Every day, when you get behind the wheel you are holding human life in your hands. How you drive, how you react, how you observe – it all can mean the difference between life and death. Does that seem too ominous? Driving is so common and so “automatic” that drivers often text, eat and yes, even read emails, while behind the wheel. That translates into more distracted driving deaths each year. Is multitasking behind the wheel more important than a life? Drivers don’t think so afterwards.
We are now in season here on Fort Myers Beach. If you go down island past Red Coconut, Estero Blvd. is one long construction zone with a bazillion moving parts. Cones, barrels, trenches, flaggers, equipment, pedestrians, bicyclists, workers, crosswalks and backed up traffic are all a part of everyday life moving around on the beach.
All parts of that work zone have two lanes of traffic open. Depending on what the crews are working on, there are lane shifts, with narrow and bumpy lanes. Often, a very narrow “sidewalk” is right next to the traffic lane, separated by a simple white line, with nowhere else to put it.
For any new visitors, a brief explanation of the project: Not just a road project. The Island is getting new water lines, sewer lines and storm drainage as part of the package along with a new road, sidewalks on both sides and bike lanes south of Red Coconut.
All of this adds up to a dangerous situation for everyone on the road. Plus each day we add thousands of cars driven by drivers unfamiliar with our Island and our road construction and the challenge to keep everyone safe rises.
Simply put, it’s a very dangerous situation right now whether you’re a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian. We all have to watch out for each other if we’re to make it through this together alive. And that’s our goal. Sure we want a nice new road and wide sidewalks and bike lanes, but what we really want is to not see any serious injuries or deaths on Estero Blvd during this construction. Together we can do it:
-Watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.
-Stop at crosswalks.
-When traffic is backed up, leave space at cross streets to allow left turns.
-Those on foot or two wheels: Wear white at night. Carry a flashlight. USE THE CROSSWALK LIGHT BUTTON if there is one.
-Do not cross the road until ALL vehicles have seen you.
-When all else fails, drivers, put your windows down and appreciate that you may be stuck in traffic, but it’s traffic in paradise!
Let’s all be careful out there!