Sunday, July 11, 2010

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Idiot Pedestrian Rights Laws are Downright Dangerous

When I was eight years old, my mother would let me walk to town alone. I had to cross a very busy street with traffic that moved a pretty good clip. My mother, being the sort that believed in training her children, had spent many a good teaching moment on the side of the street, showing me when it was safe to cross and when it wasn't. And, she firmly told me, if you have to wait twenty minutes to cross, if you have to whip your head back and forth and back and forth until you get whiplash, you will do that until you see no car in either direction. I followed her instructions because she taught me my body was no match for a steel machine. If I didn't want to die, I would practice safe pedestrian crossing.

My son recently spent a year in India and it took a bit of time before he learned how to cross the road there. In India, you have to wait until there is time for you to cross into the space between "lanes" *(these don't really exist) and you have to do this incrementally until your reach the other side. It is quite a terrifying experience, but if you move and stop properly as you make your way across the street, you will survive. You learn to do this correctly because if you don't, you will be run over by a motorized rickshaw, car, motorbike, bus, truck, camel, or elephant. Check out this video to learn how to make it to the "other side" in India.

In NYC, jaywalking is routine, but jaywalkers know that they better move their asses post haste and they best make sure they don't get in the way of a taxi. They pay attention and walk quickly.

Pedestrians who understand that a modern road is for cars and that cars are bigger than them, survive. Traffic also moves along well because there isn't a pedestrian crossing every few yards and two-footed idiots strolling casually across the street.

But, now, I live in the State of Stupidity also known as Maryland where laws are being passed to "help" people cross the street. It seems to be some modern guilt trip that walking makes one better citizens and those bad people in cars better defer to them or else. Streets are for pedestrians, too, and they are going to have the government's assistance to help them across the street like little old ladies or blind people. Only this time, this kind of help is going to get them killed.

My neighborhood has turned into Frogger Alley. Crosswalks have been tossed into the middle of blocks (so the pedestrians don't have to take those extra steps to a corner) and cars are required by law to yield to anyone in the crosswalk. Sounds like a kindly thing until one realizes how incredibly dangerous this is. Because pedestrians believe they now have the right of way, they just walk straight out into the road, fully expecting traffic to stop. And traffic does stop, IF they see them.

I have almost run over a few people already since this moronic law was passed.

Scenario One: A truck is in the left hand lane with his turn signal on and blocking my view of the crosswalk in front of him. But, he is not turning left there; he is stopped for a pedestrian. Driving in the next lane, I am suddenly confronted with a pedestrian who steps out from behind the truck into the middle of my lane. I almost run him over. He screams at me, "Watch where you are driving!" Well, I was watching where I was driving. I was on a thirty-five mph road with nothing in front of me.

Scenario Two: One doesn't even know the crosswalk is there! One is tooling along at dusk and, suddenly, some college student bolts into the road in front of the car. Screech! That was a close one.

Scenario Three: A pedestrian dressed in black comes out of the bushes and walks straight for the other side of the road. If one runs him over, one gets nailed with manslaughter.

Scenario Four: With a clear road ahead, one is distracted for a moment, lost in thought or turning the radio dial. Bam! Pedestrian under car because the pedestrian no longer bothers to even look and see if the car is slowing and stopping because it is supposed to.

Hey, look, I am all for courtesy. But, today, a driver got angry at me because I didn't want to step into the crosswalk and walk across the street with traffic coming at me from both sides. I don't trust those drivers to see me and I don't expect them to. Finally, all the traffic did stop but everyone was mad at me because I held them up instead of just racing across the road.

Isn't it easier and safer to just wait until it is safe to cross the street and then do so? That's what my mother taught me.

For more on the subject, read this article on mid-block pedestrian crossings.

Build an underpass, build an overpass, build walking paths, or, if it is necessary, add a light or a stop sign with a proper crosswalk at the corner. But, for God's sake and the sake of all pedestrians and drivers, get rid of those stupid mid-block death traps.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown