Cellphones vs. Trucks

A question I’m pulling out of a comment on another post, from Return of the Bees:

Here’s the Highway Traffic Act:

Pedestrian right of way

(28) Every pedestrian who lawfully enters a roadway in order to cross may continue the crossing as quickly as reasonably possible despite a change in the indication he or she is facing and, for purposes of the crossing, has the right of way over vehicles. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 144 (28).

So, the woman proceeding south across Front St. at the Blue Jays Way crossing from the northwest corner to the southwest corner, on a striped pedestrian crosswalk, at ca 9:45 p.m. this week, who proceeded when the light turned green and was run over by the rear wheel of a truck making a right turn presumably into the left lane because of a wide turning base, had the right of way.

Here’s my question RE sidetracking, as with the financial planner (and so much else in life): She was talking on a cell phone, and/but why’s that relevant? All the articles written afterwards about cell phones and iPods are beside the point, which is to say, the cell phone handicapped her, and/but this put her on the same basis as the rest of us handicapped folk–she’d have been squashed just as flat if she was in a wheelchair, deaf, using a white cane, pushing a walker, or… old. Or, even possessed of a simple desire to be “dead right”.

So… Why the fixation on the irrelevant cell phone? Isn’t that getting royally sidetracked?

Why’s everyone evidently reluctant to confirm if the truck driver was proceeding into the intersection against the law?

My take on it: I’d normally agree that the cellphone is legally irrelevant, but in this case it does sound like it was the factor that led to her death. From the CBC:

Because she was on her cellphone at the time, police said, she didn’t notice the truck, and walked right into the side of it. She fell to the street and was run over by the truck’s rear wheels, police said.

So if the truck was already in the intersection and turning, the driver cannot in this case be held responsible for the behaviour of a pedestrian who wasn’t in the intersection at the time he began his turn.

As a cyclist I certainly have learned to be very wary of anyone — motorist, pedestrian or cyclist — on a cellphone. They’re oblivious and do the oddest (frequently wildly illegal) things with no warning.