By Michael Klayman
For many years, I have been concerned about drivers who intentionally and callously ignore pedestrian crosswalks.
This morning, I walked (as I usually do) to my office across from the intersection of Lakeville Road and Tanners Road. The pedestrian light signaled permission to cross over Lakeville Road, and I did so. Rather than stopping at the red light, a driver on Lakeville Road went through the light; turned briefly into the entrance of the Lake Success Jewish Center parking light and made a quick U-turn without blinking an eye. The driver knew I was crossing, but made no effort to stop and wait his turn. Not only did this driver use our parking lot as a speedway, but ignored the fact that I was legitimately crossing right in front of him.
Because Lakeville is our central road and Tanners just a small development, drivers on Lakeville have several minutes of green before the light turns red. Nevertheless, on countless occasions, drivers on Lakeville speed through a red light or make an illegal U-turn right in the middle of that intersection. Those of us who need to cross that street often wait several moments after our light turns green to avoid potential danger. There are other intersections more heavily traversed by pedestrians; intersections where drivers—either in their haste or in their sense of entitlement—ignore signs, lights and other people.
At some time in our lives, most of us have carelessly sped through a light or an intersection, especially when time is of the essence. Too often, we justify our actions—and if anyone dares to question us, we become self-righteous and indignant. I can only counterclaim that being delayed a few minutes is certainly preferable to the consequences of an accident, which endangers both pedestrians and people in other vehicles. If, at my modest intersection, there is concern about driver and pedestrian safety,
that concern is magnified elsewhere.
Certainly, we pedestrians are not always careful ourselves; at times, we feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to crossing at a red light. We, too, have a responsibility to be respectful of the rules.
Most of the time, however, the danger lies with a driver who risks serious consequences just to arrive somewhere a few seconds earlier.
We may feel entitled to ignore the rules and justify our decision to dismiss the other vehicles or pedestrians around us. I hope, in the future, we will weigh the benefits of a few seconds against the lives we spare by being more considerate of the people around us. The decision we make can enhance the quality of life in our community, as well as the respect we show one another.