Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Road Accidents

I was walking the road from Kajov to Chvalsiny, taking advantage of a cold brisk day with a gloriously bright sun, when I took this photo. The road is a not atypical one for these parts, lined on both sides by parades of trees and on an embankment that slopes steeply away into the river or the water meadows. This layout has its perils, the road is too narrow, barely wide enough (if at all) in places for two cars to meet each other and certainly not with a pedestrian in the road too. The road deceives the drivers into going too fast – something most Czechs do anyway – and on occasion into overtaking when one cannot see far enough ahead – again something Czech drivers do regularly. If one is unfortunate to meet such stupidity coming towards you, the closely planted trees and the embankment mean there is nowhere for your car to go to avoid an accident.

In all I counted three wayside memorials to lives lost on the four kilometre stretch I walked and numerous trees where the scarred bark told of other (hopefully less fatal) accidents. The memorials were marked with plaques and flowers. All spoke, as in this one shown here, of young lives cut short. And yet as I walked the cars still went too fast, several times I had to jump on to the verge. I do not doubt that there will be more memorials added to the road's deadly tally over the years. There are some calls for the trees to be cleared from the sides of these roads, but they are not fault, the drivers are. The trees have been there long before the speeding cars. And would removing them actually stop the accidents or might it even encourage more speeding?

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