Drivers need to slow down, pay attention

It’s summertime and the living should be easy. Vacation season is in full swing and school is out until August.

Boulder City residents are out and about enjoying the summer sunshine and that means drivers need to be extra careful.

Earlier this month, James Kitchell, a beloved and respected pastor, died after falling off his moped on Adams Boulevard near the library.

Witnesses reported seeing a red vehicle pass by Kitchell as he was driving his moped west on Adams. Kitchell swerved toward the vehicle and fell down. Although the investigation is ongoing, it has not been determined if the car directly contributed to the accident.

Nevertheless, it probably factored into Kitchell’s death.

Even a minor twitch out of instinct when seeing something out of the corner of your eye could be enough to put the moped off balance and cause it to topple.

And vehicles — specifically speeding ones — most certainly would be a factor in any accidents by the apartments near Cottonwood Street and Del Rey Drive.

According to Ciara Madrid, a mother of two who lives in the apartments, there are a lot of impatient drivers who take Cottonwood to avoid the school zones on nearby Adams. And although school is out, there are still a lot of drivers who speed on the street and don’t pay attention to the many children playing outside.

She said it got so bad she has began writing down license plate numbers with the intention of passing them on to the police.

Madrid also said there is a blind corner there, which causes her great concern.

“If they come around the blind corner fast, they won’t have time to stop,” she said. “We need to get people to slow down, wake up and be more aware.”

She is not the only one who lives in the neighborhood who is concerned.

Madrid, along with several parents, organized a new group, Slow Up So Our Kids Can Grow Up. The group, which has a Facebook presence with more than 200 members, aims to take action to encourage drivers to slow down.

They hope to create signs they can post in neighborhood yards and at area businesses as a reminder for drivers to slow down and pay attention.

It’s an issue the police department is aware of.

Bill Conger, chief of police administration, says traffic can be a problem in Boulder City. In fact, he said it is one of the biggest concerns of police departments nationwide.

Although the speed limit in all of Boulder City is 25 mph — unless otherwise posted — many people refuse to follow the rules of the road.

The department does its best to patrol the problem areas and has even issued citations in the area around Cottonwood and Del Rey, he said. Even though there are officers on patrol 24/7, they can’t just remain in one neighborhood.

“If a citizen has an issue, we will address it. But I don’t have enough officers for every issue,” Conger said, adding that “Every citizen believes the issue is in their front yard.”

Sometimes, he said, it just takes little patience for the department to get a firm handle on a problem.

It also requires citizens to be more responsible for their own actions, he said.

Drivers need to keep an eye out for pedestrians and be aware that a child might dart out into the street while chasing a ball.

“If I see a kid on the street, I slow down. It doesn’t matter what the speed limit is. I slow down,” he said.

“Even 25 mph is too fast if people aren’t paying attention or are on the phone or the kids are out,” Madrid said.

“People may think I’m crazy or whatever, but if I save my child’s life, a neighbor’s child’s life or the life of a kid who lives behind us on Utah (Street), it’s worth it,” she added.

If there is a tragic accident, in the end it doesn’t matter who was at fault. “Even if the kid was at fault, the driver will feel at fault,” Conger said. “Our biggest fear is having to go to someone’s home with the coroner and tell them they lost their 17-year-old child or their 8-year-old child.

Conger said drivers need to be reminded they are driving 4,000-pound cars and must pay attention fully to what they are doing.

So, here’s a reminder for you. Slow down. Put down the coffee or soft drink. Stay off the phone. It’s summer. Kids are playing outside. Adults are taking advantage of vacation time to enjoy the sunshine. Let’s all do what we can to make sure everyone gets to enjoy another day.

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