Pedestrians--quit tempting fate!

Pedestrians--quit tempting fate!

I wrote a blog post a couple days ago ranting about idiot drivers nearly running pedestrians over, and it elicited excellent comments from people in and around Chicago. You can check the post out here.

A common point the commenters made was that the fault doesn't entirely lie with the drivers. There are plenty of idiotic pedestrians who seem to think they can tempt fate and still live.

Commenter nelliaferty said:

You constantly see people crossing on left turn arrows, against lights, where there are no crosswalks... basically walking around as if they always have the right of way no matter what. Now, whether or not that's true under the letter of the law, it's completely devoid of common sense and will be of little consolation to somebody when they're in the morgue. A couple weeks ago I saw a teenage girl VERY nearly get killed when she walked across Congress at Michigan, 100% against the light, and without even looking.

Commenter Charles Butler had a great quote I had to share:

You can not have pedestrians challenging 2 tons of steel unless they have a "S" on their chests under the clothes.

See? Only the Man of Steel can battle steel cars. (Or aluminum if you've got a cheaper car. But they're still heavy.)

And that weight exerts even more energy in the event of an impact, thanks to the laws of physics.

And honestly, not all drivers have excellent brakes, or excellent reaction times--and yet I see people trying to race to cross the intersection (against a light) to beat oncoming cars as if the drivers were actually as experienced as the NASCAR racers. (Well, to be honest, some drivers seem to think they are NASCAR racers.)

The lights are there for a reason--especially if it's busy, it's rush hour, there's inclement weather, etc etc etc. Now, I will be the first to admit I'm a chronic against-the-light-walker, but I try to be prudent about it. I have two rules.

1) There should be NO cars oncoming, or if they are, they should be a mile away.

2) Forget the first rule if the car is a taxi. Never ever ever try to cross against the light if there's a taxi oncoming. Even if the taxi is two miles away, I still don't cross. You know how fast those drivers go. Yeah. They can beat the yellow light 5 blocks over by running through a couple red lights along the way.

The other issue is that people are often oblivious to their surroundings--texting while walking, listening to music, etc. (Or stoned. I'm sure there are plenty of people like that around.) I know in the city, it's a survival mechanism to NOT make eye contact with everybody. You just turn on tunnel vision and get to your destination. Often people instinctually cross intersections because they assume they've got the light, whether or not they do. What a nightmare for the drivers! So please, people, be aware of your surroundings. I don't necessarily advocate wearing earbuds while walking, but if you must, scan your surroundings. It'll help keep you from being run over by cars--and it'll keep you from being pickpocketed.

Expat in Chicago had another good point I want to share.

Another message to pedestrians (and I'm one of them a lot of the time, BTW) is not to stand near the black and white crosswalks if you're not actually intending to cross the road.

This is especially true for the unlighted crosswalks. You know, the ones with the same sign I shared in that last post? That diamond yellow one? That was the kind of crosswalk I was attempting to cross when an idiot in a pink car nearly ran me over. There's a ton of them around the city. Two on my way to work, and one near my home. The law here says that pedestrians have the right of way in those crosswalks.

Expat is doing the right thing by being aware of the pedestrians, and being ready to stop when people cross the road. However, as he pointed out, people often stand in those crosswalks trying to hail a cab. Sure, that's useful to try to better catch a cab--but it confuses the heck out of drivers. Are they crossing, or are they not? So, please be kind to the drivers and don't stand on crosswalk unless you actually intend to cross.

And drivers, please please please stop if people are actually trying to cross the road. While some people seem to think they're Superman, most of us are scared shitless of getting run over by cars.

Do you have any other advice you would like to share with pedestrians or drivers? Advice, rants, raves, etc...all are welcome. Just be nice.

(Hmm. Maybe I should write about bikers, next...they also seem to tempt fate a lot.)

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