I was out jogging the other week to discover that my usual route was barrier-taped off, and a very helpful policewoman advised me that perhaps I should go a different way. A few days later, I laboured my way up that street again... to pass a streetlamp adorned with flowers and cards, and one of those yellow Police signs indicating there had been a fatal accident on the road about half an hour before I’d tried to jog up it. A kid, I expect.
Regarding the flowers and cards; I absolutely sympathise. I suppose it could be argued that this way of commemorating places of tragedy is a recent tacky development, but it’s not. I remember, visiting Crete, wherever there had been a fatal road accident the family would build a shrine at the roadside, often with photos of the victim, details of the accident, and, most movingly of all, flowers and candles regularly replenished by the victim’s families. Can you imagine a more effective warning to other motorists? You’d often find several shrines clustered around hairpin bends and sheer drops. And beside broken sections of safety barrier (which indicated how ineffective the safety barriers were).
Further down the same road, a few years ago, I’d seen a kid get run over by a bus, just outside HSBC. He wasn’t killed or hurt. He’d tripped whilst running across the road with his mates – and the bus powered straight over him, with him lying safely between the wheels. And then he got up and started laughing about it, as though he’d just performed a particularly spectacular stunt (which, to be fair, he had). Though possibly not one he’d be willing to repeat. Personally, though, I was shocked, terrified, and furious... this idiot just didn’t realise how bloody lucky he’d been.