A Victoria woman says she was rammed twice by a man on a mobility scooter after telling him he couldn’t pass through a construction zone on Friday.
Kathleen LeBleu has been a lane closure technician for three years and says she’s no stranger to the animosity of pedestrians and motorists. But on March 1, one man’s rage bubbled over into violence.
LeBleu is posted at a construction zone at Johnson Street and Vancouver Street, where a ‘bump over’ has been created to push traffic to the side and out of the way of construction workers and machinery.
She says the man had driven his mobility scooter about five feet past the ‘closed lane sign’ when she asked him to go back to the crosswalk and use the other side of the road.
When LeBleu told him he couldn’t pass through the closed lane, he argued with her and eventually drove into the side of her leg.
She says that when she didn’t move, he reversed his scooter and drove into her again, luckily only driving over her steel-toed boot.
LeBleu spoke with police, but says she was unable to proceed without any way to identify the man. She filed an incident report with her Victoria-based traffic control company.
In a Facebook post of a photo of her bruises, LeBleu said they were caused by “ignorance.”
“Everyone is in a rush to get to where they’re going,” she told Black Press Media. “They don’t care. They have this tunnel vision…when people get this tunnel vision they don’t see anything on the road…They’re like, ‘This is the way I go every day, I’m going this way.’”
LeBleu can’t physically force people not to travel through construction zones, but says many approach her with a “sense of entitlement.”
She said once they’ve ignored her directions, she has to communicate with the crews and shut down all construction until the person is through the zone.
“Once you’ve ignored the sign and ignored me, you are now responsible for your own safety.”
It’s one thing to be hit by a scooter, but LeBleu said safety is a constant concern for herself and many of other flaggers who direct traffic. She says many leave the job because they find it too dangerous.
“If you don’t have people out here doing my job, you don’t get new things in town. You don’t get new roads, you don’t get new bike lanes, you don’t get new high rise buildings, because there’s nobody to deal with the traffic.”