Like many others in the capital of the Socialist People’s Republic of Manitoba, I’ve been following the stories of the rash of pedestrians being hit by motorists over the past week. The number of pedestrians hit on Winnipeg streets has been steadily rising over the year and the trend is indeed disturbing.
While the bleeding-heart socialists scream for tougher measures against drivers, the root cause of the problem is not the motorists, but, in the vast majority of cases, the pedestrians themselves. As someone who travels frequently around the city, I see an appalling attitude shown by far too many pedestrians and joggers, who feel it is their right to do as they please on the streets. Throwing common sense to the wind, they act as though it is the public’s obligation to avoid them. So many people think nothing of just walking out onto a busy street without looking or treat major traffic arteries as extensions of sidewalks.
A healthy fear of fast-moving vehicles is rapidly disappearing from the minds of Winnipeggers and the fact that there aren’t a dozen people killed each and every day on Winnipeg streets presents a strong case that some sort of guardian angel is looking out for the pedestrians of this city.
Walking on a roadway when there is a sidewalk is illegal, according to the Highway Traffic Act. Unfortunately, this is one of the many laws that Winnipeg Police Service chooses not to enforce. Taking a proactive approach of issuing tickets to joggers and wayward pedestrians is something that you’ll never see in Winnipeg. Police would rather fawn after their golden children, then spend a day flaunting their power by blocking traffic within a five-mile radius of yet another pedestrian incident.
For this trend to turn around, the Winnipeg pedestrian must value his or her own safety. It sounds simple, but there’s little evidence out on the streets to indicate that personal safety is much of a concern to anyone on foot in this part of the world. Most joggers care more about getting wet than about getting hit.
As long as people expect others to take their own safety more seriously than they do themselves, get ready to hear even more stories of pedestrian deaths. If you don’t want to be one of them, place a premium on your own head. Look both ways before crossing the street. If you see a car coming, stay on the curb.
Safety begins at home.