Parents of a young St. Albert girl had a terrible scare earlier this week. Their 12-year-old daughter was hit by a car while crossing the street on her way to school. While she escaped with only minor injuries and was home the same day, the outcome could have been tragically different.
The incident brought back terrible memories for many in the city who still remember the death of Thomas Wedman. The six-year-old was killed 13 months ago when he was hit by a bus under very similar circumstances.
While I have only lived in St. Albert for three months, I noticed right away how aggressive drivers are on the road in the city. On any given day, I have witnessed impatient honking, speeding through school zones, racing to beat lights and a multitude of other dangerous infractions or general carelessness.
Coincidentally, the same day the girl was hit while crossing the street, I was nearly struck twice while walking home from work. One vehicle turning left had to hit the brakes when the driver realized she was not going to be able to squeeze between me and a vehicle stopped at the intersection. I was well off the curb before she began to turn. A few steps later, the second driver slammed on his brakes when he roared up to the corner to turn right. Fortunately, I was paying attention or I might be writing this column from the hospital, instead of my desk – or not at all.
I am not sure if it is indicative of driving attitudes in the city but both drivers also glared at me as though crossing the street was a criminal offence and how dare I be there, despite the fact both were breaking laws by failing to properly yield to a pedestrian.
Cindy de Bruijn said it best when she spoke to Gazette reporter Kevin Ma. Her poignant question: What will it take for people to learn?
Is it another dead pedestrian? Is that the answer? Perhaps it will be another funeral for a student who didn’t make it to school? Does the city need to see more parents grieving?
The rules of the road exist for a reason. Regardless of whether you believe the red lights in the city are too long, or the traffic flow too slow, killing someone because you want to get to your destination a few minutes earlier is not really worth it. Also, when these things happen, they are not accidents. They are the result of carelessness and, at times, a complete disregard for the rules of the road.
Driving is a privilege. If you can’t respect that privilege or are unable to drive safely then it might be time to park your car and buy a bike, or a new pair of shoes.