An Open Letter To Those Who Speed Down Residential Streets
Please don't hit my kids.
Please don't hit my kids...or my neighbors kids, for that matter.
There. That's really the gist of what I want to say to every motorist who uses my street as a short cut. They zip down my street, hoping to avoid traffic, and all I do is hope they avoid my kids in the process.
Where it was perhaps a rarity a few years back to see kids outside, in neighborhoods, playing, Covid-19 has kind of changed that.
As a society, I think we've gotten used to children not playing outside as much. Historically, they've been in school for many of the daylight hours. And what few hours they have after school are usually filled with extracurricular activities or video games.
But with the onset of Coronavirus, and distance learning, and lack of offered extracurricular activities, kids have returned to using their surroundings and imaginations to occupy their time. In my opinion, that's an awesome thing. But it also scares the crap out of me.
In my neighborhood, at any given time, I can step out my front door and see half-a- dozen kids, or more, playing. They ride scooters or bikes up and down the street. They roam around the block in little gangs playing hide-and-seek or making mud-creations.
The problem is, at any given time, I can also step out my front door and see some car, or truck or motorcycle speeding, or driving distractedly down my street.
Make no mistake, this is not an issue of "parents not watching their kids" or "kids not paying attention to their surroundings."
I sit out with my kids, daily. And I've become the crazy mom who shouts "car" at the top of her lungs, just to make sure any kids round the bend know there's an oncoming vehicle.
We have an old "Kids Playing" sign that's been in the bend of our road since I moved here 10 years ago. But when cars turn onto my street from the main drag, it's hard to see it right away. And they're often going so fast on the onset, to slow down in time is nearly impossible.
I've asked the City for more signs. I was told they don't provide those anymore because "it gives people a false sense of security." I have witnessed quite the opposite, in that I have seen cars slow a bit when the actually get to that big sign at the bend. But I'm only one mom. I don't have research to back my opinions. Only my own experience.
After watching a neighbor's kid almost get flattened on her bike, when a motorcyclist, who was not paying attention, came within 6 inches from her back tire before slamming on his breaks, I felt I had to take some sort of action. So my family purchased a couple of those little florescent "Slow" figures and put them in the middle of the road. They're bright, and even have little orange flags that are supposed to garner more attention.
Despite the new additions to our block, folks still feel the need to speed down our little road.
At this point, I'm at a loss. And I know I'm not alone. There are streets all over Bangor, especially in the Fairmount Park area, who all have similar problems: Lots of kids playing, and lots of speeding or distracted drivers.
We've been lucky so far, but I fear the day our luck runs out.
So please, as a mom to four beautiful children whom I've spent many years trying to protect and keep alive, and as a concerned neighbor to even more fantastic boys and girls whom I want to see grow up and do great things, I ask you from the bottom of my heart:
Please don't hit these kids.
Slow down. Look up. Be aware.