Recent unresolved hit-and-run cases in South Seattle reveal dangerous freedom from cars – Slog


The woman who was run over by a huge SUV on June 6th is still alive, according to the SPD. Charles Mudede

The thing that should, of course, surprise anyone about the hit-and-run accident that claimed the life of a 63-year-old South Seattle cyclist on April 11th is that it is still under investigation.


This is surprising (or should be surprising) because (just think about it) 4,000 tons of globally integrated industrial products (one car) have disappeared without a trace. How is that even possible in our day and age? In fact, in this case, which has been cold for three months, it is now likely that the driver could spend the rest of his days as if nothing had ever happened (the head-on collision, the blood, the death).

This isn’t the only unresolved recent hit-and-run case in South Seattle.

On Sunday, June 4th, a woman arrived at Columbia City train station around 10:40 p.m., got off, walked to the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr.Way and South Edmunds St., and could not finish the crosswalk because she hit by a car. She was crushed on the ground by a passing Cadillac Escalade. The driver of this huge car (it weighs almost six tons) didn’t stay around. This person “fled the scene before the police arrived”. This case is also getting colder every day.

A Seattle Police Department spokesman said:

Detectives are still actively investigating these cases. Traffic Collision Investigation Squad cases are typically very complex and require a significant amount of evidence gathering and investigation – both physical evidence and a thorough analysis of the physics involved in a collision.

Got it, got it. But what I want to ask is this: why do cars disappear so easily? A whole Cadillac Escalade can puff on our streets. What makes this amazing ghosting possible?

One way of getting to much of the answer is right at Columbia City Station. The person run over by the elephant-like SUV left optical traces everywhere. She got off a train with surveillance cameras. She went down a platform monitored by cameras. Where it disappears is in the death valley of cars.

Those who use public transport move through a panoptic world. Electric eyes are everywhere. In the bus. In the train. At every station. But cars are obviously not exposed to this near-complete visibility regime. The reason for this discrepancy between local public transport and private transport is not difficult to understand if one appreciates the deep and centuries-old naturalization processes of car culture.

From the start, the automobile was heavily dependent on a large amount of culturally permissible lawlessness. This is one of the most important secrets of success. An extraordinary degree of legal freedom of the automobile is required to mask or to offset its otherwise blatant inefficiencies. Because of this, if we expose our streets to the same visibility as our public transit lines and services, the car will almost instantly land in what we call “not worth the effort”.

Drivers in a legally tightened mobility regime would be exposed to the safety of a snail’s pace; Drivers would have to devote an excruciating amount of attention to the all-round operation of their huge machines; and the driver’s sense of freedom would instantly disappear.

But car culture has decided that the disappearance of hit-and-run cars is more desirable than the disappearance of the unrealizable dream of freeway freedom.


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