Recently a 10-year-old girl was laid to rest, killed when she was struck by a car while cycling to school. She was riding in the bike path, and the driver involved says he never saw her. Tragically, as bicyclists we know all too well that drivers don’t “see us.” As an emergency physician I have cared for too many similar cases, and understand that often these collisions can be prevented.
In my own neighborhood we have one such opportunity to prevent a similar heartbreaking disaster. Currently the Walton County commissioners are planning a redesign of a busy intersection at county roads 395 and 30A. This is a confusing three-way stop intersection that sees over 10,000 vehicles per day. Adding to the safety issues is that a multi-use path crosses just north of 30A, causing all the north- and southbound traffic to yield to somewhat unpredictable pedestrians and bicyclists.
If the path moved to the south side of 30A, where it is for 14 of the 19 miles of 30A, it would improve the safety and efficiency of the intersection by 80 percent (architect’s estimate).
Despite threats of frivolous lawsuits, I am asking that the county commissioners allow us once again to try to get this intersection redesign right. Why wait until someone is maimed, paralyzed or killed before we change it? Let’s make it safer now.
Dr. Carolynn Zonia, Santa Rosa Beach