Slow down, be careful on busy streets

“Stop and smell the roses,” as the old saying goes, instead of running them over by rushing around.

It can be pretty risky just walking across the road on the crosswalk, or walking on a sidewalk with distracted people moving at a fast clip in cars, or on bicycles or skateboards.

Just last week, our surveillance cameras on the Enterprise building recorded a driver swerving to avoid an elderly woman crossing Broadway on the crosswalk between our building and the post office in Saranac Lake.

The video shows the 80-year-old looking both ways, only to get a third of the way across when she fell backward on the road to avoid getting hit. The driver kept going, and the video even shows the driver looking in the rearview mirror. Luckily, the pedestrian only had a scraped elbow people when people ran to her aid to help the up. Saranac Lake police are reviewing the video and hopefully will be able to track down the driver.

Saranac Lake business people have also expressed concern about their customers leaving their establishments, only to have close calls with skateboarders riding on the sidewalk at breakneck speed. We have also seen more bicyclists in Saranac Lake riding on sidewalks without helmets than helmeted and in the streets, where they are required to ride with traffic. It can be scary, but it’s the law.

Ands that’s just in Saranac Lake. Lake Placid right now is as busy as we’ve ever seen it, hosting thousands of lacrosse players and their families and friends for the annual Summit tournament. It’s a huge boon for the area, but man, does it clog traffic.

While we all want to get out and enjoy the sunshine, we need to focus on having a safe summer. We encourage all drivers to stop at crosswalks and yield to pedestrians, who should pause and look both ways.

Skateboarders may not all read our plea for them to walk with the skateboards until they get to the downtown skatepark. Therefore we encourage parents, police officers and fellow citizens to kindly ask them not to ride on streets or sidewalks, to avoid hurting themselves and others.

Bicyclists need to ride in the road with the flow of the traffic, either on shoulders or in the car lanes, giving ample space to parked vehicles in case someone decides to open a door without warning.

These simple safety guidelines are quickly forgotten as we rush around in a whirlwind. Let’s help each other be aware of the dangers of distraction and give courteous reminders to slow down.

Police are needed to give reminders, too. Verbal warnings are one way; writing tickets drives the point home deeper. Perhaps orange cones or those little silhouettes of flagmen would help at crosswalks.

The main message is to be aware of your surroundings and slow down so you can have a safe and relaxing summer.