That’s the name of the newest artistic design placed on the lawn of the State Capital. The State of Hawaii is now listed as having one of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities in the country. Oh, that’s nice. The saddest part of this statement is that I can see why we have earned that rating. Even before the first month of the year is over, five pedestrians have been killed on Oahu. While all five of them were killed in a dramatically short time span, our record goes back to much more than that.
We have had 156 pedestrians killed on our streets in the last five years. The Governor, Linda Lingle, has taken the bull by the horns, passed a law and put up an eye-catching display to remind people. There are 156 pairs of slippers (Hawaii’s signature footwear) hanging on this display — one pair to represent each life prematurely taken; the lives of men, women and children tragically lost. The sign says it best, “Every Ten Days a Pedestrian in Hawai’i is Killed.”
As a pedestrian myself I am very well aware of the dangers posed by drivers who are either reckless and not paying attention, or in a hurry and pushing the laws about yellow lights to the point of crossing the line! I almost got nailed twice in one week right before Christmas.
Are the Drivers Always to Blame?
Let’s not pass out sentencing quite so quickly. On the flip side of all this, as a driver, I will be the first one to say that pedestrians need to be more careful, pay more attention and stop acting like they own the road. We have people who don’t even look and cross the street… with a baby stroller! What is that?!? Brainless, that’s what that is. I have had to slam on my brakes more than once to avoid some young girl walking across the street while talking on her cell phone. Talking on her cell phone while being completely oblivious to the life-threatening situation she has put herself in!
It’s a two-way street and both sides need to learn how to respect each other and obey the traffic laws put in place for just these reasons — to protect the pedestrians AND the drivers. In an accident such as this, a pedestrian will lose his or her life, but a driver will have to live with that for the rest of theirs.
Thank you, Governor Lingle, for taking this seriously and for taking action. There is a monetary fine in place now. This regulation states that drivers MUST yield the right of way to pedestrians, or cough up $97. I agree with this of course, but drivers have to see those pedestrians in order to obey that law. So, it’s up to all of us to be good citizens and keep our home peaceful and safe.
I move that we start the New Year all over again. Let’s start with Chinese New Year on February 18th. Since we haven’t done a very good job so far we should just start from scratch!