwards.
       
      And the most striking thing about this is the expression on these babies’ faces as they sit there in the middle of traffic, stranded, banging those little gavels they’ve all got and they can’t even speak English.

      Do you know what I mean?”
       

  • avatar
    dwford

    I have customers complain all the time about how hard it is to see out of these new cars. I tell them to blame the roof crush safety standards for the thicker pillars.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      +1.  Some are worse than others–the new Buicks have freakin’ huge pillars.  Older Volvos had thinner pillars and performed just fine in rollovers.
       
      VW’s decontenting and otherwise trying to turn it into a Corolla with a Yaris interior ruined the Jetta.  I predict the “nicer” 2.0L model (not the one with no radio or A/C) will be incentivized and will become a darling of the rental fleets.  How’d you like to have a car slightly smaller and with much less power than a Sebring the next time you rent a mid-size?

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      I once noted that my 2001 Ram’s A-pillar could hide an entire minivan at a surprisingly wide range of distances…

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      My Cayman has a nice squooshy bumper cover and a low and very flimsy aluminum hood that would provide a few inches of crush travel with an empty trunk. Certainly true that mid/rear engine cars don’t need the soapcake hood profile. I guess the ‘vette engine must be far enough back so that the same applies.
      However, the A pillars in a Cayman are unnervingly thick and do an exceptional job blocking vision to the front/side. A pillars are made of very high strength steel – eg, boron steel – and possibly can be used in thinner wall sections for weight savings while resisting cripple bucking, but for the initial elastic buckling, its all about cross sectional geometry and material intrinsic stiffness – a bigger thinner cross section is more important than adding wall thickness to a smaller cross section.

  • avatar

    I hit a pedestrian once when she stepped out from behind a Suburban directly into my path at 0300.  Not one of the better nights of my life (or hers either.)  It was a low-speed collision, fortunately, and she survived.  That was with my old T-Bird.
    I don’t know what I think about pedestrian safety standards being applied to cars, but I do think that you’re ultimately responsible for your own safety.  Cars are bigger than you.  Cross carefully.

  • avatar
    GrandCharles

    So the pedestrian are responsible for that…i feel an urge to get on Grand Theft Auto and do some boardwalk cruising…Don’t worry, i honk a millisecond before it’s too late for them… 

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    There are all sorts of cars that manage to look decent despite pedestrian crash regulations, and you can hardly blame crash regs for the rise in beltlines: that’s pure designer wankery at work, further enabled by the “encased in steel” feeling that makes drivers feel safe.
     
    Think about every concept car or design sketch for the last decade or more: they don’t have to contend with crash regs, and yet every single one has gun-slit windows and a tall hood that, just by chance I’m sure, sports a grille with a dinner-plate size corporate logo.  The same applies to roof-pillar width: if a four-and-a-half-thousand-pound minivan can have thin pillars, why can’t a sedan that’s a thousand pounds lighter?  Answer: no reason at all, save for the designer who happens to like how thick roof pillars look.
     
    Blaming pedestrian crash regs is just a nice way to shift the blame for what is really style trumping function.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      In order for your statement to be true, car designers would have to be making statements that the new European regulations are great because the regulations have given the designers an excuse to design cars with high hood lines. The opposite is true.
      I’ve read several interviews with car designers working for EU based companies and all of them have complained about how dealing with this regulatory requirement has made it harder for them to design the car they want, not easier.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I’ve read several interviews with car designers working for EU based companies and all of them have complained about how dealing with this regulatory requirement has made it harder for them to design the car they want, not easier.

      And that may well be true, but it doesn’t let them off the hook for fat roof pillars (because minivans don’t have them), tall sills (because that last cut at that trend started with the Chrysler 300), huge grilles (thank you, Audi) or 20″ wheels.

      What it might do is alter the hoodline slightly (as in the Jag XK) or extend the front overhang, but the whole rest of the car can’t be blamed on safety regs.  Those aforementioned characteristics are this generation’s tailfins.

      If designers really got their way, hoods would be obscenely long and not a little phallic, the windows would be about six inches high, discounting 45-degree tumblehome, the pillars a foot thick and the tires nothing less than smear of rubber on thirty-inch rims.   Pedestrian regs.  Right.  Sure.

    • 0 avatar
      aspade

      A Camaro owes a lot more to those cartoon concept cars than it does to crash regs.  So does a CTS or 300 or Taurus.
      The bland appliances that make up 90% of the market don’t.  Style over function in a Subaru? Style at all in a Subaru?  Yet even a granolamobile like the Legacy has a towering jaywalker friendly hoodline and sills higher than the backrest.  Like every other new car.
      When the stylists have to apologize for the hood in the press kit it’s not style trumping anything.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “And that may well be true, but it doesn’t let them off the hook for fat roof pillars..”

      Fat roof pillars have absolutely -nothing- to do with the EU pedestrian safety regulations and the resultant higher hood and belt lines. Rollover roof strength requirements are about occupant safety, not pedestrian safety and have no effect what so ever on the height of the hood and belt line.

