Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"A Cappella"

I have come to believe that the most dangerous road  in Austin is right outside of our development.  This morning there was yet another auto accident resulting in a fatality on that road (RR 2222).  That makes eleven deaths on a seven mile stretch of road that connects two other heavily travelled roads in town, FR 620 and Capital of Texas Highway, 360.  Eleven deaths!!  All involving one, two, or more vehicles.

These eleven deaths have occurred over the period of 10 1/2 years we have lived here.  I don't even know if this is all there have been, but these eleven are just the ones I know about!!  There could be many more of which I am unaware.  They keep building in this area and the more building, the more traffic increases on all the roads around here.

This morning's accident was between a jogger (who lived in our development) and an auto.  The jogger died at the scene.  The details are sketchy, but it appears that the jogger was heading North and attempting to cross 2222 from the entrance road of our development (the only way out of here).  The auto was heading east on 2222.  There is a stoplight at the intersection, but it is unclear who had the right of way.  Either way, my sympathies go out both to the jogger's family AND to the driver who will have to live with the memory of that young man's death forever. 

Let me assure you, however, that I am NOT making any statement or judgement of fault about the situation this morning.  I wasn't there, and as I said the news release was sketchy.  However, eleven deaths along one small stretch of road, all involving at least one motor vehicle is obscene!

There are over 400 homes in this development, so I did not know the jogger, nor did I know anything about him. There are many residents who can been seen out exercising on the roadways within our development.  There are walkers, joggers, runners, rollerbladers, and bicyclists.  There is a bike lane and there is a side walk on at least one side of each street, plus there are several jogging /nature trails throughout the development.  Moms or dads with a dog, or a baby, or toddler in a stroller are out there as well.  There are serious exercisers and not so serious folks just out for a walk.  All of them out exercising for good health, just like their doctors and others tell them to.

Very few of those runners actually use the sidewalks.  They mostly all use the bike lane and run on the main road in and out of the development.  The road that carries nearly all vehicle traffic up to the entrance/exit of the development. There are laws governing which way one is to face when running or walking, or biking alongside or in a road.    Bikes should move with traffic, i.e., face the same direction as the cars do.  Those on foot should move in the opposite direction of the cars on their side of the road, i.e., facing into traffic approaching you.  In addition, there are cars in and out of here all day and late into the night. The rules make perfect sense and give people the best chance of seeing what is happening and staying safe.  From their behavior, I'm not sure everyone knows those rules!  People seem to walk, run, or ride wherever they feel like. That makes it extremely dangerous for those on foot or bikes as well as those in cars!!

The road that runs E/W in front of the development (RR 2222) is a four-lane, 60 mph limit roadway, with multiple stop lights, and carries very heavy traffic in both directions, particularly during rush hour.  The road originally was just a small country road, which was meant to be a direct access to Lake Travis and points west of Austin.  As Austin's population grew and expanded ever more westerly, 2222 became a major road carrying the bulk of commuters heading east or west on the northwest side of town.

I don't know if it is true everywhere, but Austin seems to have an ongoing war between autos, trucks, bikers (both motor and not), runners, and walkers.  Each is convinced that the road belongs to them and they are in control and will be able to react appropriately in any situation.  Many are stubborn and refuse to yield or even slowdown!  Most of them are wrong! And some of them die!

Motor vehicles are huge when compared to a jogger or a bicycle.  They can weigh multiple TONS.  The laws of physics dictate that a human being on a bike or running, or pushing a stroller, can never win against a moving vehicle weighing tons.  Those laws also dictate that two or more such vehicles crashing into each can lead to serious injury or death. Why doesn't anyone believe that??  Why do so many people refuse to consider the consequences of poor driving and stubborn behavior??  How many more of those small white crosses must appear alongside our roads, before people begin to realize that motor vehicle accidents can be lethal and one of those crosses may someday be erected for them??

For you see, no matter how much we may wish it, Death NEVER takes a holiday!


  1. Excellent post, Mellodee! Even in a small community like mine, people on foot or bicycles don't seem to "get it." We have several of those white crosses scattered about the county for just that reason.
    Thanks for saying what needed to be said in this situation. my heart goes out to the family of that jogger; whether he was at fault or not, he should not have had to die for it.


  2. Oh MY..those are not good numbers. I just moved to an area with heavy traffic.It makes me jittery. I am used to country roads with very little traffic.

  3. It's the same way around here! We have more and more walkers and bikers on the road everyday! It's scary when I'm around them because sometimes you don't know what they are going to do.

  4. Traffic here in Austin is crazy!! I am always scared that I am going to run over someone when they are in the road because a lot of them do not pay attention they expect you to pay attention to them! (BTW... You don't live very far from us!)


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