Pedestrian Nightmare | The SandPaper

To the Editor:
During the weekend of Aug 7-8 on the north stop of the Island, two pedestrians were being apparently hit by vehicles in situations comparable to the one I explain, under, in a July 2020 letter to this publication. At least a single of the people strike, a teenage boy, was critically injured.
It is each and every parent’s and each driver’s worst nightmare. 
Community federal government coverage has emboldened pedestrians to imagine they can just stroll into the road, with out hesitation, and believe that automobiles of all shapes, dimensions and speeds – and in all lanes – will straight away screech to a halt for them. It’s a deadly assumption to make, and a recipe for disaster: Too considerably vigilance is anticipated of drivers. Pedestrians are callously placing them selves in hazard. Little ones are being lifted to believe that cars and trucks will usually prevent for you – all you have to do is get started working!
I admit, I nonetheless really don’t have a solution to offer you. I come to feel like the “old” way – men and women waited for a crack in website traffic – worked just great. But considering that that previous way has been scrapped, we’re still left with new risks and mounting issues: Can we legitimately request four lanes of targeted traffic to be geared up to quit right away, at random intervals? Must each individual crosswalk be marked with flashing yellow lights? Even if they have been, would pedestrians cross only at crosswalks (I know I wouldn’t)? Who made the decision that pedestrians are incapable of waiting for a crack in website traffic? 
How numerous a lot more persons need to have to get damage ahead of this challenge is resolved?
A couple of times in the past I watched as a couple of 9-calendar year-previous boys came inside about 6 inches of staying slaughtered by a black SUV on the Boulevard in Harvey Cedars.
It is a miraculous transform of occasions that the boys have been not hit, but if they had been, it would not’ve been the black SUV driver’s fault. And that is the topic of this letter.
To recap, I was riding my bicycle southbound on the suitable with site visitors (a difficult thought for a large amount of bikers to grasp, evidently) when I noticed the boys: laughing, trying to handle the leashes on their bodyboards. A tiny white SUV in the appropriate lane arrived to a incredibly unexpected halt to let the boys cross. How wonderful. So the boys took off. Of study course, there were three far more lanes of targeted visitors to go and none of the cars and trucks were being stopped in any of them. The black SUV in the southbound passing lane (I use the phrase “passing” loosely, as quite little passing at any time takes place there simply because the lane is usually jammed with slowpoke drivers oblivious to the guidelines of the street) sailed appropriate past the stopped SUV. I shouted, a motor vehicle beeped, and the boys jerked backward. At that position, the cars in the northbound lanes started slowing down in staggered vogue, bewildered. No one understood what to do.
Regrettably, I see this sort of matter almost each working day in the summer season precisely mainly because no a person – not the cars and trucks, not the bikes, not the pedestrians – is familiar with what to do. And when none of the intrigued functions know what to do, chaos ensues.
The black SUV that almost strike the boys ongoing on. Its driver experienced completed totally nothing mistaken. It was not dashing. There was not a site visitors light or a pedestrian crosswalk in sight. How could the black SUV have recognized that two little ones ended up about to operate in front of him/her there in the passing lane?
If the boys had been hit, here’s exactly where fault would lie in my estimation:
1. With nearby site visitors lawmakers. The “system” we at the moment have is no process at all. We’ve experienced crosswalks for a bunch of a long time, but individuals, like the two boys, cross where by they like. In a natural way. Who wishes to walk two or 4 blocks to a crosswalk?
Drivers now stay in fear not only that emboldened pedestrians will stroll out in entrance of them, but that the automobile in entrance of them (or two or seven cars and trucks in front of them) will randomly slam on the brakes – an act of courtesy, most likely, to a pair of pedestrians, but downright hostile to other cars (and perilous, in the long run, to the crossing pedestrians). Additionally, drivers ought to stay away from attracting the attention of law enforcement officers hiding driving every single other shrub. It’s a large amount to ask.
2. With the dad and mom of the little ones who dashed out in front of the shifting vehicle. If they are not heading to cross with their youthful little ones, moms and dads need to train their young ones to navigate and to rationally fear car targeted traffic. If the two boys I saw experienced a good being familiar with of automobile targeted visitors – 4 lanes of cars and trucks, no less – they would not have started off operating when only a person lane experienced stopped.
3. With the driver of the white SUV that arrived to a sudden halt. “Oh honey, prevent for all those very little boys.” Yeah. Disregard the movement of website traffic, just do what you really feel! I can’t say how a judge would rule had this close to skip finished in tragedy, but in my look at the white SUV, by halting all of a sudden – and supplying the youngsters the untrue perception that other automobiles would quit for them – was the precipitator of all functions that adopted.
If we want a process that caters to pedestrians, then let’s style and design 1. Usually, let’s continue to keep the onus on pedestrians to wait and cross only when the coast is obvious. Whatever we do, we have to overhaul the present system. It’s pleasant to no a person and dangerous to all.
James Donahower
Harvey Cedars

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