Racing Through the Lights
Author: Sheri Denkensohn-Trott
You might think this is going to be a blog about Christmas lights, but it isn’t. It is about streetlights! In short, over the last couple of weeks I have been close to roadkill when crossing the street on a walk sign. Those drivers making a turn do not pay attention to those with the right-of-way. That includes anybody walking, pushing a stroller, or like me, using a power wheelchair. It is a recipe for disaster and I just keep imagining what it might happen.
In my neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, I am aware of those places where I cross the street where the right-of-way is practically ignored. I usually stop before I cross the street and go slowly as drivers are racing in their car to make a left or right turn without looking to see if anyone is in the crosswalk. It is not uncommon for someone to come screeching through the light, making a left turn when I am crossing the street to go to the corner of my condominium building. Sometimes I can catch the eye of the driver to see the person and yell at them, but most times they are clueless.
Just last week in New York City, it was 10 times worse. Cabs, cars, Uber, and Lyft drivers, scooters, and bicyclists, race to get to where they need to go as quickly as possible. That means no attention at all is paid to those that have the right-of-way. On almost every single street, I had to wait in the middle of the street or near the curb even though I had the right-of-way. And forget about the fact that they would even know that I was there. With earplugs and a phone, the entertainment going on in their head was much more important than potential injury of somebody in the crosswalk.
One could argue that I sometimes do the same thing. There are cases when the light is yellow and I want to get across the street quickly, so I just put my chair into high gear and fly. But I am conscious of my surroundings. I do this during the day when it is light outside, make sure no car is taking an early turn, or observe a driver that is clueless that I am even in the street. It still makes my husband nervous if he is accompanying me!
But my main concern remains that in Arlington, New York City, and many other places with high pedestrian traffic that individuals will be either on their phone, not paying attention, or not even looking at those that have the right-of-way. They simply make a quick right or left without double checking. Please, watch where you are going! I really don’t want to be on the local news as roadkill.