Re: Safety review vowed, July 18.
As usual, Mayor Wayne Baldwin’s comments are insensitive: “I do not know whether the whistle blew or not but it’s very clear the train is there… it’s a pretty big object and pretty hard to miss.”
Not necessarily, Mr. Baldwin. Jogging is a form of meditation, and if you wear headphones it’s a double-ended sword in that for the most part you are ‘zoned out’ to your surroundings. Yes, Anita Lewis made a mistake and it cost her her life, but we are all human and mistakes are part of the process.
When I first moved to White Rock, the first thing I did was map out my new jogging route. I put on my headphones and proceeded down the tracks from East Beach to West Beach, not realizing the dangers that lurked around me. I was also convinced that if a train were to come that it would sound its horn loud enough that I could hear it, but it was only when I saw people down the tracks waving frantically that I was alerted to the train directly behind me.
That was a lesson well-learned, and I never wore headphones again while jogging at the beach.
I strongly believe that we all have to take responsibility for our actions, but the fact remains that we live in a resort town with an industrial zone, and I think more should be done to protect our personal safety, especially given that the trains may increase in volume and our population is growing rapidly.
While signs are posted warning of the trains, we all know people rarely read signs, and for the most part are also plugged in to some kind of electronic device. We cannot control what people are using electronically or where they decide to enter the beach, but what we can do is post signs advising them not to wear these devices when entering the beach and to only enter at designated crossings.
We should also install flashing lights at all of the designated crossings so that people will have a clear visual warning, and the engineers will not feel the need to blow their whistles unnecessarily late at night. We should also install train guard rails by the pier because that is where the traffic is at its heaviest.
Ms. Lewis was one of the unlucky ones, so in her memory let’s ensure that better safety is forthcoming.
Cheryl Berti, White Rock