A game of chicken on Highway 99
Every winter we are reminded just how dangerous Highway 99 can be when we spot that first car in the ditch upside down, and as every corner comes around, you know that your car could slide and in a matter of seconds anyone could find themselves in a very dangerous situation like that.
To top it off, at nighttime the motorists, especially in Whistler have to deal with many pedestrians (often intoxicated) walking that fine line that separates the slippery highway with the small shoulder. Often times these pedestrians don't even bother looking as they run across the highway dressed in dark clothing.
As a driver in Whistler who is out on the road at night I can tell you first hand that the number of close calls that I have been in, and my colleagues have been in, is more than we should have to handle.
Just during this holiday season I had to slam the breaks on the ice so a group of drunken guys holding pizza slices could safely run across the intersection during a red light without even looking to see me coming through.
Just last month I had to swerve and barely missed a guy who decided to use the middle line on the highway that separates north and southbound traffic as his trail on one of the darkest sections of the highway.
Just last winter I had to come to a complete stop as a young lady decided to cross the highway, then slipped on ice in her six-inch Whistler heels. A small part of me wanted natural selection to take place, but my conscience got the best of me.
Every day we see the most ridiculous pedestrian behaviours, especially on the highway and especially between 10 p.m. and three a.m.
In my opinion it's a miracle that the deaths involving pedestrians and vehicles in Whistler is as low as it is.
A few years ago when that poor girl was killed (while walking on the highway, not the shoulder) it should have been both a reminder and a wakeup call to everyone to be safe and walk safe, but to be honest this epidemic is growing every year and unless the police start ticketing the pedestrians for these violations, and pedestrians start respecting the rules of the road then it won't be long before it happens again, and again.
Trying to seek justice for that unfortunate accident is not only delusional, but also unproductive.
We should focus our energy instead on teaching the youth in this town about how to be normal pedestrians, and stop walking on the highways.
We cannot bring back life, but we can help to prevent others from being lost. That's where this energy should be directed. Enough is enough
We must move on
It really brought me down reading Ms. (Penny) Reinecke's letter to the editor (Pique, Jan.9) and I am a little disappointed in the Pique for publishing such a letter.
There is no substance to it once she begins her tirade after thanking Senka Florist (which, in my opinion, she could have written them directly) and Sgt. Steve LeClair (whom she could have also personally thanked).
Publishing the remainder of that letter supports her inability to move on with the loss of her daughter and refusal to accept that it's not just the taxi driver's fault she lost her daughter three years ago.
By the sounds of her letter, I'm not even sure if it's even about Ellie's death anymore, as every letter that comes from Ms. Reinecke seems to continually blame everything else on anyone or anything else — but misses the simple fact that her own daughter is still a vital factor in her own death.
Is it the taxi driver's fault that she was partying in a location she was unfamiliar with and decided to walk home? Ms. Reinecke, situations where people party themselves into a scenario that they become uncomfortable with who they are with and their surroundings happen all the time all over the world. Maybe even right now in broad daylight. It is no (one's) fault but our own and we are responsible for our decisions.
If it were a simple letter on the dangers (for) people who still continue to use the highway as their personal sidewalk, I would be on the same page.
I myself find that as a driver, (I) am more fearful of the pedestrians that are slipping and sliding along the highway than I am of an animal crossing my path.
It wasn't too long ago that I called the RCMP one evening (to tell them that), as I was turning out onto the highway, and to my surprise, there was a couple laying out on the middle of the highway. No reason — it's not as if they were unconscious – apparently they had nothing better to do at 3:00 a.m.
If it were a simple letter on her advice on mandatory drug and alcohol testing on drivers who are under investigation for causing death while driving, you are very right Ms. Reinecke — there should be mandatory testing. Clearly you are completely unaware of another fatal accident that involved a private chauffer and a teen, when the teen was in fact, under the influences of drugs while driving. He was tested immediately, as are most drivers involved in fatal crashes.
Here is my question to you – when is enough, enough? Fatalities on our highway unfortunately do happen, and it's terrible. Even worse, when it's released that the drivers causing these accidents are impaired.
It could be any one of us, whether we chose to speed over to our next shift, have a more than couple beers at the local pub or are just rushing to the next shift. Heck, even speeding to get over to the mountain first thing in the morning. These are all poor decisions. The only force that can prevent fatalities like this happening again Ms. Reinecke has nothing to do with any laws or tougher police forces, or mandatory drug testing, etc.
There is no test... It's you, it's us — it's something called responsibility.
Pointing fingers is not taking responsibility and the continuous finger pointing will never lead anywhere. The only thing at fault is poor decision making. Whether it was a poor choice to speed, a poor choice to walk home, it was probably a poor choice to continue drinking, too... There is no law that will prevent that — it's will power.
I hope to never see a letter like this from Ms. Reinecke again as we must move on from and learn from Ellie's tragedy. Turn the hate and anger into acceptance and peace.
We cannot change poor decisions once they've happened, but we can learn from them. Ellie's death is a reminder to take a couple seconds in your life to make responsible decisions. Have a backup plan if you're partying with new people, slow down on the highway at night, wear bright clothing or some sort of lighting when walking home at night, the list goes on.
You are in the driver's seat in your own life; you are leading your path.