Looking for signs along the way

Even when a crosswalk isn't pretty, it's there for our protection, provided motorists and pedestrians alike know and respect the rules of the road! Photo by Kathy Luengo

Although yellow, triangular signs depicting leaping deer may have been less prevalent in Westlake or Bay Village 30 or 40 years ago than today, longtime and newer residents alike definitely know what they mean! 

Do the deer care? Not really. They’re too busy looking for dinner! Courtesy of lush local landscape, deer find Friday night feasts faster than do hungry Westshore diners foraging for a dinner destination with less than a 40-minute wait!

How effective are these signs? By the time a buck or two have been bopped and signs erected, survival-minded deer could be crossing elsewhere. Are enough safety-minded motorists spotted pumping brakes and glancing side-to-side to warrant “jumping deer” signs? If so, good for those who do! For them, the signs are working!

With deer running rampant, the instance of road casualties doesn't appear to have dented their overall population as badly as it has Westshore residents’ cars. There’s a point where adding deer signs might not work as intended. Perhaps some of these signs could be recycled to warn motorists of other creatures crossing: jaywalkers.

We know where many sightings occur: not far from busy intersections with clearly marked and signaled pedestrian crosswalks. While crosswalks can’t guarantee everyone’s safety, offering legal right-of-way to compliant crossers make crosswalks the better option.

Although deer don’t know what crosswalks are, jaywalkers should. Why jaywalkers put themselves in harm’s way while exasperating drivers who could bear a lifetime of guilt if an accident should occur is anyone’s guess. Have you ever seen jaywalkers pushing a stroller or joined by small children on foot? It happens! Even “man’s best friends” trained as companion dogs can safely guide people across busy intersections.

Case in point: a Westlake resident recently recalled a close encounter with a jaywalking duo when turning north onto Dover from Center Ridge. Two mature male subjects cutting across the parking lot of a corner business were on track to cross Dover just down from the intersection.  The closer, quicker and taller of the pair stepped off the curb before double-checking for traffic in both directions.  With one foot in the street, he looked up and upon seeing the Westlaker's vehicle approaching, hastily returned to the curb. As Subject No. 1 was stepping back, Subject  No. 2, leaning on a walker equipped with oxygen supply, first stepped onto Dover, then glanced up, unobstructed, and similarly scrambled to reverse course.

Both subjects glared indignantly at the cautiously passing motorist who saw through the rearview mirror that the car immediately behind stopped and deferred to the Dover-crossing duo, which subsequently forced southbound traffic to a halt. Fortunately, this disruption didn’t cause a fender-bender courtesy of a distracted driver.

It’s true that in early spring, local drivers will cede to lines of geese and their goslings waddling across area streets, but that’s understandable. Geese don’t know better, and the fuzzy little goslings are so cute to behold!

HEADS UP, Westshore residents! Should communities start hosting “Adult Safety Town,” it could be a sign of the times! 

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 9:38 AM, 07.22.2014