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What Now?

| September 5, 2018 | 1 Comment

Not So Safe Streets of San Diego

Safe streets of San Diego? Don’t think so. Not unless, or until, the scooter and bike manufacturers add a horn or bell to their products. Not unless riders heed street signs. Not unless such drivers take a literacy test, in order to read them. Or, understand what an arrow pointing in a specific direction means. Or, such riders manage to recall, to say nothing of embrace, the lessons of courtesy (that may be safe to presume) they learned in childhood. Here’s one weekend’s experience:

I’m walking the dog on a very narrow sidewalk. The dog is small, and I’m skinny. A fully-grown man on a scooter sails past me, top speed, with no warning at all. He didn’t call out. He didn’t slow down. With his luck and mine, he missed us by perhaps two inches. With nothing but luck, I’m here to tell it:

• A grown woman, professionally dressed, cool purse slung over one shoulder, speeds ridiculously fast on her scooter. In mid-lane, she sails through a stop sign. I call out – “hey, please slow down! You passed that stop sign!” “Shut up, bitch,” Ms. Executive replied.

• The poor guy, disheveled, clearly deranged, and disarranged, scootered up the one-way street the wrong way. No, I didn’t hit him, but it wasn’t easy.

• A parade of scooters sailing down the sidewalk. Not the street. On the same sidewalk are pedestrians, aging men on canes, mothers wheeling baby carriages. Watch out, everybody. The scooter crowd’s “entitled.”

Many more than one motorcyclist, civically instructed to maintain his/herself on one side lane, instead weaves in and out of traffic at top speed with zero warning. Perhaps he fantasizes that the roar/zoom of the bike as it misses the driver-side window by an inch is some kind of alert.

Not only dangerous, but also careless, crass and ugly behavior has become the norm. I want to think it has not been ever thus. An occasional car driver will – willfully – zoom through a yellow light, but not a red one. Now and then, a speed demon in a car will cut you off. If seen, he’ll get a ticket. Growing up in New York, the busiest city in the world, I was an avid cyclist. Yet, pedaling on the sidewalks? Unimaginable.

Our side lanes on many streets are clearly marked for bikes (and scooters), so our civic leaders got that far. Why are they ignored?

There appears to be no legal consequence for what seems to be dangerous violations. We may not even have “laws” to address these situations. If they’re on the books, the rules appear to be wholly unenforced.

For health and safety, determining where scooters and bikes can be legally operated must be a priority for our city council. Do we have government to call for civil behavior? Do we have clear traffic laws? Can we install, implement, and endorse consequences for violations? I know, let’s call the Mayor.

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Category: feature, Local News

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