Perspective: Open Season On Walkers

Mar 17, 2021

Pedestrians are not treated well on Rockford’s roads. Especially during winter, when sidewalks go unshoveled, walking is a dangerous activity, and those poor souls without a car nor bus fare can expect to dodge daily vehicular mayhem.

Here, cars have right of way most of the time, and when designing new roads, the movement of vehicles is more important than the safety of civilians.

American city planners go out of their way to design roads for quickly moving cars through cities. European engineers are a bit more aware of pedestrians. When one gets hit, they try to redesign the roadway to protect walkers. Unlike here, where they don’t even keep track of fatalities.

A friend and I were hit while crossing the pedestrian walkway that surrounds the roundabout at North Main and Auburn Street. The accidents are so numerous that the Rathskeller Restaurant at the corner set up an outdoor viewing stand and sold tickets (just kidding -- but customers did report witnessing collisions). I suffered a broken pelvis and am still laid up after three months of rehab.

I would suggest the city move the pedestrian walkway at least a half block away and put up yellow flashing lights and more warning signs stating that cars MUST stop under pain of execution. Right now drivers are more interested in getting through the roundabout safely without getting hit by other cars. They look left and few notice that there’s a pedestrian walking on the right.

Both my friend and I did not see the vehicle that hit us. It came around the corner and took us both out rather neatly. Pedestrians must literally and figuratively stand up and demand our rights to be safe on our taxpayer paid streets.

I’m Stanley Campbell and this is my Perspective.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and a long-time peace activist.