Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Pedestrian Friendly Road

During my 40 years of life, there are a lot of events that have shaped who I am and how I think.  One of those events happened when I was in grammer school when I was about 10 years old.  We had a snow storm and had off from school.  When we returned to school, we learned that one of the boys in our school, who was about a year or 2 older than me, had died.  He was sleigh-riding down his neighborhood sidewalk and a car did not see him.  He was hit & killed.  I don't go to church that often, but when I do go, to this day, he is still on my list of people in heaven to say hello to and wish a Merry Christmas or a Happy Easter. 
30 years later, that incident still sits in my head.  When I drive my gigantic SUV, I try to take extra caution to look around at my surroundings, especially when I have to back out of my longer than average driveway.  I try to be extra observant when driving thru the neighborhood.  And I will always protect my children, and the neighborhood children, from speedy drivers on neighborhood streets.  I have made a few enemies in the neighborhood voicing my opinion about their unsafe driving.  I am not proud of the enemies I have made, but I believe in the safety of a pedestrian, most especially children.
An avid runner and a mother of 3, I have been pushing a jog stroller for 9 years now.  I can not tell you how many times a driver appears to have no idea that there is a pedestrian close to their vehicle.  Drivers speed.  They don't look.  I do not like when a driver approaches a stop sign, wanting to turn right.  Instead of stopping and looking left, right, left, right and then left again, they simply roll thru the stop sign only looking left as they turn right...then suddenly they jerk the steering wheel because they are startled to see that there is a pedestrian on their right.  If you would LOOK, you would see me, and my child(ren) in the jog stroller.  I believe that pedestrians should have the right of way.
So the other day, I was out running around a lake front neighborhood.  No jog stroller, aahhh, just me.  As I can around a bend, I could see up ahead a family of ducks waddling in a single file line across the road.  Two BIG ducks and 4 or 5 baby ducks.  Having been bit twice by dogs and chased a few times, I instantly went into my "Panic-Think" mode.  How do I get past these ducks?  Do I stop and wait for them to cross the road?  Will they chase after me?  I am not even sure if these ducks can fly.  I mean, I have seen ducks flap their wings enough to skim across water, but I haven't personally seen this type of duck flying high thru the sky.  Do I run in front of them or in between them?  Who has the right of or the ducks?
Well, much to my surprise, the ducks saw me coming and they stopped.  I slowed, not sure what to do.  The ducks continued to stay still and look at me.  So, I proceeded to run past them.  They never moved.  They just watched.  The 2 big ducks, the baby ducks...all of them patiently waited for me to run past them and then they quacked and continued their waddling journey across the road.
So, drivers take note....learn from the ducks...remember to help make your neighborhood a Pedestrian Friendly Road.