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Slow Down! Smooth Road + Speed = Accidents Print E-mail
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Written by Contrbuted   
Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:00

There is an old saying that progress brings problems and that is very true in the old capital city these days.  The over 100 newly paved or cemented streets in Belize City have brought welcome relief to struts and tires, and the pockets of automobile owners.  It is pure sweetness to plot your ‘smooth road’ route to your next destination as drivers navigate away from the few, still pothole-filled streets. But this new phenomenon has brought to light another challenge – motorists are just speeding through the city in reckless fashion with little or no regard to pedestrians. 

While hard statistics may be lacking, it can be assumed that since the newly paved streets, there are many more accidents and near misses taking place that are not reported.  There is one piece of road where the selfishness, ignorance (creole definition), hastiness and impolite side of residents rear its ugly head, and that is the first 3 miles of the northern highway.  Impatient motorists speed up cutting in and out of traffic only to come to a complete halt some 100 yards up ahead.  If not for the few speed bumps added recently, the evening news would be replete with more tragic traffic accidents.  Another treacherous piece of urban road is the Youth for the Future Drive from the BelChina Bridge to Vernon Street.  That has become a virtual speedway and pedestrians have to literally run for their lives sometimes when crossing that wide span.  Undoubtedly, a crosswalk needs to be constructed posthaste. It might be useful to note here that speed limit signs in the city are pretty much non-existent which doesn’t work well for city residents who are already somewhat adverse to obeying traffic law and rules.

Belize City is still predominantly a walking city so motorists and pedestrians must coexist as part of the fabric of this vibrant city.  It is a beautiful thing, long over due, to witness the old capital city being transformed.  City Hall and Central Government are doing their part for the physical transformation but the residents must do their part in the social, economic and cultural transformation.  Obeying laws and treating fellow residents with respect are just two small steps residents can take.  As taught in drivers education, “driving is not a constitutional right. You get your drivers license based on the skills you have and the rules you agree to follow. After you get your driving license you must continue to demonstrate your ability to drive safely on the road. If you fail to demonstrate this ability, you will be issued traffic tickets, or even have your license suspended or revoked. No one has more right to the road than anyone else. If you're going to drive, you owe it to the other drivers and yourself to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.”