How Can We Protect Our Sidewalks?
It used to be that leaving the country, going abroad, being on a plane – these were all risks one could potentially be taking when it came down to security and being safe.
These days all it takes is a bike ride, a walk home from the pub, an afternoon stroll, and all while respecting the laws of everyday traffic and staying on the sidewalk or designated bike paths.
Terrorists or wannabe terrorists are resorting to any means possible to convey their message. While the government can prohibit or limit gun licensing, check you through metal detectors at airports, and ban some weapons, there is not much that can be done to prevent a car being used as a weapon of mass destruction. As long as one has a license, almost anyone can go and buy a car, or even rent it from a rental car agency or home improvement store. Home Depot rents a pick up truck starting at $19. That’s an incredibly economic weapon. (Especially when you don’t intend to return it).
Now society has two options. Stay home – where it’s “safe” or at least your environment is more controlled. Avoid the public at all costs – groceries can be delivered after all these days. Or fight back the ultimate war that terrorists are trying to fight. The war that is terror and having people live in constant fear for their lives.
So go out in public, keep your children and loved ones close. Keep the most vulnerable on the inside of the sidewalk. These seem like common sense things to do – and if you already do these things, you’re practically a bodyguard yourself. This isn’t to say it’s a surefire method of preventing “bad” and keeping someone 100% safe.
A bike path should be a place that is safe for bikes to travel separately from cars. A sidewalk should be a safe place to keep pedestrians away from cars. Everyone in their place. But when that car or rather the driver, throws away regard for human life (their own included), these places fail to be safe. They fail to complete the role they were intended for.
So how can we protect our sidewalks?
We can build walls. We can put up barricades. We could put up spikes that puncture car tires. We could raise them up higher then the street. We can put them underground. We can avoid them all together.
All of these are unreasonable, uneconomical, and some are just utterly ridiculous.
There is no way to fully protect our sidewalks.
There is no way to fully protect our bike paths.
There is nothing we can do at all times to prevent risk; to prevent evil.
Short of staying in bed all day, everyone takes a risk every day just by living their life.
Risk control and risk assessments are constantly playing in the back of everyone’s minds at all times, whether you realize it or not.
Take for example living in Canada – as Canadians we deal with a variety of weather (sometimes all in one week)! Often, before we leave our houses, we look outside to see the weather. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is it a blizzard? Is it safe to drive my car?
This is a risk assessment.
Apply this to walking down the street.
Are their obstacles? Puddles? Ice? Construction?
Could someone deliberately try to inflict personal harm?
Now what is the likelihood of these things, or the consequences. The first set are usually avoidable by stepping around or over or crossing the street.
The second may not be as avoidable. However is a lot less likely then ice, puddles, obstacles or construction.
Now going back to what we mentioned earlier – do we play into the game of terror and hide? Live a life fueled by grocery delivery and amazon? Hiding in our houses letting others call the shots?
Or do we live our lives. Accepting the risk and taking the chance, staying on the inside of the sidewalk.
Guest Blogger – Rayna Davies