Jan 30, 2018

doing our part on the roads of Bet Shemesh

Another bad accident in Bet Shemesh had a car hitting a 4 year old child last night and sending him to the hospital in moderate condition.

There have been a number of tragedies recently in Bet Shemesh, some of them fatal, many involving children.

Some are calling it a curse, or an ayyin hara, on the city. Some are saying the city is being punished for "bad behavior" on whatever issue is close to the person saying so. Anytime anything bad happens to anyone or any place should be a cause for people to look inwards and see where they can improve, and the families and communities should surely be doing so.

I don't know from mystical stuff, so I am going to leave the issue of curses and blame aside for the mystics and kabbalists to deal with. What I can look at is the roads, the driving, the walking...

Bet Shemesh is a city that has had a tremendous population growth. The roads are not particularly safe - many have potholes, are poorly designed or placed traffic circles, crosswalks that are faded or lacking (we just learned that the city recently "cancelled" all the crosswalks in the shopping center of RBS), faded lines, curbs that jut out too far into the street, poor visibility in many places with views blocked by overgrown brush and weeds, and more. Drivers, as in many places, are distracted by their phones or other distractions, drivers are driving too fast, not giving the right of way, not letting pedestrians cross. Buses are speeding through the streets, while bus drivers are distracted with passengers, with passengers paying and with other distractions. Pedestrians jump into the street whenever they feel like it. Pedestrians are often not paying attention to traffic, cross before ensuring a nearby driver saw them, crossing nowhere near the crosswalks,are distracted by their phones and other things.

Just the other day, on Friday, I was driving down a main road and a family went into the street to cross in the middle of the block, nowhere near a crosswalk. The parents were towing a couple of little kids by the hand, while pushing a stroller and each parent holding a number of bags and cases. They were crossing in the middle because it was opposite a bus stop they were rushing to as they wanted to make the bus in time to go for Shabbos wherever they were going. One of the kids got loose and ran into the middle of the street. I was driving patiently and saw the scene and stopped my car with them in front of me. The father eventually collected the kid, barely even saying a word about it. Had I been distracted or driving too fast, I would have run over that kid, and maybe the father too. Fault isn't the issue. Fault doesn't bring the smashed kid back. The parents should be crossing carefully by the crosswalk, the city should repair the fencing in the road that was dismantled by pedestrians who want to cross in the middle, drivers should be paying attention and driving carefully, the kids should be taught road safety and not jump into the streets, parents should be careful that they have control of their kids in the streets.

Bet Shemesh is a big city with over 100,000 residents. Accidents happen everywhere, and in big cities they happen more just by the nature of there being more people and more drivers, and often the infrastructure has been neglected, if it was even up to par in the first place.

Be careful out there. The city will or will not do it's part in improving the roads and improving road safety. We can only do our part. Pay attention on the roads, whether you are a pedestrian or a driver.

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1 comment:

  1. well said Rafi, a campaign and education is needed


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