Opinion: Gateway to a safer city

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Enea Ostrich

Safety is always a concern I have as a pedestrian, much less as a driver.  The worst thing a pedestrian can do is assume that it is safe to cross the street because the driver of a two ton or plus vehicle will likely not see them if they suddenly step off the curb without looking or without any warning.

What I have done in recent times to prevent this is to make sure I have eye contact with the driver before I even step off that precious curb.  There are some pedestrians I have seen on Main Street in Seal Beach that are oblivious to the world—they walk like they have their head stuck up in the clouds.  Where I come from they call these people space cadets.

At a recent safety event at work there was a key announcement that drivers of large vehicles in the yard have very limited visibility and everyone needs to be aware of that fact.

You don’t have to tell me twice when I see top handlers and also mega ton container trucks nearby.  I respect them without a second thought.  They have clear access to the road and I am out of the way—no problem.  One important safety rule we have at the workplace is that we are required to wear orange vests outside.

That is a given at any terminal but the importance of it is ten-fold.  In the outside world which is pretty much anywhere else, pedestrians should heed cars and trucks by wearing bright clothes, especially at night when it’s hard for drivers to see them.

I have recently seen a man walking his dog at night and not only did he have a flashing red reflector light, so did his dog.  How much more perfectly safe can you get?  I love people like that.

Since there are handbooks for drivers in California, I was thinking, should there be one for pedestrians and those that ride something other than motorcycles, trucks or cars?

I am talking about pedestrians, bike riders, skateboarders, those who rollerblade, and razor riders who don’t always heed the signs on the road.  Those signs that say “STOP” are placed out there for a purpose.  I feel at times it doesn’t matter whether it’s a teen or an adult—people just don’t realize the risks they take.

For example, I see crazy movement in parking lots at these two shopping centers on Seal Beach Boulevard, and I cringe.  Why?

There are kids on skateboards and on peddle pushing razor riders, that just speed through the parking lot while their iPods blast music in their ears and their fingers text on their cell phones.  Talk about a triple whammy.  I shudder to think about one of these kids getting hit by those SUVs that speed through the parking lot many a day on my watch.  Ouch.

One thing when I was growing up that I appreciated was safety training.  It was at least once a year, but considering what I have seen in the last couple of years around here, I think a monthly event wouldn’t hurt to teach people about safety.

Perhaps it could be conducted in the very parking lots that seem to have the problems the most.  Then again, moms and dads everywhere are teaching their kids about what is safe and what is not.  It’s not their fault if their kid doesn’t listen, is it?  The problem isn’t about what is taught, it’s about what is retained.  What will help?

What I would love to see in the near future in Seal Beach and all cities is that safety is practiced more.  I see the parents (God love ‘em) with their plastic neon signs that read “SLOW DOWN” and I give kudos to them, for at least they are trying to do their part to prevent a car race in the neighborhood, especially those cul-de-sacs.

Safety—well—you got to love it.  Now wouldn’t this be a perfect world if everyone pitched in, just like with the “no littering” campaign?  Amen to that.

Enea Ostrich is a resident of College Park East.

Opinion: Gateway to a safer city