Editorial: Responsibility belongs with the individuals

Yes, someone got the ride of his life on the Johnson Street Bridge, and got a chance to enjoy the view from way up there as a barge passed underneath the open span.

The somewhat inebriated man slipped past the barriers that are supposed to prevent this sort of thing, then had to cling to a railing as the bridge went up and came back down again.

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So, what should we do about this? Should we get some new bylaws, add security dogs, let loose the hounds?

None of the above, for a rather simple reason.

We already have controls in place, and when they do not deter, we have police officers who are ready to respond to deal with the bridge riders. That’s what happened last week; the cops had plenty of time to get there after they got the call about the stunt, or drunken blunder, or whatever it was.

The bridge has warning signals, and yes, some people treat them they way drivers treat amber lights, and try to beat them.

The decision to lift the bridge triggers flashing lights, clanging bells, descending arms and gates. A recorded voice repeatedly admonishes riders and walkers to go to safety. The bridge operator controls the arms on the pedestrian and bike baths and can turn to a public-address system if people don’t understand any of the hints offered to them.

If all of that is not enough, there is no sense in tossing more money and time at the problem.

At a certain point, people need to take responsibility for their actions. You can legislate for safety, but in the end, you can’t legislate against stupidity.

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