Over the past year, there has been a considerable amount of press about the lack of safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the San Lorenzo Valley. This concern needs to be extended to Scotts Valley, as well. OK, truth be told, it needs to be extended to society overall, but we’ll start locally. I live and work in Scotts Valley, and very much enjoy walking to work rather than driving. The benefits are myriad. However, in the two years that I have been living in Scotts Valley, I have nearly been hit by reckless drivers breaking the law on about 6-8 occasions. I had the right of way in all cases.  I was either in a marked crosswalk or about to step off the curb into one, with the pedestrian right-of-way sign. Last year, I was nearly killed when walking to dinner with a friend. The driver managed to stop about 24” in front of me. 24”.  My heart goes out to the family of Josh Howard. I am deeply sorry for your loss.

It is easy to decry people’s driving mistakes, yet brain science tells us that this increases the problem. I have used the issue to become more aware of the responsible, safe drivers on the road, and so I would like to express my gratitude for the drivers who respect pedestrian safety: 

• Thank you for coming to a full. stop. at crosswalks.

• Thank you for stopping behind the retaining line, leaving the crosswalk fully clear for pedestrians.

• Thank you for leaving a large margin of defensible space for pedestrians to cross safely, before completing left-hand turns.

• Thank you for stopping for pedestrians crossing in unmarked crosswalks.  A ninety-degree angle to any curb is a legal crosswalk, marked or not.

• Thank you for leaving sidewalks clear when entering and exiting businesses, and when parking in small parking lots.

• Thank you for respecting red lights at all times. 

• Thank you for deferring to the rules of the road that establish rights of way, refraining from gesturing to others to go ahead.

The reality is that there are far more safe, responsible drivers on the road than reckless, thoughtless ones. These are the some of the driving habits that make the difference. Thank you.

Pamela Clements

Scotts Valley

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