I sometimes forget that Kelowna is more of an overgrown small town then a big city; even so, it’s a mix of a beach town and a retirement community, and anyone who has lived near a retirement complex can probably attest to the obliviousness of a certain percentage of the elderly population when it comes to rules of the road, but it’s not only when you put them behind the wheel.
Literally the day I wrote my last post about texting while driving I watched a scene play out that reminded me drivers aren’t the only one that shouldn’t be texting on the road.
It started off like this: I’m walking to the grocery store, close enough to the one and only traffic light en-route that I’m already watching the lights to know to either speed up or slow down to avoid having to wait. I see this rather frail looking lady push her walker into the street and start to cross without even glancing up to notice the opposing direction has the green light. I’m thinking she’s old, doesn’t have much time left, and probably just doesn’t have time for traffic lights anymore. Luckily for her, the oncoming traffic was happy enough to park behind their green lights and wait it out (or maybe they just didn’t want a gooey mess to clean off their grills)
I’m not certain whether she was oblivious or just didn’t care, but I am certain that obliviousness is the only explanation for the young woman who walked right past me and started to cross the same crosswalk from the opposite direction as the old lady. This young woman had her nose buried in what appeared to be a Blackberry. Had it been an iPhone maybe she could have been using a silly “augmented reality” app that could have shown her the world around her through the iPhone’s pathetic camera, but as it was, I did see her glance up and notice the lady with the walker before wandering aimless into the street crossing against the light.
It occurs to me that I walk while texting a fair amount too, and although I always put my phone down while crossing streets, I’m also probably less aware then I otherwise believe myself to be. I’m quite sure that the younger woman had no clue at all that she’d walked out in front of oncoming traffic, or how easily she could have ended up squished if a vehicle happened to blast through the intersection in the other lane.
I still say it’s more of an issue for drivers, but the risks are higher when you’re not surrounded by a crash-tested crumple-zoned metal framed box.