Friday, January 19, 2007


Open season on seniors crossing Honolulu streets

If you're an older person living in Honolulu, best thing to do may be to stay off the streets. At least until the City Council issues body armor to anyone over 55.

2007 is only a few days old and already the body count is climbing. Today a 91-year old pedestrian was hit in Liliha.

Much of the eldercide is taking place in crosswalks. There is seldom an excuse for drivers hitting pedestrians anywhere, but particularly when they are in a crosswalk. It doesn't matter whether the person crossing is young or old, moving quickly or slowly, or whether the light has changed before they have managed to get across. It's just not ok to hit them with your car, period.

Many drivers are calling for education. I agree with that. Education of drivers.

I seldom refer to letters in newspapers, but one by Robert Ching of Mililani that was printed in today's Star-Bulletin impressed me as particularly obnoxious. I think he would be an ideal candidate for an education program. The problem is, many other obmoxious drivers may agree with him. That's part of the problem we face. His letter was practically a death threat to our elderly. He's pretty explicit, closing with the advice "Step onto a roadway and you take your life into your hands."

The behaviors he describes are commonplace and normal. People these days talk on cellphones whether they are walking or driving. Which is the more dangerous? I've experienced drivers cutting in front of me in a nearby crosswalk while talking on the phone and gesturing with one hand. It's unlikely, by the way, that granny even owns a cell phone, but if she happens to be talking on one while crossing, drivers should take care that she does get across safely, not take aim.

I hold that deaths and injuries would be reduced greatly if (1) the traffic signals were fixed to eliminate the problems uncovered by the AARP survey, released last August but never implemented by our traffic people, and (2) if police were regularly deployed at intersections to enforce the laws already on the books so that drivers are alert (for cops, if not yet for pedestrians) every time they make a turn or approach a crosswalk.

Enforcement would also reduce red-light running, speeding and tailgating.

You never see a cop on the streets, so people are being killed. There oughta be a law.


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