Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Our Grief and Loss

In Montgomery County, Council member Will Jawando will be holding an event on Thursday evening to promote safe driving among teens. The program, called Driving it Home, was started in Prince George’s County to be:

...a regional road safety education and awareness initiative aimed at changing the driving culture in the Washington metropolitan region.

This quote from Jawando caught my eye:

Driver and pedestrian safety must be taught early and reinforced often. Since this 762-person class of seniors began high school in 2016, 803 pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle occupants were killed or seriously injured on Montgomery County roads.  By educating them on safe driving, riding and walking practices early, we can instill a culture of safety in our next generation that will save lives.

In Howard County the Horizon Foundation continues to advocate for a comprehensive 
Complete Streets initiative. Their focus is on inclusion and safety combined:

Imagine a Howard County where more kids walk to school safely...where you can easily bike or walk to bus stops, shopping or work...where people in wheel chairs can freely access more places...and where walkers and bikers have dedicated spaces on the streets to stay safe.
Imagine if we had “complete streets” - roads for everyone that accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and drivers!

On Monday afternoon a mother and son were struck by a car while in a crosswalk in Columbia. The child, six years old, did not survive. Those are the facts that are known at this point. An investigation will bring more information to light. I have read that ARL students on a school bus witnessed the accident and that a student who is in the EMT program, left the bus to administer CPR.

I cannot wrap my brain around the horror of that moment for those young people.

Do we need safer streets for pedestrians? Undoubtedly. Do we need to teach and keep teaching road safety to drivers from their teen years and onwards? Clearly. I don’t know why incidents like the one on Monday have become so much more common in recent years but the numbers show that they have. Don’t we have an obligation as a community to go at this problem from as many different sides as we can to make our communities safer?

A mother has lost her son; classmates have lost a friend. Our community has lost the potential of one small human voice whose world was only just unfolding. We can’t let that be “just the way it is.” 

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