Today is June 21, the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer. The next three months are some of the busiest of the year and a time when the population of Sullivan County …
Today is June 21, the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer. The next three months are some of the busiest of the year and a time when the population of Sullivan County increases dramatically. Whether you’re traveling on our roads or enjoying some recreation on our rivers, lakes or hiking trails, there are steps we can all take to keep ourselves and others safe.
Writing in the New York Times in April, columnist Farhad Manjoo reported that The United States is in the midst of a traffic fatality crisis.
Nearly 39,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes on American roadways in 2020, the most since 2007. He states that American roads have grown especially dangerous to nonoccupants of vehicles - meaning bicyclists and pedestrians.
While bicyclists and pedestrians in our rural communities don’t face quite the same risk as those in major cities or suburbs, our risk does increase in the summer months. Everyone should be aware of their surroundings and minimize distractions while on the road. Put that cell phone away. Any messages or phone calls can wait. If you must use your cellphone, find a safe place to pull off the road so you’re not distracted while driving.
Far too many bicyclists ride without helmets, which should be worn at all times along with reflective gear when appropriate.
Last summer included far too many drownings on our lakes and rivers. In nearly every case of a drowning the person involved was not wearing a life jacket, or wearing one improperly. It’s very important that we encourage proper water safety and enforce rules that might help prevent some tragedies from occurring.
A 2018 Life Jacket Wear Rate Observation Study conducted by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) shows that among the 425 drowning deaths that year where life jacket use or nonuse was known, 84 percent (356) of the individuals were reported as not wearing a life jacket.
“These statistics make it essential to not only track the national life jacket wear rate among recreational boaters, but also to understand the circumstances and patterns in which life jackets are worn,” the USCG said in its study.
By each one of us taking responsibility and practicing proper safety habits we can decrease the number of accidents and help save lives.
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