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Stop the carnage

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Motor vehicles are useful tools when they're delivering smallpox serum to isolated rural hospitals, or rushing careless bridegrooms to the church before the ceremony is canceled. They are less beneficial when they're crashing into pedestrians and bicyclists.

A Metroplan study of traffic accidents involving walkers and pedalers in Central Arkansas has identified the most dangerous intersections and roadways. Many of these are in downtown Little Rock, which means they're near the Arkansas Times offices. Times staffers have grown familiar with the sounds of squealing brakes, violent impacts, sirens, groans, and bitter commentary from downtowners who've seen it all before. "Why don't they put cameras at these intersections?" a witness will cry. "They do that in other cities, and the cameras discourage the red-light runners who cause accidents!"

"Little Rock city officials considered cameras," an informed citizen will respond, "but a state law was passed prohibiting cameras! It was sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, who's from a South Arkansas town so small it doesn't even have stoplights! The anti-cyclist, anti-pedestrian lobby owns the Arkansas legislature!" ("In partnership with the National Rifle Association!")

Overwrought? Perhaps so, with all those exclamation points. But a change of heart by the legislature is surely needed. Concerned citizens should contact their legislators, and advise them that even the lives of people who don't drive expensive, legislator-like vehicles are worth saving. Make sure they understand.

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