Like 99.9% of the car-driving population, I drive to work whenever possible. I drive the same streets at the same times five, occasionally six, days a week. I see many of the same vehicles day in and day out. Also keep in mind I work the night shift, I drive in to work 2200-2230, and I drive home 0700-0730. Other drivers drive me insane more than occasionally, less than often, usually frequently; but what I’m going to rant about today is pedestrians.
Pedestrians to me are self-propelled travelers. I include in this category people who are: walking, jogging, running, cycling, in-line skating, skate boarding, cross-country skiing, or even bouncing along on a pogo stick. I stipulate that legally under the Highway Traffic Act, cyclists are considered vehicles like cars; but this is my blog and if I want to lump them with pedestrians, I should be able to. So there. 😛
The travelling public, which includes all of us who have to move off our own property at some point in our lives, has a real problem with distraction, and stupidity. But mostly stupidity. Let me tell you about a few, only a few of the Nimrods, morons, lemmings, negative examples, and future organ donors that I want to rant about.
First of all are walkers, more to the point jaywalkers. A jaywalker is a person who crosses a street outside of legal cross walks. It’s legal, and way safer, to cross the street at corners, lights, and painted cross walks. As an experienced and successful jaywalker, I can tell you that crossing in the middle of the block need not necessarily be unsafe; so long as you keep your head up, look both ways, choose a sufficient gap in traffic, make your move, and cross quickly. As an added bonus, making eye contact with oncoming drivers warns them of your intent and they can watch your progress so as not to unexpectedly accelerate, or change lanes, and turn you into road pizza. You can even cross against the light at a cross walk if you follow those simple suggestions.
That’s not what we get around here.
What we get here are geniuses who dash across a busy road twenty maybe thirty feet from a signalized crossing; because that’s the direct line from the coffee shop on one side to the bus stop on the other. 😮
So let’s recap here, to save yourself maybe thirty yards of walking, you’re going to cross a street thirty feet from an intersection that has two lanes of traffic in both directions, a left-hand turn lane, cars turning left and right from an equally busy cross street, with those drivers looking out for other cars and pedestrians in the legal, and expected, cross walk.
Did you take just one stupid pill this morning, a couple, or the whole bottle? 😯
That’s bad enough, here’s worse. If you’re out walking at night, it is generally considered to be a good idea to wear light-coloured clothing. I wouldn’t consider reflective tape and a bright flashing light to be a bad idea either. I would especially recommend not wearing black clothing devoid of any light colours or reflective tape, crossing the street just over the crest of a hill, next to a burned-out street light, under a mature tree, on a moonless night, when the identifier ‘African-’ shows up in your description.
Folks, if she hadn’t opened her mouth as her eyes widened, I would never have seen her. It was lucky(?) that she was almost across the lane, and that I could do a quick ‘left-right’ of the steering wheel to avoid her. If she had been more in the middle of the lane, she would have ruined my week, and I would have ruined her whole month. 😥
This lady, and I use the term sarcastically, must be on the Dean’s List at Dumb Skool.
I’m going for the Trifecta here, baby. Worst of all. Out on the local Golden Mile, we have a couple of discount, off-brand, no-tell motels located across and a little ways down a busy thoroughfare with two-lanes in both directions, with a centre left-turn lane, from a Beer Store. This road is wide.
The nearest signalized cross walk is maybe a half a kilometre away, along a stretch of road that has no sidewalks. It really would be faster and safer to just get back in the car and do some creative lane changes to get there, get the beer, and get back. But no, we get idiots wearing dark clothing, dashing across a stretch of road that isn’t terribly well-lit, all while carrying two cases of beer.
More than once, me, or another driver, has had to brake hard and/or swerve to not turn these Nimrods into impromptu speed bumps. 😡
The topper is that in that same plaza are a couple of pub-type restaurants. So now we have well-lubricated happy couples, with her in heels, doing the lemming dash across this road at closing time. What we have here are the valedictorian and salutatorian for Dumb Skool. What could possibly go wrong?
That was a rhetorical question. I don’t want to find out.
I really don’t want to run over you pedestrians, but you’ve got to work with me here. Please don’t do dumb things, don’t make bone-headed decisions, and most of all don’t run out in front of me.
The next category that I’m going to rant about is cyclists.