Pedestrian and bicyclist safety are major concerns for all our coastal towns. As well they should be.
From Ocean City through Lewes, a near-constant item of news is a pedestrian or bicyclist being struck by a vehicle. There is no particular time of day or set of circumstances one could identify as a pattern to fix — daytime, nighttime, children, the elderly, motorist-at-fault, pedestrian-at-fault or weather conditions. The incidents do not discriminate.
With that largely in mind, Fenwick Island officials are discussing ways in which they might be able to fully connect the town through sidewalks. Of course, there are reasons other than safety for their discussions. Fully-encompassing sidewalks would improve walkability, particularly along Route 1, which would most likely help local businesses, for starters.
Those are all reasonable reasons to complete the sidewalks in town, but we are going to circle back to safety in this discussion.
There is no guarantee that completing the sidewalks would prevent even one horrible instance in the future. There are still too many people crossing the road without using crosswalks, still too many motorists texting and driving or otherwise being distracted, and still too many instances of a child, as they are inclined to do, just taking off and inadvertantly running into the street.
But it could. It honestly could prevent one tragedy that could rip families from both sides of a collission apart, and that seems like a good enough reason to us to at least explore the possibilities of securing the funding to get the job done. And it sounds like Fenwick officials are doing just that, as they recently discussed financial options.
There are too many sad stories each year to stop looking for answers.