Letter to the editor: Drivers must use added caution
Distractedness and speeding are huge issues for all road users — motorists, cyclists/scooters and walkers/joggers alike. Middlebury’s Walk and Roll to School Day the first Wednesday of each month is all about practicing safe rules of the road (and sidewalks). We emphasize making good eye contact and indicating intent and direction by waving and pointing.
A Middlebury resident reported that she saw two college students on bikes collide on Oct. 3. Neither stopped to look before crossing the street — yes on Route 30 on campus but one from each side of the street without so much as a glance to car traffic. Then they crashed into each other in the middle of the road and on the crosswalk.
Another resident observed a cement truck “laying rubber” on Route 125 just in front of Munroe Hall because a female Middlebury College student never took her eyes off her smart phone screen as she approached and then continued into the crosswalk. She can’t believe there are not more accidents on campus streets.
Let’s work together to teach and monitor rules of road and slowing down for a safer town. Here’s what Middlebury Safe Routes teaches monthly.
Pedestrians should use sidewalks, cross at crosswalks, wait for signals, use crosswalk safety flags and rapid flashing LED beacon lights to signal intent to cross (look for these at Cross/S. Pleasant St intersection by high school and Court/N. Pleasant St by Middlebury Inn). These lights improve your visibility significantly.
Always look first and make eye contact with motorists before crossing. Cyclists ride with traffic bearing as far right as practicable, yield to pedestrians, stop at stop signs, signal turns with arms, use lights/reflectors at night. Take the lane when needed, such as when riding next to parked cars or when storm drains obstruct the right portion of lane, when negotiating a left turn or rotaries. Drivers, slow down for and yield to walkers and cyclists. Don’t text and drive. Walkers hit by cars at 40 mph have a 15 percent survival rate while those hit at 20 mph have 85 percent chance of survival.
While motorists by state law must stop for individuals in designated crosswalks, individuals have an obligation to look for approaching vehicles first and signal their intent to cross and use common sense to wait for fast-approaching vehicles to pass first.
When possible, speak with those you see being dangerous and teach rules of the road.
We celebrated International Walk and Bike to School on Wednesday, Oct 10. Children all over the world participated. Encourage children in your neighborhood to participate in and form walking school bus routes or bike trains from your neighborhoods for Walk and Roll to School Days. Teach the benefits: enhances health (arrive at school exercised and alert for classes), reduces traffic, improves air quality, deepens commitment to neighborhood, helps test for safe routes.
Middlebury Safe Routes
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