Friday, April 3, 2009

All over the roads

The recent sad accident with the truck crushing the little boy in Ladyville brings to light a really serious problem in our country.

There are kids and adults all over the roads, jaywalking, dashing across highways, running out of alleys, walking drunk, talking in the middle of the road, laying on highways, riding haphazardly, riding without holding on to the handle, riding and texting, riding with someone on the handlebars...the list goes on and on. If you live in villages, it is even common to see someone riding a bike with a butane cylinder balancing on the handlebar or kids playing football on the highway.

It is truly amazing to me, and a testament to the Belizean drivers, that we don't have more accidents. And we should all be thankful for that.

Yes, there are inconsiderate and crazy drivers and they should be dealt with by the full force of the law, but something must be done about the sheer chaos that are the Belizean roads.

As a society we have no respect for the damage a vehicle can do to the human body till it is too late.  Till your kid decides to ride his bike down the wrong side of a one way street while going to buy a bread, gets hit and injured. 

Why don't we exercise common sense? Are we that oblivious to danger? There is a  pedestrian overpass, but we prefer to "frogger" it over the highway.  There are some pedestrian walkways, but we ignore them, and prefer to cross 10 feet further up.   I have yet to see a "jaywalking fine" sign, real CONSISTENT enforcement at crosswalks and high foot traffic intersections, or even a public awareness campaign.

This is a national emergency, and national health issue. Government must get involved. But we must also start exercising good traffic judgement when crossing streets or riding bikes. We must start obeying laws, and we must stop blaming drivers every time there is an incident.

As someone who has had a knock down incident with an unruly rider, I can tell you that you are always presumed to be at fault, even if in my case, the cyclist was gawking at some young lady and rode into oncoming traffic (i.e. me). I had to spend hard earned money to prove my innocence and the cyclist's idiocy in court. In fact, according to the cyclist I "knocked him down because he was black" . Can you believe that? Making a stupidity issue a race issue. I digress....

So, how do we start to fix this horrible problem. First suggestion is to have bicycle and pedestrian laws with  real teeth and enforce them. Yes, GOB constituents will probably complain and belly ache. But wouldn't you rather have your taxpayers alive?

Have a safe and happy Easter, and please don't drink and ride.


The Voice said...

Man, I feel you with this article. I'm truly amazed sometimes by pedestrians and cyclists.... I truly believe that THEY think they are stronger than cars... or infalliable... or something.

Maybe an awareness campaign beginning in primary school would be a good place to start??

P.S. I've been in a car accident before, where the driver of the car I was in crashed into another car because he was staring at 3 girls. Belizean men... please, do a little better than this!

Unpatriotic Patriot said...

Had a drunk cyclist swerve in front of the second car in front of me on the northern highway. He got run over and died on the spot. The car that ran him over just drove off!!! then the car behind that car (the one in front of me) ran over the dead body!

It was a very gruesome sight.