If you're going to try to kill yourself, please leave your kid out of it.

Not to mention the rest of us.

Dear Medea,

I understand that you’re in a hurry in the mornings. I’m sure having to run errands with a three-year-old little girl in tow is not easy. And I know that riding the bus in Memphis is fraught with tension, as most of the lines do not run with anywhere near the frequencies they should.

But you know something, I don’t care. What the fuck were you thinking yanking the little girl across Poplar–one of the cities busiest intersections–during rush hour, against traffic, not at a light, in FRONT OF A MOVING BUS?

The driver came within inches–not feet, INCHES–of slamming into both of you. If he’d been distracted for even half a second by someone asking him a question, or a call from his dispatcher, both you and that little girl would be street pizza, the driver would be traumatized and calling himself a killer, and everyone on the bus would have been mourning that pretty little girl you MURDERED because you’re TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES OF INERTIA, MOMENTUM, AND CROSSWALKS.

But that’s not the worst of it. No, ma’am, it isn’t. The worst of it isn’t even that you caught huffy and self-righteous with the driver when he called you to task for your galactic stupidity and recklessness. (“I’m a pedestrian,” you sniped, “I had the right of way, you’re supposed to know how to stop this, it wasn’t my fault and nothing happened anyway!”) The worst of it isn’t even that you were teaching your child horribly suicidal traffic skills. No, the worst of it is that you YELLED at the poor baby girl because she was crying in fear AFTER YOU NEARLY MURDERED HER.
“Stop crying,” you said. “Ain’t nothing happened to you. If you’d just learn to keep up with me we wouldn’t have any problems. You’re a big girl, you shouldn’t need me to hold your hand. Stop your damn crying!”

You stupid, stupid, stupid bitch.

Bloody hell. I feel sorry for the poor little girl. Maybe this was a one time incident brought on by too much stress, maybe. I know it’s not easy being a parent. Still, if it isn’t, if this is her mothers’ usual pattern (yes, I know I’m assuming the worst here), the kid’s in for a rough time of things. Maybe it was a babysitter, not her mother?

I’m truly amazed at the prevalence of the mistaken idea that pedestrians automatically have the right of way.

Pedestrians DO have the right of way, but that ain’t gonna mean much if their dead, right? A moving car is a LOT harder to stop than a person. Especially if they have bad brakes. :smiley:

I experienced something very similar to this the other day that made my blood boil. Carson City isn’t a very large town but there ARE a lot of cars. It doesn’t come to a standstill but there’s a lot of cars moving at any one given time. Roop street, a major street here in town, is always hell during the 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. time block. I’m driving home on this street the other day, and a woman dashes out in front of me from in front of the courthouse, dragging what looked to be a very pretty two-year-old girl along with her, and then stopped and yelled at the girl for slowing her down once she got to the other side.

See, the thing is, my car is one of those cars with bad brakes. They’re serviceable, but I have a very good reaction time because of how shitty they are. I was only going about thirty, but I still coulda killed the little girl. And what if I’d stopped and then the person behind me who was going thirty didn’t see it and pounded into me? Oh hell yes I’d be suing. She wasn’t even on a crosswalk. And her poor litttle baby girl, she was so sweet looking. Here’s hoping she makes it past five with an obviously stupid mother.


In some places pedestrians do have right of way. Here in Michigan I believe the pedestrians have right of way. With the way people drive here though, you would have to have a screw loose to cross the street with traffic.

I’m sick of seeing bad parents taking the kids down with them. I hope the little girl makes to adulthood ok and then gets the hell away from her idiot mother.

The laws of physics don’t recognize the concept of “right of way,” though…

Heh, I investigate traffic issues for the local school district and I’m constantly amazed at what we see. Parents stopping on the opposite side of a six-lane street and letting the kids cross by themselves because they don’t want to wait in the school drop-off queue. I mean, if you’re that desperate to get rid of your kid, why don’t you just smother them in their sleep? Faster and less painful for everyone.

As someone said, many rights are worth dying for; the right of way is not among them.

The place where I’ve heard the myth “pedestrians automatically have the right of way” the most is in California. It’s not true there, and I seriously doubt it’s true anywhere. So, soul radiation, could you post a link to the applicable law or ordinance for your area?

A link to New Hampshire’s pedestrian right-of-way statute:


It’s important to note, that as Monty says, pedestrians do NOT automatically have the right of way. There are conditions which must be met, and it only applies to crosswalks. Other states are probably similar. If a pedestrian just steps off the curb away from a crosswalk does not have the right of way–if he gets hit, it’s his own damn fault.

Relevant info from Florida Statutes.

"(1) A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of any official traffic control device specifically applicable to the pedestrian unless otherwise directed by a police officer.

(7) When traffic control signals are not in place or in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, slowing down or stopping if need be to so yield, to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(8) No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield.

(10) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(15) Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian or any person propelling a human-powered vehicle and give warning when necessary and exercise proper precaution upon observing any child or any obviously confused or incapacitated person. "

I’m betting it’s pretty similar everywhere. Sometimes the pedestrian has the right away, and sometimes he doesn’t. The lady in the OP would have violated #8 at a minimum.

I can’t seem to find a cite but this was told to my driver’s ed. class by a MI. state trooper. On the other hand this is the same state trooper that told us certain band stickers on cars gave her probable cause to search vehicles sporting those stickers.

I’m going to keep looking, hopefully I can find something.


Excellent observations, Monty, matt and Anne.

Let me also state that CVC 21950(d) and 21954(b) does not mean that the driver is at fault regardless of where the pedestrian is crossing the street, it just means that it’s still not legal to hit the pedestrian intentionally or carelessly…aka “Open Season”, aka “5 Points!”, etc.

At Michigan State University,


Did you ever read X Marks the Pedwalk, by Fritz Lieber (Number 12 on that list)?

If it’s any consolation, the mother/care giver showed the classic response that I call the righteous indignatious - they know they are in the wrong but are indignant none the less.

I often see parents running across busy streets - not at intersections, mind you - with their kids in tow. What self-respecting parent can instruct their kids about road safety, crossing with the light, and so on, and then go on to break those rules right in front of them?

If you want to zip out from between parked cars and play in traffic, then go ahead and amuse yourself. But please, when you have your little kid with you, take the 30 extra seconds and walk to the corner to wait for the crossing signal!

Yes but MSU is only one small area of Michigan. I just seized control of the computer again. Now I will continue my research.

Is it legal to cross when it says walk in the crosswalk at a red light? I have had vans turn right and almost hit me, giving me the finger!
I’ve walked across at a red light where the driver has stopped in the crosswalk lines. I look at him and he says "you wanna get runned over?’
Amazing. I want to go live in Amish land.