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Madison’s Speeders And The Pandemic

October 12, 2020

The City of Madison has lowered its speed limits on a number of streets to stem a problem that is getting out of hand. Those who think it their right to turn our roadways into a racetrack have created much conversation from residents along with our police department. But what happened to make this such a noticeable and troubling situation now? I have two suggestions as to the cause. I also have a thought as to a long-term remedy.

I have noticed the issue of speed and the pandemic seem somehow linked.  James and I have mostly stayed at home since March but drive about for relaxation later in the day and often head out somewhere so to walk away from anyone else.  In late winter the streets were really empty of cars, University Avenue often looked like it were Christmas Eve—night after night.

I suspect it was then that some drivers found the ability to race about and have continued that activity even as businesses opened and more people got back to routines.  But that does not explain it all when speeding is so very prevalent. 

The other factor at play, I suspect, is the stress that has built up over not only the virus but social ills and the never-ending bombast from this White House.  Too many people are not equipped to deal in a healthy fashion with emotions and anger. They are more eager to not deal with feelings than confront them honestly.  But that stress or anger will manifest itself in other ways, and not always in productive ones.   Aggressive driving, for some, is that unhealthy outlet.

I am trusting that with virtual learning, which I strongly support for the safety of teachers, staff, and students there are discussions with young people about how to cope and effectively deal with feelings during this pandemic.  Not that these youngsters are drivers, of course, but that when those skills can be learned when young they will be used over the decades of life.

For those who misuse our streets and put drivers, bikers, and pedestrians in harm’s way they must be dealt with by law enforcement. I have noted in evening times an uptick in various areas of the city more speed traps are set as police cars are arrayed for the ones to be ticketed. I trust tickets and perhaps a few points marked for insurance purposes will help realign the driving habits of those who need to be brought in line.

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