In the past three weeks, two of my daughters have had some very close calls with cars and trucks in this community. Unfortunately, my family has just two vehicles right now, although four of us work on completely opposite ends of town.
When my wife and I are unable to give our girls a ride to or from work, it means both of them end up having to "hoof it." Granted, we're hoping that both of our daughters will get enough money back from their federal and state tax returns to purchase their own vehicles sometime this year, but for now they have to rely on foot power to get around.
Most days, their walk to and from work remains very uneventful. However, they've had a number of instances where drivers in this town fail to obey posted stop signs, traffic signals or the flashing pedestrian crossing lights at designated intersections.
The last time I checked, a standard mid-sized car weighs around 3.500 pounds. My daughters and other pedestrians in this town weigh significantly less.
Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion written more than 400 years ago make it abundantly clear what happens when a massive object strikes something with far less mass — someone ends up in the hospital.
We've had that happen in Mountain Home a number of times in recent years. These cases all seem to follow the same predictable pattern — a pedestrian tries to cross an intersection and a driver fails to yield and ends up running into them.
What always gets me is why so many licensed drivers out there who apparently can't read a basic traffic sign. You know the one I'm talking about.
It's the one that says "yield to pedestrians." Just so I'm absolutely clear, the word "yield" means "stop" when someone on foot is trying to walk through a posted intersection. Once they get to the other side of the road, *then* you may continue to drive.
But it's not just pedestrians that are put at risk. In the past couple of weeks, we've had at least two reports come over the police scanner involving two-vehicle collisions in which someone blew through an intersection and struck another vehicle that had the right of way.
I've actually lost count in recent weeks of how many drivers run the stop sign at the corner of East Jackson and North 3rd East streets after they drop off their children at Hacker Middle School. You don't want to know how many times I've caught them performing the infamous "California stop" at that one corner.
I have to ask why so many people out there who refuse to follow the basic rules regarding stop signs. Have people in today's society gotten to the point where they think they own the road and the rules don't apply to them? Are we so obsessed with getting from Point A to Point B in the shortest amount of time that we've forgotten to look out for other motorists and pedestrians between those two points?
I have a number of associates in the Mountain Home Police Department and Elmore County Sheriff's Department who would likely say that the priority of some drivers don't include those who chose to walk or ride their bikes.
Simply put, there's nothing so critical in our lives that we have to put the lives of others at risk. If we're running late to get somewhere, guess what? Maybe you need to leave a few minutes earlier or resign yourself to the fact that maybe you're going to be one or two minutes late.
I'd rather have to wake up an extra 30 minutes earlier each morning if it meant that I would guarantee I can get somewhere on time. A routine traffic stop for failing to yield to a pedestrian or obeying a traffic sign can not only put you behind five or 10 minutes but can also cost you quite a few dollars in fines and court costs.
I think the temporary inconvenience of having to stop for an extra 10 or 15 seconds is well worth it. I'm sure my daughters and other pedestrians out there would agree.
— Brian S. Orban