Thursday, May 29, 2008

Taxi Crash Injures 3

This car accident was big news this morning. You can read the story here .

Chicago Tribune photo

Not only do I use Union Station myself but the crash occurred just around the corner from where I start my daily walk to work. I don't want to be draumatic - and thankfully no one was killed - but I guess I am thinking "there but for the grace of God go I" just a little bit.

A couple of thoughts crossed my mind after reading the news story. First, I note that the taxi cab passenger refused treatment; hopefully she/he didn't need it because she was wearing her seatbelt. Do you ever catch yourself NOT using the seatbelt when you are in a cab? I absolutely always use my seat belt in my own car but for some reason I didn't use it in a cab until a few years ago. That's when someone pointed out the irony of the fact that while I religiously use my seatbelt when I'm the driver I get careless when I am the passenger in the vehicle of someone that I have never met and have no idea just how good a driver they are. That really hit home for me and I've been buckling up in cabs ever since.

The second thought I had involves the fact that two innocent pedestrians were struck and injured. I have noticed that the pedestrians in Chicago sure get a chip on their shoulder when they are crossing the streets; they walk out in front of cars/buses/bicycle messengers assuming that all motor vehicles will yield to the almighty pedestrian. Well, maybe they will, maybe they won't or maybe they can't. I don't want to be on the losing end of the gamble that the person behind the wheel of a given method of transportation is 1) paying attention 2) has good use of all his faculties and 3) that his brakes/steering, etc work properly. I'd rather err on the side of caution, stop and wait my turn to cross at the corner when I have the light.

In the case this morning it sounds like the two pedestrians were just standing on the sidewalk and they were still struck by the cab. This brings me to my third thought. There are many, many times when I am walking through the city, to or from the train station, and I find myself in my own world and on auto-pilot. I really do not pay attention to anything other than the color of the street light. Sometimes I get to my office and I can't remember anything about my walk - I just put one foot in front of the other and arrive at work or at the train.

Having read about what happened to these people definitely will stay with me, at least for some time, and I will try and be much more engaged while I'm winding my way through our busy and unpredictable city streets.

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