To the Editor,
March 13, 2008 ... just another day in Madras.
This morning, I was waiting at a red light at U.S. Hwy. 97 and B Street. When the light began to change, a truck ran the yellow. Then another truck ran the red, even though it had plenty of time to stop. A few hours later, I was approaching a red light at Highway 97 and D Street. The vehicle in front of me stopped for the light, then ran through it, even though there was oncoming southbound traffic!
I was shaking my head in disbelief, as was the lady in the turn lane next to me. There have been several cross-street wrecks in Madras recently ... all of them caused by someone running a red light or stop sign. It is imperative that drivers and pedestrians in this town carefully look both ways before crossing any intersection.
It is not safe to assume that just because this is a small town, and/or the light or stop sign is in your favor, it's safe to cross without looking. Drivers also regularly speed through school zones at 35 and 40 mph everywhere in town.
Parents, if you haven't already done so, please give your children explicit instructions about safely crossing the street. Don't assume they will automatically jump in the right direction when a truck with an 80,000-pound load is bearing down on them, or somebody in a passenger vehicle is late for work, or daydreaming along on "autopilot" or cell phone, or deliberately ignoring speed signs.
Another caveat: walking or bicycling between the west end of C Street and the top of the canyon is very dangerous. The speed limit posted west of the last house is 25 mph, but many drivers fly through this area at much higher speeds, including loaded dump and cement trucks with unsecured loads.
One day I saw a dump truck driver eating and talking on a cell phone while driving through this area, steering with the fist holding his sandwich! Pedestrians, bike riders and even parents pushing strollers regularly pass through this area, some even wearing headsets, which makes them oblivious to what is happening behind them. Be careful, everyone, and keep your eyes and ears open, use common sense, and pay attention! The life you save may be your own.