On a recent commute home, I waited at a stoplight with a Seattle Police Department vehicle to my left. As our light turned green, a car running its red light passed directly in front of us. We narrowly avoided a collision, then the police officer proceeded without any enforcement of the violation.
Later, I passed bicyclists riding without helmets near the East Precinct police station. The cyclists showed no sign of concern. Some in the bike community advocate rescinding our Seattle helmet law.
It seems we care less about safety than we used to, and unfortunately too many fellow citizens pay the steep price. But law enforcement’s role in our society should be different. It is officers’ duty to enforce laws, to resist this cultural drift. Yet The Seattle Times has reported a dramatic decline in traffic citations. This erosion is not an inevitable result of our growth — I do not see it in equally congested cities I visit.
My vote is that individually and with our messages to elected leaders we resolve to reverse this drift and return to a culture of safety.
Thomas Payne, Seattle