Thursday, March 22, 2007

Commute-Associated Hazards

I hate when a bead of water drops from scaffolding above the sidewalk or from support beams along the ceiling of the subway station and hits me in the head. I swear, I feel like something is going to grow out of my hair within a few hours.

Among the other hazards facing commuters in the concrete jungle, falling ice and stray voltage have resulted in serious injury and even death in recent years, as reported by NewYorkology.

[From The New York Times, March 20, 2007]: One woman was briefly hospitalized after hit with ice at Lexington Avenue and East 89th Street and another was hit on West 43rd Street in front of the New York Times building. Over in New Jersey, a large chunk of ice melted off the Pulaski Skyway, hitting two women in a sport utility vehicle.

It's also a good time to worry about stray voltage, which has killed a few dogs and one person in New York City in the past couple years. Salt, used heavily on streets and sidewalks to melt the ice, creates a path for electricity to travel, according to NY1, which tagged along with Con Ed's stray voltage team last week. More from NY1:

In the last year alone, the mobile team canvassed close to 12,000 miles of streets and found nearly 2,000 instances of stray voltage, up from 875 the year before. Officials say that was because more tests were conducted.

Once while I was still in college at Western Carolina University, I was walking across the university center lawn with an exchange student from Africa when he randomly mentioned: "It is so nice to be able to walk around without worrying about a snake falling on your head."

I guess it's all about the norms of your environment and the things you put up with in order to survive.

Snake falling on your head while crossing Fifth Avenue: Not normal

Being electrocuted while standing on salt at the intersection of 34th and Broadway: Just not your day

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