By LYNN HANRAHAN
Thank you Ms. Christoffersen for the letter on cycling safety! Your comment about keeping the roads’ shoulders clean and safe really struck a nerve after something I saw last month.
It was lunchtime on Good Friday and my daughter and I were driving from North Mesa to the grocery store when a local landscaping truck lost an enormous piece of glass from its trailer ahead of us on Conoco Hill. Approaching the hill it wasn’t apparent at first how much glass was there so we ran over it.
We then drove up to Urban Street and backtracked to wait for the police who I assumed would be on their way because there really was an incredible amount of glass on the road and an employee from the gas station was waiting by the road after having called the Department.
An officer eventually arrived but seemed really miffed when I asked him if any action could be taken against the landscaping vehicle. He insisted there was “no damage” but finally agreed to check my tires with me because I was worried. I was also incredibly angry. My son was following the same route as I that day on a bike and my daughter frequently walks this way, too. Had any pedestrian or cyclist been anywhere near this large unsafe load when it went flying they would have been either severely injured or dead.
I wrote the police chief about this matter and received a follow up phone call from the chief’s assistant and letter from the chief pretty much dismissing my complaints as being silly. The officer I spoke with on the phone said they had more important things to do than to check for unsafe loads. The things he mentioned were fighting domestic violence, preventing robberies, and shop lifting at the grocery store.
While domestic violence is truly bad, the other things he mentioned are generally crimes against property, which don’t lead to the loss of life or limb here in Los Alamos. During the years I have lived here though there has been far more bloodshed in pedestrian accidents.
The local police department’s lackadaisical approach to this incident really bothered me because crosswalk safety really hit home on that particular day. My older daughter and I had spent the morning with an orthopedic surgeon in Sante Fe who told her she might never really be able to run “normally” again after a ski accident earlier in the year. She looks just like the sporty teen who won her division in the local triathlon last summer but sometimes she can’t move very fast — like when trying to cross the crosswalk here on North Mesa by the Middle School where we live. Aside from a brief period before and after school, practically NO ONE stops for pedestrians at either of the North Mesa crosswalks. This makes it hard for her to get over to the Middle School track to try and work out and get her injured knee back in shape.
Is it really asking too much for drivers to put down their phones, secure their trailer loads, and to give pedestrians and cyclists a break.