Editorial: Crosswalks need better markings; motorists need to obey the law

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 18, 2019

Sometimes, it takes a tragedy, which in itself, is another tragedy.

Such is the case with the crosswalks in Downtown Mocksville.

A woman died after being hit in a crosswalk recently. Her husband was seriously injured. By all accounts, they were a wonderful couple and walking to their vehicle after a meal at a downtown restaurant. Apparently, they had moved to Davie to be closer to family, especially grandchildren, were active in their church and loved by those who knew them.

Could the accident have been prevented?

Of course.

For one, the crosswalks aren’t marked very well. Two wide — and faded — white lines mark the crosswalks. Sure, the road was paved last year. I repeat, last year. That gave plenty of time to add some new paint.

And secondly, there should be a better way to paint, or mark, the crosswalks. Maybe raised paint, criss-crossed instead of the solid lines. Anything would be better than what we have.

Maybe some signs should be added.

Anything.

Maybe police officers need to write a few tickets for failing to stop for pedestrians. Even better yet, enforce the 20 mph speed limit in downtown. It is abused daily — even by school buses at times.

Anything.

The signs used on North Main Street when churches are in session are a good idea, but would have to be more or less permanent in downtown. Maybe not the best idea because of late-night truck traffic and the chances of being stolen, but we lost a life here, folks. Something has to be done.

Anything.

When court is in session, the crosswalk between the courthouse and the county administration building gets a lot of foot traffic. The crosswalk between Restaurant 101 and the yellow Fuller building is busy day and night, with people just trying to cross the street.

But the main problem are the motorists.

I’ve worked in downtown Mocksville for more than 30 years, and we’re busier now than ever before. More traffic. More pedestrians. More danger.

People, pedestrians have the right of way. Always. Especially at marked crosswalks, there’s no reason not to stop. Ever.

By my estimation, maybe two of 10 motorists stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks here, and I’ve crossed them all probably thousands of times. Some of the motorists look at you like you’re crazy for standing on the side of the road. Some are on their phones. Few started out within the speed limit.

Downtown Mocksville is no place for a motorist to be in a hurry. Want to race, go to the race track. Late, try leaving earlier.

It doesn’t help that we’re pretty much trained to speed up when we see a yellow light. Do that in Downtown Mocksville, and you’ll likely be driving over the speed limit. And you might be slamming on the brakes because in both directions, there’s a crosswalk just ahead.

Mocksville has been called an idyllic place to live. Not much crime. Few worries.

Wrong. We don’t stop at crosswalks. We don’t slow for pedestrians. We speed. We’re on our phones and in a hurry. Stop it, folks. It’s not worth a life.

Mike Barnhardt is the editor of the Davie County Enterprise-Record.

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