Maniacs on the road

On my walk back from work today I walked across a crossing that is just by the turn-off from a busy roundabout. As always, I checked for any cars on the roundabout or the next turn-off along as I always almost hit at the very spot by some maniac speeding illegally in the bus lane a few months ago. The road was clear and as it was raining I put my hood back up, but just by sheer luck as I got to the middle of the road I noticed out of the corner of my eye a car speeding towards me. I stopped and turned around in shock thinking “you’re going to hit me!” At this point the driver seemed to realize they were just about to plough into me and applied their brakes. I carried on walking to the other side, but then the car started up again towards me again (I think the drivers thought must’ve been that I was going to dive out of the way), so before they could get up any speed I went towards them waving my arms as if to say “What the fuck are you doing, can’t you see me!”. They stopped, but I could see by the look of anger on the driver’s face they must’ve taken exception to my arm waving, as before I had got to the other side they carried on and went as close as they could without hitting me and as fast as they could in the little distance they had to accelerate (which luckily was not much). At this point I banged on the car window as they went by a few cms from me, but they didn’t stop until after they’d gone by and they just beeped their horn and drove off.

Now I’m not one of those people who will say it was my right of way (though it clearly was, as they weren’t even visible to me when I started crossing!), as hospitals are full of such people, but I just can’t understand the mindset of someone who will drive their car at pedestrians with little thought for the pedestrian’s safety. I am lucky enough that I can walk to work everyday, but it is becoming so dangerous that I may just take the bus.

My sympathies as a fellow regular pedestrian.

A couple of years ago I was almost killed by a school bus while in a crosswalk on a bright spring day with perfect visibility. Only reason I’m here to post about it is I literally jumped out of the way at the last second. Last second enough that I banged on the side of the school bus as it went by me. Otherwise the bus would have hit me and dragged me with it down the road.

It was the combination of school bus, crosswalk and beautiful day that made it bad for me — the whole thing was so unlikely and unexpected. And I was totally unprepared for it.

Had nightmares for a month. Got killed in my dreams sometimes three times a night. It was a while before I was comfortable walking again. And I’m not sure I would have ever gotten comfortable walking again except my wonderful cat at the time loved to go for his nightly walk and I loved him enough I didn’t want to disappoint him. At first I was so nervous my cat picked up on it and would startle every time I would (which was every time I heard a big engine roaring). But I loved him and didn’t want to ruin his favorite part of the day, so I got past it until we both enjoyed walking again.

I sympathize fully, I think some drivers have the mentality that they are just not going to stop for pedestrians, whether or not pedestarians are actually able to get out of the way.

At the same spot a few years ago I saw a very elderly woman crossing the road, she had a zimmer frame and could only move very slowly. A driver drove up and started to beep the horn (I don’t know what they thought the elderly woman was going to do, grow wings and fly out of the way?). At this point the driver saw the absolute look of disgust on my face and she sheepishly made a fast exit around the elderly woman.

Some people get into a car and they go crazy, how many people would walk into someone else in the street, expecting them to jump out of the way, or shout at a severely disabled person who was in their way?

They used to do this type of thing to my grandfather when he was in a wheelchair. He said that when they got to wherever they were going, they’d find out there was no hurry in the first place.

I’m guessing that you’re in the UK? Perhaps the driver was an American, out of control on what feels like the wrong side of the road.

I assume there were no rocks nearby.

Many years ago, I was in a crosswalk at an intersection controlled by a flashing light. Traffic had been clear when I started across but I was almost on the double-yellow when Mr. Dumbass came from my right and stopped in the crosswalk to lecture me on his version of proper crossing etiquette.

Another pedestrian on the opposite side witnessed the driver’s odd behavior. “What was that all about? This is a crosswalk!”

Says I: “You know that and I know that…”

You have my sympathy.

I am a runner, and I prefer to run outside.

I wear a fluorescent green shirt, fluorescent green sneakers, and the Apple Watch with the fluorescent green band.

Last summer I was leaving the park where I run, crossing at a well marked crosswalk, with cars stopping for me on the left and the right, as New Jersey law requires. I knew from prior experience that I might encounter The Most Important Person In The World as he passed the stopped cars on the shoulder, and that saved my life.

