Another person was hit and killed by a car in Seattle this week. An 80-year-old woman was struck in a crosswalk by a black van that never stopped.

Someone’s mom, probably someone’s grandma—her existence, ended. There are so many people feeling immense grief now, lives forever altered by this trauma.

And we, as a city and society, just keep doing things mostly the same. Even though this state, Washington, loses about two people per day to traffic violence.

Imagine if, every day, two passengers on planes departing from SeaTac were sucked out a window on takeoff.

We’d probably take that pretty seriously after, I don’t know, day one.

But when confronted with the idea we should take drastic action to improve the safety of walking or biking around, it’s met with “Well not everyone can bike.” or “Not everyone wants to try to carry all their groceries.”

The thing is, not everyone has a choice. I’m not trying to say the elderly woman struck and killed didn’t or couldn’t drive—but it’s certainly possible.

That’s one demographic less likely to travel by car. So too would many folks living with disabilities. Then there are people who just don’t have their license for one reason or another.

Per automotive marketing agency Hedges & Co., 15.9 percent of American adults don’t have a valid driver’s license.

Plus, there’s a clear trend here.

Setting aside the numbers on licenses, there’s an even greater number for which the math just doesn’t pencil out.

Even for drivers with their car already paid off, you’re looking at hundreds of dollars per month to drive when you factor in fuel and parking and insurance and registration and so on.

Americans spend 13 percent of their household income on transportation thanks to our car-centric setup, per the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.

That number becomes increasingly more burdensome as you move down the socioeconomic spectrum.

This chart, again, from the ITDP.

From their report: “In 2016, in the US, the lowest earning 20% of the population earned an average of $11,933, and spent an average of $3497 (29%) on transportation costs.”

There’s a huge swath of the population for which driving is either impossibly expensive, poverty-inducing or both.

To top it all off, driving sucks.

When was your last fun drive? Not a road trip, the best moments of which are outside a car, but like a drive around town?

And when was your last bad drive? The last time you were frustrated the entire time—or annoyed most of it because you were stressing about traffic or parking? Pretty common.

Though 83 percent of American adults drive frequently, according to a 2018 Gallup poll, only one in three actually enjoy it a great deal.

We can do a lot better. And while we can make the choice to not drive more enticing, it’s enticing enough already for many people—and for some, it isn’t a choice at all.

So while you may say “Not everyone wants to do that,” well, that comes back the other way, too.

And for the folks inside the car, the stakes aren’t as high as an elderly woman paid in a crosswalk on Capitol Hill.

Photo of Colin O'Keefe Colin O'Keefe

I’ve worked in digital media my entire professional career, first at LexBlog, then at the Seattle Mariners, and now back at LexBlog as Director of Product. It’s what I’ve done for more than 15 years, and it’s what I’m passionate about.

A journalist…

I’ve worked in digital media my entire professional career, first at LexBlog, then at the Seattle Mariners, and now back at LexBlog as Director of Product. It’s what I’ve done for more than 15 years, and it’s what I’m passionate about.

A journalist by training, courtesy of the University of Montana’s fine program, my focus has always been on using modern tools to apply that expertise. It started with blogging on UM sports while in Missoula, working summer and winter breaks and LexBlog as we built out a network of publications from the largest law firms in the world.

After a decade at LexBlog, my digital endeavors—including writing on SB Nation’s Lookout Landing—landed me my dream job, being part of the Digital team at the Seattle Mariners. On top of running social accounts on day-to-day basis, highlights include starting a first-of-its-kind podcast with GM Jerry Dipoto, producing narrative-driven videos, providing social training to players and delivering said players the content they were looking to post.

Oh, and working at a ballpark. Being able to take an afternoon break and head down to the clubhouse and out to batting practice was pretty damn great.

After four years with the M’s, it’s back to where it all started—guiding LexBlog and its clients on digital publishing.

I’m a big fan of those Mariners and—having grown up in Wisconsin—the Packers, too. I love Seattle and all it has to offer, from neighborhood pinball spots to a vibrant craft beer scene to unmatched natural beauty. I enjoy jogging, skiing and riding around on an ebike with my sheepadoodle, Grinnell, on the back—my fiancé, Michaela, by my side.