Okay, I Yield on the Crosswalk Issue

Time was when I would be known to say something like this:

Quiz! It is okay to walk out in front of a moving car when:
a) you’re in a crosswalk
b) you have a WALK sign
c) you’re suddenly immune to steel and fiberglass smashing into your stupid self

because I live in a college town and have to deal with college students, all of whom ignore the walk signs. And I’ve griped and bitched about this, but I’ve come to a realization. It’s futile. I give up.

Why? Because it’s a lose-lose scenario for the person in the car. What am I gonna do, run over them if they cross against the signal? No, I’m not. That’s the truth of the matter. As much as I’d like to send their idiotic, self-absorbed selves careening off my bumper, it’s not going to happen, and they know it. It would damage my car, get me in trouble, and it would be just plain wrong, even if it IS just.

So I concede. Bring them on. Bring on the person who stops in the middle of the crosswalk to wait up for a friend. Bring on the girls hobbling along on their stupid 6"-soled shoes diagonally so as to increase the amount of time spent in the middle of the street. Bring on the guy who steps in front of your car as it is moving and then curses at you. I now understand they are all the Grand Poobah of the Universe and far more important than anyone else. Rules? Rules are for non-Poobahs.

So I humbly ask you, City Planners, can we drop the pretense? Remove the WALK/DON’T WALK signs? Why extend the charade? We can sell them to a town that hasn’t wised up to the futility yet. There’s no point in laws that are ignored, aren’t enforced, and don’t accomplish anything, especially once everyone is aware they’re ignored and unenforced. So scrap the DON’T WALK signs and I’ll just sit there quietly while hordes of students mosey along in front of my car.

Ah, but then you have the geniuses at the university I currently attend.

They placed a two crosswalks at the top of a hill, just past a curve that is essentially blind when there are cars parked at the meters on the road. Drivers don’t like to slow down going through there. My standard has become to either avoid that crosswalk whenever possible, or take tiny steps out and peek, hoping that no one’s coming who’ll take my head off. Someone got hit by a car there last semester.

I try to be a decent pedestrian - I just wish the drivers on campus would give me the same courtesy.

I stop for pedestrians.

If they’re being especially doofus-like, I honk at them.

Sometimes they yell back at me.

Life goes on.

Pssssssssssst!! Two words for ya!

(or maybe just one??)

Air Horn.

Industrial strength Air Horn!! Sit back and watch the fun!!

PS only for the ones crossing against the light. And only randomly, you wouldn’t want them to get used to it.

You’re right about stupid pedestrians. But there just as many idiots behind the wheel cruising through stop signs, stopping over the crosswalk causing pedestrians to walk in the street with traffic, and making right turns really fast into a crosswalk full of people. Many times I have been nearly run over by jerks who make right turns at full speed a foot in front of my face. As if they didn’t see me. Many times I have been in the crosswalk where I have the right of way, peering anxiously at cars, wondering if they’re going to stop or not.

Of course, that doesn’t excuse people like the asshole who just walked out into the middle of a heavily-trafficked street, sort of, maybe, in the vicinity of an actual crosswalk, kind of, who nearly got run over by my husband. Apparently, everyone could use a refresher course on the rules of the road, not just oblivious college students.

FWIW, on my campus, cars have to stop for people crossing per massive signage. There’s no signals or anything. If you’re lucky, there’ll be a crossing guard.

There was an informal rule at my campus that 10 people, amassed at the same corner, had the authority to declair a walk signal.

Two years ago, i walked a mile to work every day. Once a week, on average, I ended up sitting on the hood of somebody who turned right without looking to see if there was a person standing in front of him (yes, it was always a man).

Karma works.


I’m not quite sure what you’re saying here.

Are the offending pedestrians crossing with the walk signal, as suggested by your quiz? Or are they crossing against it, as suggested by the last paragraph?

In answer to your quiz, the answer to questions (a) and (b) is an emphatic “yes.” A WALK signal means that the pedestrians have right of way, that through traffic should be stopped, and that turning traffic needs to give way to pedestrians. If they are constantly crossing against the signal, then i sympathize with you; unfortunately, large groups of pedestrians tend to adopt the attitude that they can walk whenever and wherever they like.

