How lovely to drive along the Coast Highway, rays of sun painting the waves, shimmering, the white crests pounding onto the sand. If you are fortunate you may even see a formation of pelicans, gliding on the air, inches above the sea. Their instinct guides them to a safe place. They are unlike us…
But sometimes, if you are not one of the fortunate, you may not see the ocean or the pelicans. You may instead bear witness to the mangled bicycle, the broken body, the helmet, crushed and misshapen, the awful sight of blood on concrete. That’s when you hear the sirens, cutting into you like knife stabs of fear and a voice you try to silence repeats the same litany, pleading with the universe, please don’t let it be his bike, please don’t let it be his bike, please.
And most often it will not be the bike of your beloved husband, or wife, or partner, or child, or friend. But one day, who knows. And on that day you may forever forget the beauty of the Coast Highway, your world inextricably, forever, shattered.
But there is something we can do to stop the car violence. And it is called, worldwide, Vision Zero. I urge every resident to go online and educate him or herself and read about the Vision Zero programs adopted worldwide. Read about what Mayor de Blasio of New York City is doing to lower speed limits, his vigilance in enforcing laws vigorously followed through. Read about how this Vision Zero approach works in Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Read what actions the Swedish and the French have taken to protect citizenry from car violence. Read about how Brooklyn, New York, has adopted the Vision Zero platform. And then write to our five city council members and demand the implementation of the Vision Zero platform, which focuses on reduction in speed limits, enforcement of stop sign violations, and other sensible programs to prevent death and injury.
Our town should step into the future and take strides to protect our families, our friends, and our visitors.
Can we cross the street safely to walk into the city council meeting and ask for protection against car deaths? Make sure you use a crosswalk and hope the next sirens you hear mean someone is being driven to the hospital to deliver a baby.
Say no to car deaths. Learn about Vision Zero.
Jahn Levitt, Laguna Beach