      Designers will obviously sometimes include details that aren’t necessary based on engineering, regulatory or legal requirements. That’s their job. However, your assertion that design isn’t affected by laws and regulations simply isn’t supported by the facts. Its ludicrous.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian


      Fat roof pillars have absolutely -nothing- to do with the EU pedestrian safety regulations
       
      I didn’t say they did, though perhaps I wasn’t being explicit enough.  Note my comparison with minivans, which, even now, have fairly slender pillars despite weighing nearly five thousand pounds. Now, compare this to a Buick LaCrosse, which has pillars you could lose a Yaris in.
       
      If a minivan doesn’t need thick pillars but a sedan does, can we really blame roof strength regulations, or is fashion perhaps playing more than a bit of role?   Ever notice how high beltlines and thick pillars don’t seem to be a problem in the more utilitarian classes of vehicle?
       
      If the designers really wanted thin, spidery pillars and low hoods you’d see them in concept cars.  Except, when you go from concept to production, pillars get thinner and the hood actually goes lower, just as rims shrink, tumblehome goes away and wheel-well gaps appear.
       
      It seems like regulations are being used as a scapegoat to deflect criticism.  What, do you think a designer or marketing person is going to say “we made the pillars look like this because we think it looks good, visibility be damned!”?  Heck, no, they know it looks good, but they also know that crying about “regulation” gives them a convenient patsy.
       
      Designers will obviously sometimes include details that aren’t necessary based on engineering, regulatory or legal requirements. That’s their job. However, your assertion that design isn’t affected by laws and regulations simply isn’t supported by the facts. Its ludicrous.
       
      I’m not saying it isn’t affected by regulations, I’m saying that it’s not primarily the fault of regulation, and the regulation is being scapegoated.  It certainly plays well to the audience: the designers get to make the cars they want and the critics get to blame the government.
       
      It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

       

      psarhjinian

      I’m with you, psars.
      I am not really sure what constitutes a high beltline today, but it seems lots of cars don’t have one and are looking good.
      Others take it to the extreme.

      Is the Mazda3 considered one?
      I like it and fit/see well with it.
      The new Fiesta???
      Fit or Golf?
      They seem ok with me.

      The MKS and Taurus have this, but I get along with the seats raised.  All Italians have this problem.

      Regardless of the silly high beltline that seems to have gotten out of hand with the Chrysler 300, the REAL problem is with the door-jam, raised rear end look today.
      This look, although done for less wind resistance, I presume, is making it more and more difficult to see out the rear.
      In fact, parallel parking to me is a horrifying event on a busy street.
      The blind spots on cars today are ridiculous. The “fake” rear window is discovered to be horribly small when you get into the driver’s seat. Looking at the window from the outside, the illusion from the blackened pillars really fools you. 

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    The Golf looks a lot better up front IMHO. In contrast to the Golf, the Jetta isn’t even going to sell in significant numbers in Europe, so it is unlikely that some specifically European considerations are to blame for the Jetta’s design.
     
    I suspect they just wanted to give the care more “substance” and “presence”.

  • avatar
    Dr Strangelove

    Unlike the Golf, which looks much better up front IMHO, the Jetta isn’t even going to be sold in Europe in sizeable numbers, so it is unlikely that the clumsy front end is due to specifically European concerns.
     
    I guess they just wanted to give the car more “presence”, that is make it big, and at the same time hold on to the same family face with the narrow horizontal grille. Trying to hit both targets gave this awkward shape.

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      “the Jetta isn’t even going to be sold in Europe in sizeable numbers, so it is unlikely that the clumsy front end is due to specifically European concerns.”
      If VW is going to sell the car in Europe, they have to comply with EU regulations. They don’t get to ignore certain regulatory requirements just because they won’t sell a lot. The regulations affected the design, there’s no question about it.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I think the Jetta looks OK. I am more concerned about the wholesale decontenting. It will come back to haunt VW, just like it’s haunting Toyota, Honda and others.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Like the Japanese say, the nail that sticks out gets hammered. Most Americans are self conscious.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Long story short, this is the end result of people not taking driving seriously and the Safetocracy in action. Boring disconnected drivers lead to boring cars.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I really don’t understand the decontenting of the Jetta. As many other automakers are improving their products to try and get their interiors to that German ideal, VW walks away from it towards the already failed (former) strategy of Chrysler, Ford, Mitusbishi and others. Makes no sense.
     

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Yeah, cars were great looking before the crash regs.  (rollyeyes)

  • avatar
    Znork

    Europeans won’t buy the Jetta, so don’t blame us. You americans are the ones who buy generic asian sedans along with asians of course.

  • avatar

    Isn’t saving lives more important than how a vehicle looks?

    Ask any EMT and I think they would agree.

    John

  • avatar
    shiney2

    A lot of this also has to do with micromanaging MBA bureaucracies. At the last OEM I worked for, perhaps 90% of the final approval process was ultimately done through 3D models, often at high level meetings with nothing but powerpoint images. What looked good on the screen is what got approved. That means high bodylines, low roof and window profiles, massive lighting surfaces, huge wheel openings and ultra low profile tires.

