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After a year, still some bad drivers

By Staff | Jun 3, 2012

Perhaps you recall a column I?wrote about a year ago.

It dealt with driving issues in Blue Earth. Some of the specifics listed included loud vehicles, no stopping at intersections and bikers motorized and not.

I had more comments on that column than any other I have written in the past four years.

Most of the comments were in total agreement with the need to curb some of these problems.

The number one issue?

Traffic in downtown Blue Earth. More specifically, pickup trucks and motorcycles.

It seems there are a group of drivers who like to take off from the stop signs at Sixth and Main and Seventh and Main and “roar” their way to the next stop.

Almost all of these drivers are in pickups or on motorcycles. And, they all seem to have lost their mufflers somewhere because they are very, very loud.

Last year when I wrote about them, it was after one driver repeatedly roared by the downtown Gazebo Park during an Art in the Park performance.

I guess these offending drivers missed that column last year because they are still roaring around town. In fact, there seems to be even more of them this spring.

Or, perhaps they did read the column, took offense at it, and now are out to “show the editor” that they can do it even louder.

Another issue had to do with not completely stopping at stop signs. Despite a plea last year, that habit has not abated much either.

I have to confess to being slightly guilty of this habit myself. But, I like to think that while most of the time I stop, I might not come to a complete stop at every intersection.

But, it seems that every day it is easy to see a driver who might slow down at a stop sign, but not come even close to making a full stop.

For some reason this seems to be especially true on the cross streets of Nicollet Street. Not a day goes by that I don’t note someone cruising through a stop sign on the side street.

Nicollet itself is a busy street, since many folks use it to bypass the downtown Main Street stop signs. One can cruise from First to 10th with not a single slow down.

Well, except if you have to brake for someone who pulls right out in front of you because they didn’t stop at the side-street stop sign.

Problem three was the number of bicyclists and skateboarders and pedestrians who use the streets with nary a care about whether there is a car on the street or not.

Kids on bikes need to know that they have to follow the same rules that cars do when they are on the streets.

Skateboarders are another issue altogether. Especially when they eschew the sidewalks and cruise down the middle of the street. Yes, the middle.

The other evening when I was on a walk, a group of skateboarders literally shot out of the parking lot at Wells Federal Bank, crossed Main Street, and cruised into the parking lot of First Bank Blue Earth.

Right in front of a passing car.

What is worse is that when the car braked to a complete stop and the driver honked the horn, one of the kids yelled at the driver.

Skateboarding seems to be one activity that is not going away. It seems to always have a new wave of kids who like to do it.

Some cities, such as Wells, have developed an area in a local park where skateboarders can enjoy honing their skills.

Having a designated area of ramps might help prevent the damage to steps and curbs that skateboarding can cause.

The Blue Earth City Council has mentioned the possibility of a skateboard area, but it never has gone beyond the discussion level.

Designated bike trails around town is another great idea, but again, it is stuck in the discussion only level at this time.

Some day, perhaps, there will be designated bike lanes on certain streets that circle through the city.

The last problem area is distracted driving. It has become rampant, not only in Blue Earth but everywhere.

There are many ways to be distracted while driving, but cell phone usage either being used for calls or texting, or even checking e-mail is the number one problem.

June is National Safety month. Hopefully, our local drivers will take time in June to think about ways to improve their driving habits.

We can all do a better job of driving. Safer, more courteous and maybe even quieter.

Perhaps things will improve and I won’t have to repeat this column next year. You can only hope.