No one is safe at a crosswalk

Gravenhurst Banner, 2003

If a crosswalk isn't safe for pedestrians, then what is? a mother asks.

The short answer to that question is—Nothing! Crosswalks are not safe. Nothing is safe in the present driving environment. We should know that by now. We should know that we can't make certain assumptions, such as that drivers generally are looking out for others, or that they are alert and in control, let alone rational or sane. The newspapers have been telling it all for at least the last twenty years.

Most drivers, including mothers, are impaired by the myths and motivations of our time and tculture. Technology we may have, but we are still a herd animal. A simian with just a speck more brain power than the rest of the apes. To break free from the herd and allow reason to guide us is a task too demanding for the average lump of grey matter.

Chief amongst the legion of impairing forces is hurry, which seduces common sense and is one of the most destructive traits of our culture. Hurry automatically rules out safety, as it often rules out consideration for others, as well as our manners, and other manifestations of humanity. So the crosswalk, far from being a safe crossing corridor, is just another good place to die.

When combined with driving, hurry impairs in a way that is as fundamental as drug impairment or distraction. By definition, good driving is unhurried driving. Unfortunately, our minds are molded in numerous ways to deny this truth and embrace stupidity.Even when we think we are being considerate, our impatience shows. The wave we give to the kids who want to cross. The wheels rolling. Is it any wonder that many avoid crossing at the crosswalk?

We don't see bodies all around us every day and that's a shame. If bodies were left for a while at kill sites, perhaps the spectacle would jar our brains into starting up again.

Pause for a moment to consider the nature of the risks we run.

The fact is, the driving culture is corrupt. We don't need to fix it as much as kill it. we need to replace it with something that works in terms of real human values. So we put concern and consideration for others ahead of getting to the job or the dentist on time. The values of the car culture—the values that sell cars—are those of the past, and they reside in the lower brain. These are the values that deceive us and kill us.

Meanwhile, mothers all over the world will wonder and worry. And rightly so. They must understand that no one is looking out for us. The authorities have long been in the dark about the whole thing. For the present we are on our own. So until that glorious day when our driving reflects our heritage as rational beings, or the state reins us in through intelligent technology, and cars and trucks become impenetrable buffered cocoons separated from the rest of the environment, no one is safe anywhere in or around vehicles.

Trusting others is putting your child's life at risk. Do not be deceived by crosswalks. People die in them, as they die in bus shelters, and other supposedly safe places. Demand a traffic light and a guard. But if you want your child to be truly safe on the way to school, some mothers already know what to do. Take him or her there by the hand and keep your eyes wide open.

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