Bikers and New Drivers, April 24, 2023, 442 words

There is a rite of spring that can be dangerous. After Easter break, new high school drivers beg their parents to borrow the family car to propel the 2000 pound weapon legally down the road. The drivers may be more interested in being seen by their friends rather that watching for bikers and walkers sharing the road. This week my husband John returned from a bike ride with a tale.
“How was your ride?”
“I had a stand off over by the high school”
“What happened?”
I had a green light to cross. The dismissal bell had rung. Halfway across the intersection, a car, driven by a student, turned in front of me. I stopped to wait to see if he saw me. He stopped but didn’t indicate with a gesture for me to continue. A second car turned right and went around the stopped car. Now there there were two stopped cars in the intersection. I got off my bike and pushed my bike towards the roadside. A third car attempted to pass on the side of the road. Traffic was stopped in both directions. Finally the first driver indicated for me to proceed.
The crossing is several blocks from our home. We live in a subdivision with young bikers and pedestrians and one blind walker. How safe are we at busy times?
As a blind walker, I was trained to listen for the direction of traffic flow to determine when it is safe to walk. With the increase of electric cars, this is difficult. Since 2010, regulations for electric vehicles, mandates the car emit a sound when the car is moving up to eighteen miles per hour.The sound may be a chirp, beep or other sounds. One car engineer stated,” With each car model there could be a different sound. A biker or walker may or may not recognize the sound as an electric car. If several electrical cars are in the road, the sounds may be masked by gas engines.
So what can I, as a blind person do to protect myself.
First, I can wear clothing that is bright and use a white cane when walking. Second, try to to cross intersection at less busy times of the day. Third, when at a busy crossing, wait for another person to cross at the same time. Drivers may see several people crossing.
Being aware of your surroundings may save your life.

I wait.
listening at the crosswalk.
Hearing cars move my way.
Quiet, cars start to move with me across the
Safe crossing.
April, 24, 2023

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