Here’s the story of how the car took over the American Street. A century ago the city street was a public place that was open to everyone. It was shared by pedestrians, horses and weird old-timey bicyclist to like not to mention streetcars that took people to work but when the car was invented people started driving them at top speed through the crowded streets and the results weren’t pretty.
That’s what happens once motorcar strikes a peasant. Naturally everyone blamed the new invention for the carnage. Seventh kid mashed by a metal death machine this week. Maybe these things shouldn’t be allowed. Public outcry grew some cities even discussed passing laws against them. We propose that the streets not be filled with these high-speed 2 ton metal projectiles. They’re killing us out there well technically we’re killing them. We got to fight this thing I got it will tell them the streets are for cars only and if a car kills you: it’s your own fault.
I will give the folks that walk in the street a really humiliating nickname what about Irish walker and pretty cruel but we can do better I got it. Jaywalk you disgust me and I love it too. It doesn’t mean much to us now but back then Jay was a really offensive slur.
To publicize the new insult the auto industry actually planted stories and newspapers blaming pedestrians for automobile death. Today Jaywalking is a crime and in fact most of our modern traffic safety culture descends from this kind of blame shifting propaganda. Think about it a group of private businessman coined and offensive slur to promote their product and it worked so well that today it’s a legal term. That’s like if the trashcan industry convince us all to call littering a good thing. As a result of this campaign the street went from being a public place where everyone was welcome to a terrifying off-limits death trap. Stay back couple streets belong to the machines now.