    Styling approval at most companies is the slowest, hardest, and most micromanaged of processes – and even small detail changes often require a sign off from the very highest levels of management. The net result is that engineering and aesthetics are often compromised for no other reason than to avoid repeating a time and resource consuming approval process.

  • avatar
    George B

    I agree with geeber, I doubt that anyone buys a Camry for it’s looks.  They buy it in spite of the ugly looks because Toyotas tend to spend less time in the shop than Volkswagens.  Americans typically get only 2 weeks of vacation time and frequently work overtime too.  Not enough time is a huge problem.
     
    Regarding the big nose high beltline car design, I boycott it.  Waiting for the style to change.  Too bad car manufacturers can’t just put a “power dome” hood on cars where they have pedestrian safety regulations and sell more aerodynamic cars here in the US.

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    The impact regulations say nothing about how much space is required between the hood and the engine except for when there is an impact.
    Some cars have impact sensors that pop the hood up a few inches to meet the regulations (Jag XK, for one).
    Other cars are designed so the hood is a permanently a few inches higher than it used to be in previous generations.
    There are still other ways to deal with this – new engines that aren’t as tall.  Finding a way to package an engine so it sits a little lower than before.  Move the engine farther back.
     
    In short, this is a cop out.  The car companies are choosing the cheapest and least elegant solution to a serious problem and then blaming the styling on someone else.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Chiming in on the driver vs pedestrian discussion here.
    When I am a pedestrian, I never, for the sake of consideration and my safety, time my crossing so that it requires any deceleration of any vehicle.  In my experience driving in Europe, it seemed pedestrians there rarely timed their crossing such that I needed to slow down.
    As a driver, I am annoyed and frankly astonished when a pedestrian walks into my path, and I observe that they never even cast their eyes in my direction before or as they cross. To my mind that is blind trust and or a death wish.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      haha, you would absolutely hate dealing with pedestrians in uptown manhattan and the bronx. It’s a regular occurance to see a tough guy stop traffic (sometimes even just one car!) moving at speed by insolently strolling in front of them in order to play chicken. This strategy usually works out for the pedestrian, they get to feel like a bad-ass when the car stops and they stare down the driver as they complete their journey. Me? I like to take my no ABS having Passat and intentionally lock up the brakes; screaming tires always make a douche pedestrian jump out of the way, regardless of distance. On the other hand, I’m more than willing to engage, most people are afraid that they’ll have to get out of their cars uptown.
      On the other hand there’s a ton of drivers that bully their way through ped. intersections with their bumpers, and cabbies aren’t the worst offenders. These guys do get their cars kicked and hit quite a bit (in NY at least), but it doesn’t seem to change behavior. It makes using crosswalks dangerous in the city, and as a result I always cross mid-street when in busy cities. Jaywalking saves lives when drivers are too aggresive.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Pedestrian safety will always have to be government mandated as neither the buyer/driver nor the car make have much of a stake in how safe the vehicle is when it hits a pedestrian. After all, the car buyer gets to choose the car on criteria that usually include utility, driver safety, aesthetics and fun factor but rarely how safe they are for pedestrians. Since pedestrians don’t get to choose which cars they are hit by it makes perfect sense that there be some sort of minimum standards for safety that everyone has to adhere to.
     
    The mere suggestion that we need to allow for “cool designs” which will increase the severity of the injuries that pedestrians sustain in traffic collisions does nothing to enhance the editorial credibility of this site.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    People somehow have to remember that the use of the words: “motorist”, “cyclist”, pedestrian” etc. are shorthand to avoid saying: “a person driving” or “a person walking”. All of us travel by multiple means. The people I see jaywalking to rush into Starbucks or bicycling through red lights, are the same ones who at every opportunity break the traffic laws while driving.
    We have to negotiate a crosswalk on a major street near our house, twice a day as we WALK our child to and from school. (Even though it’s a 15-minute walk and we have two perfectly good cars.) The crosswalk has on-demand stop lights. We check the traffic before crossing, because on average about once a month, someone drives right through the crosswalk while we’re on it. In fact, our crossing of the crosswalk is sometimes delayed as we slow to see if a fast-approaching motorist is going to stop.
    Surely I don’t need to discuss the effects should we be hit. Surely no one would object to reasonable design features to reduce how lethal cars are. Surely motorists should exhibit some humility in this most unequal contest. Which should be an opportunity to display good sense and cooperation, rather than view it as a conflict.
    Funny that as we try to reduce our burden on the planet and others (such as those driving), by WALKING to school, we have to think like hunted animals to protect ourselves from those same people, and THEN have to put up with their suggestions that by walking we are ruining car design, slowing their commutes etc.
    Yes, there are some careless and even vindictive jaywalkers, but their behavior pales beside that of speeding, distracted, aggressive, militant motorists.

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    I don’t think this Jetta is boring at all. it’s conservative for sure but it’s style will likely age better than say something liek the Cube or the Camaro.

    If as in the past decade fuel prices double again there will certainly be plenty of pedestrians to mix with during this car’s expected lifetime. If we can be a little safer then all the better.

    Don’t get me wrong – I want to see smarter pedestrians as well. I see pedestrians who expect me to stop every morning when they walk right out in front of me with nary a look.


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