Pedestrian dangers stem from neglect of fellow man
There's so much talk here in Hawaii about what the government can do about pedestrian dangers, red-light runners and traffic accidents. The problem is that it's not a governmental issue, it's a spiritual one.
No matter what the government does, short of erecting enclosed walkways and putting police officers at every corner, it won't solve the problem because the issue lies in the human heart, not in legislation. We are people full of self and lacking respect for others.
The elderly lady darts across the road without a crosswalk because she knows her needs are most important and the world revolves around her.
The teen saunters into the crosswalk as the red hand is turning solid because he knows his needs are most important and the world revolves around him.
The harassed young mother, frustrated with the time it takes to stop at every light, finally blasts through one because she knows her needs are most important and the world revolves around her.
The young man races down the H-1 because he is running late, and he knows his needs are most important and the world revolves around him.
OK, so very few of us consciously think that we are the most important person and the world revolves around us, but when we act in disrespect to the needs of others, that is the subconscious reason.
The only fix is to see the world through God's eyes.
Jesus told us that if you want to be considered great, you have to serve others. In Paul's Letter to the Romans, we are told to obey the authority of the government. The laws that our government enacted to keep order on our roads -- pedestrian crosswalks, traffic lights, speed limits -- are laws that God expects us to obey, but being out in traffic also gives us the opportunity to serve others. It looks a lot like driving with aloha!
We can choose to obey God and serve others every time we go out in traffic. We can stop at the intersection when the light is turning yellow. We can stop before the intersection instead of blocking other drivers who have also been waiting for their light to turn green. We can stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
We can use marked crosswalks when we are pedestrians, and we can walk as swiftly as we are able.
We can also serve others by being considerate. We can pull to the side of the driving lane when we are waiting for a parking space. We can let cars back out of their parking spaces. We can let cars merge into traffic. We can choose not to switch back and forth between lanes, hoping to get ahead of other drivers.
Driving with aloha is not something the government can force us to do through legislation. Driving with aloha is something practical that our churches should be teaching us to do to obey God and to serve others. Reducing traffic injuries and fatalities is something about which the church, not the government, needs to get serious.
Cheryl Okimoto is the creative director of Island Christian Guide.