Worth Remembering – An Avoidable Tragedy

Last night, I was looking through one of the many keepsake folders I have accumulated over the years in search of “DAB as wannabe world-changer moments” that I could add to my blog and I came across the following e-mail that I sent to everyone I knew 10 years ago – the day after a terrible tragedy struck our quiet residential neighborhood.  It occurred to me that, with summer upon us and the “reach” of social media, now might be a good time to re-publish that e-mail:

November 29, 2001

Dear Family and Friends,

Yesterday, a 9 year old neighbor was struck and killed while “riding” his scooter in front of his home.  I mention this terrible tragedy not to upset all of us, but to offer some observations that might keep a similar tragedy from happening again:

Please insist that your children and children of friends, family members and friends wear safety helmets whenever they are riding bikes scooters, skateboards, roller-blades, etc.  It may not be the “cool” thing to do, but it’s the right thing to do and I assure you there was nothing “cool” about last night’s accident for the family of that helmet-less boy or the family of the vehicle that struck and killed him.  If you meet with resistance, as you most certainly will, particularly when they’re playing no further from their home than the end of the driveway, as was the case with this young boy, share this story.

Take a moment when you go home tonight and inspect the foliage around your driveways and the driveways of other families in your neighborhood who have small children.  Look at it critically from the standpoint of a driver and decide whether it obstructs or might obstruct the vision of an approaching vehicle.  If it does, cut it back or cut it down and encourage others to do the same.  If those who you approach (“strangers” in the neighborhood) balk, as those who love their landscaping are certain to do, share this story.  There is a 4 foot tall hedge around the driveway at the home this boy came out of that likely made it impossible for the approaching driver of the van to avoid the accident.

Finally, when you’re driving in or near parks or residential areas, particularly those that are populated with lots of kids, please be extra cautious.  Ours is (or at least until the events of yesterday evening was) one of those streets and, less than a month ago, even though I was only traveling 10 mph, I was barely able to avoid two very young children, who came out of nowhere, right in front of my car.  I shudder to think where I or the young mother standing 10 feet away would be today if I had gotten to that spot a split second later or been traveling even 15 mph.  And then, yesterday, only 3 houses away from that spot, it happened again . . . I am devastated for the family of the boy and the family in the van.

Please take this message to heart and do something that could make a difference.

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