Just Slow Down

Canada vs. The United States Olympic hockey game is starting soon.  It’s a big game and I don’t want to miss it.  It starts at 4:30 and at 4:20 I’m driving back from the grocery store.  I’m rushing.  The speed limit is 50km/h but I’m pushing it and probably going about 70.

I’m only about 2 blocks from home when I see a car across both lanes of the road ahead of me. There are 3 other cars stopped in my lane and an elderly man runs towards me with both arms waving.  I slow to a crawl and open my window.  “A kid has come off their bike” he tells me breathlessly as he rushes on to warn the cars behind me.

I come to a full stop and take in the scene ahead of me.  Slowly I begin to understand that it is more than just a kid falling off their bike.  I can see skid marks on the road now and a young woman who looks to be in her twenties is sitting on the road slouched against the car with her head in her hands.

Oh no.  My stomach knots.  I am beginning to understand what has really happened.

There is a small crowd of people around a figure lying very still on the road.  People have taken off their jackets and placed them over the figure.  The woman against the car is shaking and crying.  I can hear the sound of sirens now.  I stay in my car not moving.  There are more than enough people tending to the child on the road and a few who are trying to comfort the young woman who hit her.  I pull my car as far against the shoulder of the road as I can get to make room for the ambulances, police cars and fire trucks that arrive then.  I watch as the young woman walks over to where the attendants are working on the child. My heart sinks when she screams out and runs to the other side of the road crying.  I know then that it is very serious.

A car suddenly rushes past and pulls up beside the scene.  A woman, the mother I assume, rushes to where her child is lying on the road. Very quickly now the child is put into the ambulance, the mother climbs in too and the sirens start up as they speed away.

A fireman walks over to tell me it will be a little while yet before they can let us pass and go on our way.  Pictures of the scene have to be taken from every angle.  “Of course” I whisper.  While I sit and wait and watch all I can think is how I will NEVER speed along this road again.  If the line in the grocery store had been just a little faster I may have been 4 cars ahead.  I could have been rushing home on this stretch of road when a young fifteen year old girl without a helmet rode her bike in front of me.  I feel sick.

This happened last Sunday.  Wednesday’s paper reported the young fifteen year old girl was still in critical condition in the Kelowna hospital.   My prayers go out to her and her family and the woman who accidentally hit her.  To you, reading this now, I hope you will also learn from this as I have and slow down.   Just slow down.

7 Comments

  • sully

    I remember a few years ago when Australian National team cyclists were training in Germany and at least five of them were hit by a young girl who lost control of her car at high speed on a corner. One cyclist was killed and others seriously injured. I remember when some of them were interviewed after, one comment stuck with me.

    “As you are approaching cyclists on the road always pass them as if they were a loved one /family member” With that in mind it makes you slow down and move over.

    Not sure of the situation with this accident, but thoughts are with the girl, her family and the young woman involved.

  • Jacquie

    I’m so sorry you had to experience this and very, very sad for the families involved. I pray she pulls through and makes a full recovery. I just had this discussion with my son last night when he stated that since Canada had imposed the ‘no cell phones while driving rule’, the number of accidents hadn’t gone down. My argument was that anything that distracts you from driving is dangerous. So is speed, but it doesn’t take much to seriously injure a cyclist if you aren’t paying attention.
    We all need to remember how lethal cars are and that anything can happen at any time. Pay attention.

  • Cheryl

    Very heartwrenhing Bonnie. Thanks for sharing that.
    Jacquie, I think the reason the accident rate hasn’t gone down yet is because people are ignoring it. I can’t believe how many people are still talking on their phones while driving. I saw a guy almost rear-end the car in front of him today, because the 1st car didn’t pull away immediiately after the light turned green. The guy on his cell phone had the nerve to beep his horn! Ignoramus.

  • Cheryl

    BTW, I signed Oprah’s No Phone Zone Pledge and my car is off limits to my cell, even with hands-free. I managed just fine before I had a cell; anything now can wait until I arrive at my destination, or if it’s urgent I will pull over to talk.

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