So the trucker who hit Jenna Morrison didn’t see her, and will face no charges.
I’m not a cop and I don’t have all the details, but fuck. Was this man visually-impaired? Was a bright light suddenly flashed in his eyes? Was he possessed by the Black Oil Alien from the X-Files and it was swimming in his eyes at the moment of impact?
I very much doubt it. In fact, I think I can tell you why he didn’t see her: he wasn’t looking.
But Kristin, I hear you say, your privileged hipster ass can’t even drive a car!* How would you know what drivers experience?
Well, I don’t exactly. But I can make an educated guess, based on…
The Time I Got Hit By A Car
This is a funny story, actually.
Let me set the scene: It was March 2004. I had just graduated from music school and was looking for some kind of job other than working part-time at Starbucks or playing the piano at ballet schools. One of the jobs I heard about was a half-time job with the Ontario Arts Council. It seemed perfect for me (though whether I would have been perfect for it was highly unlikely – at any rate *SPOILER ALERT* I didn’t get the job), so I put together the bullshittiest resume you can imagine and went to drop it off.
March is an iffy time of year in Ontario. Sometimes it is mild and spring-like. Sometimes it is dreary and rainy. More often it is basically still winter. 2004 was one of those long winters, so I was wearing my lighter overcoat and hat, both of which were fuschia.
I wish I had a picture of myself in that outfit, because it was AWESOME. I was a tiny pink dynamo with a fake fur collar.
Anyway, I was wearing this bright pink coat and bright pink hat as I walked to the OAC office to drop off my doomed application. It was in the Bay/Bloor area (still is as far as I know), a part of the city not known for its colourful streetscape. In fact, I’d say every single building between Queens Park Circle and Yonge is one shade of grey or another (except for the Prada store, which is beige).
So picture the scene: Grey buildings. Grey road. Grey sidewalks. Dirty snow drifts on the sidewalks.
Me in my bright pink hat and coat walking along the street.
So as I was crossing a side street (I can’t remember which one), a woman in an SUV was attempting to make a right turn onto Bloor. She was studying traffic very intently, probably looking for a gap. I was already halfway across the road.
“Surely she’ll stop,” I thought. “I have the right of way after all.”
But no. She continued to inch forward into the turn, still looking at oncoming traffic…
…until she made contact with my right hip.
I yelled and banged on the hood of the car. She reacted, fortunately, with shock and apology. I shook my head and moved on.
But think about it: It was broad daylight. I was wearing bright colours – in fact, I couldn’t have been more in contrast with my environment. I was obeying the rules of the road and watching where I was going.
And this driver still didn’t see me. Because she wasn’t looking.
Because she didn’t have to.
And it turned out fine, because it was very low-speed and the driver didn’t accidentally hit the accelerator or decide to run me down in a fit of pique. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a problem.
The solution is not to be more visible, because even if you’re visible they won’t see you. The only thing I could have done to be more visible would be to wear bear bells, which are hardly standard issue for urban pedestrians.
The solution is for drivers to watch where the fuck they’re going. And no, it is not too much to ask.
*I did learn how to drive a car, BTW. I just never passed the test. I’m planning on finally getting my licence next year so I can take trips out of the city by myself.
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