Pedestrian fatalities should be a wake-up call

Two Maryland men were killed just outside Fenwick Island this week. Another man was killed while walking his dogs near Dewey Beach last week. Yet another man was struck while straddling the shoulder and traffic lane just a few weeks ago.

And we have to ask:?Just how many will have to be killed before both pedestrians and drivers realize just how deadly inattention and a casual attitude can be along our local roadways?

Our year-round residents often acknowledge the phenomenon some call “vacation-brain,” when otherwise intelligent and responsible adults go on vacation and seem to leave their brains behind, driving carelessly, with apparently no idea where they’re going or what is going on around them.

Or maybe they wisely skipped taking their vehicle and instead opted to grab a drink in the bar down the street, hoofing it across the highway and then back to their vacation home, in the wee hours of the morning, after tossing back a few (too many), focused on wrapping up an enjoyable evening and crawling into bed, if they can get there in one piece.

Or maybe it’s our beloved Junebugs, heading off for a celebratory summer break after graduation, feeling triumphant and immortal, and deciding a quick run across the road will beat waiting on a crosswalk light, and those drivers will stop and let them pass, right??Right?

Or what about our international workers, who get to and from work on the bicycles that are so commonly used in their homelands but which so often go unnoticed by American drivers (those on vacation and otherwise), especially when they’re not using helmets or lights or wearing bright colors at night?

When we posted the news of the double fatality in Fenwick Island last Friday to our Facebook page, some were quick to blame pedestrians who might have been drinking or inattentive drivers on vacation. But the reality is that, unless all of our motorists and all of our pedestrians begin to take roadway safety as the deadly serious matter it is, more people will die. Locals, vacationers, adults, children, even pets.

No one is immune from being involved in this kind of incident, because it’s up to all of us to act with safety in mind. Not even a state police trooper can will his way out of an accident waiting to happen, as was proven in one Dewey fatality.

So, drivers:?slow down, pay attention, expect pedestrians to make mistakes. Pedestrians: watch out for traffic, use crosswalks, carry a flashlight at night, and, when in doubt, stay on the sidewalk until the going is safe.

We want everyone to make it safely to their destination, even if it takes all of us an extra 30 seconds. Those are moments that can save a life and prevent horrific lifelong impacts to others.