Long May He Walk

I am both dismayed and angered at the fate of Ashleigh Brilliant in that five-way crosswalk up by the Mission. I’ve seen him numerous times as I walk many of the same streets he does for exercise.

Even before I read of his accident, I had already decided to use the bus more often and to walk only in neighborhoods that were relatively free of vehicular traffic. Ironically, the place where he was run down was one of the areas I deemed to be safe.

Although Southern California drivers worship their cars, many of them possess little skill in driving the objects of their adoration. They whine about traffic-calming devices because they don’t want anything to remind them that they are actually driving a dangerous machine. They would prefer to dwell heedlessly in their cars-are-basic, electronically connected netherworld. They would prefer doing anything in their cars except courteously and safely driving them.

I’m younger than Mr. Brilliant but at 64 I can only hope to endure as a pedestrian as long as Ashleigh Brilliant has.

Here are some suggestions for others:

As much as possible avoid crossing at intersections with lights or four-way stops. Crossing in the middle of the block is safer because there cars are traveling in a straight line so their behavior is easier to predict. When crossing in a crosswalk, try to establish eye-contact with the drivers. Watch out for those trying to turn right on a red light; give them a glance over the shoulder to eye-check them. Never feel safe just because you have the right of way. Be advised that the safest time to cross a street is when there are no vehicles in your vicinity; stop lights and stop signs will not protect you.

Here’s hoping that Ashleigh Brilliant heals quickly. I seriously doubt that the 18-year-old who hit him had the sun in his eyes. At that time of the morning, this time of year, the sun would have been coming up Milpas Street, not Laguna.

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