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COLUMN: Whether driver, biker or pedestrian, pay attention to your surroundings

— Two weeks ago, tragedy struck when a Liverpool teen was killed as the result of a pedestrian vehicle accident. Michael Cardwell, Jr., 19, was attempting to cross Route 57 against a green traffic light when he walked into the path of a north-bound vehicle. He was rushed to Upstate University Hospital and later died from his injuries.

This awful tragedy was on my mind while traveling through the Baldwinsville last week.

I was heading south along Syracuse Street, on my way home, and as I approached the crosswalk in front of the Red Mill Inn, I noticed a couple of walkers to my right begin to cross the street. I slowed down, as New York State law dictates, giving them plenty of space and time to cross. Then I continued on. As I approached the intersection of Tappan and Syracuse streets, less than two blocks away, traveling well below the speed limit, a young man bolted across the street on his bike from my left and I had to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting him.

Everyday, millions get into their vehicles and drive to and from work, school and various other destinations. We turn on the radio, drink our coffee and take our eyes off the road for a split second to check on the children in our back seat. This is all such a routine part of our lives that we think of driving as second nature, the daily route we take as unwavering, rarely considering the horrifying damage our vehicles can cause.

I couldn’t help but think what would have happened if I didn’t react quickly enough to these “crossers” who failed to respect the traffic around them.

As a mother to a young child, I frequently walk my daughter through the village and use the crosswalks when I have to cross the road. And, even though the law says traffic must yield to pedestrians, I make sure I make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the road. I want to make sure they know I am there.

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