As I jogged across the street, one idiot did exactly that and passed the kindly stopped cars on the shoulder and brushed my bright green running shirt with his side mirror at about 30mph or so. I slammed his car window with my fist as he passed by.

I was so shaken by the close call that I continued my run right on to the police station a mile or two away and filed a report, not to get the idiot, but just in case some bystander saw the event and reported it as a true hit-and-run–I wanted to show them that I was fine, and that though the guy was an idiot, no tarring and feathering was needed.

I stood before the officer and said “Look at me, how could someone miss me?” and he mumbled a few sympathetic words and said people are stupid.

Is it really that much easier to see people in the dark if you put your brights on? I jogged around Canandaigua Lake a few days ago and started at 5:30 am, and running on the shoulder facing traffic carrying a flashlight, around 1/3 of the cars put or left their brights on when they saw me.

Many, if not most, of the brighters were not so blinded by my appearance that they moved to the passing lane of the 4 lane highway, so in my opinion they made the most dangerous choice: not only taking the chance of hitting me but also increasing the danger of me falling on an unseen rut or hole because WHEN YOUR BRIGHTS ARE ON I CAN’T SEE A DAMN THING.

To borrow from Yes, Minister, driving involves one of those irregular descriptors:

  • I’m *assertive, you’re aggressive, he’s a fucking maniac.

Yeah. I know. And it’s worse when it’s a truck or SUV, something where the lights are higher, because now they nearer your eye level.

Not really appropriate for the Pit - but thanks to you, I’ve learned that a “zimmer frame” is a British term for what is called a “walker” here in the US. Ignorance fought!

Similarly, I’ve read that anyone going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac.

I believe George Carlin originated that one.

Yep, idiots think it’s perfectly ok to put a CD in their player, taking their eyes off of the road. The end result is that they don’t see the motorcycle driver, slam into him and propel him into the vehicle in front of the cycle. It kills them, and leaves me without my father.

P’shaw. If ya’ll don’t like how I drive, stay off the sidewalk.

A roundabout was recently built just down the road from us. Following many accidents the DOT posted a sign just before drivers enter the circle with a graphic of how to use the lanes – real helpful when you’re grooving down the road at 40mph.

Last week there was a rear-end accident when a driver slowed to look at the graph.

Having FINALLY mastered New Jersey’s mysterious jughandles I now must study roundies.

Hopefully you will like the newer trendier NJ roundabouts, which are so much better than those terrible traffic circles of earlier decades that are being phased out.

A few years ago there was a tragic school bus accident on a rural highway near where my kids go to school that killed an 11 year old girl. I was surprised to find that there is an accurate animation of the accident on YouTube.

Even before the accident I didn’t like going through that intersection. The road the truck was on is 45mph and had no stop. The cross street is similar in size but had a stop sign with blinking red light. The view was never really good either, with hills obscuring things. It was really hairy to make my left onto the highway from the side road.

They replaced that intersection with a roundabout last year, and it is a breeze to drive through. I go through it each morning as I take the kids to school and it is so easy to use–usually there is no need to stop at all.

You have my sympathy as well. I have been trying to convince my young daughters for years that they can never trust drivers especially in parking lots and double especially if they are backing up. Ironically, it wasn’t them that nearly had a serious incident - it was me.

I was walking into a Wal-Mart two days before Christmas at dusk two years ago. I was in the middle of the crosswalk when the SUV that was coasting slow enough for me to cross suddenly sped up for no apparent reason and not just a little either. It was like she was intentionally trying to run me over or drag race an imaginary opponent. I didn’t have much time to react or know what was really happening so I just faced her head on and made myself as big as possible by flailing my arms up and down. She finally stopped with about a foot to spare.

My alternate spur of the moment plan was to jump onto the hood and roll off to the side because I had no idea what she was going to do. I screamed so loudly that even people inside could hear it. I was so pissed it was all I could do not to drag her out of the vehicle and beat her senseless but I didn’t do that. Apparently I just became temporarily invisible at least to her and she thought it was a fine idea to floor it in the middle of a crosswalk in an incredibly busy parking lot on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Thank goodness it happened to me instead of a group of kids.