It seems that there isn’t a day that goes by when a reporter relates how a pedestrian was run over and/or killed by a hit-and-run driver. Just recently a man in Indianapolis was hit by a hit-and-run driver and the man briefly survived. While crawling to the curb he was then hit in succession by three more hit-and-run drivers! He didn’t survive that. It’s unspeakable!
More than 5,000 pedestrians are killed on the world’s roads each week. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends increased implementation of strategies known to save pedestrians’ lives, including 1) installing and/or upgrading crosswalks, sidewalks, overpasses, underpasses, raised medians, and road signs and signals; 2) slowing vehicle speeds by “calming” streets with speed bumps and rumble strips; 3) enforcing laws against speeding and distracted driving; 4) creating walking streets or pedestrian zones; 5) improving mass transit route design and access; 6) improving lighting around pedestrian crossings; and 7) enhancing the visibility of pedestrians through the use of reflective materials.
That is all well and good and money well spent, but ultimately we pedestrians are responsible for our own lives.
When I grocery shop at my local Meijer, they have in place four large STOP signs on their parking lot. Yet there are drivers who drive too fast or don’t seem to realize that a pedestrian has the right of way. Drivers can be especially lethal when sharply turning up an aisle to park, forgetting that pedestrians have parked their car and are now walking towards the store entrance. But drivers aren’t always the ones at fault.
Several times when I’ve slowed down for the stop sign in front of one of the entrances to Meijer, I’ve witnessed pedestrians walking across the drivers’ lanes and DON’T LOOK LEFT OR RIGHT! This boggles my mind! How can you walk in front of cars without looking either way even if you have the right of way?
What is worse than that is parents who don’t hold on to their kids’ hands or are so busy loading groceries into their van that they don’t see their kid jutting out in front of traffic. Please, put your kids in the car first, then load your groceries!
Anytime I am walking in a supermarket parking lot, I always make sure I look directly into the oncoming driver’s eyes. I want to be sure they are conscious of seeing me! Usually they stop at the stop sign or the crosswalk of a supermarket. BUT NOT ALWAYS! Just recently I was walking towards the entrance of a major supermarket while a young woman in a car didn’t stop as she looked directly at me and continued driving while I had to wait for her to pass. The driver behind her saw the incident and waved me on. When these incidents happen, I’m tempted to yell out, “Hey, you’re supposed to stop – the pedestrian has the right of way!”
I actually did that once while I was on a college campus. I was in my car pulling into the parking lot and another driver in the lot who was supposed to stop at the stop sign at the entrance, didn’t and crossed in front of my car. Boy, he caught me on the wrong day. I was really irritated. As luck would have it, we parked at about the same time so I knew it was the same driver. Although he was walking ahead of me, I yelled out, “Hey, you know you’re supposed to stop at that stop sign!” He turned around and looked at me and RECOGNIZED me and knew he had done wrong but at least had the decency to apologize. In this instance, he may have thought I was a teacher and would get him in hot water. Actually, I WAS a teacher at that time! (How to get a failing grade in your class.) I’m less likely to react like that at the supermarkets because I’d probably get shot. No kidding. The homicides in Indianapolis are going through the roof this year.
So, pedestrians, look both ways before you cross please. Let’s not make ourselves easy targets for careless drivers. Parents, keep a better eye on your kids around traffic. And drivers, show some respect for pedestrians. If you hit one and run, you never know who will be jotting down your license plate. No matter how late you are running for your appointment, or how quickly you think you can text or talk on your cell, it won’t be worth it if you hit a pedestrian, or if your kid gets hit. Your insurance rate will go up, there will be medical bills to pay off and/or you’ll be paying your mechanic for the damage to the body of your car. Then you also have to live with the guilt of killing someone or maiming them for life. Think about it.