Terrifying Reality

Jul 05, 2017

To the Editor:

So often we find ourselves running from point A to point B, sometimes without much thought in between other than getting the task done. Well, it all changes when we cross the Causeway, or at least one hopes.

I recently stayed close to a month at the shore, at a family home in Surf City, where I walked nearly every day. I was here around Memorial Day when the traffic is not as busy once the holiday is over. However, one aspect of the Island has really taken me aback: drivers not stopping and yielding to pedestrians at crosswalks.

This has been a terrifying reality to observe, not only personally but as a spectator. I would literally be standing in the middle of the crosswalk as one car would let me through and others in the opposite direction of traffic would decide they were going to keep on going. I would wait until they caught on that I had the right of way here! Beyond human decency and common courtesy, it’s the law. 

I was not the only one. On my walks I watched as children, excited to get to that beach, would skip or run to the Boulevard with the adults running behind them, bogged down with beach gear, trying to stop them from running into traffic. What if they encountered the car that doesn’t slow down? 

I observed beach bikers with beach chairs balanced on top, riding up from the bay and crossing, balancing, cars not stopping, brakes screeching. We all know the sound, and in a beach community it makes you pause and your heart sinks for a moment at the what if.

I’m writing from a personal experience I only wish I didn’t need to share. It was a few years ago I sat with a 10-year-old girl casted with a broken leg as she tried her best to stay strong for my visit with her. She had been in an accident at a crosswalk where a truck had struck her and her mother. She was the survivor. She had buried her mother that weekend. 

Once across that Causeway it’s important to remember that this is a true beach community, and Long Beach Boulevard, Central Avenue and Barnegat Avenue are not the Garden State Parkway, the West Side Highway or the Autobahn. Yes, there are many high-performance vehicles on this strip on land, but wait until you’re off it to rev those engines, please. There really shouldn’t be any rush here. If you’re late for crabs or steamers, it’s all good; they will wait, take your time.  

LBI drivers, if you see someone at the crosswalk, just stop. Don’t wait for them to walk into traffic to stop. If you’re not sure they are crossing, they will let you know with a quick wave. It takes seconds to stop, literally seconds.

While you do, take a moment to look to your left and to your right and give a little nod to the ocean and the bay. Then smile as you embrace Island life and know what a strong and beautiful island LBI is, here for you to enjoy all the days and nights ahead.

Have a safe and happy summer, Island-goers. 

Naomi Crocker

Pasadena, Calif.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Jean D Ragone | Jul 06, 2017 07:38

It is very true that many drivers do not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. I encounter this every single day several times a day in season and out of season. There are many courteous drivers, however, who do stop when they see a pedestrian in the crosswalk and have time to stop. In some towns, especially north of Surf City it is difficult not to see the pedestrians. Yet many drivers ignore the law even if you stand in the middle of the road flapping your arms.

But pedestrians also need to practice safety. Too often I see pedestrians just bounding into traffic without giving thought as to whether a driver. An see them and/or has time to stop. Too often I see parents allowing their small child(ren) to run ahead. Although cars are required to park a prescribed distance from a crosswalk, they don't and it is very hard to see anyone standing ther let alone a darting small child.

Finally, our police departments need to enforce the crosswalk laws. It doesn't mean that they have to issue a citation each time but at a minimum start giving out written warnings. Although I have observed many cars not stopping for pedestrians not once have I seen a single driver stopped even though a police officer is sitting right at the intersection.

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