Pedestrians must be wary of drivers

Posted: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

On Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 6:40 p.m., while in the crosswalk at Cordova Street and Douglas Highway, a woman in a red car nearly killed me.

Another pedestrian crossing in the opposite direction and I entered the crosswalk as the drivers in both the northbound and southbound lanes stopped. My assailant did a jack-rabbit start, passed on the right to go around the stopped car in front of her and bore down on me at a high rate of speed. I noticed the assailant and jumped back in front of the stopped car, out of the path of my assailant.

I used my cell phone to call the police, as apparently did the driver of the stopped vehicle that my assailant passed. The investigating officer informed me that there was nothing he could do because he did not have the opportunity to immediately confront the assailant. The officer thanked me for my willingness to report the incident and my interest in good policing in Juneau.

My purpose in writing this letter is to encourage people who choose to walk in Juneau to increase their vigilance for their own safety and do not get lulled into a false sense of security by public service announcements that encourage people to use crosswalks. This assault was the last of five between Cordova Street and the Federal Building in the past two years. From this I conclude:

1. Some people in Juneau are incorrigible, uncivilized and ungovernable. Using triage, the Juneau police are incapable of reigning in scofflaws except for the most egregious offences.

2. Aides such as flashing yellow lights in the pavement at Cordova Street and Douglas Highway only deter about three of four drivers.

3. Pedestrians would serve themselves well to follow all the guidelines such as wear light and reflective clothing, and in addition assume every driver out there intends to kill you.

4. To the degree practicable, reduce exposure by choosing a different route. I now plan to cross Douglas Highway at the roundabout to use the safety zone between the north and southbound lanes. It is a few extra steps compared to crossing Douglas Highway at Cordova Street, but I hope to reduce my risk.

Eugene Miller


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