Slow down, pay attention | AspenTimes.com

Slow down, pay attention

Two recent letters to the editor have us concerned, once again, about the number of irresponsible, impatient and inattentive drivers in the Aspen area. In both cases children were almost run over.

In the first instance a family was stepping into the clearly marked crosswalk near Clark’s Market when they had to leap out of the way of a woman speeding through. This is one of the best-marked crosswalks in Aspen, yet a woman talking on a cell phone apparently didn’t notice all the signs or the people stepping into the street. Had it not been for an attentive mother, she and her children could have been killed.

The second letter discussed an occurrence at the Buttermilk light, where a woman with a stroller was about to cross Highway 82 after the “walk” sign came on. A driver either failed to notice the red light or chose to ignore it and, again, almost took the lives of innocent pedestrians.

We have all seen this way too many times in this town. And it doesn’t just occur during the busy seasons. Staffers at The Aspen Times have almost been run over in town at all times of the year, usually when they have been crossing with the light. And in most cases the driver was chatting on a cell phone as they turned into the crosswalk without looking.

We’ve editorialized before about the dangers of driving and talking on a phone, yet we have seen no change in people’s behavior. And the City Council has made it clear it won’t pass a law against driving while chatting on a phone. Which probably makes sense, since it would be an enforcement nightmare for our local police.

So what it really all boils down to is that we need to remind ourselves we live in a pedestrian town, and as a result must slow down and pay attention at all times. This is especially true during the high seasons when visitors all too often are paying attention to the scenery and not the traffic in town.

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It’s a pretty simple message, but one too many people ignore. However, it’s also an extremely important message because lives are at stake. And now that our children are back in school, we feel it’s the appropriate time to remind people to follow the simple rules of defensive driving we all learned when we were 16.

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