I consider myself a considerate pedestrian. I try to cross the road at a decent speed so as not to hold up traffic. If there are cars turning, i do not step out onto the crosswak once the “Don’t Walk” sign starts flashing. And, when i do jaywalk, i’m very careful to make sure that i don’t get in the way of any car that has the right of way on the road. I have little sympathy for people who step out into the road without even looking and expect all traffic to come to a screeching halt for them.

But, by the same token, if i have the WALK signal, you had better let me cross, because that’s the law. Honking and/or yelling will be met with raised middle finger and/or return abuse. I like the attitude of the pedestrians in some cities, who will beat on the hoods or trunks of cars that attempt to push people out of the way at a WALK signal.

What i have done a couple of times when a driver is looking to play chicken with me on a crosswalk by pushing around in front, is take my keys out of my pocket, and hold them up in a manner that suggests that if the driver doesn’t wait then his car might end up with a long, deep scratch all the way down the side. I don’t think i’d ever carry out this threat, but it serves to make them think twice about pushing in.

Legomancerdo you happen to live by the University of Minnesota? People do this all the time! I am surprised that more people haven’t been hit by cars. Surprisingly there are a lot of bike/ped accidents.

Here at Princeton, I sometime feel like a pariah. You see, I…[sub]looks around shamefully[/sub]…obey the traffic rules as a pedestrian. I wait for a walk signal even when there’s no traffic! And I seem to be the only freakin’ one. (Although occasionally I think I shame other people into waiting, when I’m the first at the intersection and they see me standing there.)

Of course, that still doesn’t keep me from nearly getting killed

You’re not alone, Orbifold. I wait for walk signals whether or not there’s traffic, and almost never step into the street when the don’t walk signal is flashing (I do occasionally dash across if it changes just before I get there, or if I’m familiar enough with the intersection to know I’ll have enough time to get across if I hurry).

I’ve also been known to shout “run them over” when pedestrians step out into the crosswalk on the don’t walk signal and cars are forced to slow down or stop to avoid hitting them. The other day one of these lackwits actually stopped in the middle of the street to turn and make an obscene gesture at me.

What really drives me nuts is when people are waiting to cross, they will stand about 3 feet away from the curb (in the street). Like, they are not going to cross, but they will stand practically in the middle of the road! Then a car comes, and they have to move anyway. Just stay on the curb people!

Come to New York City, where the pedestrians will not only cross in front of you with or without a WALK sign, but will also step up onto your hood and stomp across it if you’re in their way.

A pedestrian once pointed out to me, accompanied with an upraised middle finger, that pedestrians always have the right-of-way here[sup]*[/sup]. I replied that he was “dead right.” (He felt that stepping between two parked cars in the middle of a block and nearly getting killed for his trouble was my fault.)

[sup]*[/sup] Technically, cars are supposed to stop for pedestrians in this province regardless of whether or not the pedestrian is crossing the street legally.

Ah, but if you stay on the curb at the crosswalk I mentioned above, you won’t see the cars coming and they won’t see you - and you will never get across the street. (There is not a signal at this crosswalk).

So it’s step out, peek out, then walk fast.

Only if it plays “Dixie”. Hmmm…maybe I’ll name my car the “General Lee”…

(but seriously - didn’t some models of Ferrari in the 1980’s come with air horns? I know the horns were incredibly loud.)

Best way to take care of this problem, is send lettes to the cheif of police in town. Remind him how much money can be generated by handing out jay walking tickets :slight_smile:

See, here’s a sensible solution. If we just all went out and bought Ferraris, none of this would happen. :slight_smile:

In my neighbourhood in Baltimore, you could generate just as much income by ticketing drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians at a crosswalk.

Yeah, see, drivers around here take personal offense at the thought that someone’s shoes are soiling their road (yeah, they do own it, apparently). I almost got run over by an angry bitch in a BMW the other day because I dared to cross a six-lane road at an intersection, and she had to tap her brakes. She honked at me, but her windows were rolled up so I don’t think she heard me reply “It’s called a motherfucking crosswalk!”

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve almost gotten hit because people, when making a right turn on red, will always look left to make sure there’s no cars coming, but will never look right to check for pedestrians. I saw a car come within inches of hitting a guy on crutches at one point. :eek:

That said, I always obey the traffic rules. Even if there’s not a car in sight, I wait for the walk sign, and I never jaywalk. 'Course, the streets are really wide and the speed limit’s about 50 mph, so I’d be taking my life in my hands even more if I didn’t obey the rules.