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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
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    Crosswalk Culture

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    Forget the hazards of bike riding....you take your life into your hands around here just walking around.
    Today, I walked to the post office at lunch. I had to cross a major road (3 lanes each way) at an intersection with another major road (also 3 lanes each way) to get to/from my destination. Walking to the post office, I'm 3/4 way across - in the crosswalk, with the walk sign in my favor - and a car comes up on my right - he's in the far right (turn) lane, but with no-turn-on-red restriction and zips into the crosswalk - stopping suddenly about 5 inches from my thigh. In the crosswalk. Like, if I were lucky, he'd stop ON the crosswalk, not BEFORE the crosswalk (as required by law), and would likely make an (unlawful) right on red. Granted, I was perhaps blocked visually by the car in the center lane...but all the more reason for the driver to proceed cautiously. It was, after all, lunch time in a major downtown metro area - tons of pedestrians out and about.
    So, I survived my walk to the post office (barely).
    Time to walk back.
    This time, I'm proceeding through the same crosswalk at that intersection, going in the other direction - also with the walk in my favor. A car coming towards me, takes a right - and FLOORS IT - specifically to get through the intersection and not yield to the many pedestrians already in it. I was the closest to the car and he missed me by, oh, a good 6 inches. Going FAST.
    Jeeez. Us.
    And, it made me think of the many conversations I've had with co-workers from across the country on the state of driver/pedestrian interactions here in my little city in Maryland. Our agency has many offices across the country. Those folks frequently travel here for meetings and conferences, just as we frequently travel out to other areas. Folks who come here from areas in California or our Honolulu office (and I'm only using them b/c I can think of specific discussions off the top of my head) are aghast at how pedestrians have such little regard for crosswalks or crossing with the light. They are equally amazed at how motorists have such little regard for pedestrians in a crosswalk - or anywhere, posted speed limits, or other rules of the road.
    It's like a feakin' free for all around here.
    And that's largely because enforcement is spotty at best and the penalties are (it would appear) hardly a deterrent.
    So that's my muse and my rant for this lunch.....
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
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    4,066
    It's experiences like that that make me desperately wish I had some handy way of getting the driver's attention and making a point. I used to dream of having little red and yellow cards (like the soccer ones), with the usual aggressive driver infractions printed on them, ready in my pocket to hand out to particularly bad drivers at stop signs. Or small water balloons... or something sticky...
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
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    5,023
    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    It's experiences like that that make me desperately wish I had some handy way of getting the driver's attention and making a point. I used to dream of having little red and yellow cards (like the soccer ones), with the usual aggressive driver infractions printed on them, ready in my pocket to hand out to particularly bad drivers at stop signs. Or small water balloons... or something sticky...
    Eggs?

    I always imagined carrying golf balls with me to throw as they are light, easily concealed, but pack a whallop and can make dents.
    My new non-farm blog: Finding Freedom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    1,372
    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    It's experiences like that that make me desperately wish I had some handy way of getting the driver's attention and making a point. I used to dream of having little red and yellow cards (like the soccer ones), with the usual aggressive driver infractions printed on them, ready in my pocket to hand out to particularly bad drivers at stop signs. Or small water balloons... or something sticky...
    Ghalager (sp?) used to do a routine about cars having to have targets on them. Then other drivers/cyclist/peds could shoot little arrows with flags on them showing infractions at the targets to show how bad the driver was.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
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    14,501
    I've been known to slap the rear fender just to make a noise. Not that anything road rage-y should really be encouraged ...
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    5,897
    Do NOT get me started on this. The neighborhood I work in wins awards for "walkability." Yet I'm almost run over all the time, in the crosswalk with a walk signal.

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    Traveling Nomad
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    6,763
    Yes. Happened to me just this week. I have to cross a major multi-lane road to get to the bus stop in the morning. Yesterday morning I started crossing when the lights were all red, and an older woman had to come to a screeching halt as she was flying and about to run the red. I was not in the lane she was in, but I was one over, and it did freak me out. I gave her a "WTF" look and gesture as I walked in front of her after she'd stopped with a loud SCREECH.

    Had another experience recently in a mid-block pedestrian crosswalk where a young gal texting didn't see me at all and just blew right through it. I was walking my bike across. If I'd stepped out in front of her as would have been my right, I wouldn't be here now. She never saw me even after the fact. And of course texting while driving is illegal.

    Sigh....
    Emily

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  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,811
    I lost a year at college because I was crossing a four lane highway (2 in each direction) in a cross walk with the light in my favor, I was in front of a car traveling north, stopped in the left turn lane and just as I stepped into the empty straight thru lane, a car failed to stop. The driver of the car that hit me didn't realize he had hit me until my hand came thru the front window. I was thrown about 40 ', ended up with a major concussion, complications from same, and two shattered knees.

    I am fortunate that they were able to rebuild almost everything except for the outside ACL on one leg and the interior ACL on the other. My right knee has little or no cartilage with floating bits that jam it up on occassion, but I have spent over 40 years training the muscles all around both knees that now it only bothers me if I get really leg weary from standing around for hours or twist it suddenly.

    I swear you take your life in your hands any time you walk .

    Around here, I don't even start out from a red light briskly for fear of someone unning it from the other direction. It's such a conditioned reflex that it generally slows down every light .
    marni
    Katy, Texas
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Eugene, OR
    Posts
    123
    Quote Originally Posted by marni View Post
    Around here, I don't even start out from a red light briskly for fear of someone unning it from the other direction. It's such a conditioned reflex that it generally slows down every light .
    How awful! I have a similar reflex, biking, walking, or driving, and always have. I've never been in an accident related to someone running a red light, so I'm not sure why, but it has saved me a few times. Right now I'm teaching my 8 and 10 year old boys how to ride in traffic, and it's really tough to get the point across about the difference between what right-of-way is, and what the rules are, and the fact that at any given time, someone else may not follow that rule.

    P.S. I love your signature!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Katy, Texas
    Posts
    1,811

    signature, was cross walk culture

    Quote Originally Posted by HappyTexasMom View Post

    P.S. I love your signature!
    Thank you, there aren't many who recognize it.

    marni
    marni
    Katy, Texas
    Trek Madone 6.5- "Red"
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    "easily outrun by a chihuahua."

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,150
    I think it is time somebody designed an ink squirter... just to make a mark. Helmet cameras also have interesting potential... (and I also check for the red light runners and the greenlight anticipaters.)

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,203
    When I first moved to DC from Paris, I was amazed at how the pedestrians actually DO wait for the walk signal. I figured that DC is a city filled with people who respect, or at least acknowledge, authority, so they wait for the walk signal. Drove me nuts! In Paris, the pedestrians just go.

    Drivers, however, are a different story. I dreaded crossing the street in DC as a pedestrian (even when waiting for the walk signal along with everyone else).

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    Where I lived last year, if you jaywalked you were liable to get squashed, unless it was late. If it was late, you were liable to get a ticket. Yes, this police department had that little to do.

    HappyTexasMom, I have the same sort of reflex. Lots of people here have no clue what that octagonal red sign means.

    Anyway, I bring this thread up again because I walked over to Starbucks for a change. There are five road crossings between my house and Starbucks...and three of them are across the same road. These weren't the problem. I had to cross at a very busy intersection with a marked crosswalk and lights and everything. I had my eye on an SUV-load of teenage boys, and it was lucky that I did, because they showed absolutely no interest in letting me cross even though pedestrians have the right of way. They turned right in front of me. Apparently the driver missed that part of driver's ed. Of course, I'm starting to think that a lot of drivers here in Suburbia have no clue how to deal with pedestrians simply because they never see them.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    Pedestrians in MA jaywalk routinely. Especially in the city. Many times, I am the only one at an intersection in Boston, waiting for the walk signal.
    However, once you get out of the city/close in suburbs, I would say the majority of drivers stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks, waiting to cross. But some people are clueless.
    Yesterday I was driving through Concord center, in a spot where I rarely drive. It was really congested and there were tourists everywhere, cars pulling in and out of spaces, cyclists, delivery trucks. There are 3 cross walks within a 1/4 mile stretch of Main St. I was in a long line of stopped traffic, waiting for people to cross. There was a UPS truck next to me, stopped at the curb on the corner, unloading. When I went to go, a guy walked right into the crosswalk, in front of the truck, and I could not see him approaching . I had to slam my brakes. I was shaken, especially since I ride through the same spot much more than I drive and kept thinking, what would have happened if I was on my bike?
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  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Trondheim, Norway
    Posts
    1,469
    Quote Originally Posted by GLC1968 View Post
    Eggs?

    I always imagined carrying golf balls with me to throw as they are light, easily concealed, but pack a whallop and can make dents.
    But then there's the ricochet factor, not to mention what would happen if the crazy driver of the car you hit suddenly spun out of control - car-wise or mentally. I once tossed a (loose!) snowball at the hub cap of a car that drove down a no-through-driving street up which I was walking. The driver actually backed up the street for two blocks (against the one-way sign!) chewing me out and claiming she lived mid-block and was therefore allowed to drive down there, then proceeded to drive all the way down and out the end of the street (as I knew, since I'd seen her car parked the block below before). Wintertime it's really dangerous when drivers run through this street, as there are lots of folks struggling their way up on foot on the ice and snow. And the second block she backed her way up is where kids pull their sleds back up after a run down the park alongside that block. So she broke two laws that are in place to protect kids and other pedestrians, just in a fit of road rage because I hit her hub cap with a soft snowball. Golf balls? Don't go there.
    Half-marathon over. Sabbatical year over. It's back to "sacking shirt and oat cakes" as they say here.

 

 

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