I just have to write about the way pedestrians walk on busy streets that donít have sidewalks. Back in the olden days, when children were allowed to walk places, their parents and teachers taught them at an early age that if there is not a sidewalk, they should always walk facing the oncoming traffic. Apparently, there are generations of people now who do not know that lifesaving rule.
A couple of years ago, a woman was killed on a street without sidewalks in the Twin Cities area. She was exercising, pushing her new baby in front of her in a stroller. It was early in the morning, and the light wasnít very good. She was walking in the same direction as the traffic in her lane, and was hit from behind. Her baby survived, and is being raised by her widower, a young man with Winona ties.
Many mornings on my way to work on Hwy. 17, I see a young woman walking her baby in a stroller. Rather than walking facing traffic, so she can see cars coming, she walks with her back to the traffic. She is courting disaster, I canít help but think. I also see people taking walks along the highway making the same mistake.
Now that we have a detour on Hwy. 17 because of the construction of a roundabout near Pleasant Valley Church, we must detour through the neighborhood on Valley View Drive. This morning, there was construction equipment parked along the road, and traffic was being controlled by a workman. Traffic must have increased in recent weeks on that road a hundred fold. But yet, with all the cars and construction equipment, people were walking alone, in pairs, or with their dogs through the neighborhood with their backs to traffic, doing what they have always done, unmindful of the danger posed by increased vehicle traffic.
The safety rule is this: when walking along a roadway that does not have a sidewalk, a person should walk facing traffic. That way, the walker is able to see what is happening if, for some reason, a car veers out of its lane and too close to the edge of the road. Facing the traffic, the walker would be warned and able to get out of the path of the oncoming vehicle.