Thursday, August 12, 2004

Dear Editor's;

My brother, Chris Perkins, was killed on the Lion’s Gate Bridge August 8th. He was trying to direct cars around a stalled vehicle that was blocking traffic over the bridge. He was hit by a speeding vehicle from behind, thrown more than 10 feet, and killed instantly. He had just turned 30 years old.

This year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated road safety as a global public health issue, stating that road traffic deaths ranked second only to HIV/AIDS in leading causes of death for people aged 15–44. Each year, many more than 1 million people are killed on roads, and 50 million more are injured in some way.

It does seem to be an unavoidable fact that accidents happen, but by their very nature they are almost always preventable. Admittedly, few drivers set out to kill anyone, but this detail rarely eases the pain of the road bereaved.

The reality is that road safety is not an accident. It is up to each one of us to take the actions necessary to limit traffic related injuries and fatalities, regardless of how we are using the roadway.

Slow down. Speed is a factor in many road accidents, and it can turn any situation into a fatal one in just a few seconds.

Look where you're going. When driving, maintain an accurate perception of what is going on around you so you always have time to react appropriately.

Be considerate of other road-users, and try to keep a safe zone in mind when passing an emergency situation on the road. You never know when someone is going to be suddenly in front of you.

And for pedestrians; remember, the only thing that can stop a car is the driver. Be careful of how much trust with which you step out onto a road, you never know when or how that driver might be distracted. Some mistakes can’t be fixed.

My brother was somebody important and, like everyone else, he had dreams and a life to live, a life that ended much too soon. I only had one brother. Please slow down.

Allie Wojtaszek
Edmonton, Alberta

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