Walkcast, ep. 02: Why our language muddies responsibility when pedestrians die / by Tim Querengesser

Hey Walkcast fans. 

In episode two I speak with Dr. Darren Markland about the way we talk about drivers who hit (and often kill) pedestrians on our roads.


Markland and I journeyed on our bikes to Mill Woods, an Edmonton suburb. There, in June, a driver hit a four-year-old boy and killed him. Like many others, Markland — who is a dad — was gutted by the event. 

But beyond the tragedy, Markland is demanding that we examine how we speak about such deaths and ask why we obfuscate certain things. Take for example this case. In many (but not all) news reports, the boy was assigned a strange sort of blame while the driver was left anonymous (and, if later reports are correct, was not charged). 

"If you want to kill somebody, you get into a car — because you can be assured you won't be charged with anything more than a minor driving fine," Markland says. "We really need to take away the blinders."

Markland's passion for speaking about how we discuss drivers hitting pedestrians comes from treating those who are hurt by these events. One of the most common outcomes? A brain injury. As Markland says, it can change someone's life in an instant. 

Once you're done listening, check out my Patreon page — I'm in the process of hiring a production assistant after the first go-round fell through (that person was offered a job). 

Thanks everybody!