Automotive vee-hickles vs. pedestrians and bicyclists. Various versions of this topic are all over next door neighbor (NDN) ALL the time. Along with the Dog Wars but we won’t go there today.

Our city is hell bent on making things safe for pedestrians (we’ll leave bicycles out of this just for now). It began a number of years ago with crosswalks across busy streets. I am ALL FOR crosswalks BUT. The rules got changed from what I learned umpteen bazillion years ago in driver’s ed such that you had to stop when pedestrians were IN the crosswalk. Our local rules now are that you have to stop if someone is APPROACHING the crosswalk. So if it’s dark or the crosswalk is adjacent to a bus stop, you either can’t SEE the pedestrian(s) or aren’t sure if they are approaching the crosswalk or the bus stop. So to be safe from hitting someone (I would NEVER recover from hitting a person), basically you might as well just stop at every crosswalk. But that’s not the rules and people don’t reliably stop…

I don’t comment on ANYTHING on NDN but people who make even the barest suggestion that a pedestrian is EVER at fault are excoriated. It’s always the automotive vee-hickle driver’s fault yada yada. As both a driver AND a pedestrian, I disagree. I am ALWAYS aware of my surroundings when I walk and if there is a car anywhere near me, I wait until I am SURE what it’s going to do. I don’t EVER wear earbuds. I learned years ago that I would rather listen to nature.

And then there is public transportation. We have an excellent bus system here (I used it pre-covid and will use it again). When I was distance-caring for my mother in her last year (when we wouldn’t let her drive any more), I realized that if she lived with me, she would not be able to walk the three blocks to the bus stop especially through snow. Her small yooperland city didn’t have a bus system. To this day, I don’t think Uber or Lyft are operational there. I thought a regular old TAXI would work for her. I remember riding in taxis with mom when I was a young child and we could only afford to own one car. But… “ANNE!!! Do you know how much a taxi costs?” No mom, what does it cost? “Five dollars!”, she roared. We are not Warren Buffet but she could afford taxi rides from here to Jupiter. Alas, her world had shrunk by then and I couldn’t convince her otherwise. I mean, she’d’ve been the darling of the taxi service. “Anywhere youz wanna go Mrs. ‘Finnelson’. My mom took your child care class in high school.”

So one of my points is that we have to make sure the elderly (mom was 90) can get where they need to go if they are no longer driving and don’t have family around to help them (or have alienated their family like some people are wont to do). And the bus is not the answer. Another point is that we have to hold pedestrians responsible for their own carelessness. When I am at a crosswalk in the dark and I see headlights coming from any direction, I WAIT until the street is clear before crossing unless I can do a distance/speed calculation in my head and determine that I can get across the street before they approach the crosswalk. If I don’t make it, it’s MYYYY fault.

We’ll talk about the Dog Wars and roundabouts some other day. Or not 😵‍💫

One Response to “Crank-tastic”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Pedestrians in dark clothing at dusk or night who dart across the street have terrified me several times. Once it was a teenager running to the bus stop right in front of me on my way to school. That took about 10 years off my life. In my area, there are shuttles that can take the elderly to appointments and possibly other places. I don’t know how much they cost or how they work though. I hope to never have to find out.