With the countdown to back to school now on, it's a gimme that there will be more peds and cyclists on city streets.
Today, members of Waterloo Region Public Health are at the new roundabout at Homer Watson Boulevard and Block Line Road, just a short ambulance ride from St. Mary's High School, talking to kids who are using the new pedestrian crossovers (when did they stop being called crosswalks?). The plan is to at least have satisified the legal requirements to alert the young peds before the official start of school and the herd-thinning begins.
Waterloo Region Police Service has also released its annual reminder to motorists, pedestrians and cyclists about mutual respect and road safety. Wish everyone would read it.
If you have a young cyclist in the family, you might have them review this part from the WRPS press release:
Cyclists should: remain aware of your surroundings and obey signs and signals; ride according to the rules of the road; use hand signals to communicate your intentions and use your bell or horn to signal your approach to pedestrians; always wear a helmet regardless of age; and avoid wearing headphones or using electronic devices.
The observant may note that while the rules suggest that cyclists should use the roadways, it's clear that police expect some will use sidewalks, and of course, the younger ones are permitted to use sidewalks by municipal bylaws.
Motorists, as well as being advised to watch for children on foot or on bicycle, especially around schools, are asked to: not speed; watch for children at designated and non-designated locations; not use cellphones; and drive sober.
Sad, isn't it, that a reminder about motoring during kids' school hours has to repeat the no drunk driving message. Let's have a couple of beers with breakfast and then buzz the school bus dropoff zone! Probably happens, but it's still sad.
It's amusing that cars have to be designed with no sharp edges, for the safety of passersby. They have special valves so that gasoline and toxic gases can't leak into the environment. They have to be designed with mufflers for the safety of our ears. They have to have air bags, for the safety of the occupants. You can't put a kid in the back seat for a ride to the corner store without the safety seat appropriate for their age and weight. And yet a bonehead with a bottle of booze in him can climb into the driver's seat, put the key in the ignition and drive, with no safety mechanism to stop him. The "safety" part is the court process that will begin when he plows through a crowd of cyclists.
Perhaps we need to rethink our motor vehicle design basics?