Editorial: Safe and Happy


Hello happy walkers, cyclists and drivers of downtown Sag Harbor. We’re delighted you came to visit and seem to love our little village almost as much as those cellphones you’re staring at like dazed zombies. We have a few suggestions to help you survive your vacation here, while also allowing our community a safe and prosperous summer season.

First, it’s time for our annual reminder to visitors of the East End — and also those bleary-eyed locals rushing from one job to the next — to be aware of emergency vehicles during a time when service calls, along with everything else, tend to trend toward insanity. It should go without saying that if you see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching — whether it’s an ambulance, fire truck or police car — pull over immediately. The practice of waiting for these vehicles to be right on your bumper before pulling over, and then quickly pulling out to ride along their tailgate is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

Also, we too often see fire and ambulance volunteers with blue or green lights flashing on their dashboards stuck behind drivers who are clearly unaware of the urgency of these missions. Emergency service volunteers drop everything on a moment’s notice and leave their work, home and families to serve our communities. The next time you see a blue or green light flashing, pull over immediately because you literally might be helping to save a life.

Speaking of saving lives, when it comes to Main Street, use crosswalks. But don’t close your eyes when you do. We know a driver who stopped for a teenager the other day who emerged from behind parked cars and into a crosswalk as if she were walking the plank. She didn’t need the usual pirate’s blindfold because she kept her eyes closed all the way across the street. Drivers, be aware this may be some new game kids are playing just to test your reflexes and your supply of expletives. Be ready! But do try to hold your tongue.

Then there are the drivers who take Main Street way too fast whenever they happen to have a few yards of traffic-free roadway ahead, but remember, pedestrians come popping out from between parked cars along Main Street all day long. Drive as if you’re going to have to stop on a dime because, sooner or later, you will.

Another Main Street peeve is drivers who stop dead waiting for a parking space because they’ve spotted a brake light just ahead. Even if that parked driver is chatting away on his cellphone, with no plan to exit his space anytime soon, some people just keep waiting, as if to say “tough luck” to the backed-up traffic behind them. Our TCO’s do a good job of telling these people to move on but they can’t be everywhere at once.

The Main Street list goes on and on: dog walkers who won’t pick up their pet’s poop; cyclists who ignore the signs and fail to walk their bikes; skateboarders who ignore the same signs; drivers who don’t look behind themselves, over both shoulders, when they back out of a diagonal parking spot; and drivers who commit U-turns to steal a parking space on the other side of the street.

Most of them are probably not bad folks, maybe just a little thoughtless. With an entire week of the July 4thholiday now upon us, please be patient, pledge to co-exist and enjoy the  summer season to the fullest — and safest — extent possible.