I am often amazed at the lack of a sense of self-preservation exhibited by random people I see, particularly urban pedestrians.
Or maybe they just trust in the abilities and attentiveness of their fellow man more than I do?
In the worst case, it’s people walking or biking, in the same direction as traffic, at night, while wearing dark clothes and no lights. But that’s pretty rare. More often, it’s pedestrians who trust that drivers will yield right-of-way as they are supposed to. This afternoon I was driving back to work after lunch. From the main road I slowed to make a right turn into my workplace. A group of peds on the sidewalk were about to cross the driveway at the same time I was going to drive across their path. No drama, I saw them from 50 yards away, so I slowed to a stop and waited for them to cross the driveway before I turned in - but the amazing thing to me is that they never looked over their shoulder before they crossed the driveway; I’m pretty sure they never knew I was there. Either it never crossed their mind that they were entering a space frequented by cars, or they knew it and trusted that any car would yield as appropriate.
I see the same thing at intersections with pedestrians who will start crossing the street the instant the “WALK” light is lit, without ever looking to see if stopped traffic might be starting a right turn across their path.
When I’m walking, I always end up looking (both ways, and/or over my shoulder, as appropriate) anytime I’m about to step out into a place where cars often go - regardless of whether I have legal right-of-way or not. Am I paranoid? Do I have trust issues? Or are the people I see enjoying a kind of blissful ignorance?
I routinely see people get off the (public) bus and just walk right across the street with no regard to traffic whatsoever. It’s almost never a crosswalk, and not only do they not bother to look for cars, they take their sweet time walking across. I will have no sympathy for them when they get flattened.
You’re not paranoid, and they are knuckleheads.
This morning, a street I was driving on went underneath an overpass, and the car in front of me was just starting to pass under it. Just as he crossed the shadow line, he slammed on his brakes: some dork was jaywalking across the street in the dark shadows, wearing dark clothes. He was virtually invisible to any driver wearing sunglasses. He didn’t seem aware of the existence of cars until he heard the brakes, so I’m betting he stepped off the curb without checking at all.
I walk nearly every day, and I had two near misses while walking (legally and carefully) in crosswalks this summer. Pedestrians who don’t keep their eyes on traffic around them truly are stupid, and they will eventually pay for it. I see kids and teenagers doing this all the time - earbuds in their ears, and step off the curb without watching the cars. I stare all the drivers right in the eye, and I don’t step off the curb if I don’t see them looking back. I hate crossing in front of a driver making a right turn, because they often start driving while looking to the left instead of looking back at where they’re going. I should probably bang their hood while I cross in front of them.
I see this all the time and it makes me crazy. Not even people texting or distracted, they just wander across the lanes.
And I don’t care if it’s racist, but really dark-skinned people should not walk across dark streets at night with black clothes on. What the fuck is wrong with you? I will never see you.
Trained that way, perhaps?
Quite a few years ago I got stuck for ages; stop after stop, behind a school bus. Kids got off, and scampered across the roads without looking because they had been conditioned (I guess) to believe that everyone on the road would stop for them so they didn’t have to take any responsibility for their own safety.
Cyclists in dark clothing: check.
Drivers meandering onto the freeway, no signals, no attempt to match freeway speeds simply expecting other drivers to accomodate them: check.
Pedestrians wandering along engrossed with their phones expecting other people to accomodate them: check. (Ann Arbor is particularly horrible for this.)
I believe that in part, it starts with the nerferizing of baby humans, who grow up assuming they don’t really have to take responsibility for their own safety or welfare.
You make an interesting point.
Last night I treated two bicyclists who were riding recklessly on one of the most dangerously busy roads in the country. Two separate incidents, major accidents with significant injury that required hospitalization