Why does a pedestrian have to get killed before Victorians finally notice that pedestrians are in danger here?
My husband and I walk a lot, and I couldn’t count the times that we’ve nearly been hit by drivers who intentionally hit the gas when they turn right just as the “walk” light comes on at Belleville and Douglas streets;
roar through an intersection on a left turn when people are already crossing the street on green (Douglas and Fort; Douglas and Superior; Blanshard and Humboldt); purposely ignore crosswalks and barrel through as if what they don’t see isn’t there (Douglas crossing to Beacon Hill Park); and then look stupified if you yell before they slam on the brakes, often with their cell phones in one hand.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that when you step off the curb, even though you have the right of way, you are taking your life in your hands.
Another hazard is bicylists who ride slalom through pedestrians on downtown sidewalks, speed down sidewalks in residential areas when there is not a car on the street, or cycle along clearly marked footpaths in Beacon Hill Park and along Dallas Road.
And if you remind them they’re on a footpath because they are unable to recognize signs or think, the classic response is a swear word.
It’s time police got out of their cars and saw things from a pedestrian’s perspective. It’s time laws and bylaws were consistently enforced and drivers and cyclists who endanger others penalized. It’s time right turns on red lights, particularly at pedestrian crossings, be made illegal.
And it’s time city council made Victoria a more pedestrian- and eco-friendly city and created pedestrian-only zones. And don’t panic, business people, because pedestrian zones work in world-class Europeans cities, and nobody loses out!
Diane Engelhardt, Victoria