Pedestrian Safety a serious concern

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Most of us forget that jaywalking is not only illegal, but can also be a very dangerous habit. In a world of technological distractions where patience is a rarity, it seems almost nonsensical to wait at a crosswalk until that little man lights up and gives you the right to walk safely.

Similarly, venturing out of your way to ensure you cross directly at a set of lights can be a burden, especially in the cold winter months. As such, it should be no surprise that jaywalking has become an entirely acceptable practice. For students, it often seems like a way of life.

Long lights, impatience and heavy traffic are common causes, but the most dangerous one is the belief that we are invincible. There are numerous cases of pedestrians being hit, especially around the university. Just recently a 22-year-old woman was hit at the intersection of King Street and Young Street in Uptown Waterloo and is now facing life-threatening injuries.

In an effort to diminish other tragic stories from occurring, the Waterloo Regional Police have initiated a pedestrian safety campaign, part of the 2013 Traffic Enforcement and Road Safety Education Plan, which seeks to educate citizens and bring awareness to these highly preventable accidents.

A portion of this new campaign is the initiation of a $50 ticket to those caught jaywalking. While in theory this is a commendable idea, the reality is that people will pay the fine and continue to jaywalk.

It has become such an engrained part of our daily lives that no amount of police measures will realistically prevent people from doing it. While pedestrians certainly need to become more aware of their surroundings, police should concentrate their energy on more serious crimes.

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