Metro-East News

From Zika virus to crossing the street: Dangers are all around

Wally Spiers
Wally Spiers

I was driving the other day when I noticed an annoying little mosquito buzzing around on the inside of the windshield.

I was busily swatting at it (and missing as I always seem to do) so that I didn’t get the Zika virus from a bite when it occurred to me that I probably was in a lot more danger of losing control of the ton or so of metal I was driving and crashing into someone or something than I was of getting a virus from a mosquito bite.

But I have been reading a lot about viruses and other health threats and not so much about the dozens of accidents around the area each week and the many thousands killed in car accidents each year around the country.

I have to figure my chances of getting Zika are small. After all, I read warnings every year about the West Nile virus in the metro-east, also carried by mosquitoes, and I’ve never gotten that.

There are so many warnings out there that it is impossible to keep up with them all. And who knows what might happen to you while you are busy watching out for something else.

I was walking around downtown the other day, on the look-out for anyone who might be a dangerous person, like I have read to do on the Internet, when I nearly walked out into a marked crosswalk without looking.

That is much more likely to cause me harm than any muggers because motorists don’t pay a whole lot of attention even though there now are signs saying that vehicles have to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalk.

But if you like to split hairs, as many do, what is the definition of “in the crosswalk?” Does standing on the sidewalk near the crosswalk constitute being in it and require motorists to stop? Or do walkers really have to be in the street before stopping is necessary?

I don’t know if I should take a chance and go out into the road and hope cars stop or just stand at the edge of the crosswalk and look hopefully at approaching motorists.

I know that people who are driving south on North Illinois Street approaching the downtown Belleville Public Square seem to already be a little grouchy from having come through the streetscape construction and having had to make several stops and wait in lines. I know several didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to stopping at the square when I was crossing the other day.

But somehow I managed and got home to work on this. After typing in the 20 passwords needed to open my computer and keep it safe from hackers, I realized I couldn’t find this column anywhere. With some help I managed to locate it and send it in. But it always seems like while you are watching out for the highly publicized danger that something else messes you up.