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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,171

    Crosswalk Culture

    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.....
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    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

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Hillsboro, OR
    Posts
    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
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    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.
    My photoblog
    http://dragons-fly-peacefully.blogspot.com/
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    Strada Velomobile
    I will never buy another bike!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    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.

    - Gray 2010 carbon WSD road bike, Rivet Independence saddle
    - Red hardtail 26" aluminum mountain bike, Bontrager Evoke WSD saddle
    - Royal blue 2018 aluminum gravel bike, Rivet Pearl saddle

    Gone but not forgotten:
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    - Two awesome worn out Juliana saddles

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Traveling Nomad
    Posts
    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

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Trondheim, Norway
    Posts
    1,469
    Quote Originally Posted by 7rider View Post
    ...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. ... 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.
    .....
    One day in "Berzerkeley", CA, I was crossing a street, with the green man signal in my favor, when a cyclist comes racing out of "nowhere" on my right, yells "WHOA WHOA WHOA!" at me so I jumped back, and pulls a left turn against the red just inches from my nose. Can get crazy anywhere, from any category of traffic. You just have to hope that when the crazies have a Darwin moment it doesn't take any of the sane ones out with them.
    Half-marathon over. Sabbatical year over. It's back to "sacking shirt and oat cakes" as they say here.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    584
    Quote Originally Posted by 7rider View Post
    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.....
    I hear you 7. Last week I was in a cross walk with the sign in my favor too and halfway across, this car decides it will turn right, right in front of me. grr. I yelled Pedestrians right of way, but they're oblivious. I wish a cop car was nearby. Some people really are in a cocoon when they enter their cars. This person was in a company car, glad they didn't hit me. Jenn

 

 

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