Action! Acton!

An article I wrote about the dangers for the elderly crossing intersections was recently printed in United Daily News. In my article I pleaded for the government to look into this matter and I assumed that my message was passed out through this well-known newspaper. However, only two months later another tragedy occurred. A legislator’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Tsai was killed while she was crossing an intersection on her way to do her daily grocery shopping. This accident was reported only because it happened to a legislator’ s family. Usually newspapers show no interest in any accident if it is not related to celebrities. Everyday there are hundreds of thousands of seniors crossing the streets. Who knows how many are injured or even killed because these pedestrian accidents are always treated as regular car accidents.

Taiwan has become an aging society. Thanks to the improvement in medicine, the average life span in Taiwan has increased to 79. With most elderly in good health, we cannot expect all of them just to stay home if it is dangerous to cross streets alone. I noticed that many times the elderly waited until the light turned green to move, but before they could reach the other side of the street the light has already turned red. They got stuck in the busy traffic and were so vulnerable to vehicles rushing toward them. Mrs. Tsai was one of those killed. The difficulty of crossing the street cannot be eased even if there is an accompanying helper. The helper cannot just scoop the person up like a child if the light turns red while they are still crossing.

We are always proud of Taiwan being a developed country. However, how can the government ignore this common problem which affects the daily life of its citizens? What a shame if it is always life threatening to cross a street in Taiwan!

Bih-Hua Chen
June 23, 2010

(This article was accepted by the newspaper)