Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 6:08 PM on Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where are Homer drivers going so fast?

Point of Veiw

By lotus condon

My son recently took his first bike ride into town with a friend. I was a nervous wreck, and it was not about my son being aware. I am confident we taught him well. I was worried about the drivers in town being aware.


Lotus Condon

For a town where it only takes minutes to get from one place to another, things just don't seem to be close enough for Homer drivers to slow down. A small, lazy town, this is not. I am a transplant from Los Angeles and I can honestly say the drivers here are much like the ones in rush hour in downtown Los Angeles sometimes worse.

Every day, at least once, I am tailgated or almost rear-ended when trying to make a turn. It seems like it is an inconvenience for the driver behind you to have to slow down so that you can make a turn or slow down when you are trying to go the speed limit. I am not sure why most drivers feel exempt from the speed limits, but I try and adhere to them.

There are few that actually go 25 mph on Pioneer Avenue. Hardly any slow down when coming into town; during the school year many don't seem to notice the yellow flashing lights and slow down.

Speaking of not noticing, forget about trying to cross a street here. I once stood, with a stroller, at a crosswalk by Young's and cars just went by. Finally my husband just walked into the street and put his hand out. Again, it seemed a total inconvenience for the driver to have to wait while I pushed the stroller across the lane. Frustrating indeed, but not as infuriating as the day I had three kids in the car, one an infant, going up East Hill Road. I had just turned and a silver pickup was right behind me — tailgating, of course. I was going 35 mph and apparently it was not fast enough, and right where the road curves, he speeded up and passed me on a double line and blind corner. He revved his engine and took off as fast as he could go.

When I got home I told my husband and he said, "Oh, that is so and so who lives up the hill in the big house." So, because he is a local and drives a fancy pickup, does that make it OK? Does he have privileges to go fast and do illegal passes? Do some drivers think they have been here so long, it makes it OK to speed?

My husband was born and raised here, and he does not drive erratically. On another occasion, even he was outraged when we were driving out East to a children's party, with four kids in the car, going the speed limit, when this guy in a minivan kept coming up on us then backing off then honking. Finally he passed us going about 60 on a double line, of course, and he actually had the nerve to give us the finger.

So what gives? Where is everyone going in such a hurry? Why do people feel it necessary to tailgate someone? What is the purpose? Do they feel they deserve to be in front and want everyone to move out of the way? Is it bullying? Why can't someone make a safe turn and be given the space to do so, without someone coming up so close to almost hit? Why can't I choose to go the speed limits or drive without hesitation?

This is such a beautiful place with great people. We don't want this place to be anything like LA or any other big city. So, why can't Homer drivers back off, be cautious, be aware and just slow down?

I could only wish that writing this would do anything, but I know those who do all the tailgating, speeding around, will not stop. If anything, I ask the people that don't do these things, like me, just hold your own. Don't speed up for anyone, make a safe turn and make the extra effort to stop at crosswalks and make the people behind you just have to wait.

And if you are being tailgated or get passed on double lines, say something, do something, report it. Maybe people will start to get the hint. And maybe, just maybe, one day, things will change and I won't have to worry when it is my daughter's turn to make her first bike ride into town.

Lotus Condon has lived in Homer for three years, moving here from California. Her husband was born and raised in Homer, and the couple is now raising their two children, ages 9 and 1, here. She describes herself as a "busy mother, homemaker, avid gardener and support for (her) husband's handyman service."