I find Peter Bell's Jan. 27 letter to the editor, "Cars Shouldn't Stop for Pedestrians at Crosswalks," totally misguided and self serving. He argues that "if you're into carbon footprints, stopping and restarting a ton and a half of steel burns a lot more energy than if the pedestrian crosses after you've passed." This twisted logic rewards the person who uses the most energy by giving the high energy user the right of way. For example, a right turning motorist fails to yield to a bicyclist, as happened to me, and when I asked her why she didn't yield, she said that cars always have the right of way over cyclists. (Cars use more energy and have priority.)
Carrying this self serving logic a step further, a mighty SUV would have the right of way over a wimpy Prius; and an 18 wheeler would even have the right of way over a Hummer.
Perhaps the pedestrian could have waited until after Mr. Bell passed, assuming his was the only vehicle on the road. But traffic is often heavy and fast moving. Expecting pedestrians to have to dash across heavily travelled streets, especially multi lane roads, puts walkers in danger and is a key reason why Maryland has so many pedestrian fatalities.
Instead of nitpicking terms (pedestrians in crosswalks vs. at crosswalks) and looking for loopholes, the right thing to do is to yield to pedestrians at/in crosswalks. And put yourself in the shoes of a pedestrian or bus rider needing to cross a busy street. Try taking the bus to work and attempt to cross a busy multi-lane road when motorists won't yield to you at the crosswalk.
The cooperation of drivers is needed to give people safe travel options besides driving alone, better mobility, a cleaner environment, reduced traffic congestion and fewer pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities.
Jeffrey H. Marks, Baltimore