Cartoon Tuesday: The Pedestrian Jar

The Pedestrian Jar – Teaser from pedestrian jar on Vimeo.

(This post was initially posted at Where the Sidewalk Starts, a blog by urban planner and pedestrian advocate Katie Matchett.  Her website is a must-read if you’re interested in pedestrian safety and encouragement or progressive planning in a suburban environment. – DN)

This official selection from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was made in response to a recent uptick in pedestrian fatalities in the Toronto, leading director Evan Morgan to wonder, “What can be done to create more awareness of the relations between pedestrians and cars?” 

The film is intended to be the first of a series addressing varying perspectives on roadway safety, including the role that pedestrians and cyclists must play in keeping themselves safe in a dangerous setting.

As Mr. Morgan explains, “…whether or not drivers are able to recognize their unfortunate tendencies within the context of this narrative, it doesn’t mean that the message will easily translate into practical experience. What I mean is that they’ll still likely be overly preoccupied with ‘making that right turn’, and perhaps fail to acknowledge a pedestrian every now and again. 

I think that the value of the movie’s message is actually for the pedestrians themselves, who perhaps have learned to take drivers for granted – as though cars will immediately stop for them the second they step out onto the road. 

We have to remember that these vehicles are not robots, but are being operated by human beings, who can easily space out or become distracted for any number of reasons. I think the movie’s criticism of drivers is relevant in so far as it reminds us to be more vigilant when navigating our city on foot.”

In other words, yet more evidence that our streets would be better if only cars WERE robots that drove themselves. But that’s a different post…