It may sound “pedestrian” to editorialize about … pedestrians … but significant numbers of people in Grand Cayman travel by foot – including workers, schoolchildren, tourists and fitness buffs. Too frequently, Cayman roads are dangerous paths to travel.
And, as this week’s Shamrock Road collision reminds us, pedestrian safety is a serious issue on our island, where too many cars and people combine and collide with tragic results – almost always for the walkers, rarely for the drivers.
Police say 68-year-old Carlton William Farrell, of Bodden Town, has died as a result of injuries sustained in Monday’s traffic collision in the vicinity of Trumbach Drive.*
This grim occurrence serves as an opportunity to emphasize that pedestrians must be alert to potential risks, multiplied when walking and talking on their cellphones.
Cayman’s hodge-podge of sidewalks, narrow (or nonexistent) shoulders, sharp turns and obstructed views provide a hazardous environment for our bipedal locomotors. Even where sidewalks are present and crosswalks are clearly marked, pedestrians frequently ignore them.
On a daily basis, tourists – dazed or distracted by our tropical environs (or perhaps an overindulgence in margaritas or mudslides) – meander dangerously close to moving traffic. Even regular visitors or new residents who are trying to be careful may make fatal errors in judgment – especially if they are from the U.S., Canada or Europe and are accustomed to looking left, rather than right, for oncoming traffic.
The Compass has published reams of editorials imploring Cayman’s drivers to slow down, put away distractions such as mobile phones, abstain from driving while intoxicated and, in general, be safe on our streets. Amid the continuing circus-like atmosphere on Cayman’s roads, it is highly probable this will not be our last word on drivers’ misbehavior.
But today, we are addressing pedestrians in particular. We ask all to be cautious, cognizant and vigilant. Pull out the earbuds which block ambient warnings (honk-honk) as well as amplify musical distractions. Use sidewalks and crosswalks when they are available. Give moving cars and trucks a wide berth. Don’t expect drivers to see you first, or at all. (Have you witnessed the driving skills, or lack thereof, of far too many drivers in Grand Cayman – believe it or not, on Cayman Brac, too?)
Good heavens, do not put your life in their hands (unless, of course, you are anxious to relocate to “good heavens” …).
While everyone, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorbikers, and car and truck drivers, has a responsibility to “share the road,” the reality is that burden is not shared equally. In any contest between a moving vehicle and the human body, steel always prevails.
Certainly, everyone should obey the laws of the Cayman Islands, which state that pedestrians in the road have the “right of way” over automobiles.
But the governing law is not of legislators but of physics: That law states that kinetic energy equals one-half of mass times velocity squared. (In other words, the faster and heavier something is, the more it hurts to get hit by it!)
As one Compass staffer points out, you never find cars in the emergency room.
*Updated from the original published version