The advantage of writing a column is that I get to work out a problem albeit in public. Here’s a problem - and it has layers.
I see a problem with pedestrians and drivers. Drivers are eager to get to their destinations. People on foot are equally eager to get where they are going. And there’s the potential for conflict. First one then the other.
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And there are always vehicles on the road. And the traffic jams are as predictable as school or sport schedules. Compound that with construction trucks, utility trucks, and trash collection trucks, and school buses, and the streets get pretty crazy.
So what happens when these two collide?
Over the years a number of people have been hit by cars in front of the high school and recently some minor encounters have happened in front of the middle school. Fortunately, none of the injuries were serious.
Here’s a concern. I left my house at 7:00 AM and walked the mile and a half to the center of town and then back. Along the way I saw many pedestrians and runners wearing dark colors which made them more difficult to see. I saw an adult runner completely clad in black running in the street well before the sunrise and during high traffic time.
Here’s a concern. Many student cyclists wear dark clothing and do not have a light attached to their bikes. They also do not announce themselves as they approach pedestrians from behind.
Here’s a concern. I witnessed drivers applying make-up and others on their cell phones while driving in front of the busy schools during high traffic times.
Here’s a concern. I have witnessed some aggressive drivers during slowdowns. I have witnessed drivers yelling at other drivers and pedestrians.
Here’s a concern. I have witnessed a driver back up onto the sidewalk to turn around.
Here’s a concern. I have seen pedestrians dart out between parked cars.
Here’s a concern. Crossing guards told me that some drivers disregard their directions and that they have come close to being hit.
We’ve been lucky to avoid any real harm but everyone knows that there are major traffic slowdowns twice a day and whenever there is a game. But there is something everyone can do.
If you use the sidewalk: Wear something reflective in the morning. Cross only at crosswalks. Be aware of traffic. Heck, order some backpack lights or reflectors from Amazon. They're cheap.
Cyclists: Put a light on your bike. Announce yourself to pedestrians. Say something like “Passing on your left” or “Excuse me.”
Drivers: Be patient. Be kind. Be slow. Be respectful.
Everybody is trying to get somewhere. None of us owns the road or sidewalks so don’t rush. We share it. If you’re late, then be late.