It’s dangerous out there

I was unable to attend the town hall meeting on traffic safety (“Locals Talk Traffic at Town Hall,” March 12), but would like to share my thoughts on this subject. I live in Alameda about half the year, which means I am gone long enough to have a fairly fresh perspective.

In my opinion, there are two aspects to this problem. One, of course, is the drivers, but the other is the pedestrians. Perhaps pedestrians are not aware how difficult it is to see them, especially at dusk or after dark, and when they wear dark or non-descript clothing. It’s amazing how invisible they can be! 

Also, so many pedestrians walk as if they are the only one on the street, often immersed in a cell phone. The powers that be did no favors, several years ago, when they passed the law giving pedestrians the right-of-way. It was already a law, just ask the DMV. But highlighting it in that way led many pedestrians to an entitlement mindset. Now they seem so busy being entitled that they forget what happens if the driver does not see them, or cannot stop in time. Entitled or not, do they want to be “dead right?” 

Now, for the drivers. A lot of them, too, seem to be entitled. The 25-mile-per-hour speed limit seems to be ignored by an amazing number of drivers. Driving just the speed limit can be dangerous for the law-abiding driver, as well as for the pedestrians! 

Another problem is what drivers do, or don’t do, at a stop sign. Actually stopping can get you rear-ended. I’ve noticed that some folks seem to feel that stop signs in their own neighborhood may be treated as discretionary. 

And then there are left turns. Oh, my. Last I knew, we are to turn left into the left lane, and only then change lanes as safety allows. We are also not supposed to pass other vehicles on the right. It is almost an epidemic the number of drivers who turn left into the right-hand lane, in order to pass on the right of the poor soul who obeyed and turned left into the left lane. Heaven help us if we then want to get into the right lane — it’s already too clogged with the folks that cut in early! 

With all of these me-first drivers committing these and other, shall we say, “risky” behaviors, is it no wonder the poor (entitled) pedestrians are at great risk?

Everybody beware! It’s dangerous out there! 


— Beth O’Brien