For the fourth time in six months, I came within inches of being struck by a car. I walk to work, about a kilometer and a half each way. Walking seemed like a healthy choice to make last year when I sold my car, but now I am wondering if I am actually shortening rather than lengthening my life.
First of all, let me say that I am a good pedestrian. When I cross streets, I cross at cross-walks, waiting for the little walking figure, or the word “walk” before stepping off the curb. I check behind my left shoulder, make eye contact, and point to the other side to catch the driver’s attention. I walk briskly to the other curb, usually arriving with at least ten seconds to spare on the red countdown. I am doing my part to cross safely, but clearly something isn’t working. Drivers are turning left and driving through the cross walk while I am still on it , and in fact, their vehicle is often close enough that I could reach out and thump it. On one terrifying occasion a couple of weeks ago while I was crossing at Wyndham and Woolwich, a driver drove right through the red light, and narrowly missed me and another pedestrian and two motorized scooters on the crosswalk.
I don’t know how many near misses there are between pedestrians and drivers every day in Guelph, but I did find out that there were 46 collisions involving pedestrians in 2018. In 2019 there were already 22 collisions with pedestrians in just the first three months.
As I walked to work yesterday, I wondered if I might be over reacting to the whole issue of crossing at crosswalks being dangerous. I reached my usual intersection of Wyndham and Wellington, pushed the walk button and waited patiently for the signal. When I saw the walk symbol, I started across from my side, and a young cyclist walking his bike approached me from the opposite curb. Then a car turned left onto Wellington from Wyndham/York road, and drove right between us. I looked at the cyclist and shook my head at what had just happened. He smiled and shrugged. It’s Guelph.
Stay tuned for part two – why are vehicles colliding with pedestrians? I will take a look at the reasons.