Saturday, September 20, 2014

Danger in Boxley Valley -- Gawkers and Blind Spots

 These pictures are from this morning and illustrate what many of us fear about the way people drive in Boxley Valley.  The photos below were taken moments apart. The passengers in the car on the right are looking at the elk herd on the left as they pull off the road. They don't see the kneeling photographer on the left. He is blocked by the line of cars.  Just moments later they decide to pull over and could have hit the kneeling photographer.  It didn't happen, but I have seen this scenario a few times. There are 2 takeaway points here:

1. Photographers and pedestrians should take care to be visible. Sitting or kneeling creates a blind spot making them more vulnerable. Parents keep your kids close.
As they approached to pull off they double parked briefly
2. Drivers should not gawk at elk and drive. This "distracted driving" in area with many elk viewers when combined with "distracted parking" is very dangerous. 
These drivers are still looking at elk while pulling off
I have seen families with small children on the loose in the pull off zones. Kids are hard to see anyway and are unpredictable. It is essential for drivers to stay focused on driving and only look at the elk after they park. Driving in these areas is more dangerous than driving in a neighborhood. Speeding is a terrible idea in these areas.  I would say 25 MPH tops in areas of elk viewers. You don't want to be the person who runs over a pedestrian.

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