Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Ped Peeve

themacinator has been forced to coin another phrase: "ped peeve," defined as pet peeves regarding pedestrians.

I live in an area full of jaywalkers. I am a frequent jaywalker. There are many people hoofing it here- for work, for pleasure, for just getting-where-they-need-to go. Sometimes it's convenient to cross in the crosswalk and sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is convenient to wait for a light and sometimes it is just better to cross against a light. Sometimes it is just best to zig and zag between cars. We walkers get a lot of leeway in the Bay Area.

But, really, it's pretty much a fundamental safety issue to LOOK BOTH WAYS before crossing. I mean, I still remember learning this as soon as I was old enough to walk, and way before I was old enough to jaywalk. It is not cool to step off the curb, whether crossing legally or sub-legally, without checking for oncoming traffic. I mean, pedestrians have the right-of-way, no matter what, and this makes sense: a pedestrian is going to lose the battle between car and human, even if said car is a Smart Car, but really, why take the risk? If a simple thing like looking, even without turning your head, but merely flicking your eyes from one side to the other could prevent said collision between Smart Car and self, wouldn't it be worth the energy?

Recent anecdotal evidence points to no, it would not be worth the energy. Eye flicks apparantly cost almost as much as gas. themacinator's driving experiences lately show that pedestrians believe that intersections were built for crossing, regardless of what cars are in them, and regardless of the status of crossing cars. So the car is three quarters through the intersection- that is a perfect time to cross! themacinator has also come to realize that the middle of the street is an appropriate place for diagonal crossings, especially if there is oncoming traffic approaching in both directions. This type of crossing should only be attempted with small children, preferably lingering behind, but never while holding hands. The most important part of this procedure is eye contact is never to be made with oncoming traffic. Additionally, when the red hand signal begins to flash in the pedestrian lights, that is an appropriate time to begin crossing, although conventionally it means "do not walk." If the red hand is solid, step into traffic with your eyes closed.

I like pedestrians. I am often a pedestrian. But I also like to live. I like to look before I walk in the street, in the hopes that I will not become roadkill. I do not like roadkill. Sometimes I pick up roadkill as part of my job. Fourlegged (i.e. animal) roadkill only, no human roadkill. Animal roadkill is a deterrent for me to cross the street without looking. It deters me from running over a human being who is crossing without looking. Please, look before you cross. Avoid becoming roadkill.