While I wrote about Enjoy the Ride (a traffic safety campaign from Western Australia) from a marketing perspective on our Bird blog, the gravity of this issue landed a little closer to home last week. There were news reports that a pedestrian in his 20’s was hit by a car and killed in the middle of the day on busy Whyte Avenue. My eldest son is 20, lives on Whyte Avenue and walks to work. I had a cold chill until my boy responded to my hey text later that day.
We seem to have an illusion of safety with our teenagers because they carry cell phones and (mostly) quickly respond back to our texts. But the fact is that all teenagers have secret lives, and while they might be telling you they are safely at a friend’s house, unless you are going to attach a GPS to their device (and please don’t), you don’t know where they really are. This is ok. This is how it should be.
Once they move out, any kind of fake reassurance you know what’s going on disappears. Until I got the hey response back from my son, I didn’t know that he wasn’t involved in that accident. In fact, the young man that died was a music colleague of my son’s – age 27, a well respected DJ and punk musician. My boy played with his band at a gig just the night before.
I have nothing useful to say about a life cut so short by a senseless accident. The driver that killed the young man was turning left into an intersection. All I can think was she wasn’t paying attention and was distracted in some way. I was reminded to be vigilant while driving, to not look at my stupid cell phone, talk on my stupid cell phone, fiddle with the radio, or yell at my kids in the back seat. It just isn’t worth it.