Each pedestrian death is one too many
Two men have died in accidents on Oahu this week.
The matter-of-fact method by which government agencies collect traffic statistics will leave out the death of a 97-year-old man when pedestrian fatalities on Oahu are counted for the year.
Because he was struck down on a private street and not a public thoroughfare, Sunao Konishi, a resident of Manoa, as well as at least two other island people, won't be listed when road casualties are tallied.
Regardless, it is clear the island's roadways remain dangerous territory despite several efforts to get drivers and people on foot to obey laws and pay attention to one another.
Konishi's death, the second in a week, would have pushed official pedestrian casualties thus far this year to 21, one more than at the same time in 2006. The accident on Kona Street, a private road through Ala Moana Center, took place just as the police department began a holiday season public-awareness campaign, passing out fliers with safety tips to pedestrians and drivers in the area.
Police had conducted a similar effort after 10 people were killed in 10 weeks earlier this year. For awhile, it appeared motorists and pedestrians were taking heed, but as Lt. Jerry Wojcik, head of the Honolulu Police Department's pedestrian safety program, said, "It seems that this awareness has been forgotten."
What's alarming is that most of the pedestrians killed were not in crosswalks. Though using them obviously is no guarantee of safety, crossing where drivers don't expect a pedestrian is risky.
Trading life or serious injury to save a few steps makes no sense. Neither does gaining a minute or two by speeding through intersections and traffic lights. Twenty, 21 or 25, each life lost on the roads, private or public, is one too many.
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