Letters & Opinion, Sounding Off

Long Road To The Grave

Rochelle Gonzales
Rochelle Gonzales

WHEN will people start treating the roads and streets with the caution and respect that is needed?

Over the weekend another family was thrown into a state of grief and mourning after their 61 year old relative was killed as a result of a motorcycle collision.

Note well that my very first sentence says “people” and not “drivers” or “pedestrians”. This is because the problem lies with both parties.

I will start with the pedestrians. Could someone please inform me of at least one incident where an individual has won in a battle between a moving vehicle and a pedestrian? Don’t worry, I’ll wait!

Yeah, that’s what I thought…no response. That’s because there are no such cases. A pedestrian being hit by any moving vehicle…heck, even a unicycle will be the losing party so why is it that even with this fact glaringly obvious, there are still pedestrians who believe they are invincible on the streets and walk around with the statement: “They should/should’ve hit me and they would see!” forever at the tip of their tongues? Let’s say someone did hit you, fat load of good a few thousands of dollars would do for you if you are left to live the rest of your life in a wheelchair, in a vegetative state or even dead!

I’m no saint and I can openly admit to jaywalking from time to time but I can also say that when I do it, I make sure that the roads are absolutely clear and that no one is at risk whether it be myself or a driver.

But some of you pedestrians…I swear, some of you are begging to be “road kill”.

What grates on me the most is that some pedestrians are quick so run across the street when the traffic lights are green for the drivers or they are quick to dart across the John Compton highway rather than use the designated cross-overs giving one the impression that they are late for something and are in a total hurry, yet on the sidewalk, they become snails and walk in the typical easy breezy pace like they have all the time in the world and other people who need to get to their destination are left to shuffle behind them like they’re wearing ankle shackles.

As a frequent user of the pedestrian crossing along Jeremie Street near the beginning of Jn. Baptiste Street, I witness pedestrians playing Russian roulette with their lives on a daily basis. The lights clearly indicate when it’s safe to cross and when it’s not but to some pedestrians, the lights might as well be invisible as they believe that they are on a pedestrian crossing so they have the absolute right to passage. All I can say is that I hope I never get to witness when and not if someone gets mowed down. I mean, I’m not sinisterly wishing for it to happen but judging from the way I see pedestrians acting, it is only a matter of time.

Police at a traffic accident scene.
Police at a traffic accident scene.

Now whilst we are on that specific crossing, this is the perfect time to bring up motorists. Judging from the way you people drive, it is easy for one to strongly believe that you bought your licences from a vending machine.

Everyday, I find myself screaming at drivers who try to run me over on the said pedestrian crossing whilst their lights are red and the little orange man is flashing brightly signalling me that it is safe to cross.

The vehicles that are meant for transportation are being used like they are war machines with a need for speed. Drivers…I’m speaking to you all. The vehicles on their own cannot harm or kill, you know. It’s you drivers, well the reckless ones, who are to be blamed. These are the same drivers who would rush out to check for the damage done to their vehicles before they check up on the person/persons that they hit.

As for you motorcyclists…you sadomasochists are on another level that I won’t even begin to touch but all I will say is; “You people need Jesus” and whilst I’m joking with this statement, you guys really need help mentally, psychologically and all the other “allys” that is linked to the cranium.

Currently, I don’t hold any permits to drive and although it is something that I see as a necessity, especially as a parent of very young children, getting behind the wheel is not something that I’m in any hurry to do because if there is one thing I know is that when you’re a driver, you need to look out for other drivers just as much as you do for yourself and if I’m honest, in St. Lucia, that is a mammoth task because many drivers here are stir crazy.

It is extremely rare to see anyone driving within the designated speed limits on any street at any given time. The speed racers terrorising the streets seemingly get a high off their driving and so unless extensive measures are taken, the number of road fatalities will continue to climb steadily.

I’m always calling on the Royal St. Lucia Police Force to be more active in enforcing the laws that are in place to protect us law abiding citizens and in this case I will do it yet again. The police have said to members of the media on many occasions that legally, they cannot penalise people reported for speeding as they do not have the equipment needed to validate the claim…so why not push and push harder to get legislation put in place to obtain and use such equipment like speeding cameras along roadsides and handheld speedometers for traffic police officers?

I know this is an expensive venture but it is also one that is desperately needed because our streets have been lawless for too long.

Giving Jack his jacket, it is refreshing to see that the police have been active in conducting random checkpoints to ensure that drivers have valid licences and insurance but that is just one stepping stone in a mile long pond… a lot more is needed to be done.

To date, there have been 18 road fatalities for the year; how many more must die before we all begin to take heed?

Rochelle entered the Media fraternity in May 2011 as a fresh-faced young woman with a passion for the English language, a thirst for worldly knowledge and a longing to inform the world of what was happening around them, whether it was good or bad.

She began as part of a small news team at Choice Television, which falls under the MediaZone umbrella. She was hired as one of the original members of the newly created Choice News Now team...Read full bio...

 

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