My heart goes out to the family and friends of the 22-year-old woman who recently lost her life at the pedestrian-activated, yellow flashing light on Tualatin Valley Highway.
The problem is not always excess speed, driver inattention or lack of traffic lights. In my estimation, most pedestrians lose their lives due to their lack of situational awareness.
Jaywalking, wearing dark clothing at night and talking on a cellphone while crossing a street are all unsafe practices and take their toll.
Years before our two sons ever got behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, we taught both to be cautious pedestrians. Our rule was not only to look both ways before crossing a street but to make eye contact with any and all approaching drivers. If the walker cannot see the driver's face and eyes, the driver most likely does not see you. Do not step out in front such a moving vehicle. Do not proceed until all vehicles come to a complete stop.
In 2010, a TriMet bus driver, making an illegal, left-hand turn onto Northwest Broadway Avenue, failed to see a party of five in the designated crosswalk. I can only surmise that the group of pedestrians, heading home after a fun time downtown, proceeded through the illuminated crosswalk assuming that they were easily seen by the bus driver behind the wheel of the slow-moving, 20-ton bus. How did all five adults fail to make eye contact with the driver? We may never know.
Two died at the scene. One was pinned under the bus and spent several days hospitalized, the remaining two received minor injuries, and the bus driver was fired.
Parents need to instruct their children on the finer points of crossing a city street or highway.
J. Larry Grant is a Hillsboro resident.
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