The Girl in My Rear View Mirror
This week I heard an accident that, by some miracle, never actually happened. A quick look in my rear view mirror revealed that a teenager on a bicycle had nearly been hit while riding across Cascades Parkway near the Stone Club House pool. What I had heard was the friction of tires on the road as a car slammed on its brakesâ€”thank goodness for ABS! What I saw was a rider down but not out, so I pulled over and called 911; people had started to gather immediately. When I returned from doing my errands the police were on the scene, and the teenager was up and moving around on what had become the luckiest day of her life (if she is a â€œglass-half-fullâ€ kind of person).
Many of the pools in our area are located on major thoroughfares with speed limits as high as 45 miles per hour. Kids travel to and from their pools on bike and on foot all day long, and it is wonderful that they have this kind of independence. These modern day trips to the local swimming hole are the stuff from which memories are made. Unfortunately, many of these kids have little knowledge of the rules of the road, although they mingle with traffic on a daily basis. Furthermore, their brains are not wired to expect the unexpectedâ€”a trait we probably gain, from some degree, from the activity of driving.
What can we do to make the roads safer for our not-so-street-savvy kids? Loudoun County could help by posting warning signs near poolsâ€”I would venture to guess that pool season is at least as dangerous as school season for the pedestrian. Drivers could help by staying alert and obeying the speed limit. Parents could help by setting a good example when out with their children and explaining traffic laws when kids are old enough to be out alone. Walkers and riders could help by using the paths that run throughout our communities and the tunnels under our major roadways whenever possible. And always use caution when crossing! Not everyone will be as lucky as the girl in my rear view mirror.