Letter: Slow down for pedestrians

Tuesday, December 5 2017

As a full time pedestrian on Gabriola it is imperative that I am mindful and attentive as I navigate our dangerous streets. Not only do I wear a reflective vest and make eye contact with drivers but I must always be aware of cars coming out of driveways; rolling through stop signs, making right hand turns; left hand turns; driving toward me and coming behind me.

I must also be aware of the muddy puddles on the edge of the tarmac that become slick as ice; the abundant slippery dog plop; the wet slippery leaves; spilled slippery garbage; holes covered by debris and uneven terrain beside the tarmac. While I’d prefer to walk as far away from the road as possible that is seldom a safe option particularly once the rain/snow arrives.

I do my very best to ensure that motorist are aware of my presence, yet most often drivers speed past me without moving over or slowing down. I need only crook my elbow out to have it shattered by side mirrors; shrapnel off speeding tires assaults my exposed skin; with large vehicles the air itself can almost knock me over. 

I am mere flesh and bone, a lightweight compared to any motorized vehicle. Going 50km an hour on impact you can kill me. If I slip or stumble I would be road kill. Slowing down and moving over for a few seconds will do you no harm and keep me safe.

You all wear the same face when you suddenly see me as you speed around a blind curve, the look of the boy from ‘Home Alone’. I see the shock on your faces and watch as you hit your brake or swerve away. This is not safe for anyone.  

I would like to invite all island motorists to join me in bringing awareness and mindfulness to our roadways when they are driving on our streets. Even when you are driving on the other side of the road when you pass me at speed your tires shoot out shrapnel. When you are at a stop sign look both ways not just for other vehicles but for people; countless times I am standing right there at the sign and you are looking over my head, completely unaware of my presence. If I step out you will maim or kill me.

To the small minority of motorists who already treat my presence on the road with courtesy, who let me know they see me by slowing down and moving over, thank you. 

 ~ I Shantikat