It is hard to believe I could be risking my life walking along a 30-mph road on a bright sunny morning. However, most of the walkers and bike-riders who do their daily exercise around Nature’s Way will attest to the perils of our wee-used route.
It is a rare occasion to witness a motorist actually traveling at the posted speed limit. Most drivers clip along at well above the limit. The few law-abiding citizens commuting along Nature’s Way are left in the dust as these speeders rush past them, sometimes even passing them to the right. Surprisingly, many of these speeding vehicles have business names and phone numbers displayed on their car doors. It makes me wonder what would happen if that business began receiving phone calls about it’s drivers. Moreover, if the driver is, in fact, the owner of that company, then shame on him/her.
Worse still are the official law enforcement vehicles that speed by. Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt that they may actually be in pursuit of a law-breaker. After all, their purpose is to protect and serve. Nevertheless, shouldn’t they be setting a good example for the rest of us to follow?
I have recently taken to walking along the curb, against the traffic of course. As drivers go by, I try to look them in the eye and remind them of the speed limit by holding up three fingers. This, however, is an ineffective solution; since most drivers assume that I am waving at them and simply return the gesture as they briefly slow down to pass me. Do you suppose I could be sending a subliminal signal?
Though it is less than safe to forsake the sidewalk for the curb, it is most dangerous in the mornings when the sun is at my back. There have been many mornings when I, myself have driven along our road, unable to see ahead for the blinding sun in my eyes.
Because I am deliberately walking along the curb, I have an advantage over the kids that will soon be out in numbers when school begins. I am constantly aware of the traffic. I KNOW the consequences. Our kids unfortunately, do not even consider the dangers. They are unaware that you cannot see them for the bright sun. They will impulsively run across the street because they see a friend on the other side. Or perhaps because another friend is chasing them in a harmless game of tag on the way home from school. When this happens, will the driver be able to stop? Will the motorist see the child at all when he/she is in the road in the blink of an eye?
I have a challenge for all the drivers on Nature’s Way and Culbreath, where two of our elementary schools are located. The next time you travel along these roads, take note of your speedometer. See if you can actually maintain the speed limit. I set my speed control to 30, just to be sure. Try it! You might even set a good example for our law enforcement officers!
Heike House 8/2/05