Electronic devices for walkers? I am a very senior citizen who has never needed an electronic device to guide me on my walks through the park or to cross a street. I do see the traffic lights where available when I cross a street. But, as I become a part of the downtown foot or vehicle traffic, I see so many people in need of electronic assistance to help control their movements.
Not long ago, I was traveling north in the left lane of State Highway 20. I stopped for a traffic light at Northeast 7th Street. A young woman started to cross Highway 20, going from the west side to the right side. She had some kind of electronic device in her hand. It looked like she was in a trance. Just as she got in front of my vehicle, the traffic light went green for me, but I could not move as the sleepwalker had more important things to do than clear the road. The right north traffic lane was empty when I stopped for the red light, but there was a vehicle coming up at better than the 40 miles per hour limit. Just as the sleep walker stepped up on the curb, the speeding vehicle in the right lane shot by.
A fraction of a second was the difference between a safe crossing and a fatal event.
Not long after the events at Northeast 7th street, I was stopped at Highway 20 and Whidbey Avenue, again in the left lane. A woman crossing Highway 20, going west with her full attention on her electronic toy. She was just passing me and not looking when a vehicle west bound on Whidbey Avenue started a left turn onto southbound Highway 20. Good brakes and our women in a trance completed her crossing of Highway 20 unaware of the problem she had caused.
A second vehicle going west on Whidbey Avenue did not stop as fast as the first. Both drivers got out and checked for damage. I guess there was no damage as the both got back into their vehicles and left. By then, the traffic light had recycled and I was again stuck at a red light.
A week ago, I went to the Anacortes Farmers Market. There was a parking space between my vehicle and the one in front of me. A women was crossing the street next to where I was parked, with her full attention on her electronic device. She walked right into the vehicle parked in front of me and was so upset that she kicked its tire. If a cop had been there, I am sure he would have written a citation for car owner’s poor selection of a parking space.
Is it possible that, someday soon, I hope, the younger bunch will be able to walk around town without an electronic device to guide their every action? The Constitution gives us the right to freedom of speech, but I don’t think it gives us the freedom of not thinking. Pull your head out and enjoy the fresh air.
Robert D. Brown