Thursday, May 24, 2012

Girl, in Transit: Hits and near-misses

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge ashleybusstop1small.jpg

This is part of a series of stories by Kimmel, who's given up her car and is relying primarily on public transit.

Last Monday, I was in my office's conference room during our weekly staff meeting when I heard the screeching of tires, followed by a loud thump and a scream. I practically leaped from my seat to the window and saw a scene that nightmares are made of.

There, below my office on Vermont and Penn, was a car in the middle of the sidewalk with a man lying on the ground next to it.

My colleague called 911 and the sirens began sounding in the distance.

The driver looked completely distraught talking to the cops, pacing back and forth and repeatedly checking on the man who they had just hit. The witnesses were all around, unsure of what to do and how to help. The man who had been hit luckily seemed okay, though severely shaken, as he propped himself up on his elbow. He wasn't moving his legs, so I am not sure how 'okay' he actually was at that point.

After surveying the scene, I noticed a bucket lying in the middle of the road. It, too, had been struck and had splashed bright yellow paint onto Vermont Street. The man had been painting the curbs, in the middle of his work day, and was hit by a car.

I don't know the back story, I don't know if the driver wasn't paying attention, if the worker hadn't been watching for traffic or if there was some combination of the two. All I know are the sounds I heard and the aerial view of the scene immediately following.

You know that feeling you have after you get in a car wreck and you are afraid of getting in your car and driving again? Yeah, I have that feeling about walking now.

So, this week I have taken extra caution. I haven't been listening to my headphones as loudly, I stop at every corner and look both ways multiple times before I cross the street and I wait for the walk signal even if no cars are around. Seeing a fellow pedestrian lying on the ground has had me pretty shaken up these last few days. I've even begun policing other people and yelled at two different cyclists riding the wrong way (against traffic).

As I searched online to find an update on the victim, I noticed several recent news stories about pedestrians being hit in Indianapolis.

From what I've heard, the man is going to be just fine. But now, as I walk into my building every morning, I am reminded by the splattering of yellow paint in the street that this is a common occurrence and could very easily have been me.

I would hope that this is yet another lesson for both drivers and pedestrians to be more cautious of their surroundings.

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