Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New York Considers Pedestrian Ban On iPods In Crosswalks

New York, my homeland, is considering legislation that would levy a $100 fine for pedestrians who listen to a mobile audio device while crossing the street.

This, in my view, is cruel and unusual punishment for the iPod set. Sure, it's possible that listening to Slayer at 900 decibels might prevent you from seeing that Mack truck just before it splits your dome, but isn't that your decision to make as a pedestrian? Doesn't the pedestrian "always have the right of way," even if they're lost in la la land?

I'm more liberal than not in my political leanings, and I like to think that means respecting the rights of individuals. For the most part, the vast majority of people listen to iPods responsibly: while walking about town, on the subway, crossing the street, and so on.

At some level, people must govern their own actions and act responsibly outside of a set of legal strictures. While I'm not a lawyer, I'd love to see a legal mind argue against this bill with counter-legislation that makes it illegal to listen to the radio above a certain volume level (anyone remember the "red line" on the stereo from one of the opening scenes in Say Anything?).

Engadget has a hilarious picture of a chalk outline of a presumably murdered ipod here.

In sum, to quote Gizmodo: "This has got to be the dumbest ban I've ever heard of."

5 comments:

Harry L said...

As a former NYC resident I am amazed that there aren't more traffic accidents. I don't see why the legislation should pick on Ipods. I would say that various text messaging
devices promote a much greater threat
to safety. You can't look around at your environment if youre concentrating on your screen to text message. I've seen people stop in their tracks on the sidewalk or the street because they are so focused on typing that "critical" message.
I think the proper solution would
be to declare an open season on anyone using a device that prevents
their paying attention to their surroundings.If you run someone over while he is playing with his blackberry, you get a point reduction on your driver's license.
That would bring about an improvement in public safety in a hurry.

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Eric Berlin said...

Harry -- you bring up a good point: iPods are not all that different from all other manner of portable electronic devices. I would actually argue against legislating fines for doing any such activities while crossing the street (in the end the onus is on the driver) but this is an important aspect to factor